The science and scientists don’t stop after a book is published!

In 2018, The Lizard Lady launched.

The beautifully illustrated nonfiction follows the real Lizard Lady, herpetologist Nicole Angeli, as she chops through rough Caribbean terrain to find and save a critically endangered ground lizard on the U.S. Virgin Island of St. Croix. The slithery little St. Croix ground lizards nearly became extinct after a cute but invasive mammal was brought in to eat the rats that were eating farmers’ crops. (Spoiler alert: The Lizard Lady and her team find a way to save these reptiles from extinction!)

The Lizard Lady, now officially Dr. Angeli, was finishing her doctorate (Ph.D.) as she and author Jennifer Keats Curtis (JKC) worked on the book. Today, Dr. Angeli is the Director of Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources. And (drumroll please), she has BIG news to share about the St. Croix ground lizards. Hear more about it as Dr. Angeli and JKC (who clearly have become fast friends) discuss the Lizard Lady’s latest on their last Zoom call video.

To learn more about The Lizard Lady, click here. The book is available in English and Spanish (La Dama de las Siguanas) wherever you normally buy your books or through Arbordale, Amazon, or an independent bookstore near you.

Where’s the Pooper Snooper this summer?

by Jennifer Keats Curtis

School may be out for the summer but working dogs are still, well working. This week, I had a chance to learn what was occupying the time of one of my favorite human-dog duos, Julianne Ubigau and her dog Jasper. Julianne, the education and outreach coordinator of Conservation Canines, University of Washington Center for Environmental and Forensic Science, and I are the authors of Pooper Snooper. This gloriously illustrated (by Phyllis Saroff) nonfiction details how Julianne and her dog detective work together to help scientists investigate and track endangered animals. (Yes, the title gives it away: The snoopers’ clue? Poop.)

 In addition to teaching her dogs to sniff for the scat of endangered animals, Julianne and her canine helpers are also working with scientists and environmentalists to seek out invasive plants and animals, such as garlic mustard plants and bullfrogs. In her spare time (which she could not possibly have), Julianne is talking with students, interested groups and podcasters to explain how the incredibly useful snufflers of rescued dogs can be. This month, Phil Hatterman, host and producer of Dog Words Presented by Rosie Fund, interviewed Julie to get at the heart (or at least the nose) of the matter. We hope you’ll take a few minutes to listen, https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/dog-words/id1496693461?i=1000568974499.

Photos courtesy of Julianne Ubigau: Sampson, Julianne’s current pooper snooper, readies himself to sniff out bullfrogs.

Shark Awareness Day July 14

Sharks… just the word may evoke fear in some. The reality is that one is more likely to be hit by lightning than be attacked by a shark.  

There are over 500 species of sharks that play important roles in the balance needed for healthy oceans. Some sharks are at the top of the ocean food web keeping marine populations healthy. Other sharks keep the ocean clean by eating animal remains (detritus).

You may find shark teeth at the beach. Sharks loose up to 30,000 teeth over their lifetime and replace them very quickly.

You’ll never find shark bones. Shark and ray skeletons are not made of bones like we have. Their skeletons are made with cartilage, like we have in our ears and noses!

Learn more about sharks and rays by reading some great books today. Look for these and other shark books at your library or online at www.arbordalepublishing.com.

And when you are finished reading, here are some great activities from members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to help young children learn more.

Mount St. Helen’s Volcano

At 8:32 (Pacific) on May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens volcano erupted killing 57 people and destroying the area around it. The entire northside of the mountain slid down the mountain. After the eruption, scientist spent years studying how life returned to the area and, interestingly, they give the lowly gopher much of the credit. Read Gopher to the Rescue to your children to learn how Mother Earth in all her wisdom replenishes herself following this kind of natural disaster. https://www.arbordalepublishing.com/bookpage.php?id=GopherRescue

How to Train a Pooper Snooper

Finding it

Do you love training your dog new tricks? Co-author Julianne Ubigau has trained her shelter dogs amazing tricks that help scientists save important animals.

Pooper Snooper is the story of Julianne’s work tracking the Pacific Pocket Mouse with Sampson. The story details training, and tracking, and a little time for playing ball. As part of the wildlife detective team, the duo searches the terrain, and Sampson uses his powerful nose to pick up on the scent of tiny mouse poop. The scientists learn so much about the population of mice that would take much more effort with only humans searching for them.

Although the story centers around Julianne’s work, author Jennifer Keats Curtis and illustrator Phyllis Saroff also bring the story to life. Jennifer has told the story of many scientists working in various fields. She can take complicated jobs or subjects and use language that young readers relate to and understand. Phyllis is a certified dog trainer, and she drew inspiration from some of her favorite pups for Pooper Snooper. The digital illustrations are realistic and fun!

We had an amazing time chatting about creating Pooper Snooper with Jennifer, Julianne, and Phyllis. Watch it here!

Get your copy of Pooper Snooper or download the “For Creative Minds” section and other educational activities at arbordalepublishing.com.

Meet the Creators: Yay for Big Brothers!

Do you have a little brother or sister? Do you look up to an older sibling?

We just released a perfect read for any family awaiting a new sibling, Yay for Big Brothers! by Janet Halfmann, illustrated by Shennen Bersani.

On each page of Yay for Big Brothers! We meet a different animal family and get a glimpse of how siblings help the youngest members. Crows help to feed new babies, beavers give young siblings a ride after a tiring swim practice, and dolphins share their favorite toys during playtime. These are just a few examples of how siblings welcome little brothers and sisters. After we learn how big brothers help, the author asks us to consider the similarities to human relationships.

Janet was inspired by watching her own family as it expanded. We sat down with Janet and Shennen to learn more about their creative process. Watch to learn more!

Get Creative

Create your own animal family puppets with these templates from Shennen! Maybe you can even play with your big brother!

We’re Having a Book Launch Party

The illustrated titles!

I am Hatzegopteryx

By Timothy J. Bradley

Can you imagine swooping through the air like Hatzegopteryx, a giant of the ancient skies? Hatzegopteryx (hatz-eh-GOP-ter-iks) was one of the largest pterosaurs that ever lived; about the size of a small airplane. I am Hatzegopteryx, the second book in Arbordale Publishing’s I am Prehistoric series, gives children a glimpse into the life of the awesome Hatzegopteryx, from tiny chick to majestic, winged predator, and how it made its living. Unlike many pterosaurs, this one was a terrestrial carnivore, spending its time hunting prey on land. Just like today’s animals, prehistoric creatures had adaptations and behaviors that helped them survive in their habitat—a environment that was in some ways quite different from what we see around us today.

The Pangolin Revelation

By Lori Schildwachter, Illustrated by Laurie Allen Klein

When Loran’s homework assignment is to create an animal’s adaptations and demonstrate how the adaptations help it survive in its environment, he knows just what he wants to do. Loran creates a multipurpose, super species by using all kinds of cool, one-of-a-kind adaptations taken from a variety of some of his favorite animals—like a monkey’s prehensile tail and a sloth’s claws or even curling up like an armadillo. Once he created what he thinks is the ultimate adaptation mashup of any animal ever, he is surprised to discover that his “imaginary creature” really exists—it’s a pangolin! Yes, these charming and unique creatures really do exist, and they are the most endangered animals you’ve possibly never heard of.

Pooper Snooper

By Jennifer Keats Curtis and Julianne Ubigau, illustrated by Phyllis Saroff

Dog detectives? Thanks to superior sniffers, some pups learn to help scientists investigate and track endangered animals. The snoopers’ clue? Poop. Dogs that are part of wildlife detective teams are trained to catch the scent of wild animal poop (scat) so that scientists can learn about these animals without luring or trapping them. Like many pooper snoopers, Sampson, the dog in this book, was once a shelter dog, too hyper and ball crazy for families. That energy and ball drive is what makes him such a good dog detective. He is trained on many species, from salamanders to bears, but his goal is always the same. Find the scat and get the ball!

Yay for Big Brothers!

By Janet Halfmann, illustrated by Shennen Bersani

Big brothers are amazing! Did you know that big brothers are important in animal families, too? Animal big brothers do many of the same things as kid big brothers. They play with their younger siblings, teach them new things, and help with their care. Sometimes animal big brothers even babysit when their parents leave to hunt for food. Are you a big brother or do you have a big brother?

The Compare and Contrast Books

Otters: River or Sea?

By Cathleen McConnell

Perhaps you’ve seen an otter swimming and playing at a zoo or aquarium, but do you know how do these amazing animals live in the wild? Most are found in freshwater habitats, while others make their home in coastal kelp forests or can be found feeding along rocky shores. There are many similarities between river otters and sea otters, but there are also vast differences. Explore fascinating facts about these playful, aquatic mammals, meet the species, and awe at adorable photos in this latest installment of the Compare and Contrast Book series.

Penguins

By Cher Vataloro

Yes, some of the 18 species of penguins live in cold, polar regions, but most penguins live in warm climates. One species even lives near the equator! These birds “fly” through the water with flippers instead of the air with wings. Most are black and white, but one species is blue and white. Some have red eyes, and some have yellow eyes. Some even have colorful bursts of feathers atop their heads. What do they all have in common and how are they different? Explore and learn about these lovable birds in this latest installment of the Compare and Contrast Book series.

Natural or Man-made?

By Arbordale Publishing

Trees give us yummy apples but also help us build houses. One of these is natural, the other man-made. Can you identify the natural resource? In this edition of The Compare and Contrast Book series, we investigate common items around us and how natural materials are made into tools, toys, and even electricity. After exploring dozens of photos, readers will be a pro at identifying ways we use natural resources from plants, animals, and elements below the Earth’s surface.

Renewable or Nonrenewable Resources

By Arbordale Publishing

Everything around us is made from the Earth. Some things are easily replaced, while others are not. Think about the food you have eaten or the energy it took to zoom to school on the bus. What natural resources have you used today, and are they easy to replace? Step through the latest book in the Compare and Contrast series to learn about the world’s resources, how long they take to reproduce, and how technology and ingenuity are helping to relieve the strain on some of our most precious reserves.

Head over to arbordalepublishing.com to learn more about each title, download the educational extras, or order your copy!

Tracking Ghosts that lived long, long ago

It’s that time of year again when leaves begin to fall, and darkness overtakes the amount of daylight. There is a spookiness in the air. In the spirit of learning about terrifying creatures this month, we are seeking the ghosts of dinosaurs.

Dino Tracks illustrated by Cathy Morrison, written by by Rhonda Lucas Donald
Dino Tracks illustrated by Cathy Morrison, written by by Rhonda Lucas Donald

Can you imagine a 40-foot-long, 12-foot-high lizard with thousands of pointing teeth? What about a flying, swooping lizard the size of a plane with a MASSIVE beak? These animals all lived millions of years ago and have disappeared, but they did leave a trace of their existence.

We are headed on a hunt to find dinosaurs and other extinct creatures around the country, and here are some of the best places to see them.

I am Allosaurus written and illustrated by Timothy J. Bradley

Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry – Elmo, Utah

 More than 12,000 bones have been found at the site, mostly from carnivores and primarily the Allosaurus. Get a glimpse of bones and rock formations in a landscape that was once a very active spot for many meat-eaters especially flying giants.

Dinosaur Valley State Park – Glen Rose, Texas

 Walk, or paddle the riverbed to see the mark dinosaurs left on their former home. Here you will find tracks from sauropods and theropods intertwined in various locations. These tracks gave scientists valuable information in piecing together some mysteries of the past.

Dino Treasures illustrated by Cathy Morrison, written by Rhonda Lucas Donald

Dinosaur State Park – Rocky Hill Connecticut 

 Go below the dome to find one of the largest collections of dinosaur tracks in North America. The tracks are attributed to the Dilophosaurus and were made about 200 million years ago. After viewing the tracks, explore trails surrounded by some of the foliage related to the plants dinosaurs once walked through.

Dinosaur Ridge – Morrison, Colorado 

 Denver as a tropical oasis? Hundreds of tracks are set in stone just outside the city with evidence of Brontosauruses, Iguanodons, Triceratops, alligator ancestors, and fossilized palms. The trail has all sorts of surprises buried in the rocks.

La Brea Tar Pits – Los Angeles, California

 The Ice Age comes alive in the heart of Los Angeles. The tar pits have been there for thousands of years and captured various animals for thousands of years. Watch paleontologists actively uncovering mammoths, saber-toothed cats, and dire wolves and explore the museum filled with fossils of unlucky animals.

Wandering Woolly written and illustrated by Andrea Gabriel

If you can’t make it to the dinosaur’s former homes, learn more about them and the techniques for discovering dinosaurs in these Arbordale books Dino Tracks, Dino Treasures, I am Allosaurus, and Wandering Woolly. And on November 2nd, get your copy of I am Hatzegopteryx from Timothy J. Bradley! 

Activities for all these titles can be found on the Arbordale Publishing website.

What’s So Funny? Animals that Laugh out Loud

Artwork from Moose and Magpie by Sherry Rogers

Why do we laugh?

We laugh when someone tells a joke. We laugh when we are having fun. Or sometimes we laugh when we are uncomfortable. We have a sense of humor and a range of feelings. Humans express emotions to communicate to others how we are feeling through body language and most importantly sound!

Artwork from Sounds of the Savanna by Phyllis Saroff

We know why we laugh but do animals laugh?

Scientists set out to answer this question. Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, have identified 65 creatures that “laugh” while they play. While researchers can’t know what animals are thinking, they observed animals making unique sounds while playing that are not made at other times. They also noticed a difference in panting and facial expressions.

While most animals that displayed laughing sounds were mammals, a few bird species are also known to make laughing noises. It is not much of a surprise that our closest relatives, the primates, were mammals that showed a range of noises during playful activity. But dogs, rats, foxes, dolphins, killer whales, and Kea parrots also make laughing noises while playing.

Researchers concluded that laughing happens during play because many play activities can also be interpreted as fighting. The playful noises show participants that they are having fun and will not hurt each other.

Because studies have not observed play activity by reptiles or amphibians, they couldn’t conclude if these species make playful noises. This study is far from conclusive, and they will continue to find giggling creatures as more studies are finished.

For the long weekend, we have put together a silly animal reading list to make you laugh! Check out these titles featuring some of the mentioned laughing critters.

If you want to learn more about the study check out these links:
https://www.livescience.com/do-animals-laugh.html, 
https://www.sciencetimes.com/articles/31244/20210518/animals-laugh-scientists-tallied-65-different-creatures.htm

New Year, New Tails: How Alligators Regrow Their Tails

Alligator from Amphibians and Reptiles by Katharine Hall

It is a new year! As the calendar flips, many of us are thinking of a new beginning and achieving new goals. Scientists are always on the path to discovery, and recently a group researching American Alligators discovered they can makeover their bodies in a unique way. They can regrow their tails after injury.

Learn more about lizards losing and regrowing their tails in Little Skink’s Tail by Janet Halfmann and illustrated by Laurie Allen Klein.

Tail regrowth is not a new concept for scientists. Until now, they thought this adaptation was limited to small lizards that can detach their tails and escape further injury. It takes some time, but these lizards regenerate their tails almost as if they were never gone.

A team of scientists from Arizona State University took a look at alligator tails that had once sustained an injury and found new growth. Juvenile alligators can regrow up to 18% of their body length. The regrowth tissue is different than the existing tail and contains cartilage, nerves, and blood vessels.

Researchers will continue looking into the details of how alligators regrow its tail in comparison with other lizards and regeneration by other animals. While this conclusion answers some questions, it brings up many others. Researchers will take this information and may begin to look into historic tail regrowth and medical research.

Compare and contrast the differences between Amphibians and Reptiles with Katharine Hall.

The American Alligator can be found in lakes, rivers, and swamps from North Carolina to the Texas Rio Grande. They have long “armored” bodies with four short legs and a long tail with a rounded snout that they can stick out of the water and breathe while they are submerged. They travel in a small area but can go further distances during mating season. Baby alligators generally hatch toward the end of August and make high-pitched noises before hatching. It is a long road to adulthood and stay with their mother for two or three years. Alligators are unique reptiles in this way as well as their ability to lie dormant underwater during cold weather.

Learn more about this scientific discovery and read the full article here!

Find more fun books about reptiles at arbordalepublishing.com.