Posted on Leave a comment

Tails, Tales, Adventures, Oh, My!

Gallery of Books

Welcome to Lyric Power Publishing, LLC, where we believe science books should be both educational and entertaining. Our children’s books illustrations are unusual in the marketplace: They are vivid—to attract the reader to both the written word and the fascinating world of science. Science is interesting and fun when presented in delightful rhymes or engaging adventures. No dry textbooks here! But don’t think these stories are only for children. Our fan mail indicates adults enjoy them equally and have also gained new knowledge while reading them.

We have recently added books for adult readers at LPP, though they could be enjoyed by some older children. Silent Rocks by Elaine A. Powers falls in our Conservation Category and is about how to help save the endangered Rock Iguanas of Cayman Brac.  Queen of the Night: the Night-Blooming Cereus, also by Elaine A. Powers, is found in our Plants Category and is about the mysterious Sonoran Desert plant that blooms one night every summer–all of them at the same time! Brown Booby Birds of Cayman Brac by Bonnie Scott is filed in our Birds Category and is about the last forty pairs of these large sea birds that are found only on the island of Cayman Brac. Time and the Garden by Jo Busha is also in Plants and is a book of essays from her life and experiences in the garden. Please check them out by clicking on the titles.

We may be a small publisher, but we have a mighty mission:  Science education should not be boring! To that end, in addition to our fun, science-based books in print, we have developed our own activity sheets and bundled them into 12 to 47-page study-units. Our affordable, printable activity sheets, workbooks, flannel-boards and standups for Grades K-5 provide creative and fun opportunities to learn about ecology, reptiles, birds, mammals, habitats, predators and prey, plants, rocks, maps and directions. They include coloring pages and lessons on anatomy, life-cycles, crossword puzzles, cut-and-paste, word searches, spelling, vocabulary, math, and story-writing, and more. Wouldn’t your children rather count iguanas or bats than apples and oranges? Our workbooks can be viewed at the Workbooks tab and are downloaded by you to be printed and used as many times as you’d like.

We hope you will enjoy all there is to see on the Lyric Power Publishing, LLC website. You can meet our authors and illustrators under the Home tab and see all our books at the Our Books tab.

Thank you for joining us as we discuss our work and our insights on this blog, Tails, Tales, Adventures, Oh, My! If you’d like to receive updates in your email, use the subscription box in the right column of any page but the Home page. If you have any questions or comments, please contact us at iginspired@gmail.com.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

How “How to Eat Breakfast” Came to Be by Author Gene Twaronite

graphic image of a blue book cover with the heads of a little girl and animals on it

I thought of How to Eat Breakfast as a simple story that would be both fun and educational–I did not set out to make a rhyming picture book. But as a I wrote, the words began to play against each other, often in ways I had not expected, sometimes rhyming at the end of lines and sometimes in the middle. I created strong images throughout the story, but talented illustrator Diane Ronning made them jump off the page. That is the wonderful magic of a picture book—the way it blends words and illustrations into a new way of seeing. It is sort of like the way we hear words differently when put to music. In each case, a wholly new art form emerges.

When Diane showed me a sample drawing for How to Eat Breakfast, I was blown away by how she visualized the main character. She brought Wanda to life, and I saw things about her that even I didn’t know. In the months that followed, I smiled with joy with each new illustration and how well she captured the images I tried to convey. Ever since 1987, when I published my first children’s story in Highlights for Children, I have dreamed of writing and publishing a picture book. This is my first, and it would not have been possible without Diane.

~Gene Twaronite

Posted on Leave a comment

New YouTube Video Starring Curtis Curly-tail and Roadrunner!

screenshot from a YouTube video about roadrunners, with Curtis Curly-tail lizard

Lyric Power Publishing LLC invites Curtis Curly-tail Lizard to
announce his new YouTube video at Curtis Curly-tail Speaks!

photo of curly-tail lizard on the beach
Not only is THIS a Curly-tail lizard–it’s Curtis! He’s the little guy who started Elaine on her second career as a children’s science book writer.

 

“Hello, everyone! I’m Curtis Curly-tail and I am here at Lyric Power Publishing to announce my latest video! But first, let me tell you how much I love roadrunner birds. Did you know when they leave tracks behind, you can’t tell what direction they came from or where they went? I wish I could do that! And roadrunners are really, really fast. That makes me a little frightened of them, too, because they do love their lizard snacks. We lizards are pretty fast, ourselves. So far, so good.

I hope you’ll come on over to my YouTube channel, Curtis Curly-tail Speaks, and watch my latest video about the Southwest’s iconic bird: the Roadrunner. I give lots of interesting facts about this cool bird.”

A copper colored book cover featuring an illustration of a Roadrunner bird
“With vibrant illustrations by Nicholas Thorpe, this picture book is jam-packed with scientific facts about roadrunners, delivered in verse form to keep the narrative lively. Roadrunners “…grab their victim/behind its head/And bash it on/the ground until it is dead.” Want to know how to swallow a horned lizard? Keep reading!” AZ Daily Star

 

And then, check out Elaine A. Powers book called Don’t Make Me Fly! The book tells all about this bird sacred to Native American peoples because of its courage and speed. It is written in fun rhymes and vividly illustrated. Don’t Make Me Fly! is available at Amazon.com.

A colorful illustration of a pair of roadrunners in a Southwestern Desert
An illustration by Nicholas Thorpe from Don’t Make Me Fly!

Posted on Leave a comment

We’re Proud to Announce the Publication of How to Eat Breakfast by Gene Twaronite

graphic image of a blue book cover with the heads of a little girl and animals on it

How DO all those animals eat?

Lyric Power Publishing LLC is proud to announce the publication of How to Eat Breakfast, written by Gene Twaronite and illustrated by Diane Ronning. This delightful book explores how and what different animals eat.

It all starts when Wanda’s mother sets down a plate of pancakes for Wanda and says,

“Now eat them while they’re still hot.”

But Wanda would not.

She just sat and stared at her feet

dreaming of other ways to eat.”

Come along on Wanda’s imaginary adventures, marvelously illustrated by Diane Ronning, while author Gene Twaronite makes the science of animal nutrition fun for the little ones!

LLP is delighted to have Gene and Diane join us.

Gene Twaronite is a Tucson poet, essayist, and children’s fiction writer. He is the author of nine books, including two juvenile fantasy novels, as well as collections of essays, short stories, and poems. His poetry book Trash Picker on Mars was the winner of the 2017 New Mexico-Arizona Book Award for Arizona poetry. Follow more of Gene’s writing at his website: thetwaronitezone.com.

Diane Ronning draws and paints while eating breakfast. She is an artist/illustrator, teacher, and author who creates fun activities for children. She Lives in Tucson, Arizona, where wild desert animals wander into her yard searching for food, so, who better to bring this charming story to life?

How to Eat Breakfast is available on Amazon, in both Kindle and print versions.

photo of a red green-iguana hanging upside down eating
Chile, who prefers to eat upside down, says to get your copy today!

Posted on Leave a comment

It’s National Coloring Book Time!

infographic about fun science education activity sheets and workbooks

August 2nd is National Coloring Book Day. Coloring books have been around since the 17th century and have been popular ever since. Though coloring books are thought of as primarily for children, today many are published for adults for relaxation purposes. Early on, coloring pages were painted, but nowadays, you have many choices of coloring implements: paints, crayons, colored pencils, gel pens, felt markers, etc.

Coloring books can be fun and relaxing and interesting and educational. Lyric Power Publishing, LLC publishes 24 workbooks, which include coloring pages. Several are coloring books, though on some pages, equations must be solved to learn the correct color to use. Below are sample pages from the workbooks shown here. Many of LPP’s workbooks coordinate with author Elaine A. Powers’ science-based children’s books, which she makes fun!

How? By writing adventure tales and rhyming stanzas that weave in the science. She also includes a coloring page in her book pictured here, Queen of the Night: the Night-blooming Cereus.

Book cover for the Night-Blooming Cereus
What makes learning about desert plants fun?
Rhyming facts and bold, vibrant modern illustrations.
*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
Read the rhymes to your little ones, give a gift to your budding scientist, and enjoy the book yourself!

“Science should be fun. It’s so interesting to learn  what things are made of and how they work. Science IS fun when it’s properly presented,” says author Elaine A. Powers. “Grab some economical and fun science education today with one of Lyric Power Publishing’s workbooks!”

image of six workbooks
Fun, educational and relaxing workbooks and activity sheets! 24 to choose from!

 

book cover animals nani cave coloring pages

This delightful coloring book is designed with the Pre-K to Kindergardeners in mind. Students color 16 animals that live on Cayman Brac and learn the name and first letter of each animal. Also includes a simple word search page.

Posted on Leave a comment

Adventures with Annuals by Jo Busha, Author

photo of flowers in pots on deck

You might expect that the author of a book of gardening essays (Time and the Garden) is an avid gardener. You’d be right! This post is about my annual journey with my annuals.

I have a collection of planted containers around the perimeter of my deck. They act as a visible barrier, needed because we removed the railing when we realized (the first winter of its life) that shoveling snow off the deck is nearly impossible with a railing in the way. Over the years, I have tried out many kinds of plantings.

My husband objected when plants got so tall that they obscured the view. And I eliminated plants that might look nice for a while but tend not to last through the whole summer. Among that group are China asters and painted tongue, both colorful flowers I really liked but the spent plants had to be dug out of the containers and replaced by about mid-July.

For some years now, the conventional wisdom concerning the best way to plant a container for maximum impact is the “thriller, filler, spiller” triad. The thriller,  a tall plant with a dramatic shape, the filler being just as the name implies a plant – or sometimes two or three – with a bushy or bulky shape, and the spiller, a trailing plant or vine to spill over the edge of the container and is supposed to “soften the edges” of the container. This formula is often described as “well-rounded” and “professional” and even “foolproof.”

Eventually I grew tired of this formula. Containers planted this way began to seem overdone, even obese. I started to shift the containers to a more lighthearted presentation. Generally, this means smaller containers, often planted with just one or two kinds of plants.

photo of a pot planted simply with one type of flower
A more lighthearted presentation has become my way.

These can be grouped in different configurations to show each pot to its best advantage through the summer season. I have tried several color combinations but generally have settled on hot colors for their cheerfulness and ease of growing: geraniums, marigolds, coleus, and nasturtiums.

One year I tried out a black and white theme. It seemed rather contrived, so I haven’t repeated it.

 

photo of black and white flowers in a pot
I planted black and white flowers one year. It was worth a try.

Some of this year’s pots have turned the tables, providing me surprises. I suppose it was the re-cycled potting soil that produced the large cucurbit. It must be the offspring of a hybrid squash, producing a plant and some fruit not quite like either of its parents. It provides a lush container planting that I would not have thought of myself.

photo of  a squash hybrid in a pot
This beauty gave a surprise appearance.

This year I am experimenting with a whole bed of annuals at the south-facing end of the potting shed. For many years this spot served as the home of the truckload of pine mulch I invested in each spring. I knew that the pretty potting shed deserved a more attractive surround, but just couldn’t make up my mind about what sort of planting I wanted in this prime location. And it was handy having the mulch there.

Photo of Flower bed at end of potting shed
I planted my own annuals this year.

This winter I came up with the scheme of making a fully packed bed of colorful annuals. Maybe that would help settle the question. I ordered seeds and started them in the cellar under gro-lights. As spring approached, I filled two cold frames with masses of seedlings.

 

I dug up the area, mixing the remaining, years-old, nearly-composted mulch with the rich black soil below. Finally, it was warm enough to plant them out in the prepared bed.

To my chagrin the masses of seedlings did not actually fill the bed as I had imagined.

A few days after the plants were settled in their new home a mama woodchuck found them and decided that the viscaria was a banquet just for her. I put up a temporary fence.

Eventually mama and her babies apparently moved on (we hadn’t seen her in a week) and I took down the fence.

Of course, that was a mistake – the slowly recovering viscaria were re-discovered and devoured, leaving a large bare spot in the center of the bed. The marigolds and calendula, the poppies and nicotiana have done well and are blooming. The zinnias have suffered badly from Japanese beetles and are way behind.

photo of flower bed with grown flowers

I think the only thing this experiment has proved is that a bed of annuals probably isn’t the solution to my design dilemma for the end of the potting shed. Next year, the mulch may be back.

 

NOTE: Jo Busha is the author of Time and the Garden, a collection of essays written over a ten-year period about gardening, life in Vermont, and observations of the natural world. It is arranged by season, but not all the essays have a specific seasonal connection. It will appeal to gardeners, readers seeking a strong sense of place, and people interested in rural living, even if they aren’t able to live it. This place, where Busha has lived for 45 years, has played a huge role in her life. While not a how-to book, gardeners may find the essays instructive. Booklovers are likely to feel this a cozy read, warmth for a snowy day.

a book cover with a photo of a lush, Vermont garden
Jo Busha’s Book of Essays about life, gardening and the natural world

Posted on Leave a comment

They’re Back! (My Bat Friends, That Is) By Elaine A. Powers, Author

photo of great horned owl, courtesy of wikipedia

Great Horned Owl image courtesy of Wikipedia

In a previous blog on elaineapowers.com, I complained about the lack of bats during my evening swims. I hypothesized that the bats were afraid of the Great Horned Owls nesting in my yard.  (Owls are natural predators of bats.)

A hypothesis is a proposed explanation based on limited information, a starting point for further investigation. My hypothesis, therefore, was that the lack of bats in my yard was the direct result of predatory behavior of Great Horned Owls.

image of a fruit bat hanging upsidedown
I was happy to see the bats return

The owls finished their nesting season, successfully fledging their owlets.  With the departure of their young, the pair of owls left my yard. A few nights later, I realized that the bats had returned to my home. I took this as a positive datum that my hypothesis was correct. Of course, this is only one data point, but I feel it is somewhat conclusive.

I will be curious to see, should the owls return, if the bats leave again. I do have excellent owl habitat, along with bat habitat.
The fascinating world of science is always all around us, even in our own backyards.

To learn more about bats and have some fun while you’re at it, please see the comprehensive 47-page workbook My Book About Bats and Rats at our workbooks page.

 

drawing of bats and rats
Bat vs. Rat!

Posted on Leave a comment

July 11: National Cheer Up The Lonely Day by Elaine A. Powers, Author

Photo of single iguana on white bay cay

As social animals, all humans get lonely every now and then. But when I think of true loneliness, I think of an iguana on White Bay Cay in the Bahamas. The Bahamas have a variety of rock iguanas (Cyclura), but they are not found on all the islands.  Some are restricted to one island or cay.

The Exuma Island iguanas, Cyclura cychlura figginsi, are found in the Exuma island chain. They are critically endangered in their home range, due to irresponsible people who insist on having one for their own collection, depleting the low numbers in the wild.

It’s suspected that the lonely iguana was probably lizardnapped and taken aboard a boat. Sometime during the voyage, she escaped from confinement and leapt overboard. Being an excellent swimmer, she swam to the nearest island. Fortunately, the plants were sufficient for her needs.

But she’s the only iguana on this island, with no way of rejoining her kind or any of them joining her. Whenever I think I’m lonely, I think of this beauty on White Bay Cay–left alone because of irresponsible humans.

I write about the dangers iguanas endure in two of my books: a fun fictional adventure for ages ten+, called Curtis Curly-tail is Lizardnapped; and a nonfiction book for all ages about the serious decline of the Sister Island Rock Iguanas,  Silent Rocks.  

I also love to help animals and people who are struggling. Loneliness is a part of being on Earth at this time. Can you make a phone call to check on someone, drop off a dinner perhaps–think of anything you can do to cheer up a lonely neighbor? We can each do small things to make a difference for others, humans and/or animals, in our own ways.

Here are links to the books I mentioned.

a children's book cover, blue and white, with several curly-tail lizards on the cover
Curtis Curly-tail becomes the unfortunate victim of poachers,
along with other protected animals. Who will save them?
An Adventure Tale
For Readers Age 10+
Lovely Colored Pencil
Illustrations by
Jessica Minns
30 Pages
In the third book of the series, the very curious Curtis Curly-tail mistakes a poacher for a tourist wanting to snap a picture of his perfectly-curled tail. Instead, he is captured, along with critically endangered native plants, Conch and Iguanas.
Together the animals plot their escape from the dangerous poachers. Who will help them? How will they get free of the cages on a boat and return home safely to Warderick Wells?

cover of book "Silent Rocks." white background, rock iguana pictured in natural habitat on island Cayman Brac
The population of the endemic Sister Island Rock Iguana (Cyclura nubila caymanensis) on Cayman Brac is in serious decline. These vegetarian lizards are an important part of the island’s ecosystem. The reduction in population is the result of human activity on their habitat and the threats can only be eliminated by human action.

Posted on Leave a comment

New Word: Geckolet by Elaine A. Powers, Author

Geckolet image courtesy of Wikipedia

As a sixty-something year old biologist, I am excited to learn new things. I believe in learning new things every day. Recently, while listening to a conference, I heard a word I wasn’t familiar with: Geckolet. I’m familiar with geckos, after all, I have two species (Native Western Banded Gecko and invasive Mediterranean House Gecko) that live around my house, but what is a geckolet?

Not only is the geckolet (Sphaerodactylus) smaller than other geckos, but they have round, instead of vertical, eye pupils. Some geckolets are tiny, less than an inch long from their snout to their vent. These are the smallest reptiles in the world, which means they’re interesting to me. You might be able to tell around here that I do love my reptile family!

They are the focus of a good number of my fun (rhyming and adventure tales) children’s science books. I hope you’ll take a look at books such as Tabby and Cleo: Unexpected Friends on my Books Page.

A bright green children's book cover, showing a Five-Fingered Fairy riding a Bahamian Boa

A Magical Chapter Book about
Tabby, the Five-Finger Fairy and Her
Adventures with Cleo, a Bahamian Boa

Reading Level: Ages 8+

52 Pages

Tabby Comes Alive in
Illustrations by Nick Thorpe

Tabby, the Five-Finger Fairy, who comes from the Five-Finger Tree, Tabebuia bahamensis, loves the native plants, animals and people of The Bahamas. She makes friends wherever she goes!

When Tabby is attacked and almost eaten by a rat, a Bahamian Boa comes to her rescue. But she has seen so much fear of  the boas, Tabby is afraid. The boa, Cleo, gently introduces herself and she and Tabby become friends.

After witnessing many attacks on Cleo, Tabby decides to help her find a new home. They go to Mama Hope’s Garden, and Mama Hope teaches her grandson, Scottie, and her neighbors about boas. They are not venomous and they are responsible for killing rats that would otherwise overrun the islands.

Along the way, Tabby helps animals they meet to realize their foolish animosity toward each other and she helps them to, instead, become friends–like she and Cleo did.

Mama Hope realizes the only safe place for Cleo is at Retreat Gardens. They take Cleo there and Mama Hope’s grandson can finally see the Tabby, the fairy.

“Science is important and needs to be studied,” Tabby tells Scottie, “but there are some things you need to believe in your heart to see.”

Posted on Leave a comment

Science Vs. Poetry? Why not Science THROUGH Poetry? By Elaine A. Powers, Author

One of our core tenets at Lyric Power Publishing is that science education can be enhanced by using rhyme. The flow and meter of the verses attract and hold the attention of the reader. If the reader is engaged, they hear and absorb the scientific information being offered. Several LLP authors are using poetry to teach science. After all, science should be fun!

Recently, in a poetry critique meeting, one of the participants made interesting comments. He felt that the science slowed down the poetry I had submitted for review, and that the scientific facts should be alluded to, not elucidated. The poem describing ants was unnecessarily factual, he said.

I was surprised. The purpose of LPP’s rhyming picture books, such as the Don’t series, is the presentation of scientific facts. We call this type of rhyming applied poetry. The purpose of applied poetry here is to elucidate scientific facts.

Poetry can be used for a multitude of purposes: to stimulate emotion, to create mental images, and to document history—all very valid. Also valid is using poetry to clarify science, creating a work that is both entertaining and educational. We receive fan mail from parents about their young children reciting or singing stanzas from the Don’t series books, leading us to believe we are onto something here! After all, science should be fun! Just ask Myrtle (the Tortoise) pictured here, who asked me to write Don’t Call Me Turtle! She loves the rhymes as much as the kids do—just as long as no one calls her turtle! That’s what her book is all about—the differences between turtles and tortoises and there are many! You can hear it read by clicking here.

And here is a book review of another science-based, rhyming, picture book by Helen Woodhams that appeared in the Arizona Daily Star:

Review by Helen Woodhams of Don’t Make Me Fly in the Arizona Daily Star:
“What a curious creature the roadrunner is! This iconic desert bird prefers hoofing it to flying, and its footprints are the same backwards as they are forwards. With vibrant illustrations by Nicholas Thorpe, this picture book is jam-packed with scientific facts about roadrunners, delivered in verse form to keep the narrative lively. Roadrunners “…grab their victim/behind its head/And bash it on/the ground until it is dead.” Want to know how to swallow a horned lizard? Keep reading! This is the second offering in the “Don’t” series by Tucson author Elaine A. Powers. The first is “Don’t Call Me Turtle!” “Don’t Make Me Fly!” is recommended for children in grades K-4.”

 

A copper colored book cover featuring an illustration of a Roadrunner bird
“With vibrant illustrations by Nicholas Thorpe, this picture book is jam-packed with scientific facts about roadrunners, delivered in verse form to keep the narrative lively. Roadrunners “…grab their victim/behind its head/And bash it on/the ground until it is dead.” Want to know how to swallow a horned lizard? Keep reading!” AZ Daily Star