Archives for February, 2009
Photograph courtesy Zeb Hogan
National Geographic Emerging Explorer Zeb Hogan found what might be the world’s largest freshwater giant stingray in Thailand this month! The giant river ray’s body was an incredible 6.6 feet (2 meters) wide by 6.9 feet (2.1) meters long.
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BOOK NAME: Ramona Forever
AUTHOR: Beverly Cleary
This is one of the books of the Ramona series. These books follow a girl named Ramona Quimby. She is a third grader who gets into trouble a lot. Not serious trouble, but the fun kind of trouble
This is a story about big changes for Ramona, her family and the Kemps, their neighbors. Ramona’s mom is going to have a baby, she no longer has to go to the babysitter after school and there is going to be a wedding, only no one knows it yet.
Ramona’s mom is going to have another baby and is feeling really tired and needs a little extra help. Her sister, Ramona’s Aunt Bea, is coming to help out. At around the same bout the same time, a new visitor comes to the Ramona’s neighbor’s house. It is their Uncle Hobart. Howie, Ramona’s neighbor, had told her that her Uncle Hobart had a lot of money. But when he drives up in a muddy van, wearing old jeans and a faded T-shirt, Ramona was surprised because she thought Uncle Hobart would arrive in a limousine and be dressed in nice clothes. Anyway, a very strange thing happens. Aunt Bea and Uncle Hobart actually know each other. While they are both living in the same neighborhood, they decide to get married.
On the wedding day, the ring that Aunt Bea is giving Hobart gets lost. Everybody goes crazy looking for it because the wedding can’t go on without it. It’s a lot of fun to follow Ramona as she looks for it. This was the best Ramona book because it has a lot of action and excitement.
Photograph courtesy Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Fishermen and scientists have found pieces of the unusual Pacific barreleye fish in their nets since 1939, but the first photos of live, intact fish were released today. Their grayish, barrel-like fish eyes are upright tubes, which are protected by a transparent dome on the top of the head, similar to the cockpit of a fighter plane.
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True Green Kids: 100 Things You Can Do To Save the Planet by Kim McKay and Jenny Bonnin was named the Best Hands-On Science Book by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. True Green Kids is packed with simple things you can do to help save the planet!
Get green tips on National Geographic Kids.
BOOK NAME: The Tales of Beedle the Bard
AUTHOR: J.K. Rowling
The Tales of Beedle the Bard is a fairy tale book only it takes place in the wizarding world of Harry Potter. The characters always learn from their journey and leave you with a moral. At the end of each story, Albus Dumbledore tells you the meaning of the story. He explains why certain stuff is there and he gives you his review of the story. In my opinion it does get a little boring at that part but it’s always worth it in the end.
There are five stories in the whole book. Here is a look at three of my favorites. In the story called The Fountain of Fair Fortune there were three witches that were seeking the fountain of glory and they each needed it for different reasons.
In the story Babbitty Rabbitty and her Crackling Stump a foolish king wanted power all by himself. He gets magic lessons from a fake sorcerer then he decides to have a magic show in front of his people.
In the last story The Tale of Three Brothers, which was my favorite, three brothers each wish for three objects: an invisibility cloak, a rock to bring back the dead and a wand of more power than anything imaginable.
I will have to rate this four out of five. This book is good for people who like the whole Harry Potter series and fantasy stories like those. Write back and give me a story topic that you think J.K Rowling should use if she were to make more of these types of stories.
Songbirds fly faster than scientists thought they did
–two to three times faster, in fact! A researcher from York University in Toronto outfitted wood thrushes and purple martins with miniature geolocators and tracked them as they migrated. The geolocators work by detecting light, which allows scientists to estimate the latitude and longitude where the data was recorded.
Scientists found that the birds fly two to six times faster during their spring return journey than in fall. One purple martin flew from Brazil to back to its breeding colony in the United States in only 13 days!
Find out more about the songbird study on National Geographic News.
Learn about tiny bee backpacks in this News Bite.
Large photograph courtesy Timothy J. Morton
Inset photograph courtesy Bridget J. Stutchbury
Today is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin. Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, led the country through the Civil War. Britain’s Charles Darwin is famous for his theory on evolution, which he published in the book, On the Origin of Species. Both men are remembered today for their impact on history.
Watch a video about Abraham Lincoln’s life.
Learn about the inspiration behind Darwin’s theory in National Geographic Magazine.
It’s time to prove to Mount Olympus just how well you know Percy Jackson and Greek mythology.
If you’re up for the challenge, take this Quiz Your Noodle, and we’ll tell you how you rank among the gods.
Plus, look out for Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 5: The Last Olympian, the final book in the series coming out May 5, 2009!
The oldest human hairs ever found were discovered in an unusual place–hyena poop! Researchers found the rock-hard dung in a cave in South Africa. They used tweezers to extract 40 fossilized hairs resembling glass needles from one of the hyena coprolites, or fossil turd.
Read the whole story on National Geographic News.
Get the scoop on spotted hyenas in the Creature Feature.
The 2009 Hands-On Explorer Contest is now closed. No new entries will
be accepted by the judges. It’s time to wait to find out who won!
BOOK NAME: Sideways Stories from Wayside School
AUTHOR: Louis Sachar
This book is hilarious. It’s all about the kids in Ms. Jewel’s class at
Wayside School. The reason it’s called “wayside” school is because it
was built sideways. The school was supposed to be 1 story tall with 30
classrooms. But the builder made a mistake and built the school 30
stories high with each story only containing a single classroom. There
are a lot of crazy things that go on at Wayside.
classroom is on the 30th floor of Wayside. At the beginning of the
year, Ms. Jewel has a substitute teacher named Ms. Gorf. She is mean
and can turn kids into apples. I know it sounds weird, but it’s true.
If you do anything wrong or give an incorrect answer, Ms. Gorf wiggles
her ears, sticks out her tongue and then…poof!…you are turned into
an apple. Pretty soon, all the students had been turned into applies
by Ms. Gorf. All of the “apples” demand to be turned back into kids
and they plan an “apple attack” on Ms. Gorf until she gives and turns
them back into kids again! After that, Ms. Gorf leaves the school and
never comes back and Ms. Jewel comes back to teach her class.
is only one of the stories from the book. There are 29 more chapters in
the book that talk about each kid in Ms. Jewel’s class. Once they get
passed Ms. Gorf and her apple turning magic meanness, Ms. Jewel’s class
has a pretty crazy rest of the year. There are 3 books about the
Wayside School. I liked them because they were all funny and
silly…and made me want to read the others.
Illustration by Jason Bourque
Fossils of Titanoboa cerrejonesis were unearthed in a coal mine in Colombia. Studies show that this snake, which lived 60 million years ago, was the biggest snake ever at 42 feet (13 meters) long and weighed almost a ton at 2,000 pounds (1134 kilograms). “That’s longer than a city bus and … heavier than a car,” said lead study author Jason Head, a fossil-snake expert at the University of Toronto Mississauga in Canada and a research associate with the Smithsonian Institution.
Read more about the world’s biggest snake on National Geographic News.
The largest living snake is the anaconda. Get more facts in the Creature Feature.
BOOK NAME: The Playful Chef Cookbook
I tried out two recipes in The Playful Chef Cookbook and both were very good. Each recipe said to wash your hands first, which I thought was weird since they’ll just get dirty while making the food, but my Dad said it’s always a good idea to wash your hands so you don’t get yourself or others sick.
The first recipe I tried was for Eggstraordinary Scrambled Eggs. We followed the recipe but then put cheese on top at the end, which made it taste even better. The other recipe was for Holiday Gingerbread muffins. This one took much longer than the eggs to make and it was much harder. I made these for my Cub Scouts den meeting and everyone there liked them. Everyone had at least two. The muffins kind of tasted like gingerbread men except without the frosting. I would definitely make the muffins again.
Besides recipes, the cookbook has Playful Chef Skill pages that tell how to do different things that are important for being a chef, like how to whisk and how to work as a team in the kitchen. I think this book has tons of good recipes, including Chinese New Year Fortune Cookies and The World’s Fluffiest Pancakes. I plan to try all of the recipes and you should too.
There are a few days left to enter the 2009 Hands-On Explorer Challenge! The postmark date is February 5. All entries must be received by February 12. So finish your essay, choose your photo, and enter the contest!
Uh-oh! The groundhog saw its shadow this morning, which means six more weeks of winter are on the way. Tradition says that if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow on February 2, winter will last another six weeks. However, if Phil does not see his shadow, there will be an early spring.
Learn more about groundhogs, also known as woodchucks, on National Geographic.