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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: nature, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 503
1. Illustration Inspiration: Jim Arnosky, Creator of Frozen Wild

Artist and naturalist Jim Arnosky has been honored for his overall contribution to literature for children by the Eva L. Gordon Award and the Washington Post/Children’s Book Guild Award for nonfiction. His latest book is "Frozen Wild."

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2. Tree – a gorgeous book about seasonal changes

treefrontcoverWise old owl who lives in this tree has seen it all before, but in fact there’s something reassuring about his experiences. Seasons come and seasons go, but life continues. And it’s a beautiful life, one to take time to savour.

Tree by Britta Teckentrup (@BTeckentrup) explores the life of a tree across the span of a single year, watching changes in leaves, blossom, fruit and the landscape around. Teckentrup celebrates the seasons with eye-catching beauty and soothingly rhythmic, lullaby-like text, reminding me of Walt Whitman’s tree which “utter[s] joyous leaves“.

We witness the circle of life not just on the tree, but also with the animals who visit; look out for the birds who build a nest and see what happens! What makes this book about seasonal changes stand out is its beauty, attention to detail, and lovely, quiet text which works very well for reading aloud. The physical book is incredibly inviting – from the textured hardback cover, to the satisfyingly thick pages, and most delightful of all – the peep-through holes, which page-turn by page-turn reveal and then conceal visiting animals.

The illustrations look like relief printing, with a handmade texture and matt finish that perfectly reflects a delight in nature and “the natural”. Jubilant use of colour lights up every page.


Interestingly, the text for this picture book was actually written by Patricia Hegarty, but her name doesn’t appear on the book cover or title page inside. I imagine this is because the book is really a vehicle to let Teckentrup’s illustrations sing – which they do in all their glory – but it’s an interesting detail given the current debate about equal recognition for authors and illustrators reflected by the Pictures Mean Business campaign. Do you know of any other picture books where the author doesn’t get the same credit as the illustrator?


Sumptuous, strokable and always in season, Tree tells a timeless tale to delight all.


Inspired by Teckentrup’s artwork, we set about creating our own colourful trees. First we stencilled a trunk…


…before adding tissue paper leaves in a variety of colours.


When dry, we cut out our trees to include their canopy, added a few hand-drawn animals, and put them up somewhere a little bit unusual – by our skirting board – so that other woodland creatures could come and play.





Whilst creating our trees we listened to:

  • Falling by Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights
  • Summer of 69 by Bryan Adams. Part of an essential education, surely?
  • July Tree sung by Nina Simone

  • Other activities which might work well alongside reading Tree include:

  • Tree handprints through the seasons, with this tutorial from 123 Homeschool 4 Me
  • A book in the form of a tree changing seasons, with this tutorial from Baker Ross
  • Any one of the leaf crafts gathered together by Red Ted Art

  • If you liked this post you might like these other posts by me:

  • Overlapping tissue paper suncatchers
  • Tissue paper bird wings
  • Making a pine forest – this makes a lovely Christmas decoration!
  • tissuepapertrees

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    Disclosure: I was sent a free review copy of this book by the publisher.

    3 Comments on Tree – a gorgeous book about seasonal changes, last added: 9/28/2015
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    3. Taking Recommendations

    A combination of allergies and Monday brain has me staring at my computer screen with a rather blank expression on my face. Seriously, if you could see me you’d be concerned whether I’d gone zombie or something. But it came to me through the fog, that I have been thinking frequently about wanting to read some good nature books over the winter. I really like reading about nature when I am snuggled up indoors and it is bitterly cold and the world has turned to shades of black, white and gray. I’ve got lists of books too, but let me tell you, the lists have gotten so unwieldy I have no idea what to choose any longer. Proof that when there are too many choices a sort of paralysis sets in.

    I don’t often ask for recommendations, but I am going to now in the hopes that your suggestions will help kick me out of my too many to choose from stupor. So here is your chance to make a recommendation and I know we all like to advocate for favorite books but are often hesitant to do it. But don’t hold back, lay it on me!

    What I mean by nature book can be a broadly interpreted. It might be a science-y book on moss or a sociology/psychology/philosophy kind of book on coping with climate change or a travel through the jungle/desert/forest/arctic sort of book or it could be about a cabin on a pond and planting beans and watching ants or about a garden or a farm. You get the idea. Something to take my mind outdoors while my body is stuck indoors.

    Winter might be a little way off yet, but it is never too early to start planning!

    So, what’s your favorite nature book?

    Filed under: Book Lists, Books Tagged: nature, recommendations

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    4. Kate Wilson

    bluebird_670   journal_art_670 Katie_Wilson_Billy_Goats_Gruff_576 running_rabbit_small pods_birds_670 sun_clouds_full_670 meadow_1 

    Kate Wilson is a New Zealand based illustrator. Her illustrations are peaceful and whimsical, concentrating on the wildlife and small beings that live outdoors. She has a keen eye for small things, which translates in her work. Her influences include; gardening and spending time with animals but she does dislike mowing the lawn! 

    See more from this lovely illustrator at her website, blog and Facebook

    0 Comments on Kate Wilson as of 9/20/2015 1:54:00 PM
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    5. Forces of Nature – Picture Book Reviews

    The scent of Spring is in the air. But that’s not all that’s lifting us up. From the tiny details to the wider world, our environment has so much to offer. For different reasons, these following picture books discover beauty and how the elements of nature can capture our hearts and strengthen our human kindness. […]

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    6. The Oak Tree, by J. Steven Spires | Dedicated Review

    In The Oak Tree, written by J. Steven Spires and illustrated by Jonathan Caron, the reader is given the opportunity to revisit the devastation wrought by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on the Gulf Coast 10 years ago.

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    7. Wild Wings by Gill Lewis #BookReview and a Multicultural Story of Friendship

    “The pattern of this landscape is folded deep, deep within her memory. She rides the currents of air that curl like rapids over the mountains. Below, the lochs reflect the cloud and sunlight. They lie in the valleys like scattered fragments of fallen sky. The cold north wind carries the remembered scent of pine and heather. The ice-carved valleys guide her.”

    She is coming?

    So begins the beautiful and touching story of an Osprey, a boy named Callum and a girl with an adventuresome spirit named Iona McNair.  Wild Wings by Gill Lewis tells the griping story of Callum who lives in Scotland and a girl from West Africa who together save a migrating Osprey and saving each other as well.

    wild wings

    Striving to protect the osprey nesting on his family’s farm in Scotland, 11-year-old Callum McGregor watches the bird throughout summer, uses a computer to follow her migration to Africa and sets in motion a remarkable chain of events. This rich, moving tale begins with a shared secret: It was classmate Fiona McNair who found the nest. When the bird is snagged in fishing line high in her pine, the circle expands to include Callum’s sheep-farming family and a ranger from a nearby preserve. When she migrates, Callum and friends Rob and Euan track her through the transmitter she carries on her back. When her signal disappears in a Gambian mangrove forest, 10-year-old Jeneba, hospitalized with broken legs, mobilizes the fishermen of her village and a visiting American doctor to rescue and rehabilitate her. Eventually—and entirely naturally—the bird’s story reaches around the world. The suspenseful story line is surrounded with precise details: the Scottish landscape, osprey behavior, the work of a sheepdog and the joy and pain of riding a trail bike. Short chapters, some with cliffhanging endings, will read aloud well. Callum’s first-person narrative is occasionally paralleled by the osprey’s own experience, as Callum imagines it. With universal themes of life and death, friendship and respect for the natural world, this is still quite particular, a powerfully memorable story of a boy’s grief and determination to keep a promise. Kirkus Reviews

    This is a modern day story which flows easily and grabs the readers attention immediately. It is a captivating story which has us in the countries of Scotland and Gambia. Wild Wings is a perfect combination of fiction based narrative and actual nonfiction facts about Ospreys and their living environments and migration patterns. A perfect read for a child who loves nonfiction as well as enticing a reluctant reader. Wild Wings is also good for the deep thinker and has children reflecting on many deeper issues as hand such as decisions about friendships, not giving up, moving on after losses, and awareness of how we take things for granted in our relatively privileged society.

    It is an engaging story of how every one of us makes a difference and working together as a community both near and far can solve what seemed an insurmountable problem. Grab your copy of this wonderful and compelling kidlit book here.

    **some of these links are affiliate links

    Something To Do

    What would you think if I invited you on an Osprey’s incredible journey, just like the one Callum and his friends took? Flying high above mountain ranges, oceans, and expansive and huge deserts, the osprey travels thousands of miles to migrate to warmer weather. Using satellite tagging, scientists are able to learn more about the osprey’s migration routes and about where they breed and where they winter.

    Author Gill Lewis in 2011 followed such a journey and has shared it with all of us. Start here for an amazing high flying adventure.

    Osprey Migration


    The osprey also known as the fish eagle, sea hawk, river hawk, or fish hawk, is a fish eating bird of prey. It is a large raptor, reaching more than 24 inches in length and 71 inches across the wings. It is brown on the upperparts and predominantly greyish on the head and underparts.

    The osprey tolerates a wide variety of habitats, nesting in any location near a body of water providing an adequate food supply. It is found on all continents except Antarctica, although in South America it occurs only as a non-breeding visitor.

    It’s known as a fish eagle and the osprey’s diet consists almost exclusively of fish.

    The osprey weighs between 2 and 4 pounds. 

    Osprey Habitat

    After the peregrine falcon, the osprey is the second most widely spread raptor in the world. It can be found in mild and tropical climate. In North America it breeds from Alaska and Newfoundland and to the south in the Gulf Coast region as well as Florida. The osprey then winters in South America. In summer it is found throughout northern Europe, in Ireland, Scandinavia, Scotland, England, and Wales but not in Iceland. When in Europe the osprey winters in Africa.

    In Australia the osprey doesn’t migrate at all but remains on the coast and then flying to Western Australia to breed.

    Common Core Interdisciplinary Curriculum

    To learn more about the Osprey here is a very in-depth interactive Curriculum from Friends of Blackwater Reservoir in Maryland called Project Osprey Curriculum  . This guide is very through and covers everything you need for Common Core. Matched with the book Wild Wings, it’s a perfect combination.

    Great BBC Program on the Scottish Osprey Conservation Project

    Part 1

    Part 2

    Watch Live

    Audubon Society of New Hampshire, includes webcam at Lake Massabesic

    Highland Foundation for Wildlife, osprey management in Scotland

    Osprey camera at Blackwater Reservoir, Maryland

    Osprey nest camera at Loch Garten, Scotland

    Osprey nest monitoring,northern England

    Learn More About Migration

    Journey North, track the journeys of several migratory species

    Backpacking Ospreys: Following their migration

    Learn and Conserve

    The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota

    Osprey Project at Rutland Water, United Kingdom

    Lake District Osprey Project, Bassenthwaite Lake, England

    Glaslyn Osprey Project, Porthmadog, North Wales

    Loch of Lower, Dunked, Perthshire

    Enjoy Birdwatching!


    Follow me on Pinterest!
    Follow Valarie Budayr @Jump into a Book’s board Jump Into a Book Kidlit Booklists on Pinterest.

    Follow Valarie Budayr @Jump into a Book’s board A Year In The Secret Garden on Pinterest.

    Do your young readers love nature and all of nature’s critters? Experience the magical story of a family of foxes that took up residence right in the front yard of the author and publisher, Valarie Budayr. The Fox Diaries: The Year the Foxes Came to our Garden offers an enthusiastically educational opportunity to observe this fox family grow and learn together.

    The Fox Diaries
    From digging and hunting to playing and resting, this diary shares a rare glimpse into the private lives of Momma Rennie and her babies. Come watch as they navigate this wildly dangerous but still wonderful world. Great to share with your children or students, The Fox Diaries speaks to the importance of growing and learning both individually and as a family unit. It is a perfect book for story time or family sharing. Not only can you read about the daily rituals of this marvelous fox family, there is an information-packed resource section at the end of the book that includes lots of facts and even a few “fox movies” that you can enjoy with your family. Grab your copy of this beautiful and inspiring book HERE.

    The post Wild Wings by Gill Lewis #BookReview and a Multicultural Story of Friendship appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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    8. Tree of Wonder: The Many Marvelous Lives of a Rainforest Tree by Kate Messner and Simona Mulazzani

    The latest educational scuttlebutt when it comes to books and the Common Core State Standards is multi-subject non-fiction, or combining math facts with science and history in one book. Tree of Wonder: The Many Marvelous Lives of a Rainforest Tree by the multitalented Kate Messner, with superb illustrations by Simona Mulizzani is a perfect example of this! Tree of Wonder: The Many

    0 Comments on Tree of Wonder: The Many Marvelous Lives of a Rainforest Tree by Kate Messner and Simona Mulazzani as of 8/21/2015 5:16:00 AM
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    9. What is life?

    Did you learn about Mrs Gren at school? She was a useful person to know when you wanted to remember that Movement, Respiration, Sensation, Growth, Reproduction, Excretion, and Nutrition were the defining signs of life. But did you ever wonder how accurate this classroom mnemonic really is, or where it comes from?

    The post What is life? appeared first on OUPblog.

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    10. Picture This: Shapes

    Board books: Picture This: Shapes. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 2015. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]

    First sentence:
    The number of dots on a ladybug's wings tells us what type of beetle it is. How many do you count?
    Look at the pigeons on the telephone line. Together they take a break from flying in the sky.
    Snakes curve from side to side as they slither along.
    Premise/plot: A nonfiction concept board book for young(er) children. The focus this time is on shapes found in nature. Readers are introduced to the following shapes: dot, line, curve, round, triangle, square, rectangle, diamond, oval, semicircle, coil, spiral, crisscross, star, pentagon, hexagon, ball, and trapezoid. These 'shapes' are found in photographs.
    The chameleon can twirl its tail to grab on to branches. See the spiral as it sits in a tree?
    My thoughts: I like this one. I do. I enjoyed it just as much as Homes. Both books are definitely worth seeking out. It's never too early to start sharing good nonfiction titles with your children!

    © 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

    0 Comments on Picture This: Shapes as of 7/25/2015 5:02:00 PM
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    11. Picture This: Homes

    Board Books: Picture This: Homes. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 2015. 42 pages. [Source: Review copy]

    First sentence:
    The weaver ant twists leaves and twigs together with silk thread to make a home.
    This wasp spider spins a web in tall grass, where it rests and catches its food.
    Premise/plot: A nonfiction concept book for young(er) children. Readers are introduced to a wide variety of animals and learn where they live. The book is full of photographs of animals and their homes. The book is quite simple in concept, yet, oddly fascinating at the same time. Some animals may prove familiar (polar bear, ant, bee) others may seem more exotic (Fennec fox, eel, village weaver).

    My thoughts: I liked this one. I did. I loved looking at the photographs. As I said, I wasn't expecting to find the book fascinating. (Board books, well, they rarely fascinate me. They can make me smile now and then. And now and then even sing.) If you're looking for a nature-themed concept book, this one is worth your time.

    © 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

    0 Comments on Picture This: Homes as of 7/25/2015 5:02:00 PM
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    12. Nature

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    13. Butterfly : Part 1

     In " Can The Sad Come Out", young readers are shown how life changes by using a classic, metaphorical image...

    " Can The Sad Come Out?"
    Illustrated by
    Steven James Petruccio
    digital painting

    0 Comments on Butterfly : Part 1 as of 7/13/2015 6:46:00 PM
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    14. Looking Up

    Theresa Brandon, www.theresabrandon.com

    0 Comments on Looking Up as of 7/7/2015 5:56:00 PM
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    15. Butterflies for July

    If You Love Honey by Martha Sullivan, illustrated by Cathy Morrison and published by Dawn Publications
    July's word of the month is "Butterfly". Here's a spread from If You Love Honey that comes out this fall.  You can see more about this book on my Studio With A View Blog.

    Thanks for taking a look!

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    16. Trace Balla’s Time to Shine

    Up-and-comer author illustrator, Trace Balla, has quickly hit the scene with the recent success of ‘Rivertime‘, being both shortlisted in the 2015 Children’s Book Council of Australia Picture Book of the Year Awards, and winning this year’s Readings Children’s Book Prize. Her work stems from a background in art therapy, animations and community involvement, with […]

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    17. Look away now: The prophecies of Nostradamus

    If you like your prophecies pin sharp then look away now. The 16th century celebrity seer Nostradamus excelled at the exact opposite, couching his predictions in terms so vague as to be largely meaningless. This has not, however, prevented his soothsayings attracting enormous and unending interest, and his book – Les Propheties – has rarely been out of print since it was first published 460 years ago. Uniquely, for a renaissance augur, the writings of Nostradamus are perhaps as popular today as they were four and a half centuries ago.

    The post Look away now: The prophecies of Nostradamus appeared first on OUPblog.

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    18. Over on the Farm

    Written by Marianne Berkes, illustrated by Cathy Morrison, published by Dawn Publishing
    Ok, it's not a birthday image, (our inspirational word for June is Birthday) but it's the cover for a book I have coming out Spring 2016. Artwork for this book is complete and I'm working away on a second book that will be released the same date. I'll post more about this book and others on my Studio With A View Blog soon.

    Thanks for taking a look!

    0 Comments on Over on the Farm as of 6/20/2015 11:02:00 AM
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    19. For the love of trees

    I used to climb trees when I was young (and I still, on occasion, do). As a boy in Iraq I had a favoured loquat tree, with branches that bore leathery, serrated leaves, shiny on the upper surface, and densely matted with fine hairs underneath. It seemed so big, though I now reflect it was probably rather small. I would haul myself up and over the lowest branch, making whatever use of the twists and folds of the trunk as provided purchase to my small feet.

    The post For the love of trees appeared first on OUPblog.

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    20. Tortoise and Hare's Amazing Race

    Yesterday I received ARCs (advanced reading copies) of my second book coming out this fall. It's Tortoise and Hare's Amazing Race by Marianne Berkes, a retired teacher and librarian, now a full time children's book author and presenter. This is our third picture book together and we are working away on our fourth to come out spring 2016.

    Arbordale Publishing is the publisher and they specialize in fun stories that build on science, nature and math skills. Tortoise and Hare is a retelling of the classic story with a math twist. Fractions and distance measurements mark progress for Henry Hare and Tess Tortoise along the way. 

    How far to the top? 1,760 yards or one mile!
    No Henry, you really don't have time to play, but you never did listen to me...
    5,280 feet is the same as one mile. I already knew that because Denver is the Mile Hi City.
    Click on the images for a larger view. And as always, thanks for taking a look!

    0 Comments on Tortoise and Hare's Amazing Race as of 5/31/2015 10:47:00 AM
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    21. Five ways nature can improve our health

    How does nature benefit our health? Many of us intuitively know that we simply feel better after ‘stepping out for some fresh air.’ Now over 30 years of research has begun to reveal exactly what health benefits we get from nature. Here are five reasons why we need to make space and time for nature in our lives.

    The post Five ways nature can improve our health appeared first on OUPblog.

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    22. Sexual deception in orchids

    “In the spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love” (Alfred, Lord Tennyson), but he could have said the same for insects too. Male insects will be following the scent of females, looking for a partner, but not every female is what she seems to be. It might look like the orchid is getting some unwanted attention in the video below, but it’s actually the bee that’s the victim. The orchid has released complex scents to fool the bee into thinking it’s meeting a female.

    The post Sexual deception in orchids appeared first on OUPblog.

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    23. #708 – National Geographic Kids Almanac 2016 by Nat. Geo Society & Nat. Geo Kids Magazine

    National Geographic Kids Almanac 2016
    National Geographic Society & National Geographic Kids Magazine
    National Geographic Society        5/12/2015
    352 pages         Age 8—12

    “This New York Times bestseller is packed with incredible photos, tons of fun facts, crafts, activities, and fascinating articles about animals, science, nature, technology, and more. New features include a special section on animal friends; an updated “Fun and Games” chapter filled with all-new games, jokes, and comics; a new “Dino Myths Busted” feature; all new weird-but-true facts, crafts, and activities; a new special “15 Facts” feature in every chapter; updated reference material, and much more! And, this is the only kids’ almanac with mobile media features that allow kids to access National Geographic videos, photo galleries, and games.” [publisher]

    National Geographic Kids Almanac 2016—Wow, where do I start? Color blasts out from every page. The photography is as spectacular as National Geographic photography has always been—brilliant, intimately detailed, knock-you-off-your-feet fantabulous. Divided into ten sections, the Kids Almanac 2016 begins with a section on interesting things happening in 2016, and then it explores the usual topics of history, culture, science, geography, nature, and animals. The almanac also includes a section on green technology and its effect on Earth, and a section about exploration and survival. Most likely, a favorite for kids will be the section on games. Actually, the Kids Almanac 2016 contains a game throughout the entire 350 pages. In each chapter is a clue. Find all ten clues and you can open up digital extras.

    dino mythsIn reading the Kids Almanac 2016, I think National Geographic has covered all the subjects kids will find interesting and all those they need to know about. Adults can get a lot out of this almanac as well. There is a tremendous amount of information in this relatively small book. I loved the animal topics, of which there are many. Kids interested in dinosaurs will find a prehistoric timeline, nine “Bet you didn’t know” facts, and myths. Each section ends with a quiz on that section’s subject. When you cannot get to a place, or want to know what is happening in different places around the world, the Kids Almanac 2016 is a tremendous aid. Kids can also dig a little deeper in subjects they love and learn about subjects they never thought about or thought were dull. There is not one tedious word or picture in the Kids Almanac 2016. Here are a few subjects I found to be amazing:

    “Secrets of the Blue Holes”
    Animal photography and how to get the shot.
    “The Wonders of Nature: the Oceans”

    Worlds Wackiest Houses”

    “Worlds Wackiest Houses”

    “16 Cool Facts about Coral Reefs”
    The jokes and comics in Fun and Games
    Orangutan to the Rescue (Survival Story)”

    What would a National Geographic book be without its gorgeous maps? The Kids Almanac 2016 has plenty of maps and flags. I think the National Geographic Kids Almanac 2016 is a must read, if not a must have, for kids, especially middle graders who will learn a lot without realizing they are learning. The Kids Almanac 2016 is fun, exciting, and interesting. The pages are colorful, the photographs and images extremely detailed, and the subject matter is diverse.

    volcanosThough kids are just now beginning to enjoy their summer school breaks, the Kids Almanac 2016 will keep them reading through the summer, which will help kids during their next school year, make them more informed about their world. Parents concerned about the books their kids read will have not one worry about this almanac. Every word, every subject, and every article is kid-friendly. The National Geographic Kids Almanac 2016 is an interesting read that will keep kids hooked long past summer vacation.

    NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC KIDS ALMANAC 2016. Text and images copyright © 2015 by National Geographic Society. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, National Geographic Society in partnership with National Geographic Kids Magazine, Washington DC.

    Purchase National Geographic Kids Almanac 2016 at AmazonBook DepositoryNational Geographic.

    Kids! Join the National Geographic Kids Book Club HERE!
    Teachers and Librarians can find additional information at: http://www.ngchildrensbooks.org
    National Geographic Educational site is HERE.

    Learn more about National Geographic Kids Almanac 2016 HERE.
    Check out the National Geographic Society website: http://www.nationalgeographic.com
    Find other National Geographic books at: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/books
    Learn more about the National Geographic Kids Magazine at the website: http://www.kids.nationalgeographic.com

    Kids Almanac 2015 
    Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

    Review section word count = 496

    nat geo kids almanac 2016

    Filed under: 5stars, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, Series Tagged: and animals, culture, fun, games, geography, going green, history, liss instructive information, maps, National Geographic Kids Almanac 2016, National Geographic Kids Magazine, National Geographic Society, nature, science

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    24. Fowler’s Toad: He Chose Our Pond

    The Aliens Inc, Chapter Book Series

    Try Book 1 for Free

    One night In May, I noticed a very loud sound from right outside our window. My husband, Dwight, has a fish pond right outside our kitchen door.

    The fish pond is used by our outdoor cat for drinking water. Notice the toads in the lower left corner.
    The fish pond is used by our outdoor cat for drinking water.

    The sound was loud! So, on May 26, I whipped out my iphone and taped the noise.

    You’ll hear the noise at 7 seconds into the tape, and 12 seconds, 18 seconds and 23 seconds. The sounds came from a small frog or toad. After comparing my recording to recordings of frogs/toads of Arkansas, I concluded we had a Fowler Toad, which is common in this area.

    After reading more, I realized that this toad had chosen our pond as a breeding pond. He chose us! He chose our pond!

    As a child, I remember we raised tadpoles once. I was excited about the chance to watch the process again, especially because my grandkids could watch this time.

    The toad sang and sang for several nights. All night long, it seemed.

    Then, on June 11, I took a morning walk and came back to find two Fowler toads in the pond. The girl showed up!

    Fowler Toad with Egg String

    Fowler Toads mate in what’s called amplexus, which means the eggs are externally fertilized. The smaller male is usually on the female’s back for the duration.

    Another view of the couple.
    Another view of the couple.

    After the mating, the female is trying to find a way out of the slippery sides of the pond. I had to put a fish net on the edge for her to get out. The male hopped out easily.
    After the mating, the female is trying to find a way out of the slippery sides of the pond. I had to put a fish net on the edge for her to get out. The male hopped out easily.

    Tadpoles: Day 3

    We watched the pond every day and on Day 3, we found tadpoles! Dozens and dozens. Scientists report that the Fowler Toads may lay 5000-25,000 eggs at a time. But the pond had several goldfish and I knew that many of the eggs would be eaten before they could hatch.

    Now, there are dozens and dozens of tadpoles.

    Dozens of tadpoles hatched. However, they are shy and don't like to be photographed.
    Dozens of tadpoles hatched. However, they are shy and don’t like to be photographed.

    Close-up of the tadpole.
    Close-up of the tadpole.

    The Flamingo's eye view of the pond and the toads.
    The Flamingo’s eye view of the pond and the toads.

    As a person who writes science and nature books for kids, I am always conscious of the possibilities. But this isn’t a book, and may never become one. The story is too common; it’s not ground-breaking science. It’s just fun. And that’s enough.

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    25. the last half day

    Due to a curious solution to the problem of too many snow days, our school year ended at 12:30 on Monday.  We finished everything important on Friday, and I had hoped just a little that maybe no one would come on Monday--but they did, and we found lots of nice ways to fill that last few hours (including giving everyone one last chance to count to 100, an assessment I had forgotten to squeeze in--just as well they all came!).

    And then they were gone.

    Sometimes a meager harvest

    The last half day--
    walls stripped, treasure bags packed,
    Jim Joe jumped one last time;
    gifts given and received,
    farewell hugs ceremoniously
    hugged, fast and earnest,
    because we'd run out of time again
    one last time.

    Now the room  is hollow, dead--
    nothing living but the teacher and
    a single valiant sugar snap vine,
    three feet high and climbing
    a string up the Weather Window.
    On the one vine, at the top, hangs
    a single beautifully formed,
    pleasingly plump green pod.

    Teacher steps out of her sandals
    onto a low chair and up onto
    the radiator, plucks the fat pod
    full of peas she forgot to share
    and eats it, all by herself--
    one last sweet crunchy mouthful
    swallowed alone in the classroom
    on the last half day.

    HM 2015
    all rights reserved

    Mary Lee herself is rounding up remotely at A Year of Reading today.  Go get yourself some farmyard fun and lots of poetry goodness from around the Kidlitosphere!

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