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Creatures That Fly, Creatures that Crawl

Our regular readers have figured out by now that I love bugs, because I cannot seem to pass up reading books about them. I often daydream that I am an entomologist who researches and raises insects of all kinds, and even identifies new species. I suppose the next best thing to being a scientist who studies insects is reading books written by scientists, including  these two special books about dragonflies and caterpillars.

Author Chris G. Earley is the interpretive biologist at the University of Guelph’s Arboretum in Ontario, Canada. Most of the photos in the book were taken by the author.

dragonfDragonflies: Catching, Identifying, How and Where They Live ($6.95, Firefly Books, Ages 8-11) will get you hooked on these fascinating creatures. Dragonflies are part of a group of insects called odonates. They are fast fliers and have been around since before dinosaurs roamed the earth! If you want to find dragonflies on your own, look for them near rivers, lakes and swamps from early spring to late autumn.

In this information-packed compact paperback book, you’ll learn about the life cycle of the dragonfly (egg, nymph, adult); what they eat (other insects); how to catch them (using a net); and how to hold them (by gently folding back their wings). You’ll also discover many different kinds of dragonflies with descriptions and incredible photographs. There’s a list of additional books worth reading and an index to help you find what you’re looking for.

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caterp2The cover of Caterpillars: Find, Identify, Raise Your Own ($6.95, Firefly Books, Ages 8-11) makes you want to open this book right up and start reading. Caterpillars never cease to amaze children because their transformation into butterflies is nothing short of amazing.

Readers will be able to identify all the parts of the caterpillar and their life cycle (egg, caterpillar, chrysallis/cocoon, adult stage). They will also learn how to find, raise and feed them. And after reading about all the different types of moths and butterflies, and looking at photos, they will be able to identify a wide variety of species. This book also has a list for further reading and an index for quick reference.

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Both of these books teach children what they can do to protect these insects and to cherish the creatures of the wild. They will also encourage kids to want to learn more about nature and perhaps one day become scientists themselves.

– Reviewed by Debbie Glade

If you enjoy these books about bugs, read some of Debbie’s other reviews here.

Step Gently Out

Noisy Bug Sing-a-long

How To Raise Monarch Butterflies

Mayfly Day

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A Mom’s Summer Survival Kit Great Books Giveaway

The kids are home, the house is a mess, and all you hear is “Mommy, mommy, mommy!”  While we cannot provide an escape plan, we can offer you the chance to win some really super books for when you carve out some ‘me’ time (even if that involves reading helpful parenting books) and find the perfect place to relax, kick off your shoes and read, read, read. OR maybe you know a mom who could REALLY use these books. Score points and enter the contest to win the prize for her.

Good Reads With Ronna has teamed up with Andrews McMeel Publishing to offer a “just what I needed” prize package (worth almost $50) of essential reading and a treat for your little ones, too!

Here’s what you can win:

No Regrets Parenting -Turning Long Days and Short Years into Cherished Moments with Your Kids by Harley A. Rotbart, M.D. ($14.99)

Toilet Training Without Tantrums by John Rosemond ($12.99)

Mom’s Pocket Posh Ages 4-6 ($7.99)

Numbers Caterpillar-Shaped 2-Sided Board Book ($11.99, ages 3 and up)

The giveaway begins today and ends midnight on July 17, 2012.  To enter, send your name and address now in an email to Ronna.L.Mandel@gmail.com and write MOM’S SUMMER SURVIVAL in the subject. Then be sure to leave a comment below for this blog post and LIKE Good Reads With Ronna on Facebook.  You’ll get an additional entry for following us on Twitter @goodreadsronna. For detailed giveaway rules please click here. Good luck.

What we love about this selection of books is that there’s something for everyone which ultimately makes mom very happy. The caterpillar-shaped Numbers book is great in the stroller, in restaurants, and on-the-go. It’s sturdy with an elastic closure, colorful, compact and we’ve discovered there are quite a lot of fun ways to play with Numbers, too. 

Mom’s Pocket Posh Ages 4-6  is an indispensable and handy item for moms to keep in a glove compartment or purse and is filled with 100 puzzles and games to play with your kids at a picnic, waiting in line for a movie or on a car trip. And there’s such a wide variety of Pocket Posh soft-covered books available to choose from. Into Jane Austen? They’ve got one.  A knitter maybe? They’ve got a Pocket Posh for that, too!  There’s even a complete calorie counter and with its gorgeous cover, you won’t mind pulling it out for all to see even if you did just down a 1000 calories-laden piece of cheesecake!

In No Regrets Parenting there are countless gems to take away from every chapter so that time spent with your children can be the best possible experiences ever. We think Rotbart’s idea about family celebrations is one worth noting. For example, he suggests making a half-birthday, the first day of school, a good report card, the first lost tooth or big snowstorm a reason to celebrate. While he clearly states these don’t have to be gift-giving occasions, nor do they have to become big events, they can, however, quite easily become days the entire family will look forward to year after year. These are really what great memories are made of. In another chapter he emphasizes the importance of walking somewhere local with your child rather than driving there. Taking time to just stroll leisurely (if the situation permits), talk and maybe hold hands is an ideal way to be “present” with your child rather than rushing about in the car to get someplace. Be spontaneous and see what happens.  It might be some of the best moments you and your child have shared in a long time. Broken down in main categories such as Basic Principles, Simple Strategies, Epilogue and an Appendix then put into topic chapters, all areas of life with kids is covered.  The brief chapters are well written and packed with ideas parents will refer back to again. In fact you may be surprised to learn that Rotbart even suggests parents keep the book in the bathroom as it was “not written to be read cover to cover.” If you have young kids or those heading off to college, No Regrets Parenting is an invaluable resource to have on hand, bookshelf or bathroom!

Author John Rosemond has written 15 parenting books and his advice is often “the last word” on many topics and it’s certainly true in Toilet Training Without Tantrums. This is a brief book which should come as welcome news to many readers. Rosemond feels that toilet training is a simple process therefore the book should cut to the chase quickly, too.  Rosemond’s sense of humor (which helps enormously when toilet training because it can be so stressful to so many) is evident from page 1 where he even tells readers what chapters they can skip depending on their current situation/predicament. Most importantly parents will discover that Rosemond believes the old-fashioned way of potty-training is the tried-and-true method and that Brazelton’s philosophy of waiting to see the “seven signs of readiness” is not necessarily what works best. After putting into action and seeing results from the recommended approach presented in Toilet Training Without Tantrums, moms can kiss their diaper bags good-bye.

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