Did You Know? (Bat Edition)

That the bumblebee bat is the world’s smallest mammal?

I found this information on page 175 in the book The Secret Lives of Bats by Merlin Tuttle. The name bumblebee bat is actually a nickname for the Kitti’s hog nosed bat from Myanmar (Burma). It was discovered in 1973-74 and weighs a third less than a United States penny! These bats are only about an inch long.

Bats by Phil Richardson tells about bats’ lifestyles and life cycles. He explains about the different classes of bats and that the Kitti’s hog nosed bat is considered one of the 930 species of ‘microbats.’ This book has excellent photos of many bats. The children’s book Bat Watching by Diane Bair and Pamela Wright has helpful information about removing bats from buildings and where to look for them for viewing. The Magic School Bus DVD has a ‘Going Batty’ episode where you really learn what it is like to be a bat: how they see with sonar, what they eat, and how they take care of their young.

On the other end of the spectrum is the world’s largest (baseball) bat. 1,000 Places to See Before you Die by Patricia Schultz shows the huge baseball bat outside of the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory in Louisville, Kentucky. I’m sure it will be much easier to see than the bumblebee bat, plus you won’t have to travel as far!

Smithsonian Baseball Treasures by Stephen Wong has a very interesting history of baseball bats and other items. For example, in 1885 a flat bat was used to aid in batting techniques like bunting. There is a great photo of Babe Ruth kissing his bats before the start of the World Series September 29, 1926. Combining both kinds of bats is Bats at the Ballgame by Brian Lies.

Lastly, baseball has a bat boy (or girl), but the world of super heroes has Batman! Here at the library we have The Batman Strikes, Going… Batty! by Bill Matheny. In this exciting graphic novel Batman fights a bad guy that turns into a bat.

Did You Know? (Cannibal Edition)

Some cannibals say that humans taste like pork!

I found this information in the prologue of the book Death by Cannibal by Peter Davidson. This book has the true stories of five convicted cannibals.

One of the most famous cases of cannibalism is the Donner Party. Author Bill Schutt investigates the evidence surrounding this
controversial case of “did they or didn’t they?” in Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History. The case of Alfred G. Packer is another cannibalistic tale told in the book A Voice for the Dead by James E. Starrs. In 1873 Alfred took off near Provo, Utah with five other prospectors and was the only one to return. As of 2005 when this book was published, James tells us that “Even in today’s world of criminal statutes in the 50 states, the only state declaring cannibalism to be a punishable criminal offense is Idaho.” (page 22)

There are different ways to be a cannibal. Dinner with a Cannibal: The Complete History of Mankind’s Oldest Taboo by Carole A Travis-Henikoff tells us that starvation brings on survival cannibalism, while the ingestion of dead relatives is known as endocannibalism or funerary cannibalism. Religious cannibalism is actual or simulated partaking of human flesh and blood, and autophagy (to eat one’s self) ranges from the little child picking their nose and eating it to torture-induced self-consumption and truly disturbed individuals who cook and eat their own flesh. There are a few other types as well… medicinal, gastronomic, and ritual. This book tells you all you could ever possibly want to know.

Speaking of tasting like pork, humans are more like pigs than we think! Pig (and baboon) body parts have been transplanted into humans in several cases. According to an article in the Aug/Sept 2017 issue of Atlantic Monthlypigs are also being genetically engineered to grow organs for people. This is called xenotransplanting.

There are many animals that are cannibals too. It is not uncommon for adult lions, hyenas, bears and many other animals to eat the young of their species to prevent them from being competition when they are older, or for young siblings to eliminate competition for food from their mothers. Eternal Enemies: Lions and Hyenas is a DVD that shows both lions and hyenas in this (graphic) documentary.

As author and chef Alton Brown says: “That’s good-eats!” Let’s hope none of us are ever desperate enough to find out!

Did You Know? (Unicorn Edition)

That Narwhals may be the ‘original’ unicorns?

I found this information on page 31 in the book Whales and Dolphins by Robin Kerrod. This ‘Exploring Nature’ book is all about whales, porpoises, dolphins, and more and explains the differences between them. Long ago when narwhals were little known, their ‘horns,’ which are actually a large protruding canine tooth, were thought to be (and passed off as) unicorn horns. A unicorn’s horn is sometimes called an alicorn.

Narwhals by Todd McLeish describes how narwhal horns were sold for great amounts of money to royalty and others as unicorn horns. Narwhals are still being hunted for their horns, and conservation efforts are under way.

Another animal that has been mistaken for a unicorn is the saola, a relative of antelopes, goats, and cattle. The Last Unicorn by William DeBuys tells about the author’s journey to find a living saola. It sounds like it was quite an adventure through Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. While saolas do have 2 horns, from the side it looks like they have one.

Unicorns have many names and appearances. They are known as Ki-lin in China with a short curly horn and Karkaddan in Arabia and Persia with a long pointy horn. Behold the … the Unicorns! by Gail Gibbons lets us see the way unicorns are viewed around the world and the legends behind them. It is also well-known that ‘uni’ means one, as in unicorn = one horn, unicycle = one wheel etc. One is a book of colors and numbers by Kathryn Otoshi and helps teach kids to stand up for themselves. Kathryn has won 15 awards for her books and this ‘one’ won the E.B White read aloud honor.

It doesn’t matter if you believe they are real or not, there are many stories about unicorns. The Unicorn Treasury by Bruce Coville is a book that has unicorn stories and poems. Now if you have a unicorn, it will need to be properly trained! Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Unicorn Training by Jackson Pearce and Maggie Stiefvater is a must for the unicorn owner. Pip works at a magical creature clinic and has points and tips for caring for your unicorn, shadyhog, wimpleing or other magical beast. So, keep your eyes open, because you never know when you might see a unicorn!

Did You Know? (Woodpecker Edition)

That a woodpecker’s ‘tongue’ wraps around its brain to act as a shock absorber when it pecks on trees?

I found this information on page 16 in the book Woodpeckers of the World by Gerard Gorman. Technically, it is the cartilage and bones inside the tongue called the hyoid and an inwardly curved maxilla (an overhang of spongy tissue) that functions as a shock absorber. Their skulls can experience shocks of 1200 G (force of gravity), whereas a human is typically concussed at 100 G or below! This book shows all the species of woodpeckers and their habitats. There are a great many species located here in the Northwest.

Imperial Dreams by Tim Gallagher and The Race to Save the Lord God Bird by Phillip Hoose are about the Imperial and the Ivory Billed woodpeckers which are both endangered and/or presumed already extinct. There have been rumors of sightings, but nothing has been documented. You could join the birdwatchers trying to catch a glimpse of these giant birds…. and be famous if you got a photo!

We have The Russian Woodpecker on DVD. It’s a film by Chad Gracia who follows eccentric artist Fedor Alexandrovich. Alexandrovich reveals to the world an enormous secret weapon, suspected to be for mind control, that stands in the shadow of Chernobyl and makes a woodpecker type noise on a specific radio frequency heard all over the world…. After going on for years, the noise had stopped right after the Chernobyl accident, but is now back on the air! Fedor’s conspiracy theory is that the reactor was deliberately destroyed as a grand cover up because the ‘woodpecker’ was supposed to be inspected by the Russian government the next month, and it would have failed.

Finally, growing up, we always looked forward to watching cartoons. Woody Woodpecker was always one of my personal favorites. We have Woody Woodpecker and Friends Holiday Favorites on DVD so you can remember just what a character he was and introduce him to your family.

Did You Know (Speeding Edition)

That the first person arrested for speeding in the United States was driving 12 miles an hour in 1899?

weirdbuttrueI found this information on page 115 in the book Weird but True! Stupid Criminals by National Geographic Kids. This book has more than 150 silly stories about criminals, and will have you laughing out loud!

Fifty Cars that Changed the World shows a 1908 Model T, just a little newer than the first car to get a ticket…. But chances are someone DID get a ticket in one of them. Fifty Cars tells the history of some of these vintage vehicles and how they changed the auto industry all over the world.

barnfindroadtripBarn Find Road Trip by Tom Cotter is “3 guys, 14 days and 1,000 lost collector cars discovered.” If you enjoy tinkering and restoring cars, you will love seeing the treasures they found. Some of them are even for sale if you need a project. If nothing else, you may get inspired to start peeking in some of the old barns around here.

It is ok to speed, sometimes! Like …. On a race track! On the Speedway by Jake Maddox is a children’s book with four short stories about teenage boys at the speedway. Anyone who dreams of being behind the scenes at the races will enjoy these stories.

racingdriverThere are many different kinds of auto racing: NASCAR, sports racers, Indy cars, Formula 1 cars, Stock cars and more. Racing Driver by Giles Chapman is ideal for a future race car driver. It shows “how to drive Race Cars step by step.”

So, basically, those NASCAR guys were criminals in their own right…. Real NASCAR: White Lightning, Red Clay and Big Bill France by Daniel S. Pierce shows how the colorful characters that were rrealnascaracers-by-day and bootleggers-by-night created the NASCAR that people love today.

But, the need for speed has always been with us. I’m sure that cavemen were racing each other to that hill over there, just because there was a hill over there. But we have all kinds of books on horse racing, motocross, hydroplane racing, bike racing and even the Iditarod. So… race right into the library and get one of these exciting books!

Quick Picks!

c1d4eb0de14c5411ecece51e6819d96eDid you know that we have a browsing section of books at the Everett Public Library that consists of newly published trade and mass market paperbacks? They are called “Quick Picks” and you can find great titles that are almost always available because no one can place holds on these books. Think of it: Brand new hot paperback titles, yours for the taking. This is your chance to get those hardbound bestsellers that are just out in paper. Here are a few that I have eyed lately.

index-3Look closely at the photo above.  I just spied a book which is on the current paperback non-fiction bestsellers list. Do you see it? S P Q R by Mary Beard is a history of Rome with passion and without technical jargon. It’s history written with common sense, a point of view and a healthy level of snark just to keep things interesting. So this is how perusing the Quick Picks works. You find books that you didn’t even know you needed!

 

51ab-hiwhml-_sx336_bo1204203200_I recently found a stunner of a book, Isabella the Warrior Queen.  Kristin Downey takes the Spanish Queen out from behind the shadow of Ferdinand and illuminates her importance in the history of the world. As Queen, she took effective measures against the Muslim threat to western civilization, had the vision to support Columbus’ venture and set the stage for the Spanish/Hapsburg empire building in Europe and the Americas. Oh, yes. And she started the Inquisition. Oops!  Nonetheless, this is an amazing story of a remarkable woman that reads like a novel. I highly recommend it!

indexThere’s a great selection of non-fiction in the Quick Picks section. Julie, a co-worker, recommended Pogue’s Basics: Life; Essential Tips and Shortcuts (That No One Bothers to Tell You). It’s a great ‘nibbler’ book and by that I mean you can open it up anywhere and read a bit. There’s useful information like how to remember how to set the utensils on your table: it’s alphabetical, fork, knife, spoon from the left. Also, fork and left both have four letters while knife, spoon and right have five letters. See? You gotta read this one!

index-1Welcome to Subirdia by John M Marzluff is also available as a Quick Pick. There are always overflow crowds when this University of Washington professor lectures at EPL. Avoid the crowds and get this author all to yourself with this book about how birds have adapted and survived in urban areas. In this fascinating and optimistic work, Marzluff tells how our own actions affect the birds and animals that live in our cities and towns, and he provides ten specific strategies everyone can use to make human environments friendlier for our natural neighbors.

index-2I just grabbed a copy of The Shell Collector which is a collection of exquisitely crafted short stories by the author of the acclaimed Pulitzer Prize-winning #1 New York Times bestseller All The Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr. This is a wonderful collection of longish short stories. The loose theme that weaves them together is water, the sea, love of nature, and finding your place in life, even if it means severing ties with those you love. Check it out if only to read the title story. And to gaze at the cover. Beautiful.

index-1Did you miss Paula McLain’s Circling the Sun when it was popular as a hardbound book? Read the Quick Pick! This novel by Beryl Markham transports you to 1920’s Kenya and the world of Out of Africa. This is historical fiction that is beautifully written, historically accurate, and utterly engrossing. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes strong female figures and/or has an interest in 20th century colonial Africa. This is one great read.

 

index-2Who can resist the idea of a book barge on the Seine in Paris where the bookseller, Jean Perdu, uses his intuition to select just the right book to deal with whichever emotion – small or large – is afflicting you? Nina George writes a charming, wise and winsome novel in The Little Paris Bookshop. We go on a journey with Perdu to the South of France as he moves from being lost in grief to slowly reclaiming himself and his life. The further south we go, the warmer the weather and the more Perdu comes alive. Bookseller. Lost love. The wisdom of books. All combine to make an enchanting read. Don’t miss it.

So remember to check out our Quick Picks collections at both locations. Browse a selection of mystery, romance, and notable bestsellers. Don’t waste your money on books when you can borrow them from your library. Quick! Pick a book!

Did You Know? (Pigeon Edition)

That the pigeon Cher Ami was awarded France’s Croix de Guerre Medal with a palm Oak Leaf Cluster for bravery after saving the ‘lost battalion’ in 1918?

flycheramiI found this information on page 67 in the book When Hitler Took Cocaine and Lennon Lost his Brain by Giles Milton. This book has lots of ‘the rest of the story’ stories from accounts in history.

Fly, Cher Ami, Fly! by Robert Burleigh tells Cher Ami’s story with a suspense that illustrates all the drama of the situation. Top Secret Files: World War 1 by Stephanie Bearce and Animals with Jobs: Carrier Pigeons by Judith Janda Presnall both talk about the famous pigeon as well. There are a few small details that differ from version to version, but I believe we can all agree that Cher Ami is a hero that deserves his place in history and the Smithsonian!

coldwarpigeonWhen we think of spies we don’t usually think of animals, but they have been used to spy for longer than you can imagine. 24/7 Spy Files: the Cold War Pigeon Patrols by Danielle Denega explains how dogs and dolphins were also used as spies. In Everything World War 1 by Karen L. Kenney you can even see pictures of a horse and a dog with specially fitted gas masks helping out behind enemy lines. Of course there are all kinds of animals that are ‘working’ animals: service dogs, plow animals, and trained animals acting in all kinds of TV shows, commercials or movies. Animal Stars by Robin Ganzert gives you the stories of some famous animals you have probably seen on TV or in the movies. You may even get some tips on how to train your pet and make them famous.

pigeon

Mo Willems writes a very popular series of books about a pigeon that the kids love! Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the BusThe Pigeon Wants a Puppy and The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog are just a few of the titles available.

comebacksalmonHere in Everett, we have Pigeon Creek #1. The book Come Back, Salmon by Molly Cone tells the story of how the kids at Jackson Elementary cleaned up the creek so salmon could come back and spawn there. The project started in 1984. Today it remains a healthy creek thanks in big part to those dedicated fifth graders.

Lastly, some people are said to be ‘pigeon toed’ (also known as metatarsus varus, metatarsus adductus, in-toe gait, intoeing or false clubfoot). This is a condition which causes the toes to point inward or outward when walking. The Good Foot Book by Glenn Copeland DPM tells us what can be done to correct that problem. It makes me wonder if a pigeon that has its feet turned incorrectly would be ‘human toed?’