Tuesday, September 21, 2021

A NIGHT UNDER THE STARS, Celebrating Camp Bovey

Family fun with live music, food trucks, crafts, singing, dancing.
I learned to love nature at Camp Bovey, the summer camp for kids and families of Northeast Minneapolis, located in the woods of northern Wisconsin. Come celebrate–in person or in spirit--at A Night Under the Stars with G.B. Leighton on October 1st at East Side Neighborhood Services and help the next generation of Camp Bovey families enjoy high quality experiences in nature. Every donation helps! Proceeds will go towards the Camp Bovey restoration campaign. Click HERE for the link to tickets/donations.
Camp Bovey
Camp Bovey is operated by East Side Neighborhood Services in Minneapolis and was founded by my father when he was the director. My first visit to Camp Bovey was in 1949 and I went there every summer after that until 1966, when our family moved to California. I went swimming, fishing, boating, made lanyards in the craft cabin, played Capture the Flag, and sat around the campfire listening to stories about the Hodag, a creature with the head of an ox, feet of a bear, back of a dinosaur, and tail of an alligator. The Hodag is the camp’s mascot. After I became a children's book writer, the Hodag became the subject of two of my fiction books.
Visiting Camp Bovey in 2018. Wearing my staff sweatshirt, saved from 1966.
I have been involved in a fund raising effort to make much needed upgrades to keep Camp Bovey the wonderful place it has always been for kids and families of Northeast Minneapolis. I’d love to have you participate. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2021


Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail at Lake Lure, NC

From roses to succulents, pollinator gardens to art installations, the Flowering Bridge at Luke Lure, in the mountains of western North Carolina, is a wonder of nature and testament to the volunteers who turned an abandoned bridge into a beautiful floral walkway.

The Lake Lure Flowering Bridge is a stop along the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail, which begins in Plains, Georgia, at the home of President and Mrs. Jimmy Carter. The mission of the trail is to promote the full life cycle of butterflies common in this area with a special emphasis on the monarch.

Monarch butterfly.

When Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter learned of the struggling Monarch Butterfly population and threatened migration from North America to Mexico, she called on her neighbor and friend Annette Wise for advice on planting the right native plants in her garden.  When friends and neighbors in Plains learned what she was doing, they wanted to provide habitat in their gardens to help pollinators. Eventually, a "trail" started of butterfly gardens one house at a time, one church at a time, one library, one state, and so on.

The more butterfly gardens that exist, the greater the population of Monarch Butterflies, which have been so threatened for the past several decades primarily due to the removal of milkweed plants from farms and properties.  Monarch butterflies need milkweed on which to lay their eggs. Otherwise, the cycle of life for butterflies ends.  All pollinators benefit from native nectar and host plants. Find out more about the relationship between monarchs and milkweed at my earlier post on this blog.
On an informational board at the beginning of the bridge is a panel describing common butterflies of the area.

I visited the Flowering Bridge and learned about the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail on a trip to North Carolina in August. I was pleased to see information about the Painted Lady Butterfly, the subject of my book BUTTERFLIES IN ROOM 6.  It was a rainy day and I didn’t see any butterflies, but I am sure that when the sun comes out, the garden will be full of them, feeding on nectar produced by the abundance of flowers.

You can read more about my visit to the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge at my travel blog The Intrepid Tourist.

All Text and Photos copyright Caroline Arnold

Wednesday, September 8, 2021


Peter Rabbit Children's Garden at the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge, Lake Lure, NC

A childhood favorite book of mine, my children, and my grandchildren is Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit–a classic. I have read the story aloud so many times I almost have the text memorized. In the story, Peter does exactly what his mother tells him not to do: “You my go into the fields or down the lane, but don’t go into Mr. McGregor’s garden: your Father had an accident there; he was put in a pie by Mrs. McGregor.” This should be adequate warning, but Peter was a naughty rabbit and went “straight away to Mr. McGregor’s garden, and squeezed under the gate!” In the course of the story Peter is chased by Mr. McGregor (after eating his vegetables) and loses his shoes–one among the cabbages and the other amongst the potatoes. “He might have gotten away altogether if he had not unfortunately run into a gooseberry net, and got caught by the large buttons on his jacket. It was a blue jacket with brass buttons, quite new.” Luckily for Peter, he manages to escape and get home safely.
Door to the rabbit hole. "Once upon a time there were four little rabbits--Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail and Peter. They lived with their Mother in a sandbank, underneath the root of a very big fir tree."

Much to my delight, on a recent visit to North Carolina, I discovered a tiny Peter Rabbit at the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge, a floral walkway with themed plantings on a pedestrian bridge. Nestled among the plants in the Peter Rabbit Children’s Garden were tiny figures enacting the elements of the story–Peter, his family, the flower pots in Mr. McGregor’s potting shed, and the watering can where Peter hid until he sneezed “Kertyschoo!” 

Peter outside the gate to Mr. McGregor's garden. His coat and shoes hung up to "frighten the blackbirds."

Also on display is the tiny blue jacket that Mr. McGregor hung up along with the lost shoes “for a scare-crow to frighten the blackbirds.” It was wonderful to see the story come alive in a new setting and to be reminded of a favorite tale. 

Peter's mother on her way to go shopping. "Then old Mrs. Rabbit took a basket and her umbrella, and went through the wood to the baker's."

The Flowering Bridge at Luke Lure, in the mountains of western North Carolina, is a wonder of nature and testament to the volunteers who turned an abandoned bridge into a beautiful floral walkway. The project began in 2012, when gardens were first planted first at either end of the bridge and then in following years on the bridge itself. I visited the Flowering Bridge in August 2021, on a trip with my family. You can read more about my visit to the Flowering Bridge at Lake Lure at my travel blog, The Intrepid Tourist.

All text and photos copyright Caroline Arnold


Wednesday, August 25, 2021

PTEROSAURS: Rulers of the Skies in the Dinosaur Age

One hundred million years ago, the skies were filled with enormous flying reptiles. With wing spans up to nearly forty feet, pterosaurs were the dominant life form on earth. Long extinct, we know about pterosaurs from their fossil bones.

On a recent visit to the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, North Carolina, my family bought me a wonderful souvenir--a plush Pterodactyl to go with my book Pterosaurs: Rulers of the Skies in the Dinosaur Age.  Pterodactyls were just one of many species of pterosaurs. The stuffed toy Pterodactyl will be perfect to share with children at my author visits to schools and libraries as I talk about about pterosaurs and other giant reptiles of the past. 

You can find Pterosaurs: Rulers of the Dinosaur Age on Amazon. It may also be available at your library. 

For reviews of the book and more information, go to my website.

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

PLANTING A GARDEN IN ROOM 6--A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection

I was thrilled to learn that my upcoming new book PLANTING A GARDEN IN ROOM 6 (Charlesbridge Publishing, March 15, 2022) has been selected as a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection for the Spring 2022 list! The Junior Library Guild is a subscription service that brings "buzz worthy books to readers every month."

PLANTING A GARDEN IN ROOM 6 is my third book with Mrs. Best and her kindergarteners, this time following the students as they planted seeds, watched them grow and harvested the ripe vegetables.

A visit to Mrs. Best's classroom is always inspiring! Follow a classroom of real kindergartners as they grow a garden full of healthy vegetables. Joyful photographs show kids planting seeds, tending the seedlings, and harvesting (and eating!) the results. An exciting introduction to the math and science involved in growing a garden.

The other books in the Room 6 series are HATCHING CHICKS IN ROOM 6 (2017) and BUTTERFLIES IN ROOM 6 (2019). All of the books are illustrated with color photographs.

Look for PLANTING A GARDEN IN ROOM 6 in bookstores next March!

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

TRAPPED IN TAR on SCBWI Recommended Reading List of Self-Published Books

July's SCBWI Self Publishing Recommended Reading List celebrates books written and/or illustrated by members who have published without the help of a traditional publisher. On this list, you will find a wide range of books from biographies to mysteries to realistic fiction to fantasy stories and more! 

Look for my book Trapped In Tar: Fossils From the Ice Age in the section for non-fiction books.You can buy the book on Amazon.

Ice Age fossils of mammoths, sabertooth cats, dire wolves and more, discovered in the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, are displayed in the George C. Page Museum of La Brea Discoveries. This book tells the story behind the fossils and about life in the Ice Age when these animals were alive and examines the work of the paleontologists who excavate and study them. During the Ice Age, over 400 different kinds of animals lived on the grassy plain that is now Los Angeles. Then, as now, pools of tar sometimes seeped to the surface of the earth. Unwary animals stepped into the sticky tar and were trapped. There they died. Gradually their bones sank to the bottom of the tar seep. In time, the tar penetrated the bones and preserved them. Trapped in Tar: Fossils from the Ice Age was originally published in 1987 by Clarion Books and was illustrated with black and white photographs by Richard Hewett. This is an updated and re-illustrated edition.


Wednesday, July 7, 2021

BOOK CHAT THURSDAY Meets Again in Person

Book Chat Thursday, Children's Book Discussion Group

Last Thursday our children's book discussion group, Book Chat Thursday, met in person for the first time in more than a year. YAY! (We had been meeting on Zoom during the pandemic.) It was a hybrid meeting, with two more attending virtually. Unfortunately for them, they couldn't taste the delicious Pavlova dessert made by Ann Whitford Paul's granddaughter (who also took our photo!) We had a good discussion of All Thirteen by Christina Soontornvat (about the Thai cave rescue) and Caldecott winner Outside In by Deborah Underwood and illustrated with beautiful watercolor paintings by Cindy Derby. For our reviews of the books, go to our blog, (www.bookchatthursday.blogspot.com) .