Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Explore Outdoors~ I found Orange Things!


Last week's challenge was to search for orange things. I found plenty of orange leaves, both on the trees and on the ground, and a patch of marigolds that somehow escaped the freeze. And I found these guys: milkweed bugs. 

They look reddish or orange, with black markings. The adults have wings; the nymphs don't. Yet. Milkweed bugs have piercing mouthparts and snack on milkweed pods, stems, and even seeds - though I think they leave the fluff for the mice and birds to use as nesting material. 

I managed to snag a few seeds before the bugs took over... and planted them in my garden so next summer I can have more milkweed! More monarchs! And, in late fall, more milkweed bugs!

If there are milkweed plants growing near you, check out the pods and stems for milkweed bugs.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Exploring a Rainforest

Over and Under the Rainforest 
by Kate Messner; illus. by Christopher Silas Neal
48 pages; ages 5-8
Chronicle, 2020

theme: ecosystem, rainforest, exploring

Into the rainforest we hike, through slivers of sunlight and dripping-wet leaves.

Hundreds of plants and animals make their homes in the tropical rainforest. But up, up, up – high in the canopy there is another world. This book takes us on a hike through a Costa Rican rainforest – clambering up rocks, walking high on bridges through the canopy over the course of a day. We meet bats and agoutis, butterflies and sloths. Parrot snakes hunt frogs and howler monkeys fill the air with their exuberant hoots and hollers.

What I like about this book: For those of us who can’t get to a rainforest, this is a great way to explore it. Back matter contains more details about the animals along with some suggested books and resources to check out. And Kate tells a wonderful tale of how this book came to be.

Beyond the Books:
Find out more about Costa Rican rainforest animals here.

Go on a virtual rainforest tour (in the Amazonian rainforest in Peru) here. It’s 20 minutes of walking and climbing, so pack a snack.

If you could be a rainforest animal, what would you be? Use a paper plate and markers to create an animal mask. 

Imagine you live high in the trees. Write down some of the advantages of living high in the leafy canopy. Can you think of any problems?

Today we're joining Perfect Picture Book Friday, an event where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's website. Review copy provided by the publisher.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Explore Outdoors ~ Orange Things

 This is the season of orange things: pumpkins, falling leaves ... even late-blooming marigolds in my garden.

This month, go on a search for orange things. 

  • What do you find? 
  • Observe from a distance. 
  • Observe close-up. 
  • What do you notice? 
  • How many different colors of orange do you find? 
  • Are your orange things plants? Animals? Fungi?

Friday, October 16, 2020

Exploring a Prairie

Today we're heading off to explore the Prairie. Just the word "prairie" sounds expansive and filled with tall grasses and flowers. 

Plant a Pocket of Prairie 
by Phyllis Root; illus. by Betsy Bowen 
40 pages; ages 5-8
U of Minnesota Press, 2014 

theme: ecosystem, plants, ecology

 Once prairie stretched for thousands of miles, an ocean of flowers and grasses, a sea of sky ….

…and a home for bison, burrowing owls, and butterflies. Almost all of the prairie is gone, but you could see what it might be like if you planted a bit of it in your backyard. Or balcony. Or along the street.

Phyllis Root describes what seeds you could sow, and the butterflies and birds and other animals that might come to visit. And if your tiny pocket garden should spread and grow bigger… who knows what might happen!

What I like about this book: Betsy Bowen’s illustrations are so airy that they capture the feeling of prairie. And there is plenty of back matter! There’s more about each plant and animal featured in the book – plus directions for planting a pocket garden of prairie plants. For explorers, there’s a list of places where you can find bits of preserved and/or restored prairie.

Beyond the Books:

Learn more about prairies. Check out this post to discover more about plants and animals living on the prairie. 

Go on a prairie field trip. If there’s no prairie nearby, try a virtual field trip. Here are two: Tucker Prairie in Missouri, and Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in Kansas. Don’t forget to pack a lunch.

Pocket gardens get their name because they are small
. But what if you planted a garden in an actual pocket? If you've got a worn pair of jeans, the back pockets make fun hanging pots.

Looking for more books about prairie plants and animals? Check out these reviews here and here.

Today we're joining Perfect Picture Book Friday, an event where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's website. Review copy provided by the publisher.