Sharks, Baby!

Shark Baby is out, in print, as a downloadble ebook, and in both English and Spanish! You can follow Shark Baby on Facebook, and illustrator Shennen Bersani and I will be making some East Coast appearances, as follows:

School Vacation Week

April 16 at 10am

Bestsellers Café, Medford, MA

May 18, time TBD

Books on the Square
, Providence, RI

June 8 (World Oceans Day)

Mystic Aquarium, Mystic, CT

We’ll be doing a mix of reading, signing, crafts, and natural history presentations at each location.

Stay tuned for more details, and see Shark Baby‘s page on the publisher’s website for much more information and free goodies.


Since You Asked…

Whatever happened to Theodora and Wycca, Gideon and Iain, Dr. Naga and Vyrna? The sad story is that the publisher decided not to publish a third book in the Hatching Magic series. I have been working on a third book and, who knows, it may yet see the light of print. But not any time soon.

I have moved on to other things, mostly nonfiction: Elephant Talk, Shark Baby, and Wild Animal Neighbors. You can learn about those books by clicking the tabs above. And there are other fiction projects that I hope turn to soon.

I wish I had something more positive to report to all of you who have written asking about Hatching Magic, book 3. Your interest and palpable love for the characters means more to me than I can say.


Where Did the Fall Go?

Or the summer, for that matter? It went by in one long whooooooooosh.

I’ve been busy with my science editing business, writing museum exhibit copy, and finishing up my latest book for Lerner Books, Wild Animal Neighbors. Due out in Fall 2013, it tells the stories of seven different animal species in different cities across the U.S. and on the other side of the world. Stay tuned for more news about that, or follow my Citycritter feed on Twitter.

Meeting deadlines means that I finally had a chance to update this very neglected blog. You’ll see a new design, and a new tab above for Wild Animal Neighbors. There are also new goodies under the Shark Baby tab—links to identifying shark egg cases, a sneak preview of the art, and more. Since that book is being released in Spanish, I hope to add some Spanish-language resources.

I’ve been invited to take Elephant Talk on the road, up to Hope, Maine, and I plan to visit aquariums up and down the East Coast to promote Shark Baby. In the meantime, you can friend Shark Baby over on Facebook.


Elephant Talk Chatter on the Blogosphere

Nice post up at the Booklist BOOKENDS blog.

Another opportunity to steer teachers, home schoolers, librarians, and others to the great resources up on the Lerner website: a comic activity based on the comics used by Space for Giants (formerly the Laikipia Elephant Project) in Kenya, and a Google Earth Tour, Elephant Trek, that should work on any SmartBoard and take readers on a tour around the world with links to video of scientists profiled in the book.

Woolly, Woolly

Karen Romano Young has a new Humanimal Doodle up on her website, outlining the research of Canadian biologist Kevin Campbell into woolly mammoths and elephant evolution.

Campbell wanted to study how woolly mammoths were adapted to the cold climate of Pleisotocene, 1.7 million to 11,500 years ago. The problem was, woolly mammoths were extinct. To see how Campbell overcame this problem, you’ll have to read Karen’s doodle. But this picture of Campbell holds a clue.

Want more woolly? Check out the nice page at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, and get a peek at Lyuba, a mammoth calf mummified in the permafrost.

You can learn more about Karen’s books on her website, and catch her Humanimal doodles regularly in Odyssey magazine.

A New Elephant Species

Scientists have long known that Africa’s secretive forest elephants were different. They were much smaller, about half the size of elephants that lived on the grassy savanna. They also were darker in color, with pink tusks. For a long time, forest elephants were classified as a subspecies of African elephant.

Now DNA studies have confirmed what some researchers have long suspected. Forest elephants are an entirely different species. In fact, by looking deep into the elephants’ DNA, scientists learned that the two African elephant species split off around the same time Asian and Savanna elephants first diverged–between 2.6 and 5.6 million years ago.

An article about the newest research is available here. You can read more about all three species of elephant when ELEPHANT TALK comes out next month.

Little Drummer Girls

Well, not so little. This video by Vicki Croke and videographer Christen Goguen shows the two Asian elephants at the Buttonwood Park Zoo I visited toward the end of writing ELEPHANT TALK. Obviously, I didn’t ask the zookeepers Jenny and Kay the right questions, because they didn’t fess up at the time to their considerable improvisational drumming skills.

In the video, you can see elephants Emily and Ruth getting down with their big, bad selves…and displaying many of the body language gestures and chirps, trumpets, and rumbles I discuss in ELEPHANT TALK. These are two happy elephants.

Wishing you all the joys of the season.