Saturday, February 16, 2019


The Next Generation Science Standards provide guidelines for science education from K-12. Based on a report produced by the National Research Council they call for a new approach to teaching science.
Books like mine can be used in support of achieving these standards, especially in Life Science (LS) and Earth and Space Science (ESS).

Global Warming and the Dinosaurs by Caroline Arnold (Clarion, 2009)
NGSS Standards for grades 3, 4 and 5:
3-LS4-2. Use evidence to construct an explanation for how the variations in characteristics among individuals of the same species may provide advantages in surviving, finding mates, and reproducing.
4-LS1-1. Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.
4-LS1-2. Use a model to describe that animals receive different types of information through their senses, process the information in their brain, and respond to the information in different ways.
4-ESS1-1. Identify evidence from patterns in rock formations and fossils in rock layers to support an explanation for changes in a landscape over time.
4-ESS2-2. Analyze and interpret data from maps to describe patterns of Earth’s features.
5-ESS2-1. Develop a model using an example to describe ways the geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and/or atmosphere interact.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Watching Wildlife Up Close at the Huntington Botanical Garden

Cut-paper art illustration from A Day and Night in the Desert
In my book, A Day and Night in the Desert, I illustrated a scene with a barrel cactus, a desert dwelling squirrel and a red-tailed hawk flying overhead. A sidebar reads: Antelope ground squirrels often climb barrel cacti to eat the fruit. No one knows how they keep from getting stuck on the cacti’s sharp spines.
Squirrel plucking ripe fruit from a barrel cactus
On my recent visit to the Huntington Botanical Garden in San Marino, California, I had the chance to observe this unusual behavior in real life. The cactus and succulent section of the garden has a large display of barrel cacti, and they were plump from recent rains and covered with ripe fruit. I watched a squirrel nimbly hopping up the cacti to harvest the fruit. The squirrel (a common grey squirrel) seemed to be able to balance on the spines and had no trouble reaching the fruit.
On the same page spread the main text of the book reads: A red-tailed hawk circles the sky. It is looking for something to eat. The squirrel sees the hawk and dashes to safety inside its burrow.
Rather amazingly, I got to witness this part of my story too. As my friend and I walked through the garden we had seen several red-tailed hawks soaring in the sky and perching in the trees overhead. Suddenly, one swooped down beside us and just ahead attacked an unsuspecting squirrel. We could hear the thud of the impact and the squirrel squealing. Luckily, it managed to escape.
When I research the information for my books I use all available sources including other books, the internet and talking with experts. But when I can see my subject with my own eyes it becomes part of my experience. In my books I hope to convey the same wonder of discovery.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

GIANT SHARK: Megalodon Jaws at the Colchagua Museum, Santa Cruz, Chile

On my recent trip to Chile, I went with my family on an excursion to the Colchagua Museum in Santa Cruz, about a two hour drive from Santiago. The museum begins with the history of the world with fossils from the Earth's past. The fossils include the giant jaws of Megalodon, the huge, now extinct shark that roamed the seas until the beginning of the last Ice Age. It was like meeting an old friend. I had learned about Megalodon when I wrote my book, Giant Shark, published by Clarion Books, and have seen models of its jaws in various museums. It is always impressive!
 Giant Shark: Megalodon, Prehistoric Super Predator with striking illustrations by Laurie Caple is now available as an Kindle e-book on Amazon. It is published by StarWalk Kids Media .  Originally published by Clarion Books (2000), the hard cover edition is now out of print.  This has always been one of my most popular books so I am thrilled to see it available again.

For millions of years, a massive shark more than twice as huge as the modern-day great white shark cruised the depths of the ocean, attacking and devouring prey. Fossil remains reveal megalodon to have been more than fifty feet long, with razor-sharp teeth, each the size of a human hand, and jaws so large it could swallow prey larger than a common dolphin. Fluid, detailed watercolors accompany this clear and accessible account of one of the most incredible creatures to inhabit our world.

Saturday, February 2, 2019


It is February 2nd, the day that groundhogs (also known as woodchucks) are reputed to come out of their holes to check the weather. Here's a groundhog (pictured on a spring day) from my book A DAY AND NIGHT IN THE FOREST wishing you a HAPPY GROUNDHOG DAY, where ever you are!

According to Wikipedia: Groundhog Day derives from the Pennsylvania Dutch superstition that if a groundhog (Marmota monax, also called "woodchuck"; Deitsch: Grundsau, Grunddax, Dax) emerging from its burrow on this day sees a shadow due to clear weather, it will retreat to its den and winter will persist for six more weeks, and if it does not see its shadow because of cloudiness, spring will arrive early. While the tradition remains popular in modern times, studies have found no consistent correlation between a groundhog seeing its shadow or not and the subsequent arrival time of spring-like weather.