Out to Lunch (coloring page)

I finished up my book project last month and had a bit of a break last week, so it’s time to get back to my (unofficial) coloring page series!
This month, since I’m still taking a break from insects, I decided to go back to an inspiration from a couple months ago. Back then, I posted this photo on my Facebook page, giving people a real-life “What’s Wrong with This Picture” challenge.

Can you figure out what's wrong?
That squirrel looks like he should be chilling on a beach, and it inspired this month's coloring page. Here's how that picture turned out:

You know that stereotype about squirrels eating nuts? Well, I started reading up on squirrels last year and learned that they eat much more than just nuts. I won’t go into details about what they do eat, but they’re not vegetarians. The only things they don't really eat are cellulose materials such as leaves, grass, and woody stems.
Here’s the link to download the free coloring page I created.

Activity Ideas:Find a quie…

Bug, Bug, Spider: The Backstory

It's here! 
This project started last summer, when my family and I were watching a NOVA episode on origami. The video showed a clip of a ladybug's wings unfolding as it launched into the air. In slow-motion, the ladybug's wings slowly, almost magically, opened out from beneath the bug's red shell.
At the time, I wanted to capture that moment of flight. So, I created a coloring page and shared it here, on my blog.

With that small attempt, however, I found the inspiration for Bug, Bug, Spider...a whimsical collection of anthropomorphic insects!

From there, the ideas grew.

I took on an Inktober drawing challenge, trying to complete 30 coloring pages during October. Slowly, though, the project stretched out over an extra two months as I edited and fine-tuned the images, then added science facts and activity pages to the book.

In the end, a couple of my early coloring pages did make it into Bug, Bug, Spider, but my original flying ladybug? She turned into a ladybug on a han…

Picture Books: Bugs & More

As I wrap up my current project, it's time to have another book list!

There seems to be a pattern, actually. I start on a project, and we suddenly need to read dozens of picture books on the topic. Since I'm wrapping up my Bug, Bug, Spider coloring book right now, I wanted to share some of our favorite bug books with you, along with a few extras about other types of invertebrates.

I've linked to the books' pages on Goodreads, in case you want to bookmark them for later:

Picture books / read-alouds:Small Wonders: Jean-Henri Fabre & His World of Insects, by Matthew Clark Smith, illustrated by Giuliano Ferri—beautiful illustrations and a nice biography of one of the early entomologists, though it doesn't have not nearly enough information about the discoveries he made!A Beetle is Shy, by Dianna Hutts Aston, illustrated by Sylvia Long—a book that is both fun and gorgeous! This author & illustrator team will probably make it onto any list of nature stories I ev…

Happy New Year!

I had plans for one of those year-end posts reflecting on how things have changed over the past year. I was also working on another coloring page, specifically for New Year's partying. Then, this week several minor crises hit all at the same time. So, no first-of-the month coloring page this time, and no long-winded reflections either. 
However, I do have a teaser book-cover for my coloring book!

The proof copies for the coloring book came yesterday. I'm wrapping up revisions and planning to publish it January 19th! More information to come!

Time, space, and rockets (coloring page)

It takes eight minutes for light to reach the earth from the sun. It takes two years for a rocket to reach an asteroid.

Given how long things can take, you'd think that major events would tend out a little.

This week, however, we had an incredibly difficult decision: should we watch the NASA live-stream of the new crew members boarding International Space Station? Or, should we watch the latest record-setting SpaceX launch?
It just so happened that the SpaceX launch was scheduled for 1:31 pm (EST), December 3rd. The NASA broadcast for the ISS crew was scheduled to start at for 1:30 pm (EST), on the same day.
How is that for timing?
As it turned out, the crew on the ISS didn’t open the hatch to the Soyuz model until about an hour into the broadcast, so we could have watched both events live, if we’d tracked things better!
Next time, I guess.
At least we were also able to watch probe OSIRIS-REx arriving at the asteroid Bennu. That happened just a couple hour…

Butterflies & a Surprise! (coloring page)

It’s the beginning of the month again, and time for another coloring page—along with a surprise!

Originally, for this picture, I wanted to draw a butterfly with an ice cream sundae. They like to sip nectar, after all!

As I played with image, though, I realized that the proportions were off, and the butterfly was too small. After that, I started a second version—a butterfly sitting on a log with a bottle of soda.
I added a straw for the soda, of course, but a butterfly wouldn’t actually need one! They use their tongues as straws to reach inside flowers for the nectar, as you can see in the video.

You can download the coloring page from Dropbox, here—along with the original version
Let me know what you think!
And now, for the surprise…
When I posted my ladybug coloring page, it wasn’t meant to be part of a series. But, having started, I’ve enjoyed the challenge of creating coloring pages.
And so…I’m creating a coloring book—all about slugs, bugs, and other cuddly critters! The lad…

Picture Books: Rockets & Space Exploration

It’s time for another list with some favorite kids’ books!
It’s been almost a year since I published my own space story—The Rocket that Flew to Marsand I thought it would be fun to share some of the books we read when I was reading up on rockets and space exploration. I’ve grouped them in categories, starting with…

The super cute picture books:Life on Mars, by John Agee—When a young astronaut arrives on Mars—he is the first to explore the barren planet, but he’s determined to show the doubters wrong and prove that there is indeed Life on MarsOn GoodreadsIf You Decide to Go to the Moon, by Faith McNulty, illustrated by Steven Kellogg—A fun mix of science and imagination. (Once we started reading this book, I recognized the illustrator’s style from another book we’ve read—The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash, another whimsical adventure!) On GoodreadsAstronaut Handbook, Meghan Mccarthy—Set back in the days of the space shuttle, and so somewhat outdated now! But, it’s still a fun read. O…