I just returned from four days as the Karla Harry Visiting Author at the Gordon School, in Providence, RI. The time at Gordon was one of the highlights of my career.Here are some of the shadow plays the kindergarten and 3rd graders did. The teachers and librarians collaborated to create this exciting exploration of light, shadow, and literature. They did Trout Are Made of Trees, Vulture View, and Honk, Honk, Goose. Continue reading “Gordon School Shines: Shadow Puppet Plays”
November Animal Surprise
Travels and Rah, Rah, Radishes Extensions
Erika Thulin Dawes, Ed.D of Lesley University wrote about some terrific extension ideas for Rah, Rah, Radishes: A Vegetable Chant over at The Classroom Bookshelf . Lots of helpful links, too. HUGELY useful information.
Jeff and I just returned from a 4,600 mile roadtrip to research at desert sites (White Sands, Painted Desert, Meteor Crater). I gave two programs at the spectacular Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden. I also spoke at a conference for early childhood teachers coordinated by Jennifer Haggart of the Early Childhood Consortium of the Omaha Area. Continue reading “Travels and Rah, Rah, Radishes Extensions”
Time for some desert animals. Jeff and I drove all the way to Phoenix so I could give talks at the Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden. LOVE this place. Full of plants. Wild birds, butterflies, squirrels, and bunnies wander freely. These Gambell’s Quail strut around, then dash, dash, dash when startled.
Now listen to the night time insect sounds of an insect that has perfect green leafy camouflage. These were also recorded in our Indiana yard, later at night than the July sounds.
To find their name and more information on them, click here. Then celebrate by reading Ant, Ant, Ant: an Insect Chant!
American Library Association Annual Conf
Come see me in New Orleans! I’ll be with 9 other nonfiction authors speaking at the Nonfiction Book Blast Sunday Morning at 8am-10am. I’m also doing signings for Greenwillow/Harpercollins, Holt, Beach Lane/S&S, and Charlesbridge. Info on the session and signings schedule for all of us is on the Nonfiction Book Blast site.
We photographed this poison dart frog in Peru. It’s tiny, not much larger than a dime. For more hoppy animals, see my article on the Under the Greenwillow blog.
Sea Turtle Science News and Helpers
Scientists may have unlocked how sea turtles navigate! Check out this BBC news piece. 8th graders were featured on CNN for selling sea turtle art to help these endangered animals. Yes, I’m still following sea turtle news because they’re one of my favorite animals. A newly revised, newly illustrated edition of Turtle, Turtle, Watch Out! came out last year!
In Praise of Parsnips
How I got along for decades without knowing parsnips…well, it just boggles the mind. I asked my mom, and she hardly knew parsnips, either, though she’s from New England and we grew plenty of veggies when I was growing up in South Carolina. Yet here I am, a grown woman, and I’ve kind of fallen for this humble-looking veggie. I seek them out.
Give me a tray of roasted veggies—sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, parnsips. I’ll choose the parsnips. Even try to hog an extra few by the machinations of my spoon. Parsnips are sweet, nutty, never with that old carrot flavor. They put carrots to shame if roasted.
So, I’m starting the campaign here and now. If other folks don’t start eating them, the parsnip will just languish. Our local grocers and farmers won’t keep farming and supplying them. Already, it’s kind of specialty, side-item, for which they get fewer sales. Jack at Hovenkamp’s Produce puzzles over the underrated parsnip, too.
Yup, once you meet a good parsnip, it kinda grows on you. I’ve noticed that Top Chef and other gourmet shows spring mashed parsnip on a lot of diners, with good results. But mashing…I have not tried it. I advocate roasted.
It’s simple. Cut parsnips in small pieces, say 1/2 inch cubes or so. Toss in a bit of oil and salt. Put in a 425 oven for 40 minutes or so. Check after 25 minutes because sometimes they go a bit faster. They should be just fork-tender, and with a little bit of browning. Scrumptious.
Mix diced onions, sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, apples, and the like with the parsnips, if you like. Just remember that If I’m visiting your parsnip to other veggie ratio will mysteriously shift as I fish them out of the pan.
Oh, and yes ,they are healthy. Low in calories. contain all kinds of B vitamins, calcium, fiber, folic acid, iron, vitamin C, and so on.
You can also eat them raw, on salads. I haven’t tried them yet. Give me time. I will!
Here are some parsnip resources for curious folks:
Parsnip pancakes. Gotta try these!
There also seems to be a band called the “Parsnip Revolt.”
Can’t vouch for them.
I did manage a page for parsnips in my upcoming children’s book, Rah, Rah, Radishes: A Vegetable Chant. (June, 2011, BLB/Simon&Schuster). But really, I was tempted to give them the whole book. Party with Parsnips! Pro-Parsnip! Even saying their name is fun. You know how I love lively words!