Fostering curiosity in kids (and their parents) since 2011

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

Merry Christmas! This week, The Eight-Year-Old devours two of the books she found lurking under the Christmas tree, and Mommyo joins the year’s-end list-making frenzy, Caterpickles style. 

A sampling of this week’s books:


You may remember that a couple of weeks ago, we shared with you a story about the crazy intersection of canine cuteness and Soviet ideology that defined the Soviet space program in the 1950s and 1960s. At the time, I hinted that The Eight-Year-Old might, just might, find a copy of Soviet Space Dogs, which traces this intersection, under the Christmas tree. For once, I followed through on my plan.

But because I have studied The Eight-Year-Old pretty closely over these four years of blogging her every action, I know that Laika’s true story will make her sad. She will want Laika to survive her voyage, and find a suitably happy home. Which is why I bundled a copy of Owen Davey’s alternative history book, Laika: Astronaut Dog, along with it. In his book, Davey gives Laika the happy ending this brave, lonely dog deserves.

Our Year’s End List of All the News Stories We Wanted to Tell You About But Didn’t Because We Were Off Doing Something Else

You may have noticed this year that the Friday news list wasn’t always that robust (or present). But that doesn’t mean we weren’t reading the news and piling up the requisite number of good intentions about posting it for you on Caterpickles.

For one reason or another, though, we never did. So our contribution to the Annual Year’s End List Making Frenzy is a list of All the News Stories We Wanted to Tell You About But Didn’t Because We Were Off Doing Something Else.

And here they are, in absolutely the order in which I found references to them in my Caterpickles Future News Links Backlog:

  1. Norman’s Farthing Biscuit Recipe from the Biscuits episode of the Great British Baking Show (PBS): The Eight-Year-Old and I have recently become huge fans of the Great British Baking Show. Everyone is so polite, and yet so devastating to each other. It gives us chills and cravings. When Norman, whom The Eight-Year-Old refers to as her TV Grandpa, made these award-winning farthing biscuits, The Eight-Year-Old demanded I find the recipe online and share it with you.
  2. Patriotic Bald Eagle Attacks Donald Trump, Makes GIFs Great Again (Slate)
  3. Pinecone Gnomes (We Bloom Here): How to make adorable garden gnomes out of pine cones, wooden beads, and bits of felt. It’s on The Eight-Year-Old’s must-do list for 2016.
  4. Make Your Own Girl Scout Cookies: Thin Mints Edition (Mel Bakes Things): Hey, if I have to resist the urge to make my own Thin Mints daily, you should have to, too. Merry Bake-mas.
  5. New Toothed Pterosaur from North America’s Cretaceous (
  6. These dinosaurs liked to get their feet wet (Fox News)
  7. UFO clouds are real. Here’s how they happen (National Geographic)
  8. See the First Ever Video of the World’s Rarest Whale in the Wild (Huffington Post)
  9. Greenland Is Melting Away (New York Times)
  10. How to Draw a Woolly Mammoth (The Guardian)
  11. Chemistry Cat (About Education): A collection of chemistry jokes (and their explanations) featuring a bespectacled cat genius.
  12. Candy Corn, a 19th century treat (Two Nerdy History Girls)
  13. NASA’s New Pluto Images Point To Geologically Active World (NPR)
  14. Hellacious eel-like fish are dropping from the sky in Alaska (Huffington Post)
  15. The Most Popular Eating Banana Might Soon Go Extinct (Smithsonian): I must say, this is a more frightening prospect for Mommyo than The Eight-Year-Old.
  16. Dreadnoughtus Was One Huge Dinosaur, But Maybe Not as Huge as We Thought (The World Post)
  17. Whale Inside a Whale, That Was Eaten by a Shark, Discovered in Egypt (Huffington Post)
  18. Remarkably Buff Kangaroo Moves Into Australian Suburb (Jezebel)
  19. Scientists Engineer Chickens with Dinosaur Snouts (CBS News): Yeah, because nothing could ever go horribly afoul when scientists start doing things like that. As Daddyo says, “Really, aren’t chickens already terrifying enough?”
  20. World’s Last Male Northern White Rhino Placed Under 24-Hour Armed Guard In Kenya (Huffington Post)
  21. Dozens Of Dinosaur Eggs Discovered In China (Huffington Post)
  22. Monster Salamander Metoposaurus Algarvensis Was A Triassic Terror (Huffington Post)
  23. Tampa Airport Staff Gives Boy’s Lost Tiger Toy The Best Vacation Ever (Huffington Post)
  24. New ‘Peanuts’ Trailer Shows Charlie Brown Trying To Be A Winner (Huffington Post)
  25. Dinosaur having head frill with curly horns found in Canada (Live Mint)

Note to Parents: Although I clearly went through a Look-at-this-great-story-I-found-on-the-Huffington-Post phase this year, the Huffington Post is not really a kid-friendly site. No doubt that’s part of why I never got around to sharing the stories before. Huh. Well, too late now.

Merry Christmas! Thanks for reading Caterpickles this year.

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5 Responses to “What’s The Eight-Year-Old reading this week?”

  1. rayworth1973

    I had to do a double take on the second book. The Cyrillic letters are actually Roman. The L has no equivalent and the two A’s in Cyrillic would be D’s. Plus, the I has no equivalent. Then I read further and also noticed the author’s name used those same “Cyrillik-like” letters.

    Good she is reading a lot. Still no authors I know yet…

    Too young to read my fantasy novel, which just came out, though my 10 year old grandson is. A little too old of a story for her!



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