That the world’s biggest eyes belong to a mollusk! The giant squid has eyes the size of saucers, enabling it to see the movement of prey in even the faintest light.
I found this information on page 19 in the book Snails, Shellfish & other Mollusks by Daniel Gilpin. I was surprised to find out that squid and octopuses are mollusks. Another thing I hadn’t known was that scallops have dozens of eyes, all around the edges of the shells.
Taking Care of My Eyes by Terri DeGezelle is a good beginning book for very young children about how their eyes work. The Sense of Sight by Ellen Weiss would be excellent for kids a little older… especially if they need to see the optometrist.
There are many ways people describe eyes. Titles of movies and books are no exception! A few of the titles I found are Big Eyes a Tim Burton film about Margaret Keane and her husband who sold her paintings of big eyed children as his own. The Stanley Kubrick film Eyes Wide Shut is “a riveting tale of suspense” and Eyes Wide Open by Paul Fleischman; is a book that shows how we see (or DON’T see as the case may be) events behind the environmental headlines.
Whether your eyes are open or closed, you may want to learn to use eye makeup. Style Eyes by Taylor Chang-Babaian and Bobbi Brown Everything Eyes by Bobbi Brown are just a couple of the of the how-to make-up manuals we have.
And, lastly, if you say it twice you have aye-aye… a small animal from Madagascar that belongs to the lemur family (Daubentoniidae) in the primate group of prosimians. They are nocturnal and eat insects, fruit, and eggs. They also have a special middle finger that they can dip between their food and mouth 3 times a second! Aye-Aye an Evil Omen by Miriam Aronin is a very good book telling you all about them, their habitat and habits and The Primate Family Tree by Ian Redmond tells about the relation of aye-ayes to other primates, especially lemurs.
That the world’s first marshmallows were made in the year 2000 B.C.? They were made from honey and the root sap of the mallow plant.
I found this information on page 6 in the book Sweet! by Ann Love and Jane Drake. It also tells about some of the different kinds of candy and ingredients used in candy making throughout history and around the world.
Marshmallows by Tim Kinnaird and Marshmallow Madness by Shauna Sever are two really good marshmallow cookbooks. They look a lot easier to make than I had thought, and they have flavor ideas I wouldn’t have ever thought of! I can’t wait to try a few of these recipes myself.
But, why stop at making marshmallows? In the DVD Candymaking Sharyn Pak shows you how to make all kinds of different candies: dipped, drizzled, and molded chocolates, peanut brittle and lollipops too! It is an excellent show to see if you plan to make candy because she shows the proper way to heat sugars, use a candy thermometer, dipping the chocolates and much more. All this same information is available in the book The Complete Photo Guide to Candy Making by Autumn Carpenter as well as printed recipes for many yummy goodies.
According to the book Death Makes A Holiday by David J. Skal, the history of giving out candy on Halloween began as a way to buy off the kids to prevent them from being tricksters. The first known packaging of Halloween candy was in 1920 for Ze Jumbo Jelly Beans out of Portland Oregon with the prominent message “Stop Halloween Pranksters”.
On page 12 of Sweet it says that Americans spend more than $125 million dollars a year on Marshmallows, and half of all marshmallows sold in the summer are toasted over campfires!
Campout the Ultimate Kids Guide by Lynn Brunelle teaches all that you need to know to begin your camping fun and has the directions for making s’mores so you can start enjoying your toasted marshmallows right away.
That George Washington’s teeth were carved from hippopotamus tusks?
I found this information in the book George Washington’s Teeth. He also only had 2 teeth at his inauguration. George was born in 1732, and things were very different in those days! Don’t Know Much About George Washington by Kenneth C. Davis is packed with information about life in the Colonies and early America.
Hippo tusks were probably easier or cheaper to get than elephant ivory which explains why George’s teeth were carved from them. At the time, many people killed hippos and harvested their tusks. Hippos have long curved front teeth and their tusk like canines are even longer. Adult humans have about 32 teeth, while adult hippos have about 42. The hippopotamus is the third largest land animal. Hippopotamuses by Melissa Stewart is full of great information about Hippos and nice pictures of them.
Going to the dentist was almost unheard of in George’s time. In fact, in those days your barber would have been your dentist and in some cases your doctor too! Now there is no reason to be afraid of the dentist. In the book What to Expect When You Go to the Dentist by Heidi Murkoff Angus the answer dog explains to kids what will happen at the dentist. The Tooth Book by Edward Miller is a guide to healthy teeth and gums, with nice artwork explaining the proper way to brush and floss.
Since George Washington lost so many of his teeth, I bet he was pretty good friends with the tooth fairy! In the movie Tooth Fairy seeing the Roc in a tutu was hilarious. Tooth Tales from Around the World by Marlene Targ Brill tells about tooth fairy customs in other countries and cultures. Cherokee Indian children throw their teeth on the roof! We also have dozens of other children’s stories about tooth fairies.
That if all the dung beetles left the plains of Africa, within a month the whole place would be waist-deep in excrement!
I found this information on page 25 in the book 1,339 Quite interesting Facts to make your Jaw Drop by John Lloyd, John Mitchinson and James Harkin. I have had so much fun reading this! Other tidbits include Chinese checkers were invented in Germany, Frank Beard is the only member of Z.Z. Top who doesn’t have a beard and a glass of milk left in the Lut Desert in Iran will not go bad because the heat is so intense it kills all the bacteria.
Ancient Egyptians believed Dung beetles were sacred. The beetle pushing the dung ball reminded them of the Egyptian gods pushing the sun across the sky. They called it a scarab. For having such a “dirty job” these insects are fascinating. You can read all about them in Dung Beetles by Clint Twist.
There are more than 300,000 different types of beetles. Fireflies and lady bugs are a couple of the better known varieties.
Of course, the most famous “beetles” are the Beatles! Photographer Bill Eppridge shares his photos of the band in The Beatles: Six Days that Changed the World. The photos in the book were taken during the 6 days the Beatles were in America to perform on the Ed Sullivan show in 1964. In celebration of the 50th anniversary,The Beatles are Here! by Penelope Rowlands is a compilation of remembrances of that event by writers, musicians and fans.
There is also the Beatles Anthology on DVD. It is a visual history of the Beatles beginning in 1940 and ending with the breakup of the band at the end of the ’60s. It includes their songs, successes and failures.
After that, if you’d like to watch more beetles, how about Herbie the Lovebug? I mean really, who doesn’t love a car with a mind of its own? We have the 4 movie collection on DVD. These are Walt Disney favorites that your family will enjoy, and watching Herbie and his escapades will make you all laugh!
That piggy banks are named for the clay material pygg that money jars were originally made from?
I found this information on page 36 in the book Ceramics for Kids by Mary Ellis. Eventually the shape of the jar became a pig, since for most hardworking peasants their most valuable asset was the family pig. Kids will also enjoy doing some of the projects in this book. Also look at Mudworks by Mary Ann F. Kohl which has recipes for making all kinds of unusual modeling materials. You can use sawdust or cotton balls or even make some edible dough!
If you have a piggy bank, you’ll need something to put into it. The Teen Money Manual by Kara McGuire is a young adult book that is a guide to cash, credit, spending, saving, work, wealth and more. I loved that it really simplified the concepts of interest, credit scores, insurance premiums and other financial terms making them easier to understand.
You can learn the basics about pigs in the book Pigs by Sharon Dalgleish. One famous pig is Babe: The Gallant Pig by Dick King-Smith. Babe decides he is going to be a ‘sheepdog’ and ends up winning the Grand Challenge Sheepdog trials. A cute story with a happy ending!
Another popular pig is the peppermint Christmas pig. The tradition of the famous Peppermint Pig started ages ago in the 1880’s with candy makers in Saratoga Springs, NY. It’s a festive way to celebrate the holidays. When families gathered together at Christmas for the holiday meal, the tradition was to break the Peppermint Pig after dinner (inside a small cloth pouch) using a miniature hammer. All family members would then share in eating the sweet candy pieces, hoping for good fortune in the coming year.
And then there are guinea pigs, which aren’t really pigs at all. They most likely got the name pig because of the squealing noise they make. They make excellent pets and you can read all about them in Animal Planet’s Guinea Pigs by Julie Mancini.
Lastly, let’s not forget the ever popular children’s song “This little piggy went to market.” We have this on the children’s CD Banana Ram Sam interactive by Johnny Only.
That a spider web strand reaching all the way around the world would only weigh 12 ounces?
I found this information on page 9 in the book Spiders’ Secrets. Their silk is twice as strong as a steel cable of the same thickness!
There are more than 35,000 kinds of spiders. Spiders and their Web Sites by Margery Facklam shows us fishing spiders, spitting spiders, jumping spiders and more. This book has very nice artwork of some of the spiders, and excellent diagrams of the body parts. Spiders Spin Silk by Elaine Pascoe shows us what kind of web each of them spins.
Web sites are more than where the spider put its web… Today, a good web site can make or break a business. Teach yourself Visually Web Design by Rob Huddleston is an excellent resource for anyone needing to make a web site for any reason. We have other books, such as Design Accessible Web Sites by Jeremy J. Sydik, that are a little more technical if you need to fine tune your new or existing web site.
Of course we all know that spiders spin their webs with silk, but it is not used for making clothes. This is because long strands are needed to make clothing, and spiders spin only short ones. Spider silk is used to make various items such as sewing thread, kite string and fishing line. You can read more about the history and process of making silk in the book Silk by Adele Richardson.
And lastly, spiders spinning webs makes me think of Spider-man! Spider-Man the Ultimate Guide by Tom DeFalco tells you all about the way Spider-Man shoots the web and goes flying from building to building high above the city… what a way to travel!
That the difference between noodles and macaroni is eggs?
Noodles are made with egg solids and a finely ground semolina flour called durum. Macaroni is made from only normal semolina and water. This information is from the entry on ‘Pasta’ in the 2015 World Book Encyclopedia.
Macaroni is just one type of pasta. There are hundreds of different shapes for pasta and thousands of names for those shapes. Each region of Italy has its own name for certain types of pasta. Sauces & Shapes: Pasta the Italian Way by Oretta Zanini De Vita and Maureen B. Fant has a nice section on pasta types and directions for making them as well as the best recipes for the types of dough you will need.
According to The Silver Spoon for Children: Favorite Italian Recipes by Amanda Grant there are two main types of pasta: fresh and dried. Fresh is made with flour/egg and dried is flour/water. This book has wonderful recipes and easy directions for the future chef in your house. I think kids will really enjoy making the dishes in this book.
Pasta Modern by Francine Segan has some wonderful recipes for some nontraditional pasta uses. Examples include making mock pasta “pretzel” sticks or little pasta bird nests. They seem like fairly easy recipes that you can make with either your own homemade pasta, or start with store-bought.
We cannot talk about pasta without mentioning macaroni and cheese! Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese by Stephanie Stiavetti and Garrett McCord has dozens of recipes for this comfort food and variations of it you probably would never have dreamed of!
Besides being a delicious food, macaroni was historically used as a definition for a young British man who had travelled abroad in the18th century and exaggeratedly imitated continental fashions. Everyone called them dandy’s. This leads us to Yankee Doodle sticking a feather in his hat and calling himself “macaroni”.
We have several books with the poem “Yankee Doodle”. The original poem was written in the mid 1750’s and can be found in the book American Poetry: The Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries but the version we have all heard and know so well is actually a parody. Crankee Doodle by Tom Angleberger is a very fun story version of the poem that parents will probably enjoy more than the kids!
Lastly, Mac and Cheese are two characters in a series of kid’s books written by Sarah Weeks. Mac is fun and lovable while Cheese is grumpy. These are perfect beginner reader books.