Fostering curiosity in kids (and their parents) since 2011

What’s The Eight-Year-Old reading this week?

Our mostly-weekly survey of the tidbits that cross The Eight-Year-Old’s desk. This week, The Eight-Year-Old begins an artful campaign to make a pilgrimage to Dedham, Massachusetts. 

A sampling of this week’s books:

Honestly, when The Eight-Year-Old dropped this pile of books on my desk and said that these were the three she wanted to feature in today’s Caterpickles, I was more than a little afraid that her next request would be to make a pilgrimage to Dedham, Massachusetts to visit Peter H. Reynolds’ toy store, The Blue Bunny. (It’s a fabulous place. If you’re ever in the area, you should absolutely stop by.)

She hasn’t–yet–but she has rather effectively planted the seed, hasn’t she? I guess all I can do is wait to see whether she starts decorating the house with the Peter H. Reynolds-inspired Dots she made in her second grade class.

In the news:

Vintage Images of Canine Cosmonauts from Soviet Russia (Atlas Obscura)

A 1960 postcard illustration of two Russian cosmo-dogs, Belka and Strelka, in their rocket. (Art: Sveshnikov. Photo: (c) FUEL Publishing)

A 1960 postcard illustration of two Russian cosmo-dogs, Belka and Strelka, in their rocket. (Art: Sveshnikov. Photo: (c) FUEL Publishing)

Before they sent men into space, the Soviets sent stray dogs. The first of these, Laika, was the first animal to orbit the Earth. Unfortunately, the shock of being launched into space was too much for her, and she died early in her journey. In all, the Soviets launched nine dogs into orbit between 1957 and 1966. Many more dogs made suborbital flights around the Earth as the Soviets worked out what it would take for men to survive the journey. There’s a book about these remarkable dogs and the odd mesh of canine cuteness and Soviet ideology that arose in Soviet space program propaganda, of course. Don’t tell The Eight-Year-Old, but I think she just might find Soviet Space Dogs by FUEL Publishing under the tree this Christmas.

Dinosaurs evolved with shocking speed (

A paper published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that dinosaurs evolved about 10 million years earlier than scientists had previously thought. The work is based on a new calculation of the age of some early dinosaur fossils from the Chatañares region in Argentina. The region is unusual in that it is one of the few places on Earth where you can find the fossils of early dinosaurs as well as those of their evolutionary ancestors, dinosauromorphs.  (Dinosauromorphs are similar to dinosaurs but are smaller and lack the ball-and-socket hips of true dinosaurs.) According to the work done by University of Buenos Aires paleontologist Claudia Marsicano’s team, true dinosaurs evolved less than 5 million years after the first of these dinosauromorphs appeared.

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