Lyric Power Publishing LLC is happy to announce we’re celebrating the birthday of our fun, informative, and boldly illustrated book, Don’t Make Me Rattle!
Snazzy the Snake is hosting our celebration! February 25th marks the birthday of Don’t Make Me Rattle!, the rhyming book by author Elaine A. Powers full of rattlesnake facts and vibrant illustrations.
While Elaine writes to make science education fun, she writes particularly about rattlers so we can respect, not fear, them. They are shy creatures who prefer not to engage with humans. The rattle is only a warning: Please stay away!
Learn the rattlesnake’s role in the ecosystem, about their fascinating social behavior, how the venom is used by the rattlers, and much, much more in this 40-page book with bold illustrations by illustrator Nicholas Thorpe.
I’ve received some interesting criticisms as an author. If you’re familiar with my work, you know that my picture books rhyme. In fact, I believe all picture books should rhyme. The rhythm of the words enhances the reading experience for both the child and adult. My books are filled with scientific facts, so I describe them as being science-based, but they are fun, too. My goal is to educate while entertaining.
In one of my writing critique groups, a fellow poet has repeatedly criticized my work for combining science and poetry. In his opinion, science and poetry should never be mixed. Scientific facts dilute the quality of the poetry, he says. Since I am using poetry (I am a musician and rhythm comes naturally to me) to convey science, I disagree with his opinion. Don’t worry, I will continue to write rhyming science-based books. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.
I recently read an article in American Scientist that explored humor and mathematics. In Stop Me If You’ve Heard This Theorem Before (September-October 2020:108 (5), author Daniel S. Silver describes how mathematics has been lurking in our humor. Other types of science have been lying in wait, as well.
Question. What do you give a person who has everything?
There’s medicine, from comedian Steve Martin:
First the doctor told me the good news. I was going to have a disease named after me.
Q. What do baby parabolas drink?
A. Quadratic formula.
There’s social science:
Q. Tell me, comrade, what is capitalism?
A. The exploitation of man by man.
Q. And what is communism?
A. The reverse.
The sciences can be enjoyed in many ways, from jokes to coloring pages to puzzles.
Book Note: Here is one of my fun, rhyming science-based books, Don’t Make Me Rattle! It is filled with interesting facts about this desert snake so many fear—and we don’t have to fear it. That’s why education is so important. Learn what to do to avoid an unintended meeting with this reptile. And, did you know that rattlesnakes babysit for each other? Or that they coil up in the rain to catch drinking water? Learn all about them soon with your own copy of Don’t Make Me Rattle!, available at Amazon.com.
During the worst of the summer heat in the Sonoran Desert, I ride my horse in the mornings around the stables. I enjoy trail rides through the brush, around the washes. In some areas, trails have been worn in the sand by a multitude of hooves. This becomes important later.
In the evening, Button and I take a walk and she has an opportunity to roll in the sand. Lots of nice sand in the area. It was a hot evening with a lovely breeze, so we walked some the trails through the thickets. I’m always looking around for dangers, real and horse-imagined. We were almost back to the arena, when I decided to ‘power walk’ back. Button was in the rut and I was walking on the trail’s edge. I looked up, then with a sudden start saw two white stripes move on the ground in front of me. A Western Diamondback Rattlesnakewas nestled in some dead branches alongside the trail. The reptilian gentleman was looking at the large mammal about to step on him.
Realizing my mistake, I threw myself forward over him and in front of Button. She, fortunately, didn’t step on me or panic at the presence of the rattler. Button went into the arena for her roll and I went back to get a photo. The rattler posed nicely, slowing his amazing rattles, so that I could count all 12 of them. We each went on our own way.
The next morning, the snake wasn’t in the same place, but had moved over to a yucca in the path between the two arenas. Several riders were afraid to pass him, but Button and I strolled by, wishing him a good morning.
The third day, I couldn’t find my new snake friend anywhere. I hoped he had moved to good hunting rounds.
The fourth day was Button’s day off from being ridden. We were taking a quick morning walk so we could both stretch our legs because we wouldn’t have our usual exercise. The plan was the cross the wash, circle around the bush on the other side, then back up to her stall. We plowed through the deep sand, reached the bush, heard the rattle (the first time we’d heard his rattle), said a hasty good morning, circled wide and headed back down the wash in the other direction. I hate it when I hear bushes rattle.
I mentioned these encounters and one person suggested that the rattler was stalking me. Actually, it could be said that I, and Button, were stalking the rattlesnake! He was quietly minding his own business and the two of us came into his area, invading his personal space. It’s all in the point of view. Sadly, I haven’t seen this magnificent fellow again.
If you’d like to learn more about rattlesnakes, I recommend Don’t Make Me Rattle, in which I show all the reasons we should respect these beautiful reptiles, rather than be afraid of them. They do so much for us and many people haven’t a clue. Grab a copy today and then pass it on so that others can learn all about them, too, including how to avoid contact on the trail.
NOTE: Lyric Power Publishing LLC offers supplemental educational and fun workbooksand activity sheets. One of them is 46 pages and jam-packed with fun activities that teach all about this magnificent creature.
Photo by Terry. Incredibly, even fossilized scorpions glow under UV light!
I was asked if dead scorpions glow by a friend who found a dead scorpion on his patio. I confess, I didn’t know. My guess was that the scorpion wouldn’t glow after death because, I hypothesized, the fluorescent chemicals were actively produced by the living animal.
The part of the scorpion’s body that glows is located in the exoskeleton, the hard, protective covering. Within the cuticle of the exoskeleton is the hyaline layer, which reacts to black light or moonlight. Interestingly, scorpions don’t glow right after molting. The cuticle must harden first. So, is the glowing material part of the hardening process; or is it incorporated into the cuticle during the hardening?
Not much is known about the glowing material.
What is it made of?
Why do scorpions have it?
Several hypotheses have been put forth:
Detection of UV light and visible light, so they know when and where to hide.
Prey attraction and confusion so they are easier to catch.
Communication with other scorpions.
But, back to that original question: Does a dead scorpion glow? Surprisingly, it does!
Even though I would love to have someone else do the marketing of my books, doing it myself allows me to discover interesting sites in the Tucson area. One such place is the Empire Ranch. I met some of the volunteers at the Western Writers of America conference and they thought my books would be a good fit for their gift shop.
The Empire Ranch is located on the road to Sonoita in Las Cienegas National Conservation Area. The mission of the Empire Ranch Foundation is, “Acting in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The purpose of the Foundation is to protect, restore and sustain the Empire Ranch historical buildings and landscape as an outstanding western heritage and education center.” The combine two interests of mine, conservation and historical preservation. Back in New Jersey, I was part of the Union Forge Heritage Association. The ranch was established in the 1860’s.
*Learn about the Night-blooming Cereus, Peniocereus greggii, the mysterious cacti
that bloom all together only one night per year
*An Amazon #1 Book in Children’s Botany Section
*See the Desert Southwest in a new, fun way *Scientific facts written in rhyme are easy to remember
*Enjoy spectacular illustrations of Cereus, the Sonoran Desert and its wildlife
I once wrote a poem that included the line “reptilian allure.” One of the meeting participants commented that he couldn’t see how reptiles had any allure.
Even if you don’t feel the need to cuddle reptiles as I do, they are worthy of our admiration. Their body type has been very successful throughout the ages. Their tough outer scales are very utilitarian, providing great protection. They also gleam in the sunlight, which is known as iridescence. I like to use the Rainbow or Bahamian boas as examples.
They do, however, have what we might consider drawbacks in their physiological design. Being cold-blooded, ectothermic, they rely on the environment to regulate their body heat. While man’s construction may seem like a good thing, basking on those nice warm roads is fatal for far too many reptiles.
Many people don’t see the benefits of reptiles, but they serve us in many ways. They help control rodents and the diseases they carry (and let us not forget the pack rats in Southern Arizona that chew the wiring in our cars); they help plants to disperse and germinate, and some of them have provided molecules that have been turned into medicines.
And, our reptilian friends are fascinating. We don’t have to fear them and a good place to learn why is in a book I’ve written called Don’t Make Me Rattle. Everything you need to know about rattlesnakes is in this dramatically illustrated, fun book written in rhyme.
Help protect our reptilian friends and watch the road ahead.
People fear rattlesnakes because they don’t understand them. Come inside and learn about these amazing snakes, how they help people, and why the rattlesnake should be respected, not exterminated.
I have spent a lot of time in South Florida, nearly every year since I was born. I remember seeing massive Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes crossing the road. All the cars would stop and we’d get out and watch as the magnificent snakes slithered across, unconcerned by the humans nearby.
My father, a physician, correctly diagnosed a bite a neighbor had received while working under his trailer at the RV park we stayed in. The man thought he had been bitten by a spider, but my father told him to proceed immediately to the ER, since he had been in fact been bitten by a Pygmy Rattler. This correct diagnosis saved the man’s hand. When I worked at J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, I was privileged to see several Eastern Coral Snakes. These shy snakes were rarely seen.
Consequently, I thought Ft. Myers and Sanibel would be good places to peddle my book about rattlesnakes. I was surprised and saddened to learn that the native venomous snakes are no longer found in the area. Sadly, Eastern Coral Snakes have not been documented since 2002.
What a tremendous loss to the ecosystems.
Would a book like Don’t Me Rattle! have made a difference? Maybe if people had been educated, they would have worked to preserve these species. We’ll never know now.
But you can help educate people about the value of rattlesnakes, which eat insects and rodents we humans don’t like. And tell them their venom is actually a digestive aid and their only defense if something tries to hurt them. The rattle-sound is meant to warn, not to scare—just step away and avoid a meeting.
Not only is Don’t Make Rattle! filled with educational and entertaining information, you’ll find a Western Diamondback Rattlesnake workbook and a U.S. Rattlesnake coloring pages book on the LyricPower.net website.
July 13 was the 2019 Tohono Chul Bloom Night. If you’re not familiar with the night-blooming Cereus, the cactus only blooms at night and they all bloom on the same night, once each year! It’s incredible.
Linda Wolfe of Tohono Chul gave me the idea to write about the night-blooming Cereus, and Lee Mason provided the information about these amazing cacti. I finished writing TheQueen of the Night: The Night-blooming Cereus just in time for the big night. I was delighted to be able to sign the books as they were purchased in the greenhouse gift shop.
The staff and visitors were excited about the flowers, but another local created a bit of excitement. A rattlesnake came out to enjoy the evening, as well. Fortunately, everyone got along.
But it make me wonder if maybe I should have had a few copies of my rattlesnake book with me to sign, as well. Something to think about for next year.
Of course, you don’t have to wait until next year to get your copies. 🙂
Snakes are reptiles and as such, they produce eggs. Snakes that lay eggs are called oviparous. The eggs are incubated in the natural world until they hatch. Most “common” snakes fall into this category.
However, there are two other categories of reproducing snakes. Some keep the eggs inside their bodies where the baby snakes hatch and are then released as live young. The rattlesnake is an example of this. These snakes are called ovoviviparous.
As amazing as ovoviviparous snakes are, even more incredible are the viviparous snakes, which reproduce in a manner similar to mammals. Viviparous snakes develop their young inside their bodies without an egg shell. The mothers nourish their developing young through a placenta and yolk sac, which is very unusual in reptiles. Boa constrictors, like the Bahamian boas, are examples of this reproductive method.
With the start of the monsoon season, you may be wondering about the animals that live in this harsh desert environment. With an annual rainfall of only 12 inches, having water to drink is a significant issue. Rattler bodies are adapted to prevent unnecessary water loss: the scales are impermeable, the snakes don’t urinate and they can detect water with their incredible sense of smell and taste.
Rattlers take advantage of rain by drinking from puddles, of course. But more impressive, is that they collect water on their skin to drink. This amazing behavior is shown in this illustration from Don’t Make Me Rattle!, a book I wrote in rhyme to make learning about rattlesnakes fun!
This image was created by the talented Tucsonan, Nick Thorpe.
Lyric Power Publishing also publishes supplemental, educational and fun activity sheets and workbooks. Want to learn all about rattlesnakes while keeping busy this summer? Click below to see all that is inside these masterful workbooks.
To learn about our latest science-based children’s books and workbooks, to read our latest blog posts about reptiles, birds, cats, and gardening, in a variety of locations, and about how the books come to be, what inspires an author to write, and many more interesting aspects of the publishing business, fill in the box below and we will add you to our email list.
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