Whether leaping through the vines of a rainforest or the pages of a book at the library, monkeys have lots to teach us about the ways animals live, our responsibilities in caring for the last wild places, and just how to have fun.
I'll bet you know that monkeys are furry, cute, and swing in the trees, but there's so much more to learn about them:
A Monkey is NOT an Ape
Monkeys have tails, but apes do not. Chimpanzees, gibbons, orangutans, and gorillas are all apes. They use their powerful arms and legs to swing through the trees. Many New World monkeys from South America can use their tails like another hand to swing. Monkeys from Asia and India can't do that! Monkeys, apes, and humans are all part of a family group called primates.
Slow, sleepy winter days find many animals curled up in their dens. They sleep warmly through winter, awakening in spring ready to enjoy the renewed Earth. This unusual, deep sleep is called hibernation.
What Is Hibernation?
True hibernation is a very deep sleep. The animal's body temperature drops, its breathing slows, and it is very difficult to awaken. But some animals, such as most bears, do not really hibernate.
Look, not everyone can be a great artist, okay? The narrator of Stick Dog certainly isn’t, and he’s sick of hearing about it. So he’ll make you a deal. You don’t comment on the art, and in exchange you’ll get story about five rectangular canine friends on a quest for the Holy Grail of picnic foods: hamburgers.
Stick Dog—accompanied by his friends Mutt, Stripes, Poo-Poo, and Karen—is determined to get some of the delicious-smelling hamburgers being grilled in the park away from the picnickers and into empty doggy stomachs.
Margret Rey and her husband, H.A. Rey, had no children themselves, but thousands of kids across the world have made friends with their little monkey, Curious George.
Margret was born in Hamburg, Germany, on May 16, 1906. She studied art at the famous Bauhaus School and elsewhere before moving to Brazil in 1935. Margret married a fellow German artist, Hans Augusto (H. A.) Rey, and together they started the first advertising agency in Rio de Janeiro. They came back to Paris during some of its cruelest days, just before the Nazi occupation. Somehow, funny and delightful Curious George was created during those difficult times.
This year's Fredericksburg Agricultural Fair runs from July 31 to August 9, 2015. There will be many things to see and do, but the farm animals, homebaked goodies, and homegrown vegetables are always popular.
Can't make it to the fairgrounds this year? Some other places to go visit the animals are George Washington's Birthplace, Westmoreland Berry Farm, Maymont, and the Claude Moore Colonial Farm. Take along some farm animals coloring pages to pass the time on your trip.
Wherever you go to see these cute critters, grab some books and videos from the library to get in the moo-d for animal fun:
They flutter around the tall, bright flowers in springtime and summer, only stopping to drink sweet nectar or lay their eggs on green leaves. Who would believe a gorgeous butterfly could come from a homely caterpillar?
You can watch this miracle happen at your house. Grab a butterfly book from the library to learn how to find their eggs and raise them from creepy-crawlies into splendid winged beauties. While you wait for them to grow, try a butterfly folktale or two. People around the world have made up stories about butterflies!
Bored? Nothing to do? Jump into a cozy picture book on a winter night. Troublesome trolls and a beauty's Beast! Helpful hedgehogs and polite polar bears! Whether you find yourself surrounded by swirling snowflakes or a chilly blue twilight, there are no better companions for winter's frozen brightness than Jan Brett's tales from the European tradition.
Jan Brett knows all about the magical relationship between a book and a reader. "I remember the special quiet of rainy days when I felt that I could enter the pages of my beautiful picture books," she once recalled. "Now I try to recreate that feeling of believing that the imaginary place I'm drawing really exists."
Imagine if your only bones were a skull, vertebrae, and ribs. What kind of animal would you be? What kind of animal would you be if you didn’t have any bones at all? Find out in Bone by Bone, written by Sara Levine and illustrated by T.S. Spookytooth!
What do nannies, billies, and kids have in common? They're all goats! Nannies are the moms, billies are the dads, and of course, kids are the kids!
How doth the little busy bee
Improve each shining hour,
And gather honey all the day
From every opening flower!
--Isaac Watts, Against Idleness and Mischief
Do you like honey on your toast? Thank a bee! Actually thank about 100,000 bees. That's how many can live in one hive! "Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you…" (It would take you about 27 hours of non-stop thanking to thank each bee in one hive.) Bees make honey by collecting nectar from flowers and carrying it back to their hive. They put it in a little wax cell. Then bees fan their wings over the nectar to help the water evaporate from it. When most of the water has evaporated, what's left is honey. They cover the cell with wax to save the honey for later. When a beekeeper's hive has more honey than the bees need to eat, the beekeeper harvests it.