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Looking for a Funny Audio Script? By Elaine A. Powers, Scriptwriter

Gray book cover, illustrated with two iguanas standing in front of microphones
Funny and educational audio scripts ranging from five to 20 minutes in length

I’m a retired biologist and I enjoy teaching children and consequently, adults, about science. Science education doesn’t have to be dry and tedious. I like to be creative, so I write rhyming picture books and adventure tales, in the hopes of slipping in facts while the reader enjoys the story.

However, my writing career didn’t start with the books for sale on this website. It actually started with radio/audio theatre scripts and a couple of talkative lizards.

Have you met Dudley or Didi Dewlap? Or Miles or Molly Monitor?

Dudley and Didi are green iguanas, known for being rather self-absorbed but energetic talk-show hosts.

Miles and Molly are water monitors, much more down-to-earth lizards, the perfect sidekick for an iguana. Did you know that green iguanas are arrogant and according to a pet psychic, that they want to take over the world? Not sure how they intend to do this, but it will be interesting to see them try.

In the meantime, Dewlap and Monitor discuss the world from the lizard point of view, and they include the pet psychic, witchcraft and the soccer World Cup in their musings.

The scripts in this book are written in talk-show style and they provide a great deal of information in a very humorous fashion. Not only is the news of the day discussed, but classic works of literature are discussed . . . by lizards. And by the way, they’re “political activists,” too. Reptilian politics, that is.

NOTE: Conversations with Dudley Dewlap: The World from a Lizard Point of View is a collection of short comedy, small cast, audio scripts. Most roles are gender neutral. The primary characters are talk-show hosts who discuss various amusing topics. The scripts can be combined or used individually. Additional cast can be used for sound effects. Along with being entertaining and family friendly, many of the scripts are also educational. The scripts are amenable to radio theater, readers’ theater, or may be adapted for stage. Approximate running times vary with the scripts ranging from five to 20 minutes. Performance rights are included with the sale of the book–as many times as you’d like!

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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

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Who Likes a Bath? By Elaine A. Powers, Author

Water is important to all reptiles. Some need a lot of water, like the tropical rain forest green iguanas and some less, like the desert dwelling Sulcata tortoises.

My iguanas get regular soakings, which they enjoy. Some like the shower, spraying them as if rain is falling, while others prefer the gently rising warm water of the tub. The red-foot tortoises also enjoy soaking this way. Ezra, an old green iguana, requires his daily soaks to maintain his internal health.

A rock iguana soaking in a tubHere is Blue, a Cayman Blue-hybrid iguana, enjoying his soak.

But some reptiles don’t like to soak. One big one is Duke, my male Sulcata tortoise. Even though it is important for him to soak occasionally, he hates it. I mean, he really hates it. People tell me how tortoises love to soak and maybe they even float. Not Duke. He sinks like a rock.

I used to soak him in the bathtub until he reached 120 lbs. Then I kind of crushed my finger between him and the side of the tub. Since then, I fill the kiddie pool with warm water for him. I tried rinsing him with the hose as the water level rose. He didn’t like that, thrashing about, trying to climb over the edge.

I tried putting him into an already filled pool. Still he thrashed. I hoped he would calm down and just soak, but no, he tried to climb out every corner of the round pool. I described it like the agitating wash cycle of a washing machine.

Don’t worry, I always let him out after I’ve had a chance to scrub him clean.

Lyric Power Publishing offers an educational 44-page workbook on tortoises, full of fun activities and interesting information about these fun creatures. The workbook for children in PreK-Gr 1 is called My Book About Tortoises and is used by teachers, tutors and parents to supplement the education of their children. Check it out today!

a yellow and green book cover with an image of a desert tortoise

To see all of our comprehensive educational activity sheets and workbooks, click on Our Workbooks.

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They Think They’re Hiding By Elaine A. Powers, Author

In their native environment, reptiles use camouflage to protect themselves. I have watched green iguanas climb into foliage and completely disappear. I knew the iguana was in there, but I could not see her or him.

Consequently, I amused when the reptiles in my house attempt to hide.

Boxturtlehiding at sofa

Here is a box turtle hiding.

tail of green iguana hidingAnd a green iguana hiding in the bed where she knows she isn’t allowed.

tail of rhino iguana hiding

Same with this rhinoceros iguana hiding under the sofa pillows, instead of her usual rock den.

I don’t mind that they don’t hide very well. The tortoises figure if their heads are under something, the rest of their body must be there, too. And, with the iguanas forgetting their tails are sticking out, it makes them easier to find.

Of course, it’s important to know where your kids are.

Lyric Power Publishing offers an educational 24-page workbook on turtles, full of fun activities and interesting information about these fun creatures. The workbook is called My Book About Turtles and is used by teachers, tutors and parents to supplement the education of children in grades 2-4. Check it out today!

To see all of our comprehensive educational activities, click on Our Workbooks.

A light blue book cover with images of freshwater turtle and green sea turtle

 

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Sept. 12, 2019 National Day of Encouragement By Elaine A. Powers, Author

What a wonderful day–a day of encouragement. We all need encouragement, whether it be for something small or something big. As a writer, I’m constantly in need of encouragement. It’s one thing to put words on a page–that is easy. But I need encouragement to share my work with the world. I’ve gotten encouragement to write stories, to get them published, to market them to shops, and to speak in public about them.

TEXT WAY TO GO!

My writing career started because the other passengers on a boat encouraged me to publish the story. So, Curtis Curly-tail and the Ship of Sneakers was published. But the real encouragement came from the first children who read it when they asked me, “When is the next Curtis story coming out?” I hadn’t planned another Curtis, but their sweet encouragement led to the stream of books, 26 to date, that have flowed from me. I will be forever grateful.

A book cover with a Curly-tail lizard riding the waves in a red sneaker
Curtis, the perfect curly-tail lizard of Warderick Wells, decides to see where the tourists come from. He sets sail on his adventure in a ship of sneakers.

I am also encouraged when children who had the book read to them, incorporate the science into their daily lives and even share it with others around them. Like my friend’s young grandson who corrects adults who call a tortoise a turtle. “Don’t call him a turble!” he exclaims.

And I’m encouraged when an adult tells me after she’s read a book to the young person in her life, “I didn’t know that, either. I learned something new yesterday.”

We all have a story to share. I encourage you to share a story with a special little someone today.

A children's book cover, green with a tortoise standing, coming out of a circle, finger pointed, saying Don't Call Me Turtle

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Why Do Iguanas Like Soft Things? By Elaine A. Powers, Author

I have a variety of iguanas in my house. Some normally climb in trees, some dwell among rocks. Those in my house live on towels. One thing I have noticed is that they all seem to like soft things, like pillows and cushions.

I’ve often wondered where in nature they would come across such soft items. I have no clue. But inside my house, they seek comfy places to rest. Here are some examples.

head of green iguana sticking out of blanketsA green iguana in my bed.

Iguana tail sticking out of blanketsA rhinoceros iguana on my sofa, under a blanket. See the dark tail?

The above iguana also likes to sleep on a cat pillow in her enclosure. Everyone deserves a little softness in their lives.

Lyric Power Publishing offers an educational 30-page workbook on iguanas, full of fun activities and interesting information about these amazing creatures. The workbook is called My Unit Study on Iguanas, and is used by teachers, tutors and parents to supplement the education of children in grades 2-4. Check it out today!

a white and light blue book cover with an image of an iguana's head

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The Origins of Animal Descriptors by Elaine A. Powers, Author

Baby sheep standing in grassy field
Sheep By Public Domain Picture from Pixabay

The other day I used the phrase, “That dog is looking sheepish.” It got me thinking about animals being used as descriptors. How did we decide what sheepish is? Sheepish refers to being embarrassed after doing something wrong or foolish. Do sheep feel embarrassed? I doubt it. When I looked the etymology up, an earlier meaning was related to the shy or fearful behavior of sheep.

I got curious and researched more of these expressions. Here are a few I found interesting. When someone gets your goat, it means they irritate you. This phrase comes from horseracing. Goats were used as companions for the thoroughbreds, helping to keep the high-strung horses calm. Opponents would steal the goat in order to upset the horse, so it wouldn’t run well in the race.

Calling someone pig-headed is an intentional insult, suggesting the person is stupid and stubborn. This is odd because pigs are rather intelligent animals. It’s suggested that people have a tendency to want to denigrate intelligent animals by saying they are stubborn. Yes, pigs can be stubborn, refusing to move when people want them to—but would you always move if someone was forcing you to? I think this phrase is insulting to both the person and the pig!

The head of a turkey, white feathers and red skin on head
Image courtesy of Skeeze of Pixabay

Another saying is commonly used in advertising: He quit cold turkey. It’s said when someone needs to stop a bad habit and decides to quit in one moment, instead of tapering off. How did a wild, warm-blooded bird become cold and acquire this meaning? The origin of this phrase is not clear, but two are suggested. The first is related to the look of a person’s skin when they are withdrawing from drugs they are addicted to: it is cold and bumpy, like a plucked turkey. Another possibility is that turkey is a relatively quick and easy dish to prepare, but that isn’t nearly as interesting an explanation.

The next time you find yourself using one of these phrases, stop and research where they came from. You will likely learn something about the animal, as well as history.

And for a fun time learning about animals, Lyric Power Publishing offers workbooks and activity sheets on a variety of creatures. We offer two workbooks about the Greater Roadrunner, one for Grades K-2 and the second for Grades 2-4. Thank you for stopping by. We hope you’ve enjoyed this post and will also enjoy and benefit from our 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

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Remember Clarissa Catfish and White Thunder? By Elaine A. Powers, Author

Two catfish in an aquarium

Clarissa Catfish and White Thunder are characters in the storybook, Clarissa Catfish Visits the Peoria Riverfront Museum.

I was back in my hometown of Peoria, IL., so I stopped by to visit a couple of old friends and a couple of inspirations. Clarissa Catfish and White Thunder from my story, Clarissa Catfish Visits the Peoria Riverfront Museum, are featured in the photo above. You can see why I didn’t want Clarissa to be kidnapped and eaten!

I was delighted to see they are still swimming about in the Illinois River Exhibit. Even though they look similar, Clarissa and WT are different kinds of catfish in my book, Channel and Bullhead. The book is an exciting tale of friendship and danger, plus you will learn a lot of fun facts about Channel cats.

Clarissa’s adventures will continue. The ending of her first book was left open ended. You’ll want to see where she goes next!

an illustrated children's book cover, blue water with a catfish swmming and a bu9ilding in the background
A flooding river takes Clarissa Catfish to the Peoria Riverfront Museum. She had thought exploring the Illinois River was exciting, but once she is taken inside the museum, the real adventure begins. Clarissa explores the exhibits and makes new friends–but will she escape the man who has dinner plans for her?
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You Know it’s Hot When Your Tree Melts by Elaine A. Powers, Author

tree trunk growing on fenceAs trees grow, they can get taller and their trunks generally grow wider. Since they can’t move out of the way, the trees have to deal with any impediments. When trees run into obstacles, plant tissue often grows around and may even engulf foreign objects.

I saw this tree in the Corkscrew Swamp in southwest Florida at noon in late July. It was very hot.

I don’t think this tree grew into the boardwalk railing – I think it melted!

Stay cool and enjoy your weekend!

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What Makes Animals Have Different Colors? by Elaine A. Powers, Author

A children's book cover, brown background, orange and yellow lettering, with images of snakes from the Bahamas
BAHAMIAN BOAS: A TABBY TALE Now Available at Amazon

In a previous post, I mentioned the different color-morphs of green iguanas. You might be interested to know what causes animals to come in these different colors.

The colors in reptiles and most other animals come from fascinating cells called chromatophores. Chromatophores are cells that contain pigments, one color per cell. Melanophores contain black pigment, erythrophores have red, xanthophores are yellow, and leucophores are white. Iridiophores are the cells containing the reflective pieces that produce iridescence (as seen in Bahamian Boas, A Tabby Tale above). The presence of and combination of these different cells determine the color patterns of the animal.

Chromatophores are located in the basal or lower layers of the epidermis. When a reptile sheds its upper epidermal layer, you’ll notice there are no colors in the old skin. That’s because the pigment cells are deeper.

The pigment granules inside the cells can be moved around. If you’re a cold-blooded (ectotherm) reptile and need to warm up, you would expand the black pigment in your melanophores to absorb more of the sun’s rays. When you were nice and warm, you would cluster the pigment back into the cell.

Chameleons are famous for their ability to alter their color patterns. They are able to do this by expanding and contracting the pigment granules within the various colored cells.

Hormones affect the expression of the colors. Iguanas become much brighter in color during mating season, when they need to attract a mate.

It’s a shame we humans only have the black pigment (melanin) chromatophores. Think of the fun we would have if we could change colors like a chameleon.

Interested in learning more about iguanas? Please see Lyric Power Publishing’s educational, supplemental workbook, My Unit Study on Iguanas.

a white and light blue book cover with an image of an iguana's head