A long time ago, deep in the wild woods of northern RI, I was out looking for an archaeological site that I had heard of once. I didn't find it, but I did find a treasure--a lovely, cleanly sunbleached skunk skull. My youngest boy took it to his heart, and wanted to take it to his bed instead of a stuffed animal, but really, there are limits. Sadly, skunk skull is no longer with us. It probably fell out of the car at some point. And it is still missed.
But last week, the husband of a co-worker was out on a construction site, and found us a new skull! Clean and beautiful.
I offered it to my son..."SKULL!!!!!!!!" he cried, in total rapture.
If anyone finds any clean small mammal skulls, please think of us. We have room for more.
The best skull book for children (not that there are many to choose from) is The Skull Alphabet Book, by Jerry Pallotta, illustrated by Ralph Masiello. It is a clever and cunning book--they don't tell you what the animal is whose skull is pictured! You have to figure it out, based on a fun mix of visual and verbal clues. The visual clues come not just from the bones themselves, but from the amusing backdrops against which they are painted. for instance, C is for cat, and the cat's skull is posed outside a mousehole, next to a mousetrap. This makes it fun for little skull lovers like my boy (he's loved this since he was three), but also good for older kids who might be more interested in the variation of the bones themselves. And it's an excellent introduction to paleontology, even though the skulls are all from animals who are still with us, because palaeontologists have to learn to spot and interpret clues from the bones in much the same way.
So, in the spirit of The Skull Alphabet Book, can you guess what animal our new skull is? (It's about 10 centimeters long)
Update: another archaeologist friend has promised us a mouse, and, very excitingly, was talking to a wildlife biologist about my boy, who was so moved by the lost skunk skull story that he promised us a beaver!!!
Here are today's other Non-Fiction posts:
Heidi Bee Roemer reviews Visiting Volcanoes with a Scientist at The Wild About Nature Blog (a blog I'd not been aware of before, and that I look forward to re-visiting).
Lori Calabrese lets us know that today is World Ocean Day, and shares the news that her short story, Ocean of Caring, has been published this month. Congratulations, Lori!
At Wild Rose Reader, there is a book that instantly went on my "must buy for older son" list--What's Inside? Fascinating Structures Around the World, by Giles Laroche.
At the ACPL Mock Sibert blog (the Sibert being the ALA award for non-fiction) Darwin: With Glimpses into His Private Journal and Letters, by Alice B. McGinty, is up for discussion. Another one I want!
Shirley at Simply Science has Animals Christopher Columbus Saw by Sandra Markle. That looks rather good too...
Andrew Karre takes a look at high school athletes and concussion at the Carolrhoda blog. Mercifully irrelevant to my life right now, but very interesting.
It was another great week at INK: Interesting Nonfiction for Kids -- "Creative Nonfiction At Its Best" by Kathleen Krull; "Two Roads Diverged" by Sue Macy; "Let's Give 'Em Something To Talk About" by Linda Salzman; "Why 'Hands-On' Anyhow?" by Vicki Cobb; and "The Law of Unintended Consequences" by Rosalyn Schanzer.
Amanda at A Patchwork of Books looks at Extreme Scientists: Exploring Nature's Mysteries from Perilous Places, and I have yet another book for my list...
And at Wendie's Wanderings, you'll find that Even an Ostrich Needs a Nest (good-- now I have a book for my 6 year old's list!)
Another book for the birds, Cuckoo Haiku and Other Birding Poems, by Michael Rosen, illus. by Stan Fellows, can be found at Bookends.
At Books Together, there's a look at Mozart, the Wonder Child.
As for the skull shown above--I'm pretty sure it's a cat!