Archives for March, 2010
The Weird But True book is a big hit–so big that it’s being made into a book series! One upcoming Weird But True book will be the first book to ever include facts submitted by NG Kids readers.
Do you have a weird, wacky fact you’d like to see in the new book? Check out the April issue of National Geographic Kids magazine to get the details and find out how to submit your fact.
Don’t enter your fact in the comments! You’ll need to follow
1. Find a weird, wacky fact that has not appeared in NG Kids
magazine. Your fact must be true in order to be published.
2. On the same page as your fact, include the following:
-Your age and date of birth
-Address with zip code
-Name of a parent or guardian
3. Attach at least two reliable sources for your fact, such as printouts from websites or copies of pages from books, newspapers, magazines, encyclopedias, or other sources. Please include the name of the publication, page number, and date of publication or copyright date.
4. You may submit more than one fact, but please include a separate cover sheet for each fact and attach all the source information for the fact to the fact itself.
5. Mail all of this material to this address:
P.O. Box 97056
Washington, DC 20090-7056
POSTMARK DEADLINE: July 5, 2010
Want a DogEared opinion? Read Parker’s review!
The National Zoo in Washington, D.C. wants you to help name the new giant Pacific octopus. Zoo officials aren’t quite sure whether their octopus is a boy or a girl and won’t know until the octopus is bit more mature. Here are the four names from which to choose: Olympus, Octavius, Ceph, and Vancouver. Polls will remain open until noon Eastern time on April 7.
Did you take part in the fourth annual Earth Hour on March 27, 2010? People around the globe turned off their lights, computers, TVs, and other energy consuming devices for one hour from 8:30 – 9:30 p.m. local time to show their commitment to saving energy.
Last year our blogger Ayat participated in Earth Hour from Jordan. Read her post!
Learn more about Earth Hour 2010 on National Geographic News.
If you didn’t participate this year, will you try this next year?
Poaching and the spread of the Ebola virus may cause a quick extinction of gorillas in central Africa, according to a new study by the United Nations. An increase in the human population, logging, and mining for minerals used in cell phones also contribute to the gorilla decline.
Gorilla populations are down from about 17,000 in the mid-1990s to 5,000 eastern lowland gorillas today.
Read the full story on National Geographic News.
Find out about the rescue of a baby gorilla.
Get the facts on mountain gorillas.
Find out about, Mystery Gorillas, a new Nat Geo Wild show premiering April 5.
Photograph by Brent Stirton
BOOK NAME: Thunder from the Sea
AUTHOR: Joan Hiatt Harlow
Caution: this book will have you wanting to give your dog a great big bear hug!
Have you ever had the feeling that you didn’t know you needed a dog until you got one? Well, that is how the Murray family felt once they adopted Thunder.
Thunder wasn’t the only one adopted by the Murrays. They first adopted Tom Campbell when he was already 13 years old. Tom and his new dad spent their time fishing, which was quite a change from the farming that Tom was used to.
One day while they were out fishing, a storm came up suddenly. And with it came the miracle dog, Thunder, who is a beautiful Newfoundland canine which is native to the area. Then and there a legacy was born; one of a boy, a dog, and an adventure.
My favorite part of the book is when they need to get across the ice to get to the island doctor, and the ice begins to crack under them. Tom is forced to make rushed decisions that will have a long term effect on both his new dog and family. Fortunately, the Murrays now have Tom and Thunder to help them through this crisis. This is a very heart warming book that will make you love your dog all the more!
BOOK NAME: Incarceron
Claudia is a girl who has gone her whole life knowing that she would have to marry someone that she would have no say in choosing. She has never really known her father, who is the feared Warden of Incarceron, her mother is dead, and she lives a life of luxury.
Finn is a boy who is imprisoned inside Incarceron. He is part of a gang that is fighting to survive within the vast, moving prison. He is cell-born, meaning that he was made by the prison. He dresses in filthy clothing and eats what he can find.
They live two completely different lives… until the keys of Incarceron bring them together. Who is Finn, really? Is Claudia’s father hiding something about her identity? Where is Incarceron? All of those questions and more will be answered in this twisted, suspenseful novel by Catherine Fisher.
This book is really confusing. Right from the beginning, I had to keep rereading whole chapters to figure out what was going on. After reading it a couple of times, though, I got the whole picture. It is a very good read, and is exactly the kind of book I like: one that keeps me paying attention to every little detail. I especially liked the character of Claudia; she was very intriguing at times. This book takes a lot of concentration, so I would recommend it for middle school kids.
Plastiki, a 60-foot catamaran made from 12,500 reclaimed bottles and a recyclable plastic called srPET, will set sail on Saturday, March 20 from Sausalito, California. Adventurer and environmentalist David de Rothschild and his crew will embark on a 100 day ocean adventure across the Pacific to Sydney, Australia. The team hopes to send the message that waste can be reused in new ways.
Be sure to check out Plastiki.
Track the voyage!
BOOK NAME: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
AUTHOR: Retold from the Mark Twain original by Oliver Ho
Note: this is from the Classic Starts series from Sterling Publishing
Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer are best friends. They have so many adventures. But this one takes place with one of Huck’s friends Jim.
Huck found treasure with Tom Sawyer in a cave, which they stole from Injun’ Joe, a thief, which you might have heard about in my other review. He ends up living with a wealthy family. Huck’s real dad came and took him away because he thought that Huck was showing off and being better than him. His life in his dad’s small cabin was horrible so he cuts a hole in the cabin to escape. To trick his dad and make him think that he’d been killed, he puts an axe in the door and a gun on the ground and pig’s blood all over the place.
Huck runs away to a small island. His friend Jim is on that island because he thought that Huck was killed and he was very upset.
They go on adventures together like almost getting crushed in the wheels of a giant paddleboat and living on a raft with two frauds that cheat people just to get money.
And that’s all I’m going tell you because it’s a really really good book. It has a ton of adventures and Tom Sawyer will show up.
Scientists at the San Diego Zoo’s Institute for Conservation Research recently did something unusual with 24 endangered mountain yellow-legged frogs. They put them in refrigerators! It may sound like a punchline, but the scientists refrigerated the frogs to encourage them to breed. “The cold temperatures mimic high-elevation winter conditions that cause the frogs to hibernate. Typically, mountain yellow-legged frogs display mating behaviors after emerging from hibernation,” said a statement from the zoo.
The frogs went into the refrigerators on January 1, 2010. The scientists are planning to move them to a breeding area in the lab at the beginning of April.
Read more about the frosty frogs on the NatGeo News Watch blog.
Spring peepers are a sign of spring! Why are they so noisy? Find out on National Geographic Kids.
Watch a video of leopard frogs on National Geographic Kids.
Photograph by Adam Backlin, U.S. Geological Survey
Does an expedition to see wild animals and meet people from another culture sound like fun? Keep checking this page for details about the next expedition.
Freshwater is incredibly precious. All humans need water to live, but by 2050, a third of all people may not have a dependable source of clean water to drink. National Geographic’s new Freshwater area is full of information on the Earth’s sources of freshwater and the challenges that face them, as well as ways to protect this vital resource.
Play Creek Cleanup and see how much trash you can pull out of a waterway.
How much do you know about water on Earth? Quiz Your Noodle and find out!
BOOK NAME: Jellicoe Road
Taylor is now confronted with her past. Memories haunt her as little things remind her of when her mother abandoned her at age 11. At the age of 17, Taylor is in the care of a friendly woman named Hannah, and lives at a boarding school. She is the leader of a junior high girls’ dorm, leaving her no time to deal with her emotions.
The same young, cute boy appears in all her dreams offering her comfort and advice. Small memories and dreams come together in her mind, tempting her to go and find her mother. When Hannah disappears without explanation, Taylor goes searching for the missing pieces in her life.
I purchased this book in the teen section of Barnes & Noble, but disagree where it was placed for many reasons. I do like that Taylor is a bold and brave girl with a deep concern for others. My favorite character is Taylor’s boyfriend, Jonah; rough and mean on the outside, he’s really caring on the inside. I am disappointed about some parts of this book and because of this, I honestly don’t plan on reading any of the author’s other books. I don’t recommend it, but if you do have interest in this book I suggest having your parents take a look at it before you buy it or check it out.
Have you ever hiked or camped in a national park? Then you probably have seen a park ranger on duty. The National Park Foundation wants kids ages 9 to 12 to enter a contest and write an essay answering this question: If you were a National Park Ranger for a day, how would you describe the national parks to someone who’s never been before?
The winner of the contest will receive $200 in Merrell gift certificates, an Olympus camera, and an America the Beautiful pass. The pass allows free entry to all of America’s recreation lands.
Learn more about the contest on the National Park Foundation website.
Want some inspiration? Visit the photo gallery to see great shots from the parks, then Quiz Your Noodle and see how much you know about these national treasures.
BOOK NAME: Weird But True! 300 Outrageous Facts
AUTHOR: National Geographic
Weird But True! really goes with its title. For example, the book says there are some ants that can make themselves explode when attacked and melons shaped like pyramids grown in Japan. This book is full of facts that will amaze you, like that bumblebee bats weigh the same as two M&M candies and some fish can actually walk on land. The freakiest fact in the book was that a chicken named Mike lived for 18 months without a head. How is that even possible? The most shocking facts are that some fish can change from female to male and slugs have 3,000 teeth and four noses. (With that many teeth, a trip to the dentist could last all day.)
I really liked this book because it was fun reading all 300 facts and sharing them with my mom, dad and friends. They couldn’t believe most of it. This is a good book to take in the car on a long trip and read out loud. Let me give you one more fact from the book: People report the most UFO sightings when Venus is closest to Earth. I guess we know where all the aliens live now!
BOOK NAME: Julie of the Wolves
AUTHOR: Jean Craighead George
As the main character, Julie, runs from her past, she comes to find herself living alone in the Alaskan wilderness. Her days are filled just waiting for winter to set in, offering her nothing but its blinding, cold hard months. Through some tragic circumstances, Julie finds herself almost starving to death when she discovers a pack of wolves. She watches them and learns the secret language of these wolves and finally is accepted into the pack by the leader.
As you read, you also learn the secret language of wolves with Julie. This is fascinating because it has even helped me better understand my own dog’s behavior including nipping at the nose and why she pulls her hears back or rolls over.
I loved the crystal clear words the author used to describe the sun, snow and wilderness. She slowly crafted the scene into my mind as I read and I could easily picture myself there. The author explains the story so vividly that even the strongest of heart will feel weepy. Make sure you have a box of tissues handy when you read this one!
I also enjoyed this story because it reminded me of Island of the Blue Dolphins. Like it, this is a survival story which is especially inspiring. I’m anxious to read the book’s sequel to find out what happens next. The ending of this book seems so perfect that I can’t imagine what more could happen. But I’ll let you know soon!
While on his Bus2Antarctica expedition, Andrew Evans spotted something unusual–a black king penguin. The penguin is all black because of melanism. Melanism is an overproduction of melanin, which turns feathers (or skin or fur) dark. Many animal species exhibit melanism, but it’s very rare for penguins–and even rarer to see a penguin exhibiting dark pigment all over its body.
Read more about the black penguin on National Geographic’s Intelligent Travel blog.
Find out more about Andrew Evans’ Bus2Antarctica expedition on National Geographic.
Photograph courtesy Andrew Evans
Peeps, the sugar-coated marshmallow treats shaped like bunnies and chicks, have been unwrapped and are traveling the world! National Geographic is challenging photographers to enter a photo competition to find the most creative Peeps travel photo. Be sure to sign up with your parents–kids can’t enter the contest on their own!
Get more information on the competition on National Geographic’s Intelligent Travel blog.
Get inspired! Check out the gallery of last year’s Peep photos on National Geographic Traveler.
Photograph by John Frazier
BOOK NAME: Twilight
AUTHOR: Stephenie Meyer
I know DogEared fans have been requesting a review of this book. It is one of the most popular books ever. So here it is.
Bella Swan just moved from Tennessee to a rainy city in Washington State called Forks, where she had decided to live with her dad for a few weeks. At Bella’s new school she discovers this creepy family, the Cullens, who like to keep to themselves. One of the kids name is Edward. One day Bella nearly gets hit by an out-of-control truck! Edward somehow saves her by stopping the truck. Soon she finds out that the Cullens are vampires! Bella and Edward fall in love with each other but it’s not long after when a bad vampire comes into town trying to chase down Bella. The Cullens have to save Bella, and save the rest of her family before it’s too late.
I LOVED this book!!! I did cheat and go see the movie first. It was a long book but totally worth it. I am now reading New Moon (I went to go see that movie first too!). I would definitely recommend this book to kids who are in middle school because it is a hard read. There are four books total in The Twilight Series and they have already made two of the movies. Eclipse and Breaking Dawn are the others.
I am a Team Jacob fan! Write back if you are a Team Jacob or a Team Edward fan!
The residents of the tiny Australian town of Lajamanu were surprised to see fish falling from the sky in late February, reports Australia’s Northern Territory News. Surprisingly, the fish were still alive when they landed. The falling fish may have been sucked up along with water during a tornado and dropped back to earth hundreds of miles away.
Read more about the falling fish on Northern Territory News.
Learn about other strange weather on National Geographic Kids.
On February 27, a magnitude 8.8 earthquake struck off of the shore of Chile, which is on the western side of South America. The quake damaged buildings, bridges, and power lines. It also caused tsunamis that battered Chile’s coast and even reached as far away as Hawaii.
This quake was stronger than the one that occurred in Haiti in January. It was even strong enough to change the Earth’s axis and shorten the length of a day by 1.26 millionths of a second.
Find out more about the Chile earthquake on National Geographic News.
Read about the January earthquake in Haiti on News Bites.
Learn more about earthquakes on nationalgeographic.com.
Photograph by Martin Bernetti/AFP/Getty Images
BOOK NAME: Stone Rabbit series
AUTHOR: Erik Craddock
I’m going to write about three books in the Stone Rabbit series. The first one is called BC Mambo. The second one is Pirate Palooza. The third one is called Deep Space Disco. There’s only five books out, but I’m only going to write about three, because I only have three. I want to get the other ones because those look cool.
These books are action kids’ books. Each is like a comic book, with a lot of words like “poof”, “pow” and that kind of stuff.
BC Mambo is about Stone Rabbit finding a giant hole in his bathroom and falls through it and lands in dinosaur eggs. Stone Rabbit runs into a lot of dinosaurs until he finally gets out of that world.
In Pirate Palooza, Stone Rabbit finds a leg for a table that he broke, but he doesn’t know it’s a pirate’s wooden leg. He has to fight a lot of pirates and he eventually saves the pirates from getting attacked by this other ship.
In Deep Space Disco, he goes into this restaurant and gets sucked into a spaceship, so then he’s an astronaut. He and his friend save the world.
I like these books because there’s a lot of action and they’re funny. I
think these books are good for kids in first and second grade.
Sadie is a five-year-old Scottish terrier. She won the Best in Show award at the 2010 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on February 16 in New York. The 2010 Show is the 134th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. The first show was held in 1877. The Best in Show award was first given in 1907.
How much do you know about different dog breeds? Quiz Your Noodle and find out!
Read about the 2007 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on National Geographic Kids.
Photograph by John Ashbey
BOOK NAME: Everlost
When a person dies, they go towards the light at the end of the tunnel. Well, what if you died and were going through the tunnel, but were such a klutz that you tripped on the way to the light? What would happen to you? Where would you go? A potential answer lies in Neal Shusterman’s novel Everlost.
In the story, two teenagers, Nick and Allie, die in a car crash. They bump into each other on the way to the light, and fall out into a place called Everlost. They wake up in a forest and meet another kid who fell out of the tunnel when he died. He’s an Afterlight like them, but is different in many other ways. For example, he can’t remember his real name and looks like he came from the year 1900! As Nick and Allie set off to find out more about their new life (or non-life), the boy follows them and they decide to call him Lief.
Lief, Nick, and Allie soon discover the many wondrous and sinister parts of Everlost as they travel to New York and beyond. They have run-ins with dead spots, Mary Hightower, other dead children, and an eerie monster called the McGill.
Neal Shusterman is one of my favorite authors, and really made the world of Everlost come to life with his vibrant, innovative, and funny writing style. He really did a good job of making his characters seem real, which is one thing I liked about it–I could relate to the characters. Despite what it might sound like, it’s not really a scary book. It’s more of an adventure story! This book is one that you can read over and over again without getting tired of it, and it really makes you think. My favorite parts of the book were the ones with Lief after he had come out of the barrel and the ones with Hammerhead because they really made me laugh. I really liked the whole concept of Everlost, and would recommend this book to late elementary and middle school-aged kids.