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.

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.

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

Drawn to the Amazing Singing Wind Bookshop

Bookshop Photo by Erika Clary

Writing a book is often the easiest part of “the book business.” Unfortunately, due to the hours lost to writing, the author then has to market her work, even, in our times, if she is traditionally published.

As scary as it is to go to bookstores and ask the manager or the book buyer to consider selling my books, I have met some very interesting people along the way. When I was searching for selling opportunities, many people suggested I contact Winn Bundy at Singing Wind Bookshop.

I was not familiar with Singing Wind Bookshop. It was located in Benson, AZ for many years. I knew where Benson was, so I got directions and headed out. Singing Wind was not in the city limits of Benson, but in the surrounding territory. Driving through the open spaces, I wondered where the directions were taking me. Finally, there appeared a sign on a dirt road: Headquarters for Books about the Southwest.

Photo of dirt road outside of Benson, AZ
Photo Courtesy of Paul Vanderwiel

That dirt road took me to an amazing place. The Singing Wind Bookshop was located within Winn Bundy’s ranch house. And yes, it was a working ranch. As I entered the bookshop, I was greeted by a dog, and a gray-haired woman, who insisted on giving me a tour of the shop. That was a requirement – you had to have the tour.

I was used to book shops with organized sections: Fiction, Self-Help, Science, History, etc. Singing Wind was uniquely organized by Winn but it was organized. She could find any book that she stocked in the multitude of literary works contained in the rooms.

It was a magical place where you could spend hours among an unusual array of books, many I doubt I’d find anywhere else. She truly had the best collection of books about the Southwest.
After I had selected several must-have books, I approached the manager about stocking my books. I first offered her Don’t Call Me Turtle! She was non-committal, saying Winn would have to approve it.

I was thrilled when Winn told me that she thought my book was great and wanted it for her bookshop. I knew then I was a success as an author. I had Winn Bundy’s approval.

I was amazed that this cattlewoman in the middle of the wide open spaces of Southern Arizona knew so many authors around the world. We were working on school programs together when Winn’s health deteriorated. It would have been such an honor to work with her and the students. She did incredible work to promote literacy from her ranch house bookshop. If you like to read more about this remarkable woman, here is a great article in The Arizona Daily Star.

Don’t forget to purchase your copy of the Winn-Bundy-approved Don’t Series by me!

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

To Illustrate or Not? Yes–Absolutely!

In the above illustration from Don’t Make Me Rattle! the reader can see the heat-sensing ability of rattlesnakes.

I’ve been at odds with some of the ideas of traditional publishers lately.  First is the preference to avoid rhyming in picture books. Personally, I feel picture books should always rhyme. I don’t think Dr. Suess would be as popular as he is without the rhyming. He even made words up!

Another disagreement I’ve had with publishers is over illustrations. I hire illustrators to create bold, brightly colored images. Now, a study from Carnegie Mellon says children’s books should have fewer illustrations!

And the authors of this article say to keep it simple: Streamlining book illustrations improves attention and comprehension in beginning readers (by Cassondra M. Eng, Karrie E. Godwin & Anna V. Fisher). They found that reading comprehension was enhanced by the removal of extraneous materials, such as illustrations.

Despite their conclusions, I think illustrations are important in children’s books. We are very visual animals and use our color vision extensively.  Bright colors appeal to young children and color is known to affect moods and behavior.

Okay, I understand that if children only have words to read, they will concentrate on them and have better reading comprehension. But where is the joy of reading, the excitement of opening a book, delighting in the illustration, then delving into the words? If you let a child choose a book to read, it will usually be the one with the bright, colorful pictures.

I realize that the illustrations in my books are what attracts buyers, but then they do enjoy the words—especially the rhyming words! I get letters from kids and adults about this. Colorful illustrations and quality text work together to improve not only the reading but the interest in reading.  A minority of teenagers today read for enjoyment. If the love of books isn’t ingrained in the early readers, interest in reading will fade as they age. The content of the words is enhanced with a skillfully rendered picture.

And, to be honest, the illustrations aren’t only for the children. Adults appreciate them, too, just like the rhyming!

If you want to enjoy colorfully illustrated picture and adventure books, and believe as I do that illustrations keep the kids reading, visit My Books here at ElaineAPowers.com and Our Books at Lyric Power Publishing LLC to check out our wonderful science-based, illustrated, rhyming, FUN, educational books.

Book Note: Here’s a direct link to Don’t Make Me Rattle, which is full of scientific information about rattlesnakes, with fantastic colorful illustrations’ and ALL of the science is written in rhyme to help the student remember the facts. How about that!

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

Curtis Curly-tail is Blown Away is Now Available! by Curtis Curly-tail Lizard

illustration of curtis curly-tail lizard
It’s me, Curtis Curly-tail Lizard! Don’t you just love my perfectly curled tail?

Hello, everyone! I recently mentioned my latest book would soon be out—well, it’s here! The next Curtis Curly-tail adventure has been released: Curtis Curly-tail is Blown Away is written by, of course, my good friend and author, Elaine A. Powers. The gorgeous illustrations are by artist Monique Carroll, who also illustrated Grow Home, Little Seeds.

In this story, I join Allison Andros Iguana to warn the iguanas of Beach Cay about the impending hurricane. Low lying areas are particularly vulnerable to the storm surges, high rainfall and powerful winds of hurricanes. Small islands or cays here in the Bahamas can be completely washed over. Beach Cay, the setting of Curtis Curly-tail is Blown Away, has entire populations of endemic animals, such as the iguanas like Allison. One powerful hurricane could wipe out her entire species.

It’s not only animals that need protecting during hurricane season; people are also in danger. In this story, as in real life, people come together to help not only each other, but animals and the environment, as well. Along with the destruction caused by hurricanes, Elaine also discusses the positive effects in the book. (Yes, there are benefits from hurricanes. I’ll bet you didn’t know that!)

The title kind of gives the story away, but I hope you will grab a copy so you can find out what happens to the iguanas and if I make my way back home to my perfect little den at Warderick Wells cay. It’s a great story for all the kids at home these days, and helps them to learn about weather science and ecosystems. Curtis Curly-tail is Blown Away makes learning science fun and is for sale at Amazon.

‘Til next time, take care of yourselves and each other. Together, we will get through this, just like my friends and I, who help each other survive and recover from hurricanes. Friendship rules!

Surprise Your Employees with Some Fun–Use Zoom to Perform a Short Play!

Today is National Radio Day. Way back before TV/streaming media as we know it and before today’s audio books, there was radio. Of course, there still is, but in the early part of the twentieth century, radio was our only source for news from around the world, and it provided wonderful entertainment. Radio shows were sponsored by businesses, so the shows had set running times, leaving airtime for advertisements.

photo of old-time radio
Image Courtesy of Michael Mistler from Pixabay

Radio was available to everyone and we enjoyed being able to do other things while we were listening. There were comedic radio shows and dramatic storytelling, with sound effects, eliciting emotions. Several stories led to unfortunate circumstances, the most famous of which was Orson Welles’ broadcast of the H.G. Wells story, War of the Worlds. My mother, near the alleged site of the Martian landing, heard the broadcast and witnessed the panic.

Twenty years ago, radio shows had a renewed popularity with recreated “old-time” and modern “new-time” shows. These modern radio shows didn’t have the time constraints of earlier days. Some acting guilds today are performing what were radio shows on stage. Audio and radio theater provide listeners, whether in their homes, cars, or acted in a performance hall, a refreshing alternative to the usual standard fare of music, news and talk shows.

a book cover of an audio/radio script
Includes adaptations of three classic tales as audio theater scripts: The Spoon River Anthology has history students discovering the stories of occupants of a cemetery. A one-act version of The Ransom of Red Chief tells the tale of a kidnapping gone awry. The Ballad of The Ice-Worm Cocktail tells of false bravado revealed during the Yukon Gold Rush. Requires multiple actors. Well suited for community theaters. Performance rights included with purchase.

My first serious writing was in creating scripts for the Hunterdon Radio Theatre in New Jersey. My scripts have been performed on stage, as broadcasts, and recorded onto CDs.

Are you a performer–or a company manager? Need a break from those monotonous Zoom meetings? Why not take a look at my short audio/theater scripts, get a few co-workers together and perform a play for the wider audience? My scripts range from comedic to spooky and the purchase of a script comes with the performance rights. They can be performed by adults or children, are family appropriate, and you might even learn a little science! Break up the online-meeting monotony and have some fun today reading or acting a play! (Or two!)

book cover of audio/theater script
A collection of one-act length comedic audio theater scripts. “Joy’s Bug’s Blues” tells of an unfortunate encounter with an elephant. In “Take Your Best Shot,” a man develops allergies to political parties, but his allergist has the cure. “The Gift” is a Chanukah tale involving the rescue of an injured iguana and its impact on family members, both human and iguana. Performance rights included with purchase.

It’s Get to Know Your Customers Day!

Get to Know Your Customers Day is a day that is of interest to me every day. I want to know my customers. Do they like my books? How can my books be better? What should I write about in the ones to come? How can I improve the workbooks and activity sheets sold at Lyric Power? Would any of my customers be interested in theater scripts—because I am also an actor and scriptwriter.

cover of workbook all about rocks

I do try to write books that fill a specific need in scientific information—as in Don’t Call Me Turtle, which tells the differences between turtles and tortoises. I’d also like the workbooks and activity sheets published by Lyric Power Publishing, LLC to be useful to teachers and families in their educational activities. 

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

So, please, drop me a line. Let me know how my science books, which I work to make fun so that learning is fun, could better serve you. Reach out about your educational needs, etc. Or, maybe you already own one of my books and you’d be willing to write a review at Amazon? It would be a great help to me and sincerely appreciated.

I’m hoping you get to know me a bit more every time I post at the blog, Tales and Tails, but I would like to learn more about you, too, and not just today. I’d truly love it if you reached out to me to introduce yourself, so here’s a link to my contact form. Let’s talk about science and how I can help. Thank you for stopping by at my website today.

Just Start!

Have you ever had to do something that you didn’t want to do or you just couldn’t get started? 

Author Elaine Powers at easel
I finally decided to start the painting with a little seed sprout.

It happens to all of us. It’s easy to find excuses not to start. Like when writing blog posts, I stare at the blank page and wonder what I should write. All that white space, staring back at me.

Today, I remembered when I was on Eleuthera, where the island’s artists had all come together to sell their work. As part of the event, a blank canvas was set up with paints. The idea was, artists and visitors would each add something to the painting. 

The canvas was set up right behind my table. I saw the hesitancy to begin and I encouraged every artist that went by to start the painting, but none of them would. So I did. I was there celebrating the publication of my new book, Grow Home, Little Seeds, which is about plants finding their homes and sprouting, so I painted a plant sprouting as it pushed up out of the earth.

Amazingly, that’s all it took. The artists each added something and, as you can see, created an amazing piece of art.

You can still see my original sprout, too! So you see, just a little effort can get things going and you just might end up with a masterpiece.

The book I was selling is set in the Leon Levy Preserve on Eleuthera. It’s a tale of seed-friends, each finding their own perfect place to sprout.

book cover about seeds finding a place to sprout
The graduating bundle of mixed seeds of the Leon Levy Preserve vows to stay together and form their own forest. Will they be able to remain together, or will their natures lead them in different directions? Will they find what the need to survive, to germinate, and to put down roots? Join these Bahamian natives on their adventures to find their places to call home.

Fun Geology and Biology for The Lime Lizards Lads!

Geology is the science that explores the earth’s physical structure and substance, its history, and the processes that act on it. Geology is often included under the topic of Earth Sciences.  You might be surprised to learn that I often include geology in my fun science books that feature lizards. You can’t really study biology without knowing the geology of the ecosystem. Everything is interconnected.

One of my favorite inclusions in The Dragon of Nani Cave in the mineral, caymanite.

Hidden in the limestone karst of Grand Cayman’s East End and the Bluff of Cayman Brac is an uncommon variety of dolomite, CaMg(CO3)2.  Caymanite is prized for its layers of earth tone colors, which are the result of different metal contents. Its harness allows for it to be shaped into jewelry and carvings.

In The Dragon of Nani Cave, the Lime Lizard Lads are sent on a quest to find a piece of caymanite for Old Soldier crab. It’s the most dangerous thing a lizard can do on Cayman Brac, because that’s where the dragon lives! One of the fun things about being an author is having a say in the design of the book cover. I had mine when I asked that the book title be colored just like caymanite.

book cover illustration of two curly-tail lizards
With the Lime Lizard Lads, it’s one adventure after another. They know how to make science fun!

For additional ways to supplement science education in fun ways, please see the activity sheets and workbooks at Lyric Power Publishing. The workbook pictured above is a supplement to The Dragon of Nani Cave.

Don’t Call Me Turtle!

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s me, Curtis! Welcome to my first “Tails” post!

Today, I’m telling you the story of Myrtle, a Red-foot TORTOISE who lives with Elaine. When Myrtle grew tired of everyone calling her Myrtle the Turtle, one day she asked Elaine to write a book about the differences between tortoises and turtles. Of course, Elaine said yes. (She and Myrtle are best buds. Elaine is pictured below reading Myrtle’s book to Myrtle.)

Well, what do you know? It turned out not just tortoises love the science book–kids do, too. Don’t Call Me Turtle! has fans across America, just like the children’s book I asked Elaine to write!

Don’t Call Me Turtle is written in rhyme and I gotta tell you, the five and under age group LOVE the rhymes, which tell the differences between the two hard shells:

“My tortoise shell is heavy; it takes strength to walk on the ground.
But a turtle’s shell is lightweight, perfect for swimming around.”

Thanks for reading my first post! ‘Til next time!