Wednesday, September 21, 2016

PROJECT: Crayon Resist Petroglyph Art

Shortly after my book Stories in Stone: Rock Art Pictures by Early Americans was published, I visited a school and saw some wonderful art the students had made after reading the book.  After looking at the photographs of the petroglyphs each student wrote a haiku. Then, with pencil, the student drew the outline of one of the animals on a piece of white paper. Many of them drew bighorn sheep, one of the most common images in the Coso Mountains where the story takes place. The students filled in the shape of the animal with white crayon and then painted over it with brown watercolor paint. The white crayon resists the paint, making the image stand out from the darker background, just as the petroglyph designs in nature stand out from the darker rock around them.
When the paint was dry the picture was carefully torn around the edges to give it a rough-hewn look. I loved the art and haiku by Abby. What she wrote is a central theme of the book:
These petroglyphs show
ceremonial beliefs
that are clues to life.

Stories in Stone is out of print but you can look for it in your library.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Tip for the Day, filmed by Tina Nichols Coury

My friend Tina Nichols Coury, author of Hanging Off Jefferson's Nose, did a series of short videos of children's book authors and illustrators giving advice based on their own experience. She interviewed me several years ago at the annual Breakfast With the Authors in Santa Barbara. My tip for the day boiled down to this:
If you are an writer/illustrator and illustrating your own book, make sure you don’t write something that you can’t illustrate. In other words, think of the actions that move the story forward as you write. The beauty of being an author/illustrator is that if you discover a section that doesn't work with the illustrations, you have the option of rewriting the text to improve the flow.
You can see the whole video by clicking here:

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Listen to A WOMBAT'S WORLD on YouTube

On a recent search of the internet I discovered a YouTube video of Dr. Mira Reisberg reading my book A Wombat's World. It is part of her Mondays with Mira blog. Mira is the founder of the Children's Book Academy.
A baby wombat is born deep in an underground burrow. After seven months in his mother's pouch he is ready to explore. As evening falls, the mother and baby wombat come out of their burrow. Using their sharp claws, they spend the night digging up grasses and roots to eat. Soon the young wombat will be big enough to live on his own. 
Click on the link above and enjoy learning more about wombats! 
A Wombat's World is available on Amazon and as an e-book at Capstone Publishers.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Gardening Project: DO PLANTS FEEL GRAVITY?

One of my first illustration assignments was for a book about gardening activities with children.  At that time, most books for children were illustrated with black and white art so I made pencil drawings.  Here is one of the activities.

Do plants know which way is up and which way is down? Can they detect Earth’s gravity? Here is an experiment that will help you find out.

You will need:
radish seeds
clear glass jars
paper towels
box with a cover

Soak the radish seeds overnight in water. Line a clear jar with a damp paper towel and place the seeds between the towel and the jar, 1 inch from the lip. Keep the towel moist. Stand the jar in inside the box and close the lid to make it dark. When the seeds have germinated (a few days) and their stems extend an inch beyond the top of the jar, place the jar on its side as illustrated. Leave the jar in the dark again. Check the seedlings in a day.  Have the stems and roots changed direction? Do you think that plants can feel gravity?

The effect of gravity on plants is called geotropism.

From Children’s Gardens: A Field Guide for Teachers, Parents and Volunteers by Elizabeth Bremner and John Pusey, Illustrations by Caroline Arnold

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


Peregrine Falcon Art
I have been cleaning out old files and came across this wonderful song created by the First Grade Class at Mission Avenue Open School in Sacramento, California in 1993. They had read my book, Saving the Peregine Falcon, used the information to create the song, and then performed it for me when I did an author visit to their school in April 1993. Afterward, they presented me with a copy of the words for the song along with a torn paper art project of a peregrine falcon. I have treasured it for many years.
Here is the song:

Peregrine Falcon

We are strong falcons,
We are strong falcons,
We are mighty, mighty, mighty, mighty, mighty birds!
But we need your help!
We need your help!
We need your help right now!

We are little peeps,
We are little peeps.
We don't like the DDT that's in our mother's meat!
'Cause it breaks our shells,
It breaks our shells,
It breaks our shells apart!

We are scientists, we are here to help.
We are scientists, we are here to help.
We will save you from the DDT!
We'll work together, you will surely see!

Thank you very much!
We were in "double Dutch",
But we're doing better now, we're better, better, now!



The good news is that peregrine falcons are now (in 2016) no longer on the endangered species list, thanks to no more DDT and the dedicated work of many scientists. My book, Saving the Peregrine Falcon, illustrated with photos by Richard Hewett, is out of print but you may be able to find it in the library.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Review of LIVING FOSSILS in Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

I was pleased to receive this very nice review of my book LIVING FOSSILS: Clues to the Past in the August 3rd issue of Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews.

Living Fossils: Clues to the Past

Caroline Arnold
Illustrator:  Andrew Plant
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 7 to 9
Charlesbridge, 2016   ISBN: 978-1580896917
 Many of us have seen fossils in museums; the trilobites and other insect-like creatures, and the dinosaurs, both small and large. For the most part these animals looking nothing like any animal that is alive today. They went extinct long ago and their very distant modern-day relatives are quite different.

However, there are a few animal species living in the present day that are very similar to their ancient relatives. Their kind survived extinction events and climate change, and they have even survived the assent of mammals. These animals are often called living fossils, and in this book readers will meet a few of these singular creatures.

Perhaps one of the most famous living fossils is the coelacanth. Before the 1930’s scientists thought that this large, marine, lobed-tailed fish had died out sixty-five million years ago. Then a fisherman found a coelacanth in the Indian Ocean and the scientific community went wild speculating about how this animal had survived for so long.

Another species that has remained remarkably unchanged is the horseshoe crab. This animal lived on Earth a hundred million years ago, and it still lives here in the present day.

Many of us will probably never see a live coelacanth or horseshoe crab, but there is one living fossil that most of us are familiar with because they are found all around the world. Two hundred and eighty million years ago large crow-sized dragonflies zipped around marshes preying on smaller insects and other animals. Dragonflies today are a lot smaller, but they still favor environments where there is water, and they are still predators.

Young readers who are interested in fossils and in creatures that lived long ago are going to thoroughly enjoy this book. Readers are shown what six ancient animal species looked like and then they are shown their modern-day counterparts. In addition to telling us about these animals, the text also explains how fossils are formed and how living fossils provide scientists with “clues to the past.”

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Book Review in Grinnell Magazine

I am pleased to have my books reviewed in the summer issue of the Grinnell Magazine on page 15. I studied art and literature at Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa, and graduated with a major in Art. An almost complete collection of my books can be found in the alumni section of the college library.
Here's the announcement of my recent books in the Grinnell Magazine:

A Day and Night in the …
Prolific children’s book
author/illustrator Caroline Scheaffer Arnold ’66
has published two series of animal board books that were rewritten for younger readers. From the habitat series: A Day and Night in the Rain Forest, A Day and Night in the Desert, A Day and Night on the Prairie,and A Day and Night in the Forest (Capstone: Picture Window Books, 2015). From the animal series: A Zebra’s World, A Panda’s World, A Polar Bear’s World, and A Penguin’s World (Capstone: Picture Window Books, 2015). Arnold also authored Living Fossils: Clues to the Past, illustrated by Andrew Plant

Note: Books in the Habitat series are available in hardback, paperback and as e-books; the new books in the  animal series are board books, adapted from my earlier series Caroline Arnold's Animals.