The Story Behind the Book
I've been lucky enough to see dolphins along the shores of Florida, but the highlights of my dolphin encounters involve my son Jesse, and also Dr. Randall Wells, who studies dolphins at the Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota. When Jesse was in 4th grade he accompanied me on a visit to Florida. We spent parts of two days with Randy Wells, and learned a lot about wild bottlenose dolphins he was studying (and had given names). This led to my book about Dr. Wells: Dolphin Man: Exploring the World of Dolphins. And he was the obvious and very helpful choice when I needed an expert to check my writing and the art for this book.
"A stealthy predator, downy companion, or astute mascot? Owls, Pringle contends, are as multifaceted as they are abundant. Through a series of photographic watercolors and pithy paragraphs, Pringle and Henderson illumine the history of the owl, its many forms, and its varied habitats—from church steeples to the frozen tundra. The text helpfully breaks down a discussion of species into a handful of fun facts (you won’t find a screech owl screeching) and popular favorites (Harry Potter’s Hedwig is a snowy owl, of course!). Physiological details about skeletal structure and digestion are paired with precise illustrations of bones, owl pellets, and telling cutaway views. Side-by-side sketches of the owl with other birds, such as the pigeon and robin, underscore informative tidbits about the owl’s wide-ranging binocular vision, its flexible talons, and its 14-boned neck. Complete with a glossary of terms, index, and suggested-reading list, this book—true to its swooping subject matter—is swift, exacting, and sure to hook any reader."
Review from SLJ:
"Pringle and Henderson successfully pair up again for the newest installment in this series. Employing a conversational tone, the author thoroughly covers the basics of these nocturnal birds, shedding light on habitat, life cycle, and biology. A large variety of owls are expertly compared to one another, as well as to other birds and even humans. The book includes aspects often missed in similar titles, such as the shape of the feet, the placement of the eyes, and the number of vertebrae: all are explained and made exciting. Hunting habits are also described and clearly depicted; the illustrations often show unlucky mice and fish caught in an owl's talons or mouths, but the images, though realistic, are never graphic. Information about the variations in owl pellets and how to sterilize them will inspire students to look for ways to get some hands-on experience for themselves. Back matter will lead young researchers to learn more, and the glossary is especially informative. VERDICT: A great purchase for report writers, budding ornithologists, and generally curious readers. author visits to elementary schools
elementary school author visits
Plus, part of the review in School Library Journal: "Pringle conpresses a surprising amount of information of factual material into this informational picture book. His writing style flows well, with details smoothly woven into a cohesive read."
Also, from the March/April issue of The Horn Book:
Octopuses! Strange and Wonderful
Pringle (Scorpions!, rev. 1/14) introduces readers to another utterly amazing animal: the octopus. The text’s thorough descriptions present scientific information about these mollusks, including impressive facts about their versatile bodies and “smart” behaviors (e.g., shooting a decoy cloud of octopus-shaped ink to fool predators; solving mazes) along with the basics about physiology, reproduction, and habitat. How cool is it that an octopus can fit its entire body through any space that can accommodate its relatively small beak, or change its skin color and texture in the blink of an eye? These and other adaptations are carefully explained to showcase octopus survival in the face of their many predators, as well as the techniques they use to feast on prey, including fellow mollusks. Henderson’s illustrations feature a colorful range of octopus species, deftly conveying the beauty, flexibility, and motion of the octopuses and their squishy, tentacled bodies as they navigate their watery environments. The book ends with a paragraph that considers some unanswered questions about octopuses. A reading list and websites, glossary, and index are appended. danielle j. ford
"Naming but not otherwise anthropomorphizing this stealthy survivor, Pringle follows Bella the woolly bear through a "jungle of grasses, clovers, and wild flowers," weaving in information about her food and feeding, body parts, and life stages...Pringle refutes the myth that woolly bear caterpillars predict the severity of the coming winter."
--Kirkusschool author visits
"A solid choice for science collections."--Booklist
"Pringle delivers another stinging success with this fascinating look at the similarities and differences among the many varied species of these much feared but mostly misunderstood arachnids."--Kirkus
author in classrooms or library in schools
From the Booklist review: "The latest entry in the excellent Strange and Wonderful series provides an attractive introduction...Illustrating the book, Henderson's watercolor paintings are precisely delineated, informative, and sometimes lovely as well."
From the School Library Journal review: "This title examines of the most remarkable life cycles in nature...This smoothly written, beautifully illustrated title will fill a gap in most collections."
From the STARRED Library Media Connection review: "This attractive, solid book provides excellent information...Even though the format is aimed toward younger readers, the depth of information would make it appropriate for older readers in search of research material. The beautiful illustrations would also make this book feasible as an information read-aloud. Collections located in cicada brood locations during emergent years would see heavy use of this book, plus it would serve as an interesting and attractive volume for the curious. Highly recommended."
visiting author in elementary schools
"These illustrations are drawn and colored in such clear, concise detail that young students may prefer them to the photographs in...similar titles."--Booklist
--Library Media Connection
"An especial treat for young dragon lovers, though the abundance of text makes Imagine a Dragon ideal for readers who are just about ready to move beyond picturebooks."
--Midwest Book Review
"This handsome tribute to Clark's near-lifelong companion and slave...Rich in eye-opening observations."
"Pringle tells the story well, describing York's contributions to this specific expedition while setting a much broader context. -- School Library Journal
"Pringle's straightforward writing packs in an impressive amount of scientifically rich information about penguin species, habitats, where on earth they can be found, how they move, and the fascinating details of reproduction."
-- The Hornbook
"Enthusiastic and wonderfully informative, this will grab readers and listeners alike." -- Kirkus
Octopus Hug led to Bear Hug, in which Dad takes Jesse and Becky on their very first camping trip, to wild Black Bear Lake.