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

BookCoversAnimalStoriesOur mostly-weekly survey of the tidbits that cross The Eight-Year-Old’s desk. This week, The Eight-Year-Old gives Mommyo some well-calibrated writing advice. 

A sampling of this week’s books:

Although here on the blog, I’ve been digging through my backlog of old questions, in my fiction writing life, I’ve been thinking it’s about time to take another editing pass through my pending children’s chapter book, Ebenezer Rabbit: Dragon Hunter. In other words, it’s time to get serious about figuring out what makes chapter books about animals tick. The Eight-Year-Old, who is nothing if not completely supportive, dropped these two books on my desk. “Mommyo,” she said dramatically. “This is how you write animal stories.”

In the news:

The Force is Strong with These Adoptable Pets (Mental Floss)

Photo: Rohit Saxena for Ottawa Humane Society

(Photo: Rohit Saxena for Ottawa Humane Society)

The Ottawa Humane Society is hoping to transform the buzz about the new Star Wars movie into a flurry of new pet adoptions. I expect it’ll work. When Darth Vader tells you to adopt a Shih Tzu, you do it.

Shipwreck filled with Roman “Ketchup” Found off Italy’s Coast (Mental Floss)

A few years ago, The (then) Not-Yet-Eight-Year-Old and I spent a happy afternoon making and tasting old-timey ketchup. This week we learned that our early 1900s recipe wasn’t even close to the earliest iteration of this essential condiment.

Archaeologists have found a shipwreck off the coast of Italy that appears to be from a ship ferrying the Roman version of ketchup around the Empire. The ship dates from the 1st or 2nd century CE.  And while the Italians have a well-deserved reputation for gourmet cooking, I am sorry to say that The Eight-Year-Old wouldn’t have liked their version of ketchup any more than she liked Marion Harland’s 19th century version. The ancient Roman version of ketchup, known as garum, was actually a clear, fermented fish sauce.

Curious to know what it tasted like?

You’re in luck. Garum is more or less the same as today’s colatura di alici, a jar of which you can find on Amazon for a mere $22 (+ shipping).

 Related Links:

About Shala Howell

I spent two decades helping companies like Bell Labs, Juniper Networks, and a genetic testing company that was later acquired by CVS translate some of the world’s most complicated concepts into actionable, understandable English. Now I'm working on a much harder problem -- fostering children’s curiosity and engagement in the scientific, artistic, and linguistic world that surrounds them. The first book in my Caterpickles Parenting Series, What’s That, Mom?, focuses on how to use public art to nurture children’s curiosity in the world around them. My next book, Did Dinosaurs Have Belly Buttons?, is currently planned for release in 2018. In the meantime, you can find me blogging about life with a very curious Ten-Year-Old at Caterpickles.com, chatting about books and the writing life at BostonWriters.blog, and tweeting about books, writing, science, & things that make me smile at @shalahowell.
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