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Cute as a Button and by the way, Dec. 13 is National Day Of The Horse by Elaine A. Powers, Author

woman stands by brown horse, MIssouri Foxtrotter
Button is a wonderful Missouri Foxtrotter

Earlier this year, I wouldn’t have written about the national day of the horse. But this past summer, I did something inconceivable: I had never wanted a horse, yet I became a horse owner.

I just wanted to be comfortable riding around the Sonoran Desert. I was having trouble with stirrups, so some equestrian friends suggested I take bareback lessons. The daughter of an author friend became my trainer. I loved riding bareback. The connection between the horse and me was wonderful. We could feel each other as we moved.

My lessons involved two horses, easy-going Lady and stubborn Button. I always liked riding Button the best. I fit nicely on her (she’s only 14.2 hands) and I enjoyed the challenge. As the saying goes, “Calm seas do not a skilled sailor make.” She was stubborn, and I was determined.  I guess that comes from handling large, muscular lizards.

A couple of years into our lessons, we realized Button had chosen me as her human. I was honored. After that realization, I knew that if something happened and Button needed a new home, I’d be willing to take her. The next morning, my trainer asked me if I would take Button. She was getting married and couldn’t keep Button at her new home. Of course, I said yes . . .without even thinking. I am happy with my decision.

Future posts will feature my developing relationship with my special horse. As you can see, she really is as cute as a Button.

If you’d enjoy learning about the Sonoran Desert, and laughing as you do so, this fun story is for you:

Colorful book cover illustrated with Anna's Hummingbird in The Sonoran Desert
This colorful picture book for all ages teaches about the Sonoran Desert—with a sense of humor. It pits one bumbling human against the desert as he carelessly attempts to photograph an Anna’s Hummingbird. Enjoy the chase as the photographer is tripped up by a rock, stabbed by a Mesquite tree and rattled by a Western Diamondback. Then use the glossary to teach about the rich variety of life in the Sonoran Desert. Humor makes learning fun and easy!
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Do Birds Flitter or Flutter? By Elaine A. Powers, Author

a yellow bird with brown and white wings landing on the side of a cactus
Image courtesy of B Wills from Pixabay

I like to write about word use and finding more interesting, active verbs for more exciting writing. For instance, did the lizard skitter or scurry? In writing about a bananaquit, a small bird that flies rapidly from spot to spot, the question came up: Is the bird flittering or fluttering? The same question could be asked of butterflies. Do they flitter or flutter? English is such an interesting language.

Flitter and flutter can both be used as verbs. Even though they are only one letter different, they do describe different motions. Flittering suggests movement in a quick and seemingly random manner. Fluttering, in contrast, suggests the winged creature is flying unsteadily or irregularly. So, even though both words indicate flapping (another similar-sounding word) of wings, fluttering means wobbly motion, while flittering means flying nimbly. So, in the case of my bananaquit, she is flittering from branch to branch.

You’ll get to meet this bananquit in the upcoming book, Curtis Curly-tail Goes to the Doctor. In the meantime, please enjoy the previous books in the series.

a children's book cover, blue and white, with several curly-tail lizards on the cover
Captured by poachers, Curtis Curly-tail finds himself on a boat full of native animals being smuggled out of The Bahamas. As he struggles to help the other animals escape, he realizes he may not be able to save himself.

a light green and dark green book cover with the image of a duck in waterColor eight different birds in this workbook, including the Bananaquit!

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Which Raven is Which? By Elaine A. Powers, Author

closeup of head of a chihuanuan raven
See the white feathers? Only when the wind ruffles them!

Did you know there are two kinds of ravens in the Sonoran Desert? Ravens are one of my favorite birds: intelligent, caring, magnificent in appearance. I have wondered about the wisdom of a black bird living in the hot desert sun, but they are resilient.

Several years ago, a pair of ravens hung out around the building where I worked. I always enjoyed their cawing to me as I entered or exited and I wondered every time what kind they were. You see, the Sonoran Desert has two species of ravens: the Common (Corvus corax) and the Chihuahuan (Corvus cryptoleucus). They both appear black, including their eyes, beaks and legs, and they are about the same size. They both have a heavy, powerful bill for their omnivorous ways, eating anything and everything.

So, how do you tell them apart?

The Chihuahuan Raven (Corvus cryptoleucus) is a native of both the U.S. and Mexico and its former name gives a clue as to how to tell them apart: The American White-necked Raven is now known as the Chihuahuan Raven. But where is this supposed white neck? You certainly can’t see any white feathers when it’s perched or flying. You can only see the white feathers when the wind ruffles the neck. Only then are the white feathers underneath revealed.

I was fortunate enough to see the white feathers on one of the worksite raves. I had my answer–they were Chihuahuan!

And for a fun time learning about animals, Lyric Power Publishing offers workbooks and activity sheets on a variety of creatures. We don’t yet offer a workbook on Ravens, but we do have two workbooks about the Greater Roadrunner, one for Grades K-2 and the second for Grades 2-4. The covers below show the variety of activity pages included in the workbooks.

Thank you for stopping by LPP. We hope you’ve enjoyed this post and will also enjoy and benefit from our supplemental, educational workbooks.

A green and yellow book cover with image of Greater Roadrunner

a turquoise and yellow book cover with an image of the Greater Roadrunner