Little Cactus, Big Flowers

Usually, author Jo Busha writes the blog posts on plants, but one of my potted cacti inspired me to share this magnificent plant with you. Last year, a friend gave me this trio of the cactus, Mammilaria senilis.

This mammillaria is native to northern Mexico, growing on moss-covered boulders in high altitude pine forests. I am a bit surprised it is doing so well in my desert home. Its common name is Cabeza de Viejo, which translates to Old man’s Head. Not sure I see it . . .

photo of cactus Mammilaria senilis.
Fuzzy head of Mammilaria senilis

Although this cactus may look like it is covered with white tufts, they are hooked white spines. But the most spectacular feature is the enormous red flowers that contrast with the diminutive body.

This plant is considered difficult to grow since it needs a lot of light and ample airflow. Outside in the desert, mine is certainly getting plenty of sunlight and airflow. Letting the soil dry before watering is not an issue. However, as a mountain plant, it prefers cooler temps . . . oops. It can withstand full sun as long as it is morning sun, not the baking afternoon sunlight.

photo of Mammilaria senilis starting to blossom
Mammilaria senilis beginning to blossom

A cultivation guide says that if grown correctly, this cactus will reward the grower with generous displays of red flowers. I like my reward.

If you or your children are interested in fun plant books, I’ve written two so far: Queen of the Night: the Night-blooming Cereus, shown below, 20 pages for all ages, written in rhyme, about the magnificent Sonoran Desert plant that all bloom together one night each summer, an Amazon #1 book in the Children’s Botany section, with colorful illustrations by Nicholas Thorpe;

book cover for the Night-Blooming Cereus
All about the mysterious plant that blooms only one night per year–all at the same time!
illustration page from Night-Blooming Cereus
An illustration from Queen of the Night: the Night-Blooming Cereus

illustration of book cover Grow Home Little Seeds

interior illustration from Grow Home Little Seeds
An illustration from Grow Home Little Seeds

and Grow Home, Little Seeds, a tale for ages 8+, 25 pages with a 10-page seed appendix, illustrated in pastel colors by Monique Carroll, in which a group of seeds leaves the Leon Levy Preserve to find their homes. Along the adventure, they learn they are different and that they each have their own needs to grow, but that they can grow up alongside each other and remain friends.

www.elaineapowers.com

#elaineapowers

#botanybooks

#queenofthenight:nightbloomingcereus

#growhomelittleseeds

Lights! Camera! Action! (and Scratches!)

With the pandemic, my reptile talks have moved to video, instead of live, presentations. I talk about reptiles every Thursday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. MST at my Facebook page, Elaine Powers. I hope you’ll join me tomorrow for my Reptile-Side Chat, when the green iguanas and I talk about color, chromatophores, and so much more! C’mon–it’ll be fun! Bring the kids–they’ll really enjoy the iguanas.

I’m discovering that some of my reptiles are not thrilled with new technology. I was surprised that Blue Rock Iguana, the star of my in-person talks, did not have any patience with being viewed over my laptop! Usually, he stays still as I hold him for everyone to see.  Not in front of the computer! He had no patience and had had enough of  being held after a few moments. I did get some impressive scratches upon his departure.

photo of a rock iguana hybrid
Blue likes to escape from his enclosure at home, too!

Calliope Green Iguana wasn’t old enough or big enough for me to take along on talks in 2019 and early 2020.  However, she has grown nicely over the past year and is now an excellent size for talks. Even though she happily rides around on my shoulder at home and, as my writing muse, she is delighted to watch me write, she was not willing to be used for a demonstration during my talk. I hope she reconsiders her behavior, since I plan on using her in future talks.

I do have experience with green iguanas in performance. Two of my iguanas were featured in a television commercial for Corazon Tequila. 

Credits & Description: Company: DEVITO/VERDI, USA, New York Creative Director: Sal Devito Copywriter: John Devito Art Director: Manny Santos Agency Producer: Karen Tomlin Director: Kenan Moran Editor: Jerry Fried The TV Commercial Ad titled GREEN IGUANA was done by Tequila New York advertising agency in United States. It was released in the Apr 2006.

The two iguanas who made it on screen were Jubby (blue) and Algae (yellow). However, four iguanas were taken for the shoot, because I didn’t know who would cooperate. The large male, Jimmy, was a disaster (as I suspected he would be, but the director had liked his looks). I was surprised that Noel had no interest, but Jubby and Algae and turned out to be regular hams. They endured take after take, for three hours! They were filmed from a variety of directions, since the director was intrigued by their performances. This resulted in a fifteen second commercial. I was amused that my iguanas had an acting agent, but I, an actor and script writer, did not!

 

photo of green iguana named Algae
Algae, the TV star

Here are Algae and Noel.

photo of green iguana named Noel
Noel, who said no to fame

graphic Facebook Live Reptile Side Chat

I hope you’ll join me tomorrow on Facebook as the greens and I talk about iguanas.

A Writing Prompt with Malice

I was experimenting with a writing prompt for mysteries. The prompt was to write about a common object in a mysterious way. I looked at my pepper grinder, a device that pulverizes hard objects. All the multi-colored peppercorns are ground into indistinguishable pieces. How terrifying it must be for the peppercorn to be crushed and chopped into little pieces! Fortunately, they are no longer alive and can’t feel pain, but it does provide an example of how mundane objects can be turned into objects of malice. In addition, it got me wondering about how peppercorn grinders were invented.

I was surprised to find out that the grinder was invented by Peugeot back in 1842. Prior to its production, people used the mortar and pestle. The grinder was much less labor intensive! Stainless steel is the desired material, since it is durable and crack resistant (some of those peppercorns fight back!) Zinc alloy, ceramic and acrylic have also been used.

The instrument of destruction of the above peppercorns.

 

photo of ground pepper

The results: releasing the delightful pepper flavors.

The next time you want to stimulate your creativity, look at some innocuous item in your house and make it into an object worthy of a murder mystery! I know I’ll never look at my peppercorn grinder the same way.

Book Note: I am a mystery lover and have several murder mysteries in progress. I have also written and published theater scripts in the mystery genre. You can see them all on my Theater Scripts page.  Interested in the Performing Arts? Click on any of the book covers to buy them at Amazon–for your own practice as an actor, or for your performance group. They’ve been performed back East and are a lot of fun!

cover of theater script Mayhem in Swamp and Snow
Danger can be found anywhere, in a mangrove swamp or on a highway in a snow storm.
Performance rights included with the purchase of this script.

A Creep or a Convergence?

With Spring, the tortoises wander about more actively. The brumating species, like the Sonoran Desert and Sulcata tortoises, emerge from my bedroom to join the now more ever-wandering red-footed tortoises. I have a heat lamp set up in the front room where the tortoises can sit and bask. Usually, one or two will be utilizing the basking spot at a time. However, one fine day, all the tortoises had a spring in their step and met at the warm spot. They were happy to share the food and the warmth, so they could digest properly.

Normally, the tortoises in the photo above would be called a creep of tortoises, but on this day, they were a convergence of tortoises.

P.S. There are three species of tortoises in the picture. Can you identify which is which?

screen shot from Reptile-Side Chat
April is Iguana Month!

Note: Please join me tomorrow, Thursday, April 8 at 3:00 p.m. MST on my Facebook page for my informative and fun chat about Rock Iguanas, Cyclura species. April is Iguana Month and I will be introducing you to some of my iguana roomies–tomorrow the very handsome big guy, Blue.

#AuthorElaineAPowers
#TortoiseID
#RockIguanas
#ReptileSideChat
#AprilisIguanaMonth
#ElaineAPowers.com
#LyricPower.net
#FunScienceBooks

Chorale, Cul-de-sac and . . . Chupacabra?

To maintain safe social distance, my chorus has been meeting outside in a neighborhood cul-de-sac.  We’re masked and standing six feet apart. We meet after dark and we each bring an illumination device, such as a clip-on light, or a head lamp or maybe even a wrap-around flashlight you wear on your neck. Whatever type we use, it only illuminates the music we are holding – even combined they do nothing to dispel the darkness around us.

One of the chorus members brings her service dog with her. He sits quietly at her feet, usually gazing into the darkness behind us. But every now and then, he’ll growl, sometimes barking at something unseen behind us.

phWhat is in the darkness? One of the usual nocturnal desert creatures? Perhaps a Great Horned Owl, a coyote or a Gila Monster.  We stop, look and listen, but the intruder is not identified.

photo of gila monster
Image courtesy of jessiegirl413 from Pixabay

Of course, my murder-mystery-writer’s-imagination suspects it isn’t merely an ordinary animal, but something much more sinister. Is it one of the infamous el chupacabra? Or perhaps a thunderbird? Maybe it is merely a ghost or evil spirit.

illustration of a dragon monster
Monster image courtesy of Eric Labayle from Pixabay

Chupacabra translates to “goat sucker.” The story goes that sheep and goats were found with puncture wounds in their chests with their blood drained out. Initially, descriptions were of a reptilian creature with spikes. Red eyes and fangs enhanced its fierceness. However, more recently the chupacabra is described as a breed of wild, hairless dog with a prominent ridge and, of course, fangs.

Or it might be a Thunderbird. I like large birds, but none of them, not even the golden eagle, can produce thunder from its wings and lightning from its beak. In some story versions, the feathers are knives. In the Sonoran Desert, my neighborhood, the thunderbird lived in a mountain cave. From its lair, the creature preyed upon Pima Indians, including men, women and children. Fortunately, the Pima warriors were able to defeat the thunderbirds.

So far, our chorus has emerged unscathed by the unseen dangers. But I’ll continue to be on alert, along with the canine chorus member. He’ll do his best to protect us, and I’ll fight by his side–even if it’s only a kangaroo rat.

#elaineapowers  #AZmyths  #Chupacabra  #Curtis Curly-tail  #LimeLizardLads

Book Note: I weave science into adventure tales, figuring if the learning is fun, the knowledge will stick. I’ve created three adventure series, Curtis Curly-tail Lizard, the Lime Lizard Lads, and Clarissa Catfish. The characters do not stay at home, they make mischief, and they have to face dangers–with the science of the animals and their ecosystems written into the stories. I hope you’ll check out these adventure tales today and weave some fun science into your children’s lives. See the book descriptions by clicking on the links below.

book covers curtis curly-tail
Four adventures so far! I meet Allison Andros Iguana in Curtis Curly-tail is Lizardnapped!
book covers lime lizard lads
Gene and Bony refuse to stay close to their den!
book covers clarissa catfish
All the humans get to see the wonders of the museums. So, Clarissa the Catfish decides she must, also!

 

I Should Have Known the Collective Noun for Iguanas!

Until today, I didn’t know the collective noun for iguanas. I should have, since I’ve had more than one for around 30 years. I knew that a group of tortoises was a “creep,” and it’s a “bale” of turtles. The general term for lizards is “lounge.” I think some of my iguanas are willing to lounge around.

The collective noun for iguanas is a “mess.” Why, you and I might ask? Iguanas may intertwine in large groups, especially when they are gathered around a heat source. It’s hard to tell where one iguana ends, and another begins. They are ectotherms, or cold-blooded, so iguanas get their body heat from the environment or my body, as in this photo of Calliope and me. She is my writing muse, named after the Muse of Long Poetry.

photo of elaine powers with her iguana muse, Calliope

One of my friends from the Southern US mentioned that “mess” refers to something else, as in a “mess of greens.” The greens she was referring to are collard, turnip and mustard greens, all of which are enjoyed by my reptilian family members, too. Of course, in my case, it may be accurate to say I do have a mess of greens: a mess of green iguanas.

How much or many is a mess? It is undefined, but in food, it is usually enough to feed a family.

I’d agree that my mess of greens is always exactly the right amount for my family.

a red. hybrid green iguana
Youngster Chile being his curious self.

 

an older green iguana on grass
Ezra, who is in his 20s, on the grass in my backyard

Book Note: While I haven’t yet written a lot of books about iguanas, I have written one important one called Silent Rocks. It is about how to save the endangered Rock Iguanas of Cayman Brac, and teachers can use it to show how human activity endangers the lives of other species.

I’ve also written an adventure tale that includes an iguana, called The Dragon of Nani Cave. It features two lime lizards, Gene and Bony, who must do the bravest thing possible–find the dragon of Nani Cave, and survive!

 

white book cover with rock iguana photo on cover

book cover illustration with two lizards
The Lime Lizard Lads, Gene and Bony, LOVE exploring
their island home, where the bravest thing possible is to go see the Dragon of Nani Cave.
An Adventure Tale For Readers Age 8+
48 pages
Fun and Colorful Illustrations of the many
animals they encounter, including the Dragon,
by Anderson Atlas

Pandemic Life, Pandemic Dreams—and Tortoises!

I’ve always had vivid dreams, many that I can fully remember when I wake up. Most are filled with action (being chased or falling), which doesn’t really bother me. However, every now and then I have a bad dream that wakes me up with a start and a surge of adrenaline. I’ve forgotten to do something important! It might be something at work or forgetting to feed some of my scaled family members. Not exactly nightmares, but definitely bad dreams. These things of dreams had never happened, but I guess deep down in my psyche, I was concerned about my chores. My newest bad dream caught me by surprise, but it really shouldn’t have when I thought about it.

Like many people, I have a Zoom account that I use for my business talks and for a few organizations that I belong to. It’s part of keeping our monthly meetings going since we can’t get together due to the pandemic restrictions. For one of the Saturday meetings, I send out the link once I receive notification participants have paid the fee. One Friday night I woke up with a start and an intense feeling of dread. I had forgotten to send out the links for the meeting! Oh, no! A bunch of people and the speaker didn’t get the link for the meeting. I had to get up and send them out before it was too late.

Except that meeting had been held the weekend before! As I realized that I was okay, it struck me that my bad dreams had evolved with the pandemic along with my way of living!

Image above courtesy of Free-Photos from Pixabay

I’ve evolved in another way, too! I’m enjoying talking via video on Facebook, every Thursday at 3:00 Mountain Standard Time. I call them my Reptile-Side Chats because I live in a home where there is usually a reptile by my side. I’ve been told they are fun to listen to–I do like to make science education fun. What is seen on these videos is also how I write my children’s books.

Here are the links to the video talks on Facebook:

Feb 25th I spoke about the birthday celebration of my book Don’t Make Me Rattle!

On March 11, I showed my adoptive Sonoran Desert Tortoise.    

On March 18, I spoke about the three types of Tortoises I live with. 

On March 25, I spoke of the differences between Turtles and Tortoises. I wrote a book about that.   

illustration of curly-tail lizard, curtis

You can also view the Facebook videos on my YouTube page, Curtis Curly-tail Speaks.

a dark green book cover: Hickatees vs Sea Turtles
Do you know the differences between the land-dwelling Hickatee and the ocean-dwelling Sea Turtle? Learn about them inside.
Reading Level:
Ages 6+
Written in Rhyme, 45 Pages
Wonderful Illustrations of the Native Hickatee Turtle and Sea Turtles
by Anderson Atlas
Learn all about the endemic Hickatee turtle who has so many troubles–well-meaning humans who throw them to their deaths into the ocean, cars that run over them, loss of land to lay their eggs, and cousins pushing them out.
Shows physical traits and the differences between these land-dwelling turtles and the sea turtles that do reside in the ocean.
Make friends with the Hickatee today!

And my tortoise and turtle books are shown here. If you enjoy my videos, I believe you will enjoy my books, as well.

a green book cover with an illustration of a tortoise standing on hind legs

#Elaine A Powers
#Tortoise or Turtle
#Don’t Call Me Turtle
#Hickatee vs. Sea Turtle
#Reptile-Side Chats
#Facebook Live Thursdays

My Computer is Padded: Reptile-Side Chats Here I Come!

In previous posts, I mentioned the lessons learned from doing Facebook Live talks. I was able to continue them last week with my new laptop.  New, because my Sonoran Desert tortoise peed on my old laptop and killed it. I did hold her up for 12 minutes, and she showed great restraint, so it really wasn’t her fault.

Despite having purchased the protection plan with my new computer, I wasn’t taking any chances with last Thursday’s talk, which featured three tortoises! I remembered I had these absorbent pads tucked away in my bathroom closet.  This is what I was saving them for!

With my new laptop safely covered, the chat went on without a soaking! I will now continue my talks, knowing all will be well. (Reptiles are known to be a bit leaky.)

My Reptile-Side Chats are on Thursdays at 3:00 pm MST on Facebook on my personal page, Elaine Powers. Tomorrow, 3/25/21, I’ll be showing the differences between tortoises and turtles live, with the very cute Trevor the Turtle and one of my tortoises. I’ll also show the book I wrote about the differences, Don’t Call Me Turtle! The rhyming stanzas make learning science fun!

If you’d like to watch the recordings of my Reptile-Side Chats (teaching about reptiles, of course!), they are posted on my YouTube channel, Curtis Curly-tail Speaks.

#funscience #elaineapowers #Reptile-Side Chats #tortoiseorturtle

#reptileeducation

a green book cover with an illustration of a tortoise standing on hind legs
There are many differences between tortoises and turtles, and the wise tortoise who narrates this book tells us about ten of those differences–in rhyme. She also says, “Don’t Call Me Turtle!” (Even if my name should be Myrtle.)

Life from a Lizard’s Point of View is Funny!

Bizarro is one of my favorite comic strips. I like its quirky look at life’s often ordinary activities. I particularly like the way the artists incorporate science into their comics. Entertaining and educational. Their play on words is delightful.

This particular strip reminded me of my own Conversations with Dudley Dewlap scripts, which feature life from a lizard’s point-of-view. One of my scripts starts with the lizards discussing having their scales buffed and waxed, to make them shiny.

We all need to look at the world around us with light-heartedness at times. And, we might as well learn something. I’d like to advise we all eat nutritionally to make our exteriors, whether an exoskeleton or flexible layers of keratin, the healthiest they can be.

It’s my nature to write fun science books. I simply believe the learning sticks when it’s fun.  If you want to see what a couple of lizards think about the world, check out the script, Conservations with Dudley Dewlap. And, if your theater group is looking for something fun, performance rights are included with the purchase of my scripts.

#elaineapowers #dudleydewlap #performance rights #theater scripts #lizard point of view

 

The Facebook Live Learning Curve–Post Two: Pee on Set

In a previous blog post, I mentioned the surprises I had in my first Facebook Live talk. My second talk with my iguana went well and I thought I knew what I was doing.

Hah!

For my third talk, I showed my Sonoran Desert Tortoise and I mentioned how reptiles urinate when they are stressed. That’s why you should never pick up a desert tortoise. Its supply of water is stored in its bladder and using it to repel you, it is doomed to death by dehydration.

I had learned from my in-person talks that the tortoises often will void, so I put down a tarp.  Voiding is not an issue since I can provide them with as much water as they need to refill.  Consequently, I had a towel in place for my Facebook talk just in case. The tortoise did great. She stayed on camera and was relaxed as I held her in the air for over ten minutes. As I signed off, I felt water run down my shirt. I placed her in the box on the chair beside me and finished up my presentation. I then noticed some water on my laptop and wiped it off. Yes, she had peed her displeasure onto my computer.

As I went to move my laptop back to the table where I usually worked, the screen went black. I pushed the on button, nothing.  On no, had she doused my computer enough to kill it? Yes. Yes, she had. I rushed my trusty laptop, who had been with me for many years, off to the repairman. He wasn’t able to save my electronic companion, but he was able to save her memory.

graphic Facebook Live Reptile Side Chat

I intend to share three tortoises during my Facebook Live Talk tomorrow, Thursday, March 18th.  Look for me at 3:00 p.m. MST at my personal Facebook page, Elaine Powers, during which time I will be wrapping my new laptop in plastic! I can’t wait to get back to doing live talks. It is so much safer for my electronics.

I did give the manager a great story to tell of the woman whose laptop was destroyed by tortoise pee!

Book Note: To check out the fun children’s science books I’ve written about turtles and tortoises, please click on the books below or in the My Books section here. They’re fun, informative and are wonderfully illustrated by the talented artists I use.

Two fun science books on tortoises and turtles

 

Wear Green on Wednesday, March 17th–It’s Green Iguana Day! by Curtis Curly-tail Lizard

Hello, my fine reptile friends! It’s me, Curtis Curly-tail! I’ve been curled up in my den on Warderick Wells a lot lately, but I HAD to peek out because this Wednesday is March 17th, when we all wear green—for Green Iguana Day! Some of my best friends like Ezra above are Green Iguanas and I love to celebrate this day with them. Check out Green Iguana Day in the video starring . . . ME, of course!

Graphic for Curtis curly-tail speaks

And maybe you can watch some of the other videos at Curtis Curly-tail Speaks, where I introduce my reptile friends. You’ll likely learn something fun about other animals that you didn’t know. That’s my job, and I’m stickin’ to it!

Don’t forget to wear green on Wednesday, March 17th!

Book Note: My friend, Allison Andros Iguana is not a green iguana (she has a lovely red head and a black body), but she is very brave! You can learn about the flora and fauna of the Exuma Islands when you come along on our adventure in the latest book in my series: Curtis Curly-tail is Blown Away. Elaine A. Powers writes about how the animals of the islands survive hurricanes, and she weaves this into a tale of friendship and courage that is available at Amazon.com. Elaine loves to make science education fun.

children's book cover about Curtis Curly-tail lizard and a hurricane in the Bahamas
Curtis Curly-tail wants to help his friends survive a hurricane. But Curtis is blown away!
What happens to the iguanas on Beach Cay? Will Curtis be blown back home to Warderick Wells?

An Adventure Tale For Readers Age 8+      30 Pages
Gorgeous Illustrations by  Monique Carroll

 

Writing and Riding Fill My Days

With the pandemic, I’ve been dividing my time mostly between two activities: riding and writing. I’m either at the stables with my two horses or at home writing, surrounded by my reptiles. It’s working out well since I’m getting fresh air and exercise with Button and Exuma, which stimulates my health and well-being for the writing. My household full of reptiles provides the inspiration.

Currently, my young gelding, Exuma, pictured above, is having his first lessons carrying a rider, while I take lessons to be able to ride him. You see, my first horse, Button, is a Missouri Fox Trotter, a gaited horse. A gaited horse moves more smoothly than a non-gaited horse. This is due to a unique natural broken gait that allows at least one foot to be on the ground at any given time. Gaited horses are desired for pleasure riding which is what I want to do, trail riding around the Sonoran Desert. Non-gaited horses when trotting move a front foot and the opposite rear foot at the same time. This creates a jarring, bouncing-rider, motion.

Since I came to horseback riding late in life (a few years ago), I’ve only had lessons on a gaited horse.  My new boy is a quarter horse, a non-gaited breed. Riding Button is not going to prepare me for riding Exuma. Therefore, I’m taking lessons on an amazing mustang named Napoleon. I’ve learned how to trot, both sitting and posting (which is when the rider rises from the saddle in time with the horse’s gait, which isn’t necessary on a gaited horse). Recently, I rode for my first free canter—which is faster than a trot—but unlike the trot, it is more of a scooping motion, sort of like riding a wave.

To prepare the horse for the signal to canter, I’m supposed to scoop the saddle with my hips. My first attempts were a bit over-enthusiastic. I was apparently envisioning the Geico insurance commercial that features the hip hop group Tag Team, scooping the ice cream. I scooped big! The cantering did not go well.

I was told I needed to scoop less, more like sliding a chair under a table. So while I sit writing, I roll my chair back and forth under my desk. I can improve my riding while writing! Back on Napoleon, when I scooped less, using the easy, chair-rolling motion, the cantering went much better. Every successful lesson takes me one day closer to riding both my horses.

photo of author Elaine Powers with Button, a missiouri fox-trotter

Here is my mare, Button, a Missouri Fox Trotter.

At the top of the page is Exuma, a quarter horse. Quarter horses are so-called because of their sprinting ability. They can beat other horse breeds in distances of a quarter mile or less.

I’m glad I can work on both my activities, writing and riding, at the same time!

Scoop, there it is!

Back to work on all my fun writing activities. You see, I weave science into poetry books and adventures tales, hoping to make learning science fun for the reader. And, I’m also writing murder mysteries, which I tremendously enjoy. If you’re looking for some fun science books about Sonoran Desert wildlife, here you go:

book covers Dont Series
These best sellers are written in rhyme, making learning science fun!

 

Singing While Wearing a Mask? I Can Now!

I have a music degree along with my science degrees. I’ve enjoyed singing and performing on stage throughout my life. People on stage or in concerts are often told to sing out, project to the audience. Singers are extolled for singing to the last row or to the balcony, so that everyone can hear them.

Today we have a new direction: Sing through your mask.

With the pandemic, in-person performances have been severely curtailed. But humans are a creative species who will adapt to changing circumstances. Even though the need for masks was apparent, singing in them was less than ideal. Every time I took a deep breath to sing, I’d inhale the cloth and the sound was somewhat muffled.

Today, clever designers have created “masks for singing.” These have sufficient space and stability for proper singing, enabling the singer to get good inhalation and to drop the jaw.

photo 2 of singers' maskphoto of singers' mask

Of course, merely wearing a mask isn’t sufficient protection, so the chorus I sing with rehearses outside, maintaining six feet of distance. It’s nice for us to be able to hear the other singers and make harmony. Sometimes, the local wildlife even joins in, like Great Horned Owl and coyotes. Everyone deserves the opportunity to join in song.

Sing safely!

Book Note: The musical side of my brain is also the side that loves poetry. The other side of my brain is where the scientist/educator in me lives. The two sides combine in my “Don’t Series” books, in which scientific information is woven into fun, rhyming stanzas. “Don’t Series” fans tell me the rhymes make learning fun and the knowledge sticks with them. So, if there is a person in your life who wants a fun and colorfully illustrated book about the differences between tortoises and turtles, or to learn all about the fascinating roadrunner bird, or the very interesting rattlesnake, I’ve got the book for you!

Click below to see their book descriptions.

graphic of three books in The Don't Series

My Bahamian Boas Book is Having Its Birthday Today!

I’m celebrating the March 6th ‘birth’ day of my book, Bahamian Boas: A Tabby Tale.

CLICK THIS LINK TO SEE ME SPEAK ABOUT THE BIRTHDAY OF MY BOOK. A special guest appeared, whom you will very much enjoy seeing.

A brown book cover with illustrations of bahamian boa snakes
Tabby, the Five-Finger Fairy, is a good friend to everyone she meets. After Cleo, a Bahamian Boa, rescues her in their first book, Tabby & Cleo: Unexpected Friends, Tabby tells us about the natural history of the often misunderstood endemic Bahamian Boas, which have an important place in Bahamian life.

CLICK THIS LINK TO SEE SNAZZY THE SNAKE HIGHLIGHT THE BIRTHDAY BOOK ON YOUTUBE! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BAHAMIAN BOAS!

Bahamian Boas: A Tabby Tale is a very special book. It is narrated by Tabby the Five-Finger Fairy of The Bahamas, a magical being involved with conservation, and I wrote it in rhyming text, which makes the learning fun. It is colorfully illustrated, but also includes photographs of Bahamian boas, which are important to the ecosystem of the islands. The boas eat lizards, frogs, birds and rats, and can consume thousands of rats during their lifetimes. This is important, since these native snakes help control the population of the invasive rodents.

Unfortunately, the major threat to these incredible snakes is man. Irrational fears have led to the persecution of these harmless, nonvenomous snakes. The dangers to boas posed by humankind are a part of Tabby’s adventure tale, Tabby and Cleo: Unexpected Friends.

a book cover about Tabby the five finger fairy and Cleo a bahamian boa
Tabby, the Five-Finger Fairy, who comes from the Five-Finger Tree, Tabebuia bahamensis, loves the native plants, animals and people of The Bahamas. She makes friends wherever she goes!

Help me help these important snakes survive on The Bahamian islands and buy a copy for yourself today. Both books are educational, and Tabby & Cleo is also a chapter book of adventure and friendship for ages eight and above.

Thanks for stopping by today. If you’d like me to make a presentation to your classroom or group about reptiles or other subjects covered in my books, please use my Contact Page.

What I Learned from My First ‘Facebook Live’ Presentation

One of my activities that I love is taking my reptile family members to schools for sharing. I can talk about reptiles for hours. Of course, with the pandemic, I’m not able to do these live presentations for now.

I’ve offered to present my reptiles using Zoom meetings, but then decided I might try a live Facebook talk. I had seen others do them and it looked straightforward enough. I chose a Thursday at 3:00 pm MST as a good time to start. I picked my topic, one of my book’s birthdays, and collected some props.

I have a standup banner printed with my company names and thought it would make a good background for my talk. I pulled out the six-foot banner and assembled it (no easy feat), laying it out on the floor to tie it tight to the corners and sides. When I went to put it upright, I discovered how tall my hallway ceiling was—much lower than the rooms of my home! After whacking the ceiling all the way down the hallway, I reached my broadcast spot.

I set my chair and table in position and moved my laptop over. It was fully charged and should easily last for an hour or so.  More on that later. I watched the clock move closer to 3:00 pm. I was poised to click on the ‘Live’ button. Precisely at 3:00, I clicked the button expecting to see my face come up. Instead, I went to a page with a lot of settings! Oops. I glanced quickly over my choices, made a few selections and continued to ‘being live.’ Whew!

I was having a great time discussing rattlesnakes and my book about them, Don’t Make Me Rattle, when a “low battery” notification came up on my screen–which was more like a “no battery” notification. My screen went blank just as I quickly realized I should sign off. In nine minutes, my entire laptop’s battery was drained! Lesson learned. In the future, I will make sure my laptop is plugged in. I’m sure I have a longer cord somewhere.

But, in those nine minutes, I realized something important. I miss the interactions in the classrooms. I discovered I do want to interact with people. Facebook Live allows me to receive live comments and questions—how fun! It will be the means for me to reach out about my books, the importance of science, and my reptilian family members.

Look for me on Thursdays at 3:00 pm MST on Elaine Powers on Facebook. You’ll see my smiling face with an ocean beach scene in the background.

Click here to see my first (learning) Facebook Live episode.

book cover graphic of rattlesnake
There’s Much More to Me
Than You Know!
I Am Shy and My
Rattle is Only a Warning:
Please, Stay Away!
For All Ages
Reading Level 8+
Bold and Vibrant Illustrations
by Nicholas Thorpe
Written in Rhyme
40 pages

 

March 2nd is NATIONAL READ ACROSS AMERICA DAY

March 2nd, National Read Across America Day, is set aside to encourage kids to read. As an author of fun science-based children’s books, I love the idea of children reading books. I’m happy they’re reading, whether it’s one of my brightly illustrated picture books or adventure tales, or any other authors’ books, comic books, graphic novels. I want kids to just read!

Books can be sources of educational material or fantastical flights of imagination. In this world of visual stimulation through cell phones, computers, television and movies, children should be encouraged to use their imaginations, to come up with mental images all their own.

Children don’t have to read alone. Adults can read with them, children can read to other children, and children can read to pets.

photo of author elaine a powers reading to her tortoise, Myrtle
Myrtle, my red-foot tortoise grew so exasperated by being called a ‘turtle’ that she asked me to write her story. Here we are together, just after the book was published.

I enjoy reading to my reptilian family members. Here I am reading Don’t Call Me Turtle! to Myrtle the tortoise, the book she insisted I write after being called ‘Myrtle the Turtle’ one too many times! It’s a rhyming picture book for the young ones about the many differences between tortoises and turtles—so parents and grandparents learn, too. And the rhymes help the knowledge to stick with the kids. I’m inspired to write fun science books, and you’re welcome. 😊

Photo of interior book page of Don't Make Me Fly

Enjoy the vivid, colorful illustrations in the science-filled picture book about roadrunners, Don’t Make Me Fly!

image of book cover children's book Curtis Curly-tail Ship of Sneakers

Or a suspense-filled adventure tale like Curtis Curly-tail and the Ship of Sneakers. Curtis does not resist wanderlust very well—and then he has to find his way across the ocean and back home.

I encourage you to take up reading if you haven’t recently. There’s so much to learn and understand in our world. If you’re looking for something new, check out my books here at elaineapowers.com or all of the authors’ books at Lyric Power Publishing LLC.

At the very least, everybody, grab a book and READ! You will grow, and I like to think that’s why we’re here.

Today is National Tell a Fairy Tale Day– Meet Tabby the Five-Finger Fairy!

Today, February 26, is Tell a Fairy Tale Day. A fairy tale is defined as a children’s story about imaginary or magical beings and lands. Some fairy tales have been around so long they are part of folklore, passed down from storyteller to storyteller. Many of the fairy tales popular today were written in the 1800s; you might be familiar with those written by Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm.

I am excited to tell you that fairy tales are still being created today. These stories and characters might still be popular two hundred years from now.

Tabby the Five-Finger Fairy is a new magical being, a fairy who lives in the common Five-finger tree, Tabebuia bahamensis, found only in the Lucayan Archipelago. The land in my fairy tale is very real, but it is a wondrous, I might even say, magical, place: The Bahamas. It is hoped by Scott Johnson, Tabby’s creator, and The Bahamas National Trust, and me that Tabby (illustrated by Nicholas Thorpe), who loves Bahamian wildlife, bush teas, and making friends with animals and humans alike, will become a symbol for conservation and environmental education, not only in the islands but around the world.

photo of the cover of the book Tabby and Clean: Unexpected Friends
A Magical Chapter Book about
Tabby, the Five-Finger Fairy and Her
Adventures with Cleo, a Bahamian Boa
Reading Level: Ages 8+
52 Pages
Tabby Comes Alive in
Illustrations by Nick Thorpe
Tabby, the Five-Finger Fairy, who comes from the Five-Finger Tree, Tabebuia bahamensis, loves the native plants, animals and people of The Bahamas. She makes friends wherever she goes! Glossary of plants and animals included.

I encourage you to meet this new fairy tale character, Tabby, and enjoy her story aloud with another who appreciates warm tales of adventure and friendship, in Tabby and Cleo: Unexpected Friends. These stories are what I do: making science fun by weaving scientific information into adventure tales or rhyming stanzas. Enjoy a new fairy-tale story, on this special fairy-tale day.

February 25th is Book-Birthday Day!

Snazzy the Snake is celebrating! February 25th is the birthday of Don’t Make Me Rattle!, the rhyming book by author Elaine A. Powers full of rattlesnake facts and vibrant illustrations.

While Elaine writes to make science education fun, she writes particularly about rattlers so we will respect, not fear, them. They are shy creatures who prefer not to engage with humans. The rattle is only a warning: Please stay away!

Learn the rattlesnake’s role in the ecosystem, about their social behavior, what the venom is for and much, much more in this 40-page book with bold illustrations by illustrator Nicholas Thorpe.

See Snazzy celebrate on YouTube at the Birthday Book!

Find the birthday book here at ElaineAPowers.com and Lyric Power Publishing LLC. Don’t Make Me Rattle! is for sale at Amazon.com.

#educationalchildrensbook   #bookaboutsnakes   #rattlesnakes   #animation   #3dcharacter   #picturebookbirthday   #nonfictionpicturebook   #storytimeforkids   #nonfictionbooks

infographic complete book description of book Don't Make Me Rattle

Horseback Riding and Cougars Just Do Not Mix!

I recently had an encounter with a mountain lion while riding my horse. Button tried to tell me a big cat was near, but I couldn’t see it. I suspected she had seen the cat by the way she bolted. It was a wild ride but we got home safely (with much stomping and agitation) and the lion went on his way. As the fates would have it, an interesting article came up on my social media shortly afterwards.

A Canadian woman came across a cougar, another name for mountain lion, while hiking.  As the cougar approached, she yelled and waved her arms, causing the cat to stop but not back away. Keeping her wits about her, she pulled out her cell phone and played loud music to scare the cat away. Her choice was the loudest band she could think of: Metallica! The band’s hit “Don’t Tread on Me” did the trick. The cougar ran off.  Perhaps he wasn’t a heavy metal fan.

I really do like the idea of using loud music to scare off a lion. However, while riding a very agitated horse, I don’t have a spare hand to get the phone out of my pocket. Both hands are firmly on the reins. I’ll just have to sing loudly, instead. I know many operatic arias I could use.

There aren’t any videos of mountain lions . . . yet.

Note: If you like YouTube channels, please check out Curtis Curly-tail Speaks, where there are lots of videos about my children’s science books and my reptile family and friends, like the one about Roadrunner below that goes with my rhyming (fun) science book, Don’t Make Me Fly!

I happen to believe that science education should be fun! What about you?

 

February 20th is NATIONAL LOVE YOUR PET DAY

Almost 70% of families in the US have pets. I suspect with the pandemic that percentage may have increased. I, of course, have a household filled with pets.

photo of elaine a powers with iguana
My pet iguana, Calliope, is also my writing muse. I dare not call her my favorite in front of the others!

Mine don’t have fur, like the more familiar cats and dogs–they have scales. Yes, my pets are reptiles.

In addition, I have two pets that I’m not allowed to keep at my house by local ordinance, although I wanted to. I also have two horses. Fortunately, they live in nice stables not too far from my house. It’s probably better for them since they are surrounded by other horses and people who can help care for them.

closeup photo of three year old quarter horse face
Selfie-training with Exuma, my three-year-old quarter horse. I can only say that everyone should have to try this once!

 

Reptiles aren’t the only unusual animals kept as companions. People bring rodents, birds (large and small), fish, even snails, into their homes as pets!

It’s nice to know that people can love unusual animals, too.

So, get out there and caress that shell, scratch under that scaly chin, or brush their hair with your fingers.

Love your pets, not only Saturday, Feb. 20th, but every day.

Here are some of my other companions.

elaine a powers with Eddie the iguana
With my old and dear friend, Eddie.
elaine a powers with Myrtle, a red-foot tortoise
With Boss Lady, Myrtle, who asked again if I would read her book to her–that’s right–she asked me to write about her and now it’s her book!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Note:
The rhyming stanzas of Myrtle’s picture book are loved by preschoolers and their parents and grandparents alike! Learn all about the many differences between tortoises and turtles, while making it fun!
And never, ever, call Myrtle a turtle! She is a proud red-foot tortoise.

infographic for children's book Don't Call Me Turtle!

Having Fun With The Mysterious Massachusetts Potatoes

With all the bad news today, unusual stories bring us a lot of entertainment, probably more than they should. They also provide opportunities for puns, as you will read in this tale about the baked potatoes found at the Wayland Free Public Library in Massachusetts.

The first cooked russet potato appeared on a Monday with a second arriving on the following Thursday. The library humorously suggested that the potatoes were part of a rare potato-migration. They are asking people to keep their eyes peeled for whoever left them. Perhaps the russets were rustled?

The library has been having great fun with the potato mystery. Books about cooking potatoes have become very popular. So far, the culprit has not been identified and no more potatoes have shown up—but Mr. Potato Head is looking for his friends.

You can still follow this developing story at the Wayland Library page.

Photo above is courtesy of the Wayland Free Public Library.

Book Note: I do enjoy funny stories, which is why I wrote How NOT to Photograph a Hummingbird, after watching a man at the Tucson Botanical Gardens race around, trying to capture a photo of a hummingbird that seemed to be taunting him. In my story, he is injured by Sonoran Desert flora and fauna, but remains undaunted in his efforts. Of course, I also include a glossary of the plants and animals in the story because science education is what I’m all about. I just love to make it fun for all the budding scientists out there!

illustration of a hummingbird on a cactus
A Humorous Tale Introducing the Plants
and Animals of the Sonoran Desert
“I’ll have a long-term memory of this visit.
Maybe a permanent one.”
For All Ages
Reading Level Age 8+
26 pages
Glossary of Minerals, Flora and Fauna
Illustrated by Anderson Atlas
A bumbling visitor to Southern Arizona is repeatedly injured when trying to photograph a mischievous hummingbird, as the Sonoran Desert conspires against him.
Have a laugh while enjoying learning about the plants and animals of Southern Arizona. Includes glossary.

We’re Celebrating a Curtis Curly-tail Book-Birthday in My New Newsletter!

I’m publishing an author newsletter now, containing book announcements and specials. Please click here to go to my newsletter, where you can see the colorful, graphic format; click through to the book-birthday video; and subscribe to come along with me on my author journey as I continue my labor of love to make learning science fun.

Thank you!

Elaine

The birthday book–Curtis Curly-tail is Lizardnapped was ‘born’ February 11th!

a blue and white children's book cover with curly-tail lizards illustrated
They say it’s my birthday! We’re gonna have a good time!

Horse Care, Sirens, and a Desert Singalong

One afternoon about 3:00 p.m., I heard sirens on a nearby main road.  The sirens went on for quite a while and included several pitches. The vehicles probably included those from the police and fire departments, and perhaps an ambulance. I listened as I brushed my horse, Button.

Photo of a Missouri Foxtrotter horse
Button, my 1000 pound friend!

She turned to listen to the noise, too–not that she hadn’t heard sirens before, but these did seem to be excessive.

Then, voices nearby were raised in a chorus that matched the pitches of the sirens! The large pack of coyotes in the area joined in the song. I usually hear the coyotes’ chorus at dawn or dusk, not mid-afternoon, but they added spontaneous flourishes and harmony to the sirens that midday. One ran up and down the scale in an amazing arpeggio. It was a magical choral moment.

They typically call to each other in greeting to help them stay in contact and reunite. On that afternoon, did they believe the sirens were pack members calling hello, or did they simply grab an opportunity to enjoy a musical interlude in the afternoon?

Book Note: I live in the Sonoran Desert and enjoy the wildlife immensely. I have written three books on Sonoran Desert wildlife, one for little ones about desert tortoises entitled Don’t Call Me Turtle; and two others for all ages, called Don’t Make Me Fly about roadrunners, and Don’t Make Me Rattle, about rattlesnakes. They are written in rhyme and vividly illustrated to make learning the science throughout fun.

These books make excellent gifts and can be used for school projects, too. Check out my ‘Don’t Series’ today.

Fossil Iguana Burrow in The Bahamas?

Even though Rock Iguanas (Cyclura nubila caymanensis) make their dens and escape holes in the limestone karst of the Caribbean islands, the females still need sand to lay their eggs. Females dig a burrow tunnel, lay their eggs in a chamber, then back fill it in—the iguana mothers cover over the entrance area to hide the presence of the eggs. I have watched females dig their dens and after their concealment efforts, I was unable to find the burrow entrance. Once the eggs hatch, the baby iguanas dig their way out of the tunnel to the surface.

Researchers have published an article stating they found a fossil iguana burrow on an island in The Bahamas: First known trace fossil of a nesting iguana (Pleistocene) The Bahamas  by Anthony J. Martin, Dorothy Stearns, Meredith J. Whitten, Melissa M. Hage, Michael Page, and Arya Basu.

Illustration by Anthony Martin of prehistoric iguana burrow

Illustration shows a cross section of the prehistoric iguana burrow, and how the surrounding landscape may have looked during the Late Pleistocene Epoch. (Credit: Anthony Martin.)

Anthony Martin is shown at the top of the page next to the trace fossil of the Pleistocene iguana burrow. (Credit: Melissa Hage.) The fossilized burrow dates back to the Late Pleistocene Epoch, about 115,000 years ago. The island still has iguanas, but they are critically endangered.

“After further investigation, Martin and his co-authors determined that the trace fossil he noticed on the limestone outcrop was that of a nesting iguana burrow. Ample evidence, including a nearby fossil land-crab burrow discovered by Hage, showed that the outcrop was a former inland sand dune, where iguanas prefer to lay their eggs.”

It is reasonable to assume fossilized sand dens would both be difficult to create and to be discovered, so if this is an ancient iguana nesting den, it is very exciting. Several iguana researchers doubt the conclusions of the authors, however. One point in question is that iguanas’ nesting dens are not dug straight down – they angle down slightly from the surface until the desired incubation temperature is found. They nesting chambers are not dug straight down as they appear to be in the fossil.

But that’s the great thing about science. Ideas are proposed and then evidence for and against the conclusions are presented and discussed.

photo San Salvador rock iguanas are critically endangered. Credit Anthony Martin.

The modern-day San Salvador rock iguanas are critically endangered. Credit: Anthony Martin.

One conclusion is certain: The San Salvador Rock Iguana is critically endangered. Hopefully, the current population can be preserved and not become known only as a fossil species.

For more information on iguanas and lizards and tortoises and turtles and snakes and roadrunners and desert plants and even a very special fairy (!), check out all the books here at elaineapowers.com.

February 6th is National Play Outside Day!

In many places, playing outside on February 6th will involve snow and layers of warm clothes. Even in the Sonoran Desert, the reptiles are brumating (mammals hibernate, reptiles brumate).

However, that doesn’t mean all the animals are asleep out there.  If the temperatures warm up, some of the ground squirrels pop up. Birds are flying about. So, you don’t have to play alone–there are many animals to play with outside.

closeup photo of three year old quarter horse face

You could, of course, play outside with one of your family pets. Here’s one I’ve been hanging out with.  We’re working on selfies. We need more practice. This photo is mostly my three-year-old quarter horse, Exuma. 

You could go birdwatching. Above is a Vermilion Flycatcher.

Take a walk in the countryside. You might find something interesting like this crested saguaro below.

photo crested saguaro in Sonoran Desert

If you don’t want to do the walking, have a family member do the walking for you. You can both embrace the companionship, too.

hindquarters of a horse
Let your family member do the walking for you!
Sonoran Desert Sunset
Another incredible Sonoran Desert sunset!

And, you could enjoy a sunset.

Whatever your preferences are and wherever you are, get outside on February 6, NATIONAL PLAY OUTSIDE DAY.

And we can get some fresh air, move around and play outdoors on many days. Catch some rays soon! Play!

 

book covers Dont Series
These best sellers are written in rhyme, making learning science fun!

Book Note: I have written three Arizona science-based books in rhyme–to make learning the science fun. Please check them out here. I hope you’ll find one that you would enjoy reading to a little one, who will immensely enjoy the rhymes, or that your child would enjoy reading him or herself.

Have a fun day!

Now That Dog Can Bark On Pitch!

I am a retired biologist who writes rhyming children’s science books. I’ve been questioned about this and I believe the rhyming happens because I’m also a musician and singer. I still sing in community choruses and one of them had to get creative with rehearsals and performances due to the pandemic. Many musical organizations have used video streaming services, creating combined videos (requiring expert technical ability).

My chorus sang outside in a cul-de-sac, masked and social distanced at least six feet apart. We gathered in the director’s neighborhood with our reading lights since the sun had long set. It was often a bit nippy and we had to dress accordingly. It was nice to be able to hear other singers, however muffled they were.

One of the other sopranos brought her Scottish terrier along. He was a well-behaved dog that sat quietly at her feet. However, the dog was aware of moving creatures going bump in the night. When one was detected, he would start with a low growl, then a short bark, alerting us to the approaching danger. One night his growling crescendoed to a series of barks, almost on pitch with the song we were singing. Since the director was recording us for a virtual concert, the terrier’s ad lib contribution was not appreciated.

The following week, the chorus sang a concert in another neighborhood. We stood in one of the yards.  We gathered and sorted ourselves into our voice-part groups, i.e. all the first sopranos together, second sopranos, first altos and second altos. The terrier had joined us, so I asked him what part he was singing.  The reply was…

Howl-to!

Book Note: One of the educational books I set to rhyme is called Don’t Make Me Fly! Can you guess what it’s about?

Roadrunners, of course! It’s full of fun facts about them and fun to read and hear because of the rhyming verses. It’s also vividly illustrated and kids, young and old alike, really appreciate the powerful drawings. It makes a great book for the family, and for a book report on roadrunners. It’s available at Amazon.com.

illustration of a desert roadrunner
Strong. Fast and Courageous, Roadrunner Doesn’t Need To Fly

Do Books Have Birthdays? Yes!

I am pleased to announce the “birth” day of my book above.

Curtis Curly-tail is Lizardnapped (an adventure tale featuring endangered flora and fauna of The Bahamas) is four years old this month.The book has a conservation/ecological theme–woven into a story about Curtis Curly-tail Lizard and his friends, who all work together to save themselves and stolen endangered plants from poachers.

I say, “Let’s learn about science in fun ways! That way, it sticks.”

And I have a new video to celebrate! The video can be seen on YouTube at Curtis Curly-tail Speaks.

Book Description:

In the third book of the series, the very curious Curtis Curly-tail mistakes a poacher for a tourist wanting to snap a picture of his perfectly-curled tail. Instead, he is captured, along with critically endangered native plants, Conch and Iguanas. Together the animals plot their escape from the dangerous poachers, but they can’t do it alone. Who will help them? How will they get free of the cages on a speeding boat and return home safely to Warderick Wells?

An Adventure Tale For Readers Age 10+
Lovely Colored Pencil Illustrations by Jessica Minns/30 Pages

February 1st is National Serpent Day!

I came across this beauty, a Western Diamondback Rattler, on a recent ride in the Sonoran Desert.

Ooh, February 1st is National Serpent Day! Some of my favorite animals are serpents. I grew up with snakes as family pets, mostly garter snakes, because my brother was allergic to fur. We cuddled them like you would any other pet.

The term serpent usually refers to a large snake, often in a negative way. In my books, I try to educate people about the value of snakes, to respect them, not to fear them. Religious beliefs have, unfortunately, been used to persecute snakes, which are important to the ecosystem of the human environment. Imagine a world overrun with rodents.

One of the misunderstood serpents in the Sonoran Desert, where I currently reside, is the rattlesnake.  You can learn all about them in Don’t Make Me Rattle! You’ll learn about what great mothers’ rattlers are, how they collect drinking water, what their venom is really used for and many other interesting facts.

book cover graphic of rattlesnake
There’s Much More to Me Than You Know! I Am Shy and My Rattle is Only a Warning: Please, Stay Away! For All Ages Reading Level 8+
Bold and Vibrant Illustrations by Nicholas Thorpe
Written in Rhyme 40 pages

Another misunderstood and persecuted snake is the rainbow boa of The Bahamas. I’ve written a couple of books about the gorgeous rainbow boa.

A brown book cover with illustrations of bahamian boa snakes
Tabby, the Five-Finger Fairy, is a good friend to everyone she meets. After Cleo, a Bahamian Boa, rescues her in their first book, Tabby & Cleo: Unexpected Friends, Tabby goes on to teach us about the natural history of the often misunderstood endemic Bahamian Boas, which have an important place in Bahamian life.

One is more of a natural history book, The Bahamian Boa: A Tabby Tale, while the other is an adventure tale, Tabby and Cleo: Unexpected Friends. It includes Bahamian folk tales and a study of human nature and is a true tale of friendship. Don’t worry, the adventure tale is full of science, as well.

Cleo, a Bahamian boa, one of the misunderstood animals of The Bahamas, rescues Tabby, a Five-Finger Fairy. In trying to find Cleo a safe place to live, this unlikely pair help each other and the people they meet. Tabby loves Bahamian wildlife, Bahamian bush teas, and making friends with both animals and humans alike. This book focuses on important conservation issues that threaten Bahamian wildlife, such as wildlife smuggling, habitat loss, invasive species and human intolerance of animals such as snakes and spiders.

May I suggest you get to know more about serpents and the important roles they play in their ecosystems, whether in person in your neighborhood or with a good book?  Here are a few of the serpents I’ve known personally.

Western Diamondback Rattlesnakes

Baby Rattlesnake born in garage

This rattler was born in my garage.

photo Sonoran Desert Rattler

Met this magnificent rattler while walking my horse.

Bahamian Boas

photo of New Providence Boa

A baby New Providence boa in The Bahamas.

On the Lyric Power Publishing LLC website, www.lyricpower.net, you’ll discover snake-related workbooks. such as this one, My Book About the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake.

Book cover with photo of western diamondback rattler
Something for everyone from kindergarten through grade 3! Forty-six pages of fascinating information on the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake. Worksheets and project sheets include snake anatomy, crossword puzzle, word search, predators and prey; assemble a rattlesnake analog clock; math sheets including line graph, tally sheet, pictograph, and bar graph; THREE Venn-diagrams with corresponding fact sheets; life cycle activity pages, and reading comprehension.

January 31 is National Inspire Your Heart with Art Day

The artist strategically placed the shells on the branches of the bush skeleton above. A piece of the exoskeleton of a horseshoe crab was also used.

January 31 is Inspire Your Heart With Art Day.  Art should evoke emotions, hopefully, pleasurable ones.  There are many kinds of art.  My book illustrators are all great visual and/or digital artists. The editor/manager of my websites, Pamela Bickell, is a creative collage artist, as well.

Other artists create sculptures and three-dimensional works. Every once in a while, I stumble across something fantastic in nature.

Today I want to feature and very unusual piece of art I came across on Bunche Beach in Fort Myers, FL. Most people appreciate a beautiful intact seashell. Most people also appreciate healthy green vegetation. Yet, few of us would see the art in a dead bush and bleached broken shells that this artist did.  Most of the shells had holes in them, the result of the predators who ended the mollusks’ lives.

close up of shell art on dried branches
This did inspire my heart!

While not everyone would see the beauty here, I appreciate it as an unusual but lovely work of art. It did bring joy to my heart.

I hope you make or find some art this weekend that brings joy to your heart, too.

Book Note: I truly appreciate my book illustrators, who have added so much to the words I write.

Arthur F. Winstanley

a pink book cover with an illustration of a green curly-tail iguana riding in the ocean in a red sneaker

Anderson Atlas

book cover illustration with two lizards

Nicholas Thorpe

a book cover about Tabby the five finger fairy and Cleo a bahamian boa

Jessica Minns

a blue and white children's book cover with curly-tail lizards illustrated

Simone Scott

image of book cover of a brown booby bird in cayman brac

Monique Carroll

book cover about seeds finding a place to sprout

Haley Gray

book cover of catfish

Jacqueline Klene

image of book cover with catfish and museum