May my books come to life for you.
May the story draw you in,
sometimes make you laugh,
and always make you wonder.
May you have something to think about when you come to the end.
And may the essence of the story stay with you long after the book covers are closed.
Thank you for reading.
You can find this book at Family Sharing of Ozaukee County.
There are autographed copies of most of my books sold in a few locations in Wisconsin
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Wisdom of the Wild
When You Go Into Nature
2018 Magnolia Book Awards - PreK-2 Category, Short-listed,
2018 NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12 List, Winner
2017 Eureka! Gold Award, Winner
2016 Growing Goods Kids-Excellence in Children's Literature Award
Stick insects have tricks that make them highly successful creatures. Designed for reading aloud, Bestor’s two-level text provides an overview of a walking stick’s life. A simple, circular narrative begins in winter, with eggs hidden under the snow, and goes through spring hatching, a summer of community leaf-eating and predator evasion, and autumn egg laying (with or without fertilization); it ends with winter and spring again. Onomatopoeic phrases such as “Munch. Munch,” “Drop, plop. Drop,” and the titular refrain are printed in extra-large display type. Child readers are sometimes addressed directly in smaller-print paragraphs on each spread. These describe more complex events and use more specific language than the primary text: the way ants hide the eggs, mistaking them for seeds; the exoskeletons these insects shed (molt) as they grow; feet designed for climbing; and defense mechanisms, including camouflage, quaking, autotomy—the loss and replacement of an appendage—and even parthenogenesis. Though walking sticks are sold as exotic pets, the author helpfully suggests admiring them in the natural world instead. The stylish, probably computer-generated art resembles work done with cut paper; stylized images of the insects, the branches, leaves, berries, and flowers around them, and the ground below are set on a white background for each spread. Elements from these images make up the endpapers. A nice addition to the nature shelf. (Informational picture book. 4-7)
Perhaps it’s their talent for camouflage, but the oft-overlooked walking stick finally gets its due in this beautifully illustrated picture book. In a style reminiscent of Steve Jenkins, this book takes readers through the life of a stick insect, from the moment this slender bug hatches from its egg to the time it lays eggs itself. Varying fonts emphasize words like drip, wiggle, and munch, as well as the refrain, “Good trick, walking stick!” when a new ability is revealed. Aided by the vibrant collage-style illustrations, readers see the insect shed its exoskeleton and defend itself from a bird by detaching its leg (which it will later regrow) in a trick called autotomy. The intended audience for this book is adaptable, as the main text’s narrative quality and tone seem appropriate for kindergartners, while the scientific asides are more advanced. However, most kids will find the walking stick’s ability to change its color, tremble like a twig in the wind, and squirt smelly liquid at attackers , fascinating at any age.
A creepy, crawly, stick-like form that emerges from eggs, molts and regrows limbs sounds a lot like something from a sci fi movie. Only it’s not; it’s something straight out of your back yard and it’s featured in author Sheri Mabry Bestor’s newest science picture book, Good Trick, Walking Stick. Set against the colorful flora and fauna of a forest that is absolutely teeming with life, Good Trick, Walking Stick tells the story of how walking sticks live their lives. They begin as tiny eggs raining down from the treetops and are quickly mistaken for waste by ants on the forest floor. The ants bury them in their garbage dumps–an act that would be insulting on any other day, but in this case it ensures that the little walking sticks are safe until they emerge from their shells. Burgeoning entomologists will thrill at the up-close-and-personal illustrations of baby walking sticks doing tricks that only walking sticks can do: changing colors to blend with the tree bark; regrowing limbs that have been plucked off by predators; and taking on the color of the night sky so that they can’t be seen by any predator that might be wandering around in the dark. They will also appreciate Ms. Bestor’s attention to time and seasons, as she cleverly opens the book in Fall, when the leaves cover the walking stick eggs, then the snow falls, then the spring comes…and she ends with the Fall coming once again. Artist Johnny Lambert’s vibrant illustrations are kid-friendly and insect-creepy all at the same time. His lush and foresty colors will have bug-watchers itching to go on a backyard safari. Great for science or art classrooms or private collections. Written for ages 6-8.
K-Gr 3–This delightful story explains the life cycle of a walking stick bug from egg stage through adulthood. Many characteristics of various species are explored as “tricks” that these insects perform. The life cycle and “tricks” are discussed in a narrative style, and each spread includes additional facts that expound on the bugs’ abilities. This is especially useful for sharing this title with a variety of age groups; while the very young will enjoy the story, some children will love the additional facts provided. The illustrations are bright and bold and work well to enhance the story while providing visual cues for young readers. The collage style and organic colors evoke the natural world and help clarify the text, especially the camouflage characteristics of walking stick bugs. This title is likely to appeal to many readers who have interest in the world around them, and will also be useful for school assignments as titles on this strange insect are few and far between. VERDICT A fun, informative offering about a little-known insect that is sure to delight readers. Recommended for most collections. Read aloud: age 6 – 8.
Get ready, get set to learn about the amazing, almost hidden-from-view life of the walking stick. This story follows this fascinating insect and all of the tricks and adaptations this interesting little critter is able to do. Begin with a walking stick egg that has dropped to the ground, then carried by ants into their nest as food. The ants, however, only eat the tops off the eggs, thinking they are the edible part of a seed. When that part is consumed, the ants consider the rest to be trash and remove it to their garbage dump, allowing the eggs to be safe and warm until they are ready to hatch in the spring. Once the walking stick hatches, it eats and eats, molts her outer shell six times before she is fully grown, and avoids predators in a variety of ways, including camouflage and being able to grow a new leg if she needs one. “Good trick, walking stick!” Through accessible text, additional informative sidebars allowing a fuller comprehension of the life cycle of this insect, and the inviting illustrations, all combine to make this book a genuinely captivating look at nature.
You can learn all sorts of interesting things about walking stick insects by reading this book. Like that a walking stick can have children without having a mate. But that means that that walking stick has to have all daughters. Walking stick eggs look like nuts, and in the winter, the eggs are safe because the ants carry them into their nests and only eat off the tops. That doesn’t harm the walking stick eggs, so in the spring they hatch. If a bird or something attacks a walking stick, the insect sprays an acid to keep the predator from hurting it any more or eating it. Walking sticks are really amazing and have some very interesting ways to grow and protect themselves, so this is a great book to read to find out all about them, like how they use camouflage or how they molt. The pictures are colorful and keep you very interested in how walking sticks survive. This book has just the right amount of information and pictures to be interesting to everyone, and everyone who is interested in nature or in insects will enjoy it.
The creative duo behind Good Trick, Walking Stick (2016) returns to the insect world. Readers follow the life cycle of a green darner dragonfly, from its mother laying eggs to fertilizing its own before leaving to “find warmer days” elsewhere. The primary text, set in a relatively large font, relates the development of a particular dragonfly in a preschool-friendly manner with simple sentences, sound effects, and a rhythmic refrain—“Oh my, a baby dragonfly!”—that varies the first few syllables with each repetition. Supplementary text is in smaller, multicolored type and gives a factual description of the species, complete with vocabulary definitions and fourth wall–breaking questions to encourage inquisitive thought: “Do you think that the nymph looks like a dragonfly?” Blocks of this text are tucked into the corners of spreads, so younger readers can choose to skim them over while older or inquisitive readers can learn more about the natural world. Unfortunately, there is no informative backmatter to further help them on their way. Lambert places marbled colors à la Eric Carle against a plain, mostly white background. The result is a rich vibrancy that makes the book and its insect protagonist delightfully attractive. Dynamic colors and textual versatility make for a quality nonfiction read. (Informational picture book. 5-8)
FEATHERED QUILL REVIEW
Reviewed by: Holly Connors Review Date: April 19, 2022 A story about the life cycle of fireflies, mixed with lots of interesting facts about these fascinating beetles (yes, beetles!), makes Light the Sky, Firefly! a fun and educational book for both bedtime and school research projects. On the very first page, a female firefly flutters about, looking for a perfect place to lay her eggs. Once she finds that spot, she can lay up to 500 eggs! Turn the page and we learn about the gestation process and how long it will take those eggs to hatch. Once they hatch, the larvae are hungry and guess what they eat? (Hint: don't read this part of the story while having lunch!) The larvae continue to grow, and eat(!), until winter approaches when it's time to go underground and hibernate. When spring comes, there are many surprises for the emerging firefly...what will happen? Light the Sky, Firefly! is a fascinating look at the life cycle of a popular creature, one that many people consider an insect. But read this book, and you'll learn much about this beetle, from its life cycle to what allows them to light up the sky. The book has both the story, and little "factoids" on each page. The factoids include fascinating information on things such as how fireflies communicate, molting of the exoskeleton, and even how some scientists are researching the chemical produced by fireflies to see if it can help cure some human diseases. The book is an excellent choice for any child interested in fireflies as well as youngsters looking for a good research project. Quill says: A fun story, along with a plethora of facts and lovely illustrations, make Light the Sky, Firefly! an excellent addition to your child's bookshelf.
A glowing chronicle of the life cycle of a firefly, from tiny egg to luminescent adult. Bestor and Lambert’s latest collaboration for bug-curious readers starts with a firefly laying a clutch of eggs under some leaves in the summertime. A month later, small, six-legged larvae emerge. The quickly growing larvae spend their autumn nights hunting snails and slugs, preparing to hibernate underground and molt all winter. When springtime comes, the baby fireflies unearth themselves only to build and enter “a mud chamber” that allows them to transform into their final form: winged, long-bodied insects with a glimmering rear end. The simple main text appears in various sizes and colors, helping to emphasize various details for dramatic effect. Small-print informational tidbits, which use more sophisticated vocabulary, appear on the bottom of each full-bleed spread and will engage older children with additional context. Newer readers can easily skip these parts without losing the narrative thrust of the book. Thanks in large part to Lambert’s captivating, cut-paper–style images, this title truly offers something for everyone, particularly in the beautiful nightscapes full of fireflies that close out the book. (This book was reviewed digitally.) Like a gleaming field of fireflies, it’s tough to take your eyes off this mesmerizing book. (Informational picture book. 5-10)
A young girl is so excited to share a surprise with her grandmother that she begins their hike together in a distracted rush.Spending time with Grandma is clearly a joy for the young child. The girl enthusiastically hurries along through the woods, hoping to catch a glimpse of the loons on the lake, but Grandma takes the time to notice the sights and sounds of the forest. She gently reminds her granddaughter that “if we keep looking for there, we will miss what is right here.” The child accepts this invitation to pause. She closes her eyes, stills her body, connects with her breath, and then is able to notice the tiny treasures the forest has to share, like the rustle of leaves and the colorful pop of spring flowers. The quality of this title’s narrative sets it apart in the growing mindfulness-for-children genre. The depiction of a special intergenerational relationship is the clear priority of the story. Rather than using the narrative to instruct readers in mindfulness (this is saved for the backmatter), mindfulness practice is authentically embedded into the interaction between the two characters. The illustrations, awash in green and somewhat nostalgic in styling, complement the narrative and successfully transport readers to a lush forest brimming with life. Both narrator and Grandma present white.Clearly demonstrates the sense of connectedness—to nature, others, and self—that mindfulness practice can bring. (Picture book. 4-8)
A young child learns to cope with the stress and fears of moving by using some mindfulness techniques Grandpa teaches. On one of their last hikes together before the big move, Grandpa gives the narrator a smooth pebble, calling it a calming stone, to keep in a pocket for whenever worry-thoughts happen. Rubbing the stone will soothe anxious feelings while the child thinks of something that elicits gratitude. In their new town, miles away from Grandpa, the young family of color embarks on a new hike, on a new path. With the calming stone in a handy pocket, the child’s worries are still there, but slowly, with the help of some mindful observations about the natural things quit being mindful all around and some slow, deep belly breaths Grandpa taught, the child’s anxiety begins to ease. Nature scenes of a brisk autumn day complement the soothing atmosphere. The author’s note provides several simply applied mindfulness strategies, which have been effectively demonstrated throughout the narrative. This will serve as a great introductory lesson for discussion and understanding as schools adopt mindfulness in their daily routines and children are increasingly required to navigate the stressful pressures of today’s world. A necessary theme explored in an easily understood and accessible story sequence. (Picture book. 5-8)
Social and science lessons disguised in an early reader. In this series opener, Tessy, a self-absorbed girl, meets a chameleon named Newton. She wants to be friends, but only on her terms. Newton is not so sure—especially when Tessy expects him to act like a kid. The conflicts continue through five chapters. “Jars are not [his] thing”; “picnics are not [his] thing,” either. But “rock sitting” and changing colors are not her things. Sometimes the problem is language; sometimes the problem is because they are different species. Eventually, they find something they can enjoy together: watching the sun set and the moon rise. The second book in the series, The Kid and the Chameleon Sleepover (published simultaneously), gives readers six further chapters about the conflicting views of these improbable friends. Kids who can get past the heavy-handed message about respecting differences will benefit from the practice reading short sentences (often of just one or two words) with predictable parallel structures and simple repetitive vocabulary. Five to 10 lines of text per page are set in a large, well-leaded serif typeface against mostly white backgrounds dotted with full-color illustrations. A final page of “Chameleon Facts” explains the science alluded to in the story. Tessy has beige skin and fluffy, brown hair. Not as simpatico as Frog and Toad nor as clever as Amelia Bedelia but useful for skill development. (Early reader. 5-8)
A combination of personal stories, statistics and recent studies, and a discussion of the cultural/societal perception and treatment of the topic. . . clearly presented and easily digestible information useful for establishing a solid knowledge base. (Library Journal)
Substance Abuse: The Ultimate Teen Guide is designed with the high school age student in mind who wants a broad overview of the physical and emotional issues associated with substance abuse and teen use of drugs and alcohol. While the teenage years are a time of great emotional and psychological change, there are many issues that may arise for the teen dealing with substance abuse. The work focuses on the exposure that teens today have to substances, the reasons that teens experiment with drugs and alcohol, the physical and emotional aspects of addiction, and relapse and recovery. Information in this work is presented through the personal stories of teens and young adults who have lived through the experience of drug and alcohol abuse; most of the stories focus on teenagers who have experienced substance abuse first-hand. Specific chapters address the experimentation stage, prevention of addiction, holistic methods of recovery, and recovery and relapse. The volume includes discussion questions at the end of each chapter to help teens verbalize their questions, up-to-date statistics, and first-hand advice from professionals. Teens who are experiencing issues with substance abuse first-hand, either themselves or with a parent or friend, will find this guide useful. The personal experiences shared in this book will appeal to this target audience and could be useful for students this age researching this topic. (American Reference Books Annual)School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Readers looking to develop a basic understanding of these topics will be well served by these volumes, even though neither author goes into much depth on any specific area. The books consist of a combination of personal stories, statistics and recent studies, and a discussion of the cultural/societal perception and treatment of the topic. LGBTQ Families is written by a straight ally rather than an LGBTQ parent or the child of an LGBTQ parent, which may be a drawback for some readers looking for more of an “insider glimpse.” However, excellent sections on becoming a straight ally and LGBTQ activist may not have been as strong without the benefit of that particular point of view. Some of the personal stories in Substance Abuse are extremely detailed, and while this can be a powerful mechanism for teaching about the seriousness of the issue, sensitive readers may find the content hard to accept. As research materials for students, these books provide clearly presented and easily digestible information useful for establishing a solid knowledge base.—Nora G. Murphy, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, LaCanada-Flintridge, CA