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It’s National Dress Up Your Pets Day by Susan Glynn Mulé, Author

iguana dressed up as queen of hearts

Susan Glynn Mulé

It’s been quite a long time since I have written a post here, but January 14 is National Dress Up Your Pet Day and pets in clothing is simply one topic I find irresistible!

When one thinks of pets in clothes, the first thought is usually a dog in a funny t-shirt, silly pajamas, or perhaps an eye-catching costume. Sometimes, one comes across a picture of a cat in a fun outfit – and generally the cat looks most displeased. I have seen pigs in clothing, and that is already adorable and even the occasional opossum, looking absolutely precious. Mammals in clothing intrigue us because this creates a connection between animal and human.

igana in saints jacket
Saints fan.

Humans often connect to animals through some type of anthropomorphising (attributing human behaviors to animals). Often anthropomorphising an animal is perceived as a bad thing, a way of depriving an animal of its natural identity. I disagree. A certain level of anthropomorphising can create a connection between people and animals and people are more likely to support causes for animals they perceive as cute.

Woman with iguana
Susan and pet iguana in dragon costume

But what about reptiles? Can they ever be perceived as “cute?” Can some level of anthropomorphising dispel some of the adverse attention these animals have received for centuries, even millennia?

iguana in security uniform
Sebastian in security sweater

Interestingly, my first encounter putting a reptile in clothing happened purely by chance. I’d taken Kismet, my adult female Cayman Rock Iguana, to the vet. We stopped at the pet store on the way home and I naturally took her inside. Pet stores claim to welcome pets, right? As I was browsing with Kismet on my shoulder, a woman began to scream. She jumped up and down, pointing at my shoulder, exclaiming there was an alligator in the store.

iguana reading cookbook
Reading a cookbook at home

I shook my head, mystified, and turned around. I found myself facing a rack of dog clothing, and suddenly an idea flashed in my head. I grabbed a pink dog shirt that said, “It’s not easy being a princess,” brought it to the counter, paid for it, and put it on Kismet. Not two minutes later the very same woman approached me and said, “Oh! What a precious animal! What is she? May I pet her?” Unlikely as it may seem, I was totally polite, answered her questions, and allowed her to pet Kismet.

Iguana in pink hat
Kismet in pink hat

Anyone who knew Kismet, knows she was an attention hound and it didn’t take long before she made the connection between clothing and attention. Suddenly, we were visiting classrooms, attending reptile shows, and hanging out in pet stores. Kismet’s pink t-shirt was a total hit. Her wardrobe grew to include other pink princess shirts, a princess dress, and a assorted other outfits and before long, Kismet was a reptile ambassador, converting the most diehard haters into, well, if not lovers, at least people who became tolerant of and gained some appreciation for reptiles.

iguana in red shirt
Sporting a red shirt

Sebastian entered our family some time later and it was not long before he earned his own wardrobe: Mommy’s little prince, Security and FBI shirts (complete with dark sunglasses), a beach bum/skater-boy outfit, and a Yoda costume. Kismet, Sebastian, and our blue-phase green iguana, Tazumal, all acquired dragon wings. And people loved it. And people who never gave a thought to reptiles suddenly cared and were donating to save endangered iguanas and to reptile adoption agencies.

iguana on skateboard
Skater Boy

So, as we celebrate National Dress Up Your Pet Day, I want to celebrate reptile pets in clothes. Dogs in t-shirts are cute. Iguanas in t-shirts save lives.

iguana eating
Having a snack


Showing off dragon clothes

Three Iguanas as Dragons
Three Dragons
iguana in yoda costume
I’m Yoda!


book cover illustration
Tien, a Mountain Horned Dragon, is taken from her home in Vietnam and crammed into a cage at a pet store. One by one her friends are sold, but what about her? Will she find a good home?

Susan Glynn Mulé is the author of Princess Tien, available at Amazon.





woman and iguana
Susan and Sebastian
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Can Science Rhyme? Yes! Can Science Be Fun? Yes! by Elaine A. Powers, Author

graphic of a science joke

Image courtesy of Reader’s Digest

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.

There’s biology:
Question. What do you give a person who has everything?
Answer. Antibiotics.

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.

There’s math:
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.

Here at Lyric Power Publishing LLC, we have an assortment of entertaining educational materials.  Explore the many ways to make science fun.

Entertain. Educate. It’s what we do at Lyric Power Publishing.

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

A brown book cover, with a circle with blue sky, with a rattlesnake popping out of the circle, title: Don't Make Me Rattle
There’s Much More to Me
Than You Know!
I Am Shy and My
Rattle is Only a Warning:
Please, Stay Away!
For All Ages
Reading Level 6+
Bold and Vibrant Illustrations
by Nicholas Thorpe
Written in Rhyme
40 pages
Learn all about the rattlesnake’s place in our ecosystem. Learn why we should respect them, not fear them.
See why they flick their tongues, learn why they are called pit vipers, the purpose of the venom, and much, much more in this in-depth look at rattlesnakes.
A Review of Don’t Make Me Rattle! By Helene Woodhams
Arizona Daily Star:
“A rattle from a reptile is not a welcome sound, but if it makes you tread carefully, it’s served its purpose, says Tucson author Elaine A. Powers. In a picture book chock-full of rattlesnake facts, she emphasizes the good they do (eating rodents, scattering seeds, and aiding cancer research), as she imparts interesting reptilian lore. For instance, although toxic to those on the receiving end, venom acts like saliva for a rattlesnake, a necessary digestive aid since they lack teeth for chewing. And rattlers are surprisingly social creatures who bunk together when it’s cold–forming a ‘rhumba’ of rattlers. An unabashed rattlesnake fan, Powers bemoans how willingly we exterminate them, largely because they look so unlovable. She gets no argument there from illustrator Nicholas Thorpe, whose threatening rattlesnake pictures, some with mouths agape and dripping venom, are undeniably scary. The third in the “Don’t” series is for kids in grades K-4.”
An illustration from the book showing how a rattlesnake collects drinking water.
A colorful, red and gold illustration of a rattlesnake
From the book “Don’t Make Me Rattle!”


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Turns Out I AM Allergic to Snow! By Elaine A. Powers, Author

photo of Desert Broom

I grew up in Central Illinois, in the hills of New Jersey and in the lake-effect snow region of Michigan. I am very familiar with snow . . . and moving snow out of the way . . . and being cold.

Consequently, I was delighted to be transferred to Tucson, AZ in the Southwest and nearly snow-free Sonoran Desert. Only once or twice a winter do snowflakes fall and then they disappear within a few hours. Even that is too much for me. There is something very wrong with snow on palm trees and cacti.

photo of Desert Broom plant

I have discovered that Tucson has another kind of snow – it’s called Tucson Snow. In the fall, the Desert Broom (Baccharis sarothroides) blooms. The female shrubs release massive amounts of fluffy white seeds in sufficient quantity to cover the ground with a layer of white. It looks like a layer of newly fallen water-based snow. The seeds germinate in disturbed areas. The male shrubs have small flowers that look nice and don’t disperse.

I, along with many others, start sneezing and wheezing when the Tucson snows begin. Even animals start sneezing and coughing. The eventual relief only comes when the seeds finally blow away.

But, as I suspected, I am truly allergic to snow!

Book Note: Curious about the Sonoran Desert and its creatures? Need to do a book report? Please see my books in The Don’t Series. They are full of scientific information but are different from typical Life Sciences books: they are written in fun rhymes, which has proved to be a real aid to learning and memory. Take a look today—they are colorful, fun and full of scientific facts.

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Book Review by Helene Woodhams of “How to Eat Breakfast”

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

Book Review by Helene Woodhams/Arizona Daily Star

How to Eat Breakfast
Available at

By Gene Twaronite, Illustrated by Diane Ronning. Independently published. $12.99 paperback, $5.95 Kindle.

Who doesn’t love a scrumptious breakfast? A yummy stack of pancakes is just waiting for her to dig in, but Wanda’s imagination is on the loose, conjuring up what her breakfast might look like if she were a whale or a giraffe, a hummingbird or a koala in a eucalyptus tree. A vulture’s breakfast probably wouldn’t be much fun to eat, she supposes, but if she were a termite she could eat the whole house! Tucsonan Gene Twaronite is a poet, essayist, and children’s author who knows a thing or two about making breakfast entertaining, while imparting a bit of rhyming nature lore. This latest offering, great for a read-aloud, includes lively illustrations by Diane Ronning, who likes to draw and paint at the breakfast table.

Review at The Arizona Daily Star

Get to know the author, Gene Twaronite, at his website: The Twaronite Zone.

Learn more about Diane Ronning at her website or

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Boo Boo Hill? I Know Boo Boo Hill!

photo Exumas The Bahamas

I was listening to one of Jimmy Buffet’s new songs, Book on the Shelf (by Jimmy Buffet, Erin McAnally and Mick Utley) and I was thinking I could relate to the lyrics,

I write what I know about, made up or true
These songs aren’t for me, they’re for you

because I write my books not for me but to share with others. I hope they bring pleasure to the readers, in the same way I enjoy Jimmy’s songs, while sharing some science ed, too. (I’m a biologist and singer/musician, so you can see how my two loves combined in my retirement.)

Above Image of the Exumas is Courtesy of Yolanda Rolle from Pixabay

Then came the line,

Like the trail boards up on Boo Boo Hill.”

Boo Boo Hill? I know Boo Boo Hill! It’s on Warderick Wells, where my book writing career began. Warderick Wells is Curtis Curly-tail’s home. He often visits Boo Boo Hill.

A Bahamian curly-tail lizard climbs onto a human shoe on a beach
Curtis the Curly-tail lizard introduced himself to me by climbing on my sneaker. Then, his first story, Curtis Curly-tail and the Ship of Sneakers came into my mind. Coincidence? I think not!

I found inspiration on Boo Boo Hill and, apparently, so did Jimmy, Erin and Mick.

The Exumas, home to Boo Boo Hill, are a very special group of islands in The Bahamas. I went there to study the iguanas but found so much more: curly-tail lizards, hutia, and nighthawks.

And just like Jimmy Buffet, I intend to keep on “scribblin’ on pages.”

Tellin’ tall tales is still good for my health.
Keep movin,’ and listenin,’ and amusin’ myself.
I’m not ready to put the book on the shelf.”

Book Note: Meet my dashing (literally) friend, Curtis Curly-tail lizard in the Curtis Curly-tail Series of books. He’s quite the adventurer and he is, especially, a good friend.

children's book cover illustration with iguanas and curly-tail lizard
The fourth in the Curtis Curly-tail Adventure Series, in which Curtis and Allison (the big iguana) try to help save their friends from a hurricane. Have an adventure while learning about ecology and weather!


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My Winter Garden Offers Up a Bouquet by Jo Busha, Author

picture of violas in winter garden

Here in New England we are well into early winter by mid-November and this year we have already had many killing frosts and several light snow falls (though all has melted so far). On a mild day I ventured out into the garden to see if I might find some spots of color to cheer me up.

photo of viola flowers in winter gardenAs I expected, I found some violas still in bloom. One reason I love the little flowers is their iron-hardiness. I have found them in bloom half-buried after a December snowstorm, as well as peeking out of dead leaves on a warm day in February.

But as I walked around the main flower garden, I realized that there was plenty of interesting plant material from which I could make a dried flower arrangement. I love to bring flowers into the house, but I don’t often think about it once frost has hit the garden.







photo of Hydragea arborescensI started with a tan-to-black theme for the background. The dry seed heads of Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’ made a good place to start.

I cut some Japanese forest grass, Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola,’ to make a fluffy counterpoint to the round hydrangea heads.

photo of Hakonechloa macra

Spots of brighter color were provided by Rosa blanda’s red hips,

photo of Rosa blanda plant
Witch Hazel’s thready little flowers (now fading),

photo of witch-hazel tree

and the golden berries of Winterberry, Ilex verticillata ‘Goldfinch.’

photo of Ilex verticillata

Some curly blades of Deschampsia cespitosa, ‘Northern Lights,’ added a bit of whimsy.

Sprigs of sage and silver mound artemisia provided a dash of silver, and a small green and gold spray of Chamaecyparis was a fresh finishing touch.




The finished product.

photo of dried flower arrangement
The lovely gifts of the winter garden.


a book cover with a photo of a lush, Vermont garden
Jo Busha’s Book of Essays about life, gardening and the natural world, Time and the Garden, is 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. Book lovers are likely to feel this a cozy read, warmth for a snowy day.
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November 22nd is National Cranberry Relish Day by Elaine A. Powers, Author

image of thanksgiving table with cranberry relish

When I read that November 22 was National Cranberry Relish Day, memories of my father came to me.  My Dad didn’t do much cooking but he had his specialties: popcorn popped in bacon grease, the fluffiest waffles for weekend breakfasts, and every Thanksgiving, homemade cranberry relish.  His wasn’t a fancy recipe but it did become a tradition and a fond memory.

He would start by pulling the grinder out of the closet. This grinder had been passed down from his parents. In the past it had been used to grind meat, nuts, and, of course, cranberries. He clamped it to the dining room table and set a large roasting pan under it. Then he would pour the fresh cranberries from the bags and grind away. We kids weren’t allowed to grind – that was Dad’s job. Rhythmically the handle went round and round until the ground berries became a mound. (Yes, I write rhyming books.) Then he would empty the proper number of cans of frozen orange juice concentrate onto the mound and allow the juice to melt in. After mixing, the relish was the perfect combination of tangy cranberry and sweet orange.

Dad’s relish was eaten with the roasted turkey on Thanksgiving Day, the leftovers the next day, and on turkey sandwiches the following week.

So, on November 22, relish some cranberry relish, and I’ll relish the memory of my father and his very special cranberry relish tradition.

Book Note: One of my favorite rhyming books is Don’t Make Me Fly, all about the fascinating Greater Roadrunner. It’s a fun read in rhyme–the whole family will love it–is educational and vibrantly illustrated by Nicholas Thorpe.

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