What’s New 2007

2007 promises to be a big year, packed with school visits, conference appearances, and three yummy new books:

March Release: HUSH LITTLE PUPPY, illustrated by Susan Winters (Holt) This is a beautiful bedtime book about a little boy trying to get his puppy to sleep. The art by British illustrator Susan Winter is just perfect. 

October Release: BIRD, BIRD, BIRD: A CHIRPING CHANT illustrated by Gary Locke (NorthWord) Gary created art that is laugh out loud hilarious. Continue reading “What’s New 2007”

Journeys and Mapping

Have the children use what they observe by looking and listening to make a map of their surroundings . . . the school, the schoolyard, the neighborhood, maybe the entire city!

Before or after a study of mapping, or a study of human explorers/adventurers, you might want to have kids talk about great journeys. Read Home At Last to introduce journeys. Using information from books or the web, look at maps to see where animals migrate.

The Arctic tern in the book, a bird which travels from Antarctica to the Arctic, is also a great introduction to these regions and their differences. The bird spends summer in both places.

Sea Turtles are animals that make tremendous journeys

And then those are those smaller journeys, through time and small spaces. Listen to this story and find the journeys and pathways followed by bumblebees.

Dragonfly Days in the Midwest

Welcome to my blog, where I share news, great books, writing tips, and what is happening in the garden. I just categorized 3,700 photos I took this year. May and June are packed with wildlife events. Every May Jeff and I take off time for bird migration. We watch the weather and look for conditions that bring warblers to northwest Indiana and southwestern Michigan.

In June we are in bug mode: photographing butterflies, caterpillars, dragonflies, beetles, and just about any creature that comes to our yard. My Canon EOS 20D, equipped with a EFS 60mm macro, is constantly clicking. Then there are the wildlife rescues that invariably come at this time of year. We took an injured woodpecker to a rehabilitator. We helped the juvenile box turtle across the road.

Last week I operated on a dragonfly that emerged from its underwater nymph stage in the skimmer of our watergarden. At this critical, formative stage, it fell into the water. I found it, wings stuck together, and drying in this mangled shape. As the dragonfly crawled on my shirt, I gently used a leaf to separate its back wings so they would not dry together. One of its front wings was folded as well, but I was afraid I might injure it by trying to fix this part. So I left that wing alone. A day later I saw it flying in the garden. It is a female blue-dasher.

The bluets, which are damselflies, are visible in quantity. They are laying eggs.

I just finished a novel and sent it off to a publisher. Last week I received an early copy of BIRD, BIRD, BIRD: A CHIRPING CHANT, which is being released this fall. The art, by Gary Locke, is laugh out loud hilarious. I can’t wait for you to see it.

Common milkweed, swamp milkweed, and butterfly milkweed are all in bloom in our yard. The caterpillars are munching. I hope all of you out there are enjoying the summertime.

Ant, Ant, Ant: An Insect Chant

This follow-up to the wildly popular TROUT, TROUT, TROUT: THE FISH CHANT celebrates American insects and insect diversity in general through a wild chant of their common names. Backmatter includes fun facts about each kind of insect featured. Trip Park’s illustrations are zanier than ever as he tackles the insect world.  

For English/Language Arts and Science standards met by this book, check the standards page.


Some animals help other animals get clean. What do they get out of these relationships?

What animals depend on the army ant swarm? Have students draw pictures of the animals that depend on the swarm and make their own parade!

Speaking of following things, why would people follow a bird?

Home At Last: A Song of Migration

Caribou, lobsters, warblers, arctic terns, and many other animals have two homes and migrate in between. Join migration creatures on their journey and rejoice when they reach their destination with the soothing refrain “home at last.” This bedtime book, which has many layers of meaning, is also a great classroom book for the study of fluency, voice, and refrain.