A Time For Friendship

December is a time for friendship, and what better way to demonstrate friendship to children, than through a picture book?  Here are a few of Sylvan Dell’s favorite books about friendship with fun and easy activities that you can do this holiday season.


Newton and MeNewton and Me – While at play with his dog, Newton, a young boy discovers the laws of force and motion in his everyday activities. Told in rhyme, Lynne Mayer’s Newton and Me follows these best friends on an adventure as they apply physics to throwing a ball, pulling a wagon, riding a bike, and much more. With the help of Sherry Rogers’ playful illustrations, children will learn that physics is a part of their world. They will realize that Newton’s Laws of Motion describe experiences they have every day, and they will recognize how forces affect the objects around them.


Activity: Help you child get to know their friends. Start a conversation and learn about their family pet or favorite toy. Encourage your child to ask questions.


Moose and Magpie_COVER2Moose and Magpie – It isn’t easy being a moose. You’re a full-grown adult at the age of one, and it itches like crazy when your antlers come in! In Bettina Restrepo’s Moose and Magpie, young Moose is lucky to find a friend and guide in the wisecracking Magpie. “What do the liberty bell and moose have in common?” the Magpie asks as the seasons begin to change. Then, when fall comes: “Why did the moose cross the road?” Vivid illustrations by Sherry Rogers bring these characters to life. Laugh along with Moose and Magpie, and maybe-just maybe-Moose will make a joke of his own!


Activity: Comedy hour – give your child and friends a “microphone” and encourage them to tell jokes. Make sure they know not to tell jokes at their friend’s expense.


Home in the CaveHome in the Cave – Baby Bat loves his cave home and never wants to leave it. While practicing flapping his wings one night, he falls, and Pluribus Packrat rescues him. They then explore the deepest, darkest corners of the cave where they meet amazing animals—animals that don’t need eyes to see or colors to hide from enemies. Baby Bat learns how important bats are to the cave habitat and how other cave-living critters rely on them for their food. Will Baby Bat finally venture out of the cave to help the other animals?


Activity: Prepare a winter scavenger hunt for your child and friends. They can go on an adventure together and the reward can be a cup of hot coco and talking about their fun adventures of the day.


HabitatSpy_187Habitat Spy – Let’s spy on plants, insects, birds, and mammals in 13 different habitats. Told in rhyming narrative, Habitat Spy invites children to search for and find plants, invertebrates, birds, and mammals and more that live in 13 different habitats: backyard, beach, bog, cave, desert, forest, meadow, mountain, ocean, plains, pond, river, and cypress swamp. Children will spend hours looking for and counting all the different plants and animals while learning about what living things need to survive.


Activity: While running those busy errands this season turn off the radio and play “I Spy” in the car while driving around town.


Giraffe_187The Giraffe Who was Afraid of Heights – Imagine if the one thing that keeps you safe is what you fear the most. This enchanting story tells of a giraffe who suffers from the fear of heights. His parents worry about his safety and send him to the village doctor for treatment. Along the way, he befriends a monkey who is afraid of climbing trees and a hippo that is afraid of water. A life-threatening event causes the three friends to face and overcome each of their fears. The “For Creative Minds” section includes fun facts and animal adaptation information, a match-the-feet game and a mix-n-match activity.


Activity: Sending out holiday cards? Help your child make a holiday card thanking their friends for their help and friendship throughout the year.


ChampCancerCompanion-2Champ’s Story: Dogs Get Cancer Too! – Children facing cancer—whether their own, a family member’s, a friend’s, or even a pet’s—will find help in understanding the disease through this book. A young boy discovers his dog’s lump, which is then diagnosed with those dreaded words: “It’s cancer.” The boy becomes a loving caretaker to his dog, who undergoes the same types of treatments and many of the same reactions as a human under similar circumstances (transference). Medical writer and award-winning children’s author, Sherry North artfully weaves the serious subject into an empathetic story that even young children can understand.


Activity: If a good friend is sick and children do not understand Champ’s Story is a great conversation starter. Give your child crayons and a piece of paper help them express their feelings through art.


These and many other fun books and lessons are available for the holidays at www.sylvandellpublishing.com.

Little Skink celebrates in 2012

As you know, at Sylvan Dell we love the topic of conservation and celebration of the animals in our world. Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC) dedicate this year to the lizard.

Our most famous Sylvan Dell lizard is Little Skink. In Little Skinks Tail, she tries on the tails of all the animals she meets, after hers is lost to a feisty crow. Later Little Skink looks back, and her bright blue tail has grown back where it belongs.

Little Skink is a Five Lined Skink found in wooded climates where they like to soak up the sunshine during the day, and eat small insects. They are found in the United States and in some states they are on the endangered list, such as Connecticut.

For Creative Minds  fun activities, or more information about Little Skinks Tail can be found at Sylvan Dell Publishing click here.

Amazing Mimic Octopus

It is well known that octopuses are amazing animals–they are intelligent, can squeeze through tiny spaces, and can change color at will. And apparently, they can also make fun of humans! Check it out:

It seems like the octopus was poking fun at the divers watching it!

To read more about amazing octopus abilities, read Octavia and learn how she defends herself from predators!

New Bat Species Discovered!

In Vietnam, scientists have discovered a new species of leaf-nosed bat. At first, the researches mistook it for a known species–the great leaf-nosed bat, which is often aggressive when captured. These little bats, however, had an unusually gentle demeanor around the scientists. So, they decided to examine them a little more closely.  As it turns out, these bats are genetically distinct from the great leaf-nosed bat, and are now known as Griffin’s leaf-nosed bat. Find this bat’s full story here: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/02/120223-new-bat-species-vietnam-animals-science/

If you want to learn even more about bats, Sylvan Dell has two great books for you! Check them out:

Little Red Bat follows the story of one young bat’s decision to migrate for the winter. He talks to  other animals about their winter plans and must decide what option will work best for him. In our spring 2012 book Home in the Cave, Baby Bat learns about the delicate balance of a cave ecosystem and comes to understand his important role in it.


Sylvan Dell Publishing Will Offer 70 eBooks Free in Honor of Read Across America Day!

In honor of Read Across America Day 2012, Sylvan Dell Publishing will be offering our complete site license of 70 eBooks FREE! Participants can visit http://www.sylvandellpublishing.com on Friday, March 2nd to use this great feature, with great eBooks including auto-flip, auto-read, and selectable English and Spanish text and audio.  This is in addition to the free activities available every day including a “For Creative Minds” educational section, 40-70 pages of free teaching activities, three quizzes, and a related websites page for each title.


Sylvan Dell’s co-owner and editor Donna German states, “We are proud to offer children a simple way to participate in Read Across America Day.  By offering our full eBook Site License we also make it easy not only for children to read and explore our great books, but we make it easy for parents and teachers to use each book as stepping stone to learning with our “For Creative Minds” section and our free teaching activities.”

To participate in Sylvan Dell Publishing’s Read Across America event, simply visit www.sylvandellpublishing.com on March 2nd and click on the Read Across America icon in the upper right-hand corner of the website. For questions or concerns, call Sylvan Dell Publishing directly at (877) 243-3457 or email info@sylvandellpublishing.com.


A Conversation with Jean Heilprin Diehl, author of Three Little Beavers!

We are so excited to announce our final new release for the spring 2012 season Three Little Beavers! Written by Jean Heilprin Diehl and illustrated by Cathy Morrison, this book is a perfect fit for any classroom!

 Beatrix the beaver longs to be good at something. Her brother Bevan is an expert at repairing the lodge with mud and twigs. Her sister Beverly is a superb swimmer and underwater gymnast. What makes Beatrix stand out? One day, she runs away by swimming up the creek and finds some fresh garden plants to eat, and tasty trees to gnaw. When her siblings set off to find her, all Three Little Beavers wind up trapped! It takes some simple engineering on the part of the humans who set the traps, and Beatrix’s discovery of her special talents, for the people and beavers to finally find a way to live in harmony.

Q and A With Author Jean Heilprin Diehl

What kind of research do you do for your books?

I love research! I research online, in physical libraries and in the field. I also conduct  interviews. The research stage offers up so much  fascinating information, that it can be hard to pull away from.  Too much research can be a distraction from writing, so the trick is to do the right amount…whatever that is. For the novel I’m writing now, I studied fireflies and a rare pediatric neurological disorder. To characterize the protagonist’s best friend, I learned what virga is and who invented the paper clip and where the digit ‘one’ repeats three times in a row in the infinite number pi. For Three Little Beavers, I observed beavers swimming in a lake, kayaked up a stream where beavers live and visited a series of ponds dotted with old beaver lodges and dams. I interviewed a park service officer who had resolved an urban wildlife conflict involving beavers and also a professional trapper who had humanely trapped beavers with the square, box-like Hancock traps described in the story. I checked out books from libraries, read online articles and websites and watched video clips.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer?

When I was growing up, I loved to read, and I especially loved adventure books with maps of imaginary lands printed inside the front and back covers. Some kids put up posters of athletes or musicians or actors on their bedroom walls; I had the map of Middle Earth. I guess it was natural to want to do what I admired so much. In sixth grade I wrote a series of poems that a teacher suggested I pull together into a book.  After that, I knew I wanted to be a writer.

How do your own experiences shape your writing?

Experience is to writing like air is to lungs. Experience inevitably and perhaps inadvertently shapes what I’m drawn to write about and the process by which I go about writing.  I think the human imagination is piqued by non sequiturs. A random image, headline, anecdote or event I  read or hear about but haven’t personally witnessed can also get me thinking. Experience includes all five senses.  It also includes reading.

What inspired you to write Three Little Beavers?

Raising kids can mean a lot of time spent driving them around! I’d been thinking about how often young children, when riding in cars or on school buses, see dead animals along the road, which can be pretty upsetting. Then my local children’s librarian happened to mention that her collection lacked a book about urban wildlife conflicts, and she didn’t know if there were any books for kids on the subject.  I decided to write one. I went looking for stories with happy endings and found one about beavers. I learned that there is a lot humans can do to co-exist with North America’s largest rodent. Beaver families typically consist of multiple kits, so that got me thinking about siblings and a line I’d read once that had stuck in stuck in my head: ‘the goal of middle childhood is to differentiate the self.’ That’s how I got the idea to write about Bevan, Beverly and Beatrix.

What is your favorite aspect of writing?

I enjoy the research, as I mentioned, and I enjoy finding a word or set of words to fit an image or an insight or a moment in nature or an emotion or an interaction. I like voicing what it is I have to say to other people through written words, and I like being finished with writing, because writing is hard.

What is the most challenging part of writing a book? 

For me, the most challenging part of writing a picture book is to tell a complete story, with fully developed characters, with an economy of language.  The old adage is true:  it’s much easier to write long than short. I’m still learning how to leave enough space – and the right space – for an illustrator to tell the story visually. Images create the story’s visual complexity, which is delightfully true of Cathy Morrison’s wonderful illustrations for Three Little Beavers.


Visit Jean’s website at www.jeanheilprindiehl.com, or the Three Little Beavers homepage at http://www.sylvandellpublishing.com/bookpage.php?id=ThreeBeavers.

A Conversation with Janet Halfmann, Author of “Home in the Cave”

Sylvan Dell is proud to introduce one of our great new spring releases, Home in the Cave!  Written by Janet Halfmann and illustrated by Shennen Bersani, Home in the Cave is the educational tale of Baby Bat and his adventures in the cave he calls home.  Through his exploration, Baby Bat not only learns about other cave critters, but he learns a lot about himself as well!

Janet Halfman is the award winning author of over thirty children’s books, both fiction and nonfiction, including Home in the Cave, A Little Skink’s Tail, and Fur and Feathers.  In this interview, Janet Halfman shares her literary and creative experiences as she discusses her life as a children’s author with her fans and readers.


What is your favorite part of the writing process?

I like the surprises that occur as I’m writing my first draft of a story. Sometimes the characters just seem to come up with ideas on their own, such as Sophia does in Fur and Feathers when she adds her own special touches to the animals’ coats. But I think my favorite part of writing is the revising. I love finding just the right word to bring a character or action to life. I love making each sentence sound and flow just right.

What topics do you most enjoy writing about?

I enjoy writing about animals and nature. I never cease to be amazed at the intricacies of each animal’s life and how all of life is intertwined. For example, when researching and writing Home in the Cave, I was amazed to find out how important bat droppings or guano are to the other animals in the cave.

When did you become interested in writing?

I have loved to write all my life, but it wasn’t until after I graduated from college and took a writing course by mail that I decided I wanted a career as a writer. To accomplish that, I went back to school and got a second degree in Journalism (I had originally studied to be a Spanish and English teacher). The second degree led to jobs as a daily newspaper reporter, managing editor of a national magazine for kids who live in the country, and many years as a creator of coloring and activity books for Golden Books. When my position at Golden books was eliminated about 15 years ago, I set out to become a children’s author, my original dream!

What is a typical writing day like for you?

First, I check my e-mail and social media sites to see if there is anything I need to take care of right away. Then, If I’m working on a story, most of my day is spent on that story. To create the best story, I have to completely immerse myself in it and let it become part of me. Then ideas come to me while I’m taking a walk, or making supper, or doing any number of things. When I’m not working on a story, I promote my books through social media and other ways, look for new markets, fine-tune my old manuscripts, read picture books, etc. I work in an upstairs home office next to a window overlooking a huge, old maple tree. I spend 50 to 60 hours a week working on writing or business related to writing. And I consider myself one of the luckiest people in the world—to have reached my dream of being a children’s author!

What is the most frequently asked question you encounter as an author?

People often ask me how long it takes to write a book. I tell them that each story is different. Many require lots of research. Even for a fiction picture book, I often have a pile of research books sev-eral feet high, in addition to research I do on the Internet. And often story ideas bounce around in my heard for a long time before I start to write them d
own. People also ask how I found my illustrator. I tell them that the publisher usually chooses the illustrator. The publishers know which of the many illustrators they work with will be best for the story. Usually, the artist and illustrator do not even meet. That way, the writer can do her creative thing and the illustrator is free to do his or her creative thing. And I’ve never been disappointed. Often an illustrator adds some touch that never even entered my mind. For example, in Little Skink’s Tale, illustator Laurie Allen Klein showed a caterpillar changing into a butterfly throughout the book. Children love finding this additional surprise!

Most of your books are about animals and nature. Why is that?

I grew up on a farm in Michigan. My dad loved farming, and I think his love for animals and nature rubbed off on me. After supper, the whole family would often pile into the pickup to go to the back forty to see how much the corn or soybeans had grown. Today, whenever I go on a walk, I have to pause several times to watch a dragonfly or butterfly, check out a new blossom or try to find the bird that’s singing. I’m constantly amazed by the stories that nature has to tell.

What tips do you have for parents regarding instilling a love of read-ing in their children?

Parents and other caregivers can give children so much by starting to read to them at a very young age. Reading opens up so many avenues for chil-dren and is a wonderful bonding experience between caregiver and child. A child who is read to is much more likely to become a reader. And a child who can read well is likely to have an easier time in school. Also, a story is a great way for everyone to wind down after a busy, hectic day.

The Great Divide! A Conversation With Suzanne Slade

Sylvan Dell is proud to introduce the final book in the Suzanne Slade math  series, The Great Divide! This book, like Multiply on the Fly features beautiful, detailed illustrations from Erin Hunter, as well as a great “For Creative Minds” educational section in the back and teaching activities at http://www.sylvandellpublishing.com.

Animals, like people, enjoy spending time with their friends and family. Many groups of animals have their own unique names. Did you know that a group of gorillas is called a band? And a bunch of billy goats is a tribe? Following in the footsteps of Multiply on the Fly (multiplication), What’s New at the Zoo? (addition) and What’s the Difference? (subtraction), this rhythmic, fun-to-read-aloud book introduces children to division as they conquer bands, tribes, mobs and more.

Below, Multiply on the Fly author Suzanne Slade discusses life as the author of over 90 picture books for kids, and gives advice based on her experiences.  Learn more about Suzanne on her website and figure out how to schedule an in-person or virtual author visit with Suzanne at http://www.suzanneslade.com/.   Suzanne has also just been selected to be a February Featured Author for the Girl Scouts Studio!

What is the most rewarding part of writing children’s books?
There are actually several things I love about writing chil-dren’s book. First, I enjoy discovering cool facts that fasci-nate me. I get a great feeling of satisfaction when I finally complete a book manuscript. And it is very rewarding when a child tells me that they like one of my books.

What is a typical writing day like for you?
My writing day begins when my children leave for school. I usually first catch up on emails, then get back to writing whatever book I’m working on. This almost always involves lots of reading and research. I might read my story out loud to see how it sounds, or send it to a writing friend to get their suggestions on how I could make my story better. Many of my writing days include a quick trip to the library and per-haps a virtual author visit via Skype. Oh, and I also do lots of snacking when I work. A tasty bowl of cereal can really help me keep going!
When starting a new project, how do you determine the style of writing you would like to use? (rhyming, prose, etc.)
When I begin a new book I carefully consider the age group I’m writing for and the topic of my story. These two factors help me decide how I want to write the story. For example, if I’m writing for a younger audience, I often choose rhyme. Prose is usually a better choice if my book is geared for older children, or it’s a topic that has lots of cool, detailed facts I’d like to share.

Is it true you used to work on rockets?
Strange, but true. I have a mechanical engineering degree and worked for McDonnell Douglas in California in the 1980’s. As a test engineer there, I worked on Delta IV rockets that NASA used to send weather and communications satellites into orbit.
How did you go from engineering to writing children’s stories?
When I was a teenager I was interested in writing children’s sto-ries, but my love of math and science determined my studies in college. Later after I became a mom and was reading picture books to my children every day, I began to think about writing again. My path to publication, like many authors, was a rather long journey. I had a great deal to learn about writing, editing, submitting, and children’s stories in general. I took several writing classes, joined critique groups, learned from the many resources available from SCBWI (Society of Children’s Writers and Illustra-tors), and just kept practicing writing.
What advice do you have for girls wanting to pursue a career in a math or science related field?
I tell girls who love math and science to study hard and pursue whatever career they are most excited about. I think there are as many opportunities for girls in the field of math and science, as there are for boys.
What do you hope readers get out of your books?
I hope young readers simply have fun and enjoy reading my books. Of course, if they learn something cool or interesting about animals or insects along the way, that’s great too!

What is the most frequently asked question you encounter as an
I’m often asked what I enjoy most about writing children’s books, and to be honest, it’s hard to think of anything I don’t like about writing children’s books! I love the ex-citement of getting a fresh, new idea. I love digging in and doing research for a new book. I am very curious and enjoy learning new things when I write a story. I really enjoy the challenge of putting my ideas for a fiction story together. To me it’s like putting the pieces of a puzzle together. I usually know all the parts of my “story-in-progress”, and it’s just a matter of figuring out how they fit together.
I also like to play with fun-sounding words. When I read, I often write down interest-ing or unusual words I find in case I want to use them later. It’s also exciting to dis-cover words that sound really cool together. Like hop poppin’, wicky wacky words! Another part of writing I enjoy is working with editors. They are always very helpful and smart. Editors have great ideas to make my writing better. And of course, one of my favorite parts of writing books is sharing them with children. Most children are very curious like me, and they have great imaginations. It’s great to see them enjoy one of my books.
The Great Divide is the latest clever title in your four-book math series. What inspired you to write (and keep writing) a math series like this?
I really enjoy writing books about math because math was my favorite subject in school. I also love learning about all the fascinating animals and insects in our world, so I have fun including cool facts about them in my books.
Many of your books feature animals. What’s your favorite animal and why?
Well, my most favorite animal of all is my little 7-pound dog, Corduroy. As far as wild animals, I a big fan of penguins. They are so adorable, yet all dressed up!

A Conversation with Terry Catasus Jennings, Author of “Gopher to the Rescue!”

 Sylvan Dell is proud to announce one of our Spring 2012 new releases, with Gopher to the Rescue!: A Volcano Recovery Story. Written by Terry Catasus Jennings and illustrated by Laurie O’Keefe, this special picture book discusses, as the title suggests, the different ways that a mountainside returns to life after the destructive power of a volcano.  This story is also based off some of the surprising observations of Mount St. Helens scientists who observed the slow recovery of the mountainside after the blast.  Check out a more complete synopsis of this title, as well as teaching activities and other great freebies about the book here.  Read on for a special interview with Gopher to the Rescue! author Terry Catasus Jennings.

Terry Catasus Jennings is an arts and science enthusiast living in Northern Virginia.  Gopher to the Rescue!, a story about how gopher’s help a mountain-side environment to recover after an earthquake is her first picture book.

Gopher to the Rescue! is certainly not a traditional story for a picture book. What inspired you to write this story?

I was doing research for a non-fiction book about Mount St. Helens when I ran across the unexpected role that gophers played in the mountain’s recovery.  It was such a wonderful fact to know that such a humble little creature could have such a huge impact, that I knew I had to write about it.  The story came to me very quickly because the research was already done and all I had to do was put myself in the place of the animals that lived on the mountain.  It was downright fun!

How did you first become interested in writing, and writing a children’s picture book specifically?

When I read Little Women by Louisa May Alcott as a very young girl, I knew I wanted to be a writer, just like Jo March.  I believe though, that I would have ended up being a writer even if I hadn’t read the book. Stories are always rolling around in my head. Whenever something happens I like to report on it, like writing a newspaper story, in my head. I also like to figure out why people may have acted in a particular way, so I take what happens and I figure out a plot line that may have led them to their actions.  Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?  What I like best of all is figuring out the very best way to convey each message—the best words to use, how to form each sentence and that is especially important in a picture book. I love to use the rhythm of language when I write a picture book.  It’s almost like writing a poem.

What do you hope children learn from Gopher to the Rescue!?

The most important lesson I learned in doing the research is how connected each part of nature is to the other.  That’s what I hope my readers learn.  The recovery after a volcano is not set, or planned, rather it is a jumble. Life returns when and where the conditions for that particular type of life occur.  A seed that finds a gopher tunnel will flourish, but a seed that lands on hard, crusty ash will not. Animals can return to the mountain only when they have food, shady places to rest and sleep, and places to nest. The interesting thing is that what happened in Mount St. Helen on a big scale happens everyday, everywhere in nature. Since all living things are so connected, it is important that we be very careful with each habitat and avoid taking actions that can harm Earth, our home.

What was the most challenging thing about writing Gopher to the Rescue!?

Not including all the fun facts that I knew about the mountain and the recovery.

When you tell people you are an author, what is the most frequent question you are asked?

How can you just sit and write, isn’t it torture? The answer is, not when you love it.

What gets your creative juices flowing?

I love to find an interesting nugget of truth, like the effect that gophers had on Mount St. Helens recovery, and weave a fun story around it.  

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Read, read, read. Write, write, write.  Look at the world with curiosity and try to figure out why things happen they way they do and why people act the way they do.  Listen to people talk. Pay special attention to how they move. Capture a scene as if you were a movie camera and store it in your mind.  You’ll use all those things that you have stored in your mind when you write your books.

What will your next project be?

I’m working on several projects right now.  My biggest project is a novel about a twelve-year-old girl who lives through the Cuban revolution from 1958-1961.  It’s very exciting to me because writing it has forced me to learn things about my heritage and about my country’s history that I never knew.  I am putting the finishing touches on two picture books. One about how wood ducks are born high up on trees and on their first day of life their mother pushes them out and they flutter down to the ground.  The other one is about how animals prepare for the seasons.  I have just started writing a picture book about “The Problem with Word Problems,” a book to help children figure out how to solve word and other problems.

Meet the Planets Receives a Teachers’ Choice Award for the Family!

Meet the Planets, a spring 2012 release from Sylvan Dell Publishing, has just received a Learning Magazine Teachers’ Choice Award for the Family!

Teachers’ Choice Awards have been a part of Learning Magazine since 1994. Since that time, the program has grown to become one of the most recognized and prestigious awards in the educational market. The Teachers’ Choice Awards for the Family is the only awards program that requires panelists to be both teachers and parents. The winners will receive a spotlight in the magazine’s Children’s Book Award section, as well as a seal distinguishing them as a Children’s Books winner.

John McGranaghan has always been fascinated by outer space and he shares that fascination in a humorous and educational way through Meet the Planets and Saturn for My Birthday. John has also written stories and articles for Boys’ Quest Magazine, Pockets Magazine, Columbia Magazine, and local newspapers. He is winner of the 2001 Pockets Fiction Contest. When John isn’t writing, he enjoys sports and spending time with his wife and two boys. John is a school counselor in the Philadelphia suburbs.

Klein has been a freelance artist for nearly 20 years. Over the last several years, she has worked as the on-staff artist for a marine park, where she does everything from painting life-size sea animal murals, to illustrating children’s activity books. In addition to the Furs and Feathers, Klein also illustrated Meet the Planets, Where Should Turtle Be?, Little Skink’s Tail, and If a Dolphin Were a Fish for Sylvan Dell Publishing. Her other books include The Out to Pasture series, authored by Effie Wilder.  This is the second Teachers’ Choice Award this year for Laurie.  She previously won the Teachers’ Choice Award for the Classroom for Fur and Feathers in October.

Soar into the Solar System to witness the first Favorite Planet Competition, emceed by none other than the former-ninth planet, now known as dwarf planet Pluto. The readers become the judges after the sun can’t pick a favorite and the meteors leave for a shower. Who will the lucky winning planet be? Could it be speedy-messenger Mercury, light-on-his-feet Saturn, or smoking-hot Venus? Readers learn all about each planet as Pluto announces them with short, tongue-in-cheek facts. Children will spend hours searching the art in Meet the Planets for all the references to famous scientists and people of history, space technology, constellations, art, and classic literature.