Archives for October, 2008
BOOK NAME: True Green
AUTHOR: Kim McKay and Jenny Bonnin
True Green is a book about helping the environment. “Green” is a term used when referring to helping the environment and stopping global warming. For a while now our Earth has been getting warmer and warmer, in part, caused by gas and factories. One effect is that the ice in the North Pole and Antarctica is slowly melting. Animals are dying too. So that is why WE have to stop global warming soon.
The book gives you on each page one way to go “green” with a total of 100 ideas to become more environmentally friendly. For example, you can put a bucket outside on a rainy day and try to collect water for watering flowers the next day. Another way is you can send a letter to the mayor of your town or a politician about going green or stopping global warming. The book motivates you to worry about some of the problems that are going on around the world and to do something about it.
I decided to do one of the projects from the book. I made a list of ways that both my family and I could work on being more globally efficient. The things that were on my checklist were; turn off lights when you leave a room or the house, recycling, turn computer onto sleep mode, shorten showers to 4 minutes, water plants, and turn off the water while brushing your teeth.
Every time we do one of the ideas on the list, we get one “green” point. Once we get ten points, we get one iPod download or a little prize. It’s really working and for my younger brothers it shows them about why we are doing this and it gives them something to look forward to when they get ten points. This was a really GREAT book!
The next astronauts to land on the moon will be driving an all-new lunar rover. The new rover, called the Chariot, will contain several improvements over the old “moon buggies,” including an optional pressurized cabin with beds, a pantry, a waste-management system, and a pair of space suits, allowing astronauts to live and work “on the road” for up to two weeks.
The rover will need to pass several rounds of tests between now and 2019, when the final model will be complete.
Read more on National Geographic News.
Walking on water may seem miraculous, but for tiny aquatic snails, it’s an everyday activity. Now scientists believe they know how these creatures actually move on the water’s surface.
Photo courtesy Eric Lauga
After studying videos of the snails, scientists discovered that a snail makes small rippling motions with its foot, and creates traction for itself on the water’s surface, according to Eric Lauga, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of California, San Diego. The researchers’ observations are detailed in the journal Physics of Fluids.
BOOK NAME: True Green Kids: 100 things you can do to save the planet
AUTHOR: Kim McKay and Jenny Bonnin
I read True Green Kids, which is a book about things you can do to save the planet. I tried some of the things in there with my family. One was to try to take shorter showers. The book said to time your showers so they aren’t longer than four minutes. The book says most people take seven-minute showers, but if they lasted only four they could save more than 6,600 gallons of water a year! I set a goal of just two minutes. My dad timed me. It was hard. Time would run out right when I’d start rinsing the soap and shampoo so now I try to clean myself faster, but two minutes may be too fast. The book’s suggestion of four minutes makes more sense.
The other thing I did was count all the light bulbs in my house. The book said to count all the CFLs (compact fluorescent lights) and all the normal lights. CFLs use 65-75 percent less electricity than normal bulbs, so there’s less energy, like oil, being used. I counted 90 light bulbs total. Of those, 11 were CFLs. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but the ones that are CFLs are the lights we use the most, which means we save more energy that way.
Another thing that the book said to do is to make sure to turn off all the lights that don’t need to be on. (While typing this, I turned off the lights in the same room I was in because the computer screen was giving off light. See, saving electricity isn’t hard.)
Photograph by Rebecca Joye
Several native ladybug species are disappearing and being replaced by ladybugs from other places. The nine-spotted ladybug and other species have become so rare that scientists are hoping kids can find some in their neighborhoods. Cornell University wants kids go out and search for ladybugs and send in pictures to include in their database. To find out how you can help, visit http://lostladybug.org.
Book Series: Horrorland
Author: R.L. Stine
Ready to get spooked? If you haven’t read one of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps books yet, it’s time to enter Horrorland. This is a brand-new series that features 12 books. Each one is its own creepy story. In The Scream of the Haunted Mask (pictured), Carly Beth endures a frightful night with a drooling, haunted mask that makes its scary return.
There are great names for the other books, too like Creep from the Deep and Monster Blood for Breakfast. Each one is a perfect pick for Halloween.
Want to know more? Check out this Web site from our sponsor: Click here to visit Horrorland.
In 2009, the United States mint will be releasing a series of four new pennies celebrating the life and presidency of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln was born in 1809, and the first Lincoln penny was made in 1909.
The “tails” side of the new pennies will feature four different designs marking major periods in Lincoln’s life–his childhood, his formative years in Indiana, his early professional life in Illinois, and his presidency in Washington, D.C. The “heads” sign will continue to carry the familiar Lincoln portrait.
Illustration courtesy United States Mint
BOOK NAME: Dragon Rider
AUTHOR: Cornelia Funke
This is my favorite book of all time so far in my life. As you might guess from the title, this book follows a dragon named Firedrake, Ben the dragon rider and Sorrel, who is a cat-like creature (called a “brownie”) that can talk with both humans and dragons, on a mission to save their kind.
The adventure starts in the Mythical Valley of Dragons. A rat comes to warn the dragons that humans are coming to flood the valley. Sorrel and Firedrake must go to New York City to find a map that will safely lead them to their destination. In New York, they meet Ben who is an orphan boy living in an old warehouse along the river. They meet Ben by using his warehouse for a rest place for a day. Ben convinces Sorrel to let him go along on their mission.
They have all kinds of problems along the way. They land in Europe and come across Nettlebrand, a dragon hunter. Then the chase begins. Ben, Firedrake and Sorrel now not only have to complete their dangerous journey, they have to defeat Nettlebrand as well. They will need all of the tools and tricks they have plus help from a few others along the way.
This book is full of adventure, mystery and learning to find out who you are as a creature and what you find valuable. I think anybody who likes adventure, especially if you have ever wondered what it would be like to ride on the back of dragon in the light of the moon should read this book.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s report, one out of every four species of mammals is facing extinction. Many of the most threatened species are found in Asia, a continent with a growing human population.
“This is leading to habitat loss due to agricultural expansion; development of infrastructure such as roads, which fragment critical landscapes; and increasing areas for industrial crops such as oil palm and pulp for paper,” said Barney Long, a biologist at the World Wildlife Fund in Washington, D.C.
Worldwide, habitat loss affects about 40 percent of threatened mammal species, while human hunting affects 17 percent, Long said.
There is hope for mammals, but keeping them off the endangered list will take a lot of hard work. According to the report, 5 percent of threatened species have seen rebounds due to conservation efforts.
BOOK NAME: Ask Dr. K. Fisher About Creepy-Crawlies
AUTHOR: Claire Llewellyn
Creepy-Crawlies is an interesting book about how a bird named Dr. K. Fisher fixes the problems of other creatures. Some pages of the book are written as letters to Dr. Fisher and the opposite pages are the bird’s letters back.
One of the letters is from a hover fly who says he gets pollen all over him when he drinks nectar from flowers. Dr. Fisher tells him that it’s good for him to pick up pollen and to spread it from flower to flower because it helps the flowers make seeds. Other letters are from a scorpion, glowworm, stick bug, earthworm, millipede and caterpillar.
Other pages of the book are guides to different facts about insects, like their many disguises and wings.
What is really cool is about the book is that on the very first page there’s a real envelope that you can open with a real letter inside from Dr. K. Fisher to you.
I’ve never read a book like this. I like it a lot. What I really like about it is how the bird sends notes back to different bugs to help them out and she writes about bug facts that are really, really cool.
Image courtesy PRI, Kyoto University
Ayumu the chimp probably has a better memory than you do! Ayumu, a chimpanzee at the Primary Research Institute at Kyoto University in Japan and three other chimps took the same memory test as college students. Numbers were flashed on a white screen, then turned into white squares. Test-takers then had to touch the squares in the correct order. Ayumu outscored the college students and the other chimps!
Featured in National Geographic Kids magazine, October 2008
By Heather E. Schwartz
BOOK NAME: Toy Dance Party
AUTHOR: Emily Jenkins & illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky
This is a really fun book because you start thinking it is about a girl that plays with her toys. But as you read it, you find out that it’s really about her older toys being lonely because she only plays with the new toys. So, the main characters of the book are really the toys and not the people.
The main characters are Bossyboots the Stingray, Lumphy the Buffalo, Bonkers, Rocky Road, Millie and Brownie stuffed Mice, Spark the Shark. The “Silent People” are the Barbie dolls. These forgotten toys have lots of adventures together. There was one time when Bonkers the Mouse sucked into the vacuum cleaner and Spark the Shark helped rescue him. He bit the outside of the bag and Bonkers bit the inside of the bag to make an escape hole that Bonkers used to get out. Everyone cheered for Spark and Bonkers.
Another exciting part of the book is when Spark got bored and decided to go a tour of the house. He found the Silent People and nibbled their arms and legs. He returned to tell everyone else how much fun he had. When the girl the Barbie dolls with small bite marks she was very upset and thought there were real mice living in the box where she kept her Barbie dolls. So, it was a funny trick that the old toys played on their owner.
I liked this story because it had funny parts, sad parts and really made you think that no matter how old you are, you can still have fun playing with your older toys.
BOOK NAME: The Tale of Despereaux
AUTHOR: Kate DiCamillo
My review is about a book called The Tale of Despereaux, which won the Newberry Medal. The movie of the book is coming out right before Christmas!
The story begins when a little mouse with huge ears is born. Newborn mice are born blind, but this mouse’s eyes opened for a few seconds. That mouse’s older brother saw his eyes open, and knew that there was something special about that mouse named Despereaux.
When he’s older, his family smells something weird, but Despereaux hears the drip of honey. His family tells him that he means he SMELLS the drip of honey, but Despereaux tells them that he can HEAR the drip of honey.
He was wandering around in the castle where he and his family lived, and he saw the Princess Pea and fell in love. Roscuro, a rat, and Miggery, a servant in the castle, kidnap the Princess so that Miggery can be the Princess. The King was sad, and wouldn’t let Despereaux help.
But Despereaux went to find the Princess anyway because he loved her. And then…(you’ll have to read the book to find out!)
If you keep trying, you can do anything, just like Despereaux who’s a very small mouse with extremely large ears.
BOOK NAME: Shug
AUTHOR: Jenny Han
I just finished a really good book called Shug. This book is about a girl named Annemarie, only her family calls her Shug. There are two reasons why she is called Shug, one because it is short for sugar, two because of a book called The Color Purple. That is her mom’s favorite book. There is a character named Shug Avery in it.
Shug is a very outgoing person and demanding. She comes from a small town and everyone loves her. She has two best friends, Mark and Elaine. She says Mark is her guy best friend and Elaine is her girl best friend. She and Mark have been best friends since forever, and they are neighbors. Then when she gets to junior high everything changes. Mark prefers his guy friends over her, and Elaine starts hanging out with other girls. That makes Shug feel bad because she doesn’t like the other girls that Elaine is hanging out with.
To make things worse, Shug’s sister Celia is the prettiest girl in town and all the boys love her. Shug thinks of herself as too tall, too freckled and not pretty. She also has to tutor a boy that she hates. She thinks her life is going down the drain. I really enjoyed this book and I think a lot of other girls would too. I liked how you could actually relate to it and that this could happen to a real person. The author described things very well so I could see how everything looked. I think the most interesting part of this book was when she gets her first kiss at the end of it. How exciting!