Everyday Wonder–April 13, 2018

Conceptual illustration of the TESS satellite. Credit: NASA

Happy Friday the 13th! Here are a few fun things I stumbled across over the last week.

NASA’s TESS satellite is set to launch on Monday, April 16, at 6:32 EDT. The satellite’s mission is to search for planets outside our solar system. It will “cover an area of sky 400 times larger than that monitored by Kepler.” For launch coverage information, click here. For more about the mission, head over to the TESS Exoplanet Mission website.

For a dose of cute that will last far beyond the minute it will take to watch the video, check out the March of the Penguins at the Oregon Zoo’s website.

I launched my Amazon author page this week. I’m still playing around with it, but it’s slightly thrilling to be so “official.”

Click on image to link to this title at IndieBound. Image credit: IndieBound

Weekend Reads

This weekend I’m hoping to continue to work my way through Brandon Mull’s Beyonders: Seeds of Rebellion. I’ll also be taking in Underneath it All: A History of Women’s Underwear, a book by friend and fellow SCBWI-OR member Amber J. Keyser.

Good Trick, Walking Stick–Book Review

Good Trick Walking Stick Cover

Click for more information or to purchase through IndieBound. Image Credit: IndieBound

Appealing illustrations and active, engaging language make Sheri Mabry Bestor’s Good Trick, Walking Stick a fabulous read-aloud text. This picture book follows the life cycle of a walking stick, an unusual insect that disguises itself as a stick to avoid predation. Camouflage is not the only “trick” in the walking stick’s repertoire. Kids will enjoy the repetition of “good trick, walking stick,” every time an interesting adaptation is discussed.

Sidebars are packed with extra facts that kids and adults will enjoy. The book is a perfect addition for K-5 units on life cycles, adaptation, and food webs. I’m also a big advocate for using picture books with older students as well, as I think they can benefit from the straightforward, unintimidating way picture books present sophisticated concepts.

More about Walking Sticks


BUNNIES!!! 50 Word Review

Bunnies!!! CoverObtain a copy of this book and a few preschoolers. Read. Repeat.

Need more than that? Okay. In BUNNIES!!!, author Kevan Atteberry captures the enthusiasm and energy of preschoolers and packages it in book form. The story is simple, but I’m willing to bet it will become a read-aloud favorite.

HOW RUDE! 50 Word Review

Click to view the book at IndieBound. Image credit: IndieBound

Heather Montgomery’s HOW RUDE! is a gleeful romp through “bad” bug behavior with exactly the right amount of gross to appeal to its audience. The illustrations of anthropomorphized cartoon bugs along with photos of the actual animal strike a good balance between fun and accuracy. Great for preschoolers through elementary.

Show & Tell, February 5, 2016

This week the backyard is full of tiny holes, which I can only surmise were made by our resident squirrels digging up the nuts they hid last fall. It makes the yard look like a miniature battle zone. Guess it’s time to go refill the feeders.

This week the backyard is full of tiny holes, which I can only surmise were made by our resident squirrels digging up the nuts they hid last fall. It makes the yard look like a miniature battle zone. Guess it’s time to go refill the feeders.

Books & Such

My favorite genre to write is narrative nonfiction—usually picture books. Typically, these books have some kind of narrative arc throughout, with additional facts and fascinating details in sidebars on each page.

The book I’m highlighting today is just such a book. Behold the Beautiful Dung Beetle, by Cheryl Bardoe, illustrated by Alan Marks, celebrates an often-overlooked creature with an important job. There is just a hint of poop humor and a big pinch of respect in this lovely book that covers why the dung beetle is a “dung” beetle and how its life cycle works.

Sidebars explore the body parts of a beetle, the different kinds of dung beetles, and even the dung beetle’s honored place in Egyptian culture.

Image credit: IndieBound. Click to view at IndieBound. Please support your local, independent bookseller.

Behold the Beautiful Dung Beetle was published by Charlesbridge in 2014.

I Can’t Wait to Read . . .

. . . The Slowest Book Ever, by April Pulley Sayre

April Pulley Sayre is one of my favorite nonfiction authors. If you don’t already know her work, I encourage you to go to the library and check out a stack of her books. I especially love Raindrops Roll and Vulture View.

Sayre’s new book, The Slowest Book Ever is a 176 page middle grade book, which is a departure from her usual picture book format. School Library Journal says, “Science and nature rub shoulders with pop culture and history in Sayre’s ode to slowness . . . The tone is humorous but never silly, and the facts are backed up with sources and more details in the endnotes. The light tone and engaging writing are perfectly complemented by the pen-and-ink drawings that accompany every entry, and the design invites lingering and sharing.”

There is a sloth on the cover, which makes me happy, and Kelly Murphy’s illustrations look great. Definitely looking forward to this one. It releases on April 5, 2016, from Boyd’s Mill Press.