Saturday, February 27, 2016

New PRINTS at My Etsy Shop: Rain Forest, Desert, Forest and Prairie

A Day and Night in the Rain Forest, Noon
I have just added eight new full size prints to my Etsy shop. Each one is a limited edition gallery quality print made from an  original cut-paper illustration I created for the books in the Caroline Arnold's Habitats series published by Picture Window Books (Capstone):  A DAY AND NIGHT IN THE RAIN FOREST, A DAY AND NIGHT IN THE DESERT, A DAY AND NIGHT IN THE FOREST, and A DAY AND NIGHT ON THE PRAIRIE. The quality of the scan is impressive. Even though the paper of the print is flat, it retains the three-dimensional quality of the layered paper of the original art. Each print is 10 1/4 inches by 20 inches with a one inch white border.
I will continue to add more art to my Etsy site as I have prints made of illustrations from the other books in the series. If you have a particular illustration that you would like to have a print of, please email me to let me know.
To see all of my prints and cards go to .
A Day and Night in the Rain Forest, 6:00 a.m.

A Day and Night in the Desert, 6:00 a.m.

A Day and Night in the Desert, 3:00 a.m.

A Day and Night in the Forest, 6:00 p.m.

A Day and Night in the Forest, 3:00 a.m.

A Day and Night on the Prairie, 6:00 a.m.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Review of LIVING FOSSILS in School Library Journal, February 2016

I was pleased to receive this excellent review of Living Fossils: Clues to the Past in the February issue of School Library Journal.

A glimpse into the world of living fossils, or modern-day plants or animals that are very similar to now extinct species. Realistic acrylic paintings of the different creatures and their fossilized counterparts accompany brief text describing the creatures and comparing them to their modern versions. Sidebars point to specific survival adaptations that have allowed the horseshoe crab and dragonfly to survive from their initial evolution to today, for examples. An overview time line, which covers 3.5 billion years, will help readers see the sequence of development. The volume ends with a spread that offers further details about the six species covered. VERDICT: A strong addition to all libraries and one that dinosaur fanatics will love.  Dorcas Hand, Annunciation Orthodox School, Houston, TX

Wednesday, February 17, 2016


You can make a mold of a living object. It will be similar to a real fossil.
You will need:
    1. a small paper or plastic cup
    2. wet sand
    3. a small object such as a seashell, nut or leaf (it must fit in the bottom of the cup)
    4. plaster of Paris (you can get this at a hardware store or hobby shop)
    5. water
    6. spoon
    7. bottom half of a milk carton
    8. newspaper

    Spread out the newspaper to catch anything that might spill.  Put wet sand into the cup until it is about half full.  Pat the sand firmly into place.
    Carefully press your object into the surface of the sand.  Lift it out.  You should be able to see an impression of the shape of your object in the sand. 
    Put about a cup of dry plaster of Paris in the milk carton.  Add water and stir until the mixture is about the thickness of heavy cream.   (Add water a little bit at a time until you have enough.)  Make sure that there are no lumps in your plaster of Paris mixture. 
    Pour the plaster of Paris mixture into the cup.  Leave it for an hour or so to harden.  When it is hard, peel away the paper cup and throw away the sand.  You will see the shape of your object in the plaster. 
    You made your fossil in a few hours. In the Earth, it takes thousands of years for fossils to form

You can read about real fossils and their living counterparts in my new book LIVING FOSSILS: Clues to the Past.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Review of LIVING FOSSILS in Booklist

Title page of Living Fossils: Clues to the Past (Charlesbridge, 2016)
I was pleased to receive this very nice review of LIVING FOSSILS: Clues to the Past in the January 1 and 15 issue of Booklist.

The discovery of a living coelacanth, a fish previously known only from 65-million year-old fossils, leads off this introduction in “living fossils,” current animal species that researchers can study to learn about their prehistoric ancestors. Through the book, Arnold’s writing is concise, descriptive, and informative. Illustrated with large nicely composed acrylic paintings that show the creatures within their natural habitats, the text presents five additional species: the horseshoe crab, dragonfly, tuatara, chambered nautilus, and Hula painted frog. The first spread in each four-page section features the animal in prehistoric times, while the second discussed the animal as it is today. This now-and-then structure works well to tell the two-part story of each organism. Back matter includes a time line, more detailed information on species, and a note clarifying that though the ancient and modern animals may share the same name and basic appearance, they did evolve and are not identical. An intriguing look at animals, past and present, and a fine addition to the science shelves.  Carolyn Phelan, Booklist, January 1 and 15, 2016

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

CSLA Conference, 2016, San Diego, CA: Doorways to Diversity

Last weekend I participated in the CSLA Conference, in San Diego, celebrating the 100 year history of the California School Library Association at the beautiful Bahia Resort Hotel.
View of the bay from the Bahia Resort Hotel
Saturday was the day focused on authors and there were thirty-eight of us, with all author events coordinated by Dr. Virginia Loh-Hagen who made sure that we were treated like superstars all day long, including a delicious lunch and pre-dinner reception in her suite overlooking the bay, and arranging for hosts to make sure we were in the right place at the right time. Although the 7:30 starting time for my presentation turned out to be a tad early for most people, I enjoyed meeting lots of librarians at the author Speed Dating event (a little like human bingo) later in the morning, and at the California Young Reader Medal dinner in the evening, where we heard excellent speeches from CYRM winners Audrey Vernick and Jennifer A. Nielsen. Altogether it was a good day celebrating the love of books and reading!
With author Alexis O'Neill at the signing table after the CYRM dinner

Thursday, February 4, 2016

AUTHOR FESTIVAL, Huntington Beach, CA, Visit to Perry School

Signing books at the Huntington Beach Library
Tuesday, January 26th was the annual Huntington Beach, California, Author Festival, a wonderful day of authors and illustrators visiting schools followed by a gala reception and book signing at the Huntington Beach Public Library. My day started with presentations to three groups of students–kindergarteners, first graders and third graders–at Perry Elementary School.

Mascot of Perry Elementary School
We met in the library and I was pleased with the enthusiastic response by both students and teachers. I thank librarian Julie Prager for preparing the students and buying some of my more recent books for the library collection.

Huntington Beach Public Library
The afternoon reception at the public library began at 2:30 and children arrived with their parents to meet the authors and attend the award ceremony for the “Locked in the Library” writing and illustrating contest winners. I thank Gail Page, all the hardworking members of the Friends of the Children’s Library and Authors Festival Committee, the library staff, the Employees Community Fund of Boeing California, and all the other generous supporters for making the festival possible. This was the 28th Annual Authors Festival! I have participated in the festival almost every year since it began. It is always a great day!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016


TA-DAH!  Today is the official publication date of my book LIVING FOSSILS: Clues to the Past by Charlesbridge Books. With beautiful illustrations by Andrew Plant, the text profiles six living species that look very similar to their ancient relatives otherwise known only as fossils.
Living fossils are modern-day animals such as horseshoe crabs that very closely resemble their ancient relatives. Discover why animals like the dragonfly and the nautilus have changed so little over time, while other animals evolved or went extinct. Contrasting "then" and "now" illustrations alternate profiles between a prehistoric creature in its native environment and its contemporary living-fossil counterpart. An amazing way to experience the ancient past!
Back matter includes a time line, additional information about the six living fossils, a glossary, and suggestions for further reading.
I thank my editors and all the staff at Charlesbridge for making LIVING FOSSILS into such an attractive and readable book and look forward to promoting it at my upcoming school and library visits!
Horseshoe crabs coming on shore during mating season. (Illust. by Andrew Plant)