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Time to celebrate Susan Stockdale's newest book, Stripes of All Types by taking a peek at the science behind the stripes. stripes-of-all-types

This visually-stunning picture book is suitable for the preschoolers and early readers. The text is a deceptively simple rhyme that draws the young reader in and gives clues to the unfamiliar words. Stripes of All Types incorporates art, poetry and science all into one highly attractive package. For a review see our sister blog, Wrapped in Foil.

Susan says she got the idea for the book after observing some brightly striped frogs at a museum. It got her to thinking of all the other striped animals there are and why that might be. Let's take a look at some common ones.


We know some animals, like the skunk on the cover of the book, have bold stripes and contrasting colors as a warning to other animals that they are "armed and dangerous," or at least can spray a noxious chemical.


Animals that are yellow and black, red and black, or those with prominent stripes like this paper wasp are thought to be advertizing their ability to defend themselves.


Some animals, like this monarch caterpillar, do not have an obvious defense like a stinger. It turns out they are protected by being poisonous to eat.


What about this stripy caterpillar?


Check out the stripes on this moth.


This swallowtail butterfly even has a stripe down its body.

Stripes in some animals may be a form of camouflage to break up the outline of the body to confuse predators, such as birds.


That was long thought to be the case for the zebra. Some very recent work, however, has suggested that the stripes may have a different role. It turns out a zebra's stripes may be protecting it from biting flies (summary of the study at the BBC).

Given that many insects are susceptible to parasitic flies, it will be interesting to see if this finding is applied to other organisms.

Are you excited about stripes yet? Be sure to look for some more!

In Stripes of All Types, Susan Stockdale features many unusual and intriguing animals with stripes. In the back matter she discusses each animal in more detail, giving its name, where it lives and more about what its stripes might have to say. She also has a matching game at the end to reinforce learning, asking the reader to match the sample of stripes to the animal.

It will be hard to wait, but Stripes of All Types is coming to bookstores April 1.

Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers (April 1, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1561456950
ISBN-13: 978-1561456956

The books was provided by the publisher for review purposes.

Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books.

Isn't it amazing where a good book can take you?

For STEM Friday today we are going to take part in a blog tour for two great books from Peachtree Publishers: Stripes of All Types by Susan Stockdale and A Place for Turtles by Melissa Stewart and illustrated by Higgins Bond.


Because both these books stand on their own, I'm going to do separate posts for each and use this post as a jumping off point to help you find the links as they go live. Enjoy!

A Place for Turtles by Melissa Stewart is a wonderful choice for Earth Day. Learn more about turtles at Growing With Science. See Wrapped in Foil for an expanded review.

Stripes of All Types by Susan Stockdale builds a bridge between art, poetry and science. Peek at the science behind the stripes at Growing with Science. See a review and activity suggestions at Wrapped in Foil.

See an interview with Susan Stockdale at Sally's Bookshelf and an interview with illustrator Higgins Bond at Archimedes Notebook.

The Peachtree Publishers blog has a round up of all the participants in the blog tour.


Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books.

For STEM Friday today we are going to take a look at the new children's book Wild Discoveries: Wacky New Animals by Heather L. Montgomery. wild-discoveries

The book features thirty amazing newly-discovered creatures, ranging from hot pink millepedes to see-through frogs like the one shown on the cover. As Heather points out in the beginning of the book, these are not really "new" species, but that scientists have simply recently discovered and named them. The species are organized by region, helping to define habitats. The description of each animal is accompanied by fun facts and details about how they were found. (Unsure of what a species is? See a review of classification.)

Humans love exploration, so finding a new species is a thrill. Scientists often turn up new species by searching in hard to reach places, like the depths of the oceans. Other times they can stumble across a new species in their own back yard! Searching for new species is definitely within the realm of citizen science. In fact, this article from BBC News suggests that 60% of new species found in Europe are discovered by amateur enthusiasts. As Wild Discoveries reveals, age in no limit. Children have helped to uncover new species.

Inspired by these ideas? How would you find a new species yourself?

1. Learn about a group of animals, plants or fungi that interests you.

Choose a group that isn't too popular. Although new mammals and birds are found occasionally (a new monkey, a sengi, and a tarsier are described in the book), your chances of finding a new species increase greatly if you choose to look for animals without backbones, for example. If you learn the common species of a group that occur in your area, you will be able to recognize something new if you stumble upon it.

2. Get out and observe nature, and record what you see.

Keeping a nature journal or blog can be a great way of recording your findings. Take photographs when you find something new. New species have been recognized from photographs on sharing sites like Flickr.

3. Volunteer at a nearby natural history museum, aquarium or similar organization.

Take opportunities to learn with an expert. One of the girls from the book got to name a new species because she volunteered at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

4. Take part in a  BioBlitz.

5. Be realistic. Realize that sometimes it is simply a matter of luck, or as Heather Montgomery writes, being "in the right place at the right time."

Activity for youngsters:
Draw an imaginary new species or one of the species from the book.

Activity for older students:
Research a newly-discovered species. Write a report on what is known about it and how it was found. Even better, create a slide presentation or video and share it with your friends or classmates.

For inspiration, here is one of the cool newly-discovered species:  the green bomber worm.

For more information:

Arizona State University has a Top 10 list of new species each year.

**Heather L. Montgomery's website has related materials and a free lesson plan with 40 pages of great lessons.**

Reading level: Ages 7 and up
Paperback: 64 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks (February 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0545477670
ISBN-13: 978-0545477673


Book supplied by publisher for review purposes.

Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books.