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

Fearsome Creatures of the Lumber Woods by Hal Johnson

I confess, I was surprised to see The Ten-Year-Old whip out a book of horror stories this week. But I suppose it is the season for telling scary stories around a campfire, and these stories are tailor-made for that. Scary but not too scary, if you know what I mean. These creatures have plenty of scary teeth and claws, but they also tend to snack on things like your shadow, and not, say, your foot.

Based on a collection of tales originally published by William Thomas Cox in 1910, Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods echoes an America gone by, when the woods were large and lumbering and full of shadows for unknown beasts to lurk in.

Why The Ten-Year-Old thinks you’ll like it: “Even though it’s in the nonfiction section at my library, it reads like fiction and is totally hilarious. The animals they describe could never happen. It’s written in first person from the guy who’s researching these things. It leaves you with some questions, so you want to read more. The only bad thing about it was the recurring joke about French people, which I don’t even understand.”

So, what stories are you sharing around your campfire this summer?

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Wordless Wednesday: The Ten-Year-Old finds the world’s smallest lizard

Last week, I told you about The Ten-Year-Old’s daring capture of the world’s second largest* dragonfly. This week, it’s time to highlight her cunning kidnapping of the world’s smallest* lizard.

Photo: Shala Howell

She named him Littlefellow before releasing him back into the wild.

*In our experience. The world probably does contain larger dragonflies and smaller lizards. We just haven’t found them yet. 

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Where’s my Caterpickles?

Hi all,

The Ten-Year-Old was lecturing me the other day about how I haven’t posted nearly enough interesting stuff on Caterpickles this summer. Apparently, she has time to read Caterpickles now, and was disappointed to find I haven’t answered her question about which modern instrument evolved from the sackbut yet.

She wanted to know what I’d been doing instead, and when I told her, said, “Mommyo, you should let everyone else know that, too.”

Ok. Here’s what I’ve been doing instead.

Sneak peek into the book I’ve been writing. (Photo: Michael Howell, Book Design: Raphael Albinati, Lady Bugs Bunny (c) 2012 Susan Hoy)

That’s right. I’m having a book. It’s about how even artistically inept parents like me can use public art to nurture their children’s love of art and to get them engaged with their community.

If you’re thinking, that’s a weird size for a book cover, you’re right. The cover isn’t finished yet, so this is a peek at one of the proposed interior spreads.

While The Ten-Year-Old has been off at summer camp, I’ve been working like mad to finalize the copy and book design with my design team. We’re almost there. You’ll be the first to know when the book’s finally out later this summer.

In the meantime, thanks for your patience with the intermittent blogging here at Caterpickles Central.

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Wordless Wednesday: The World’s Second Largest Dragonfly

At Grandma and Grandpa Summer Camp this year, The Ten-Year-Old netted a giant dragonfly.

Photo: Shala Howell

I mean, just look at the size of that thing. It’s nearly as big as the dragonflies here in Chicago.

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Wordless Wednesday: Chicago

(Photo: Shala Howell)

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

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Average man Arthur Dent is plucked off the face of the Earth seconds before its demolition by his friend Ford Prefect. Ford, who originally introduced himself to Arthur as an out-of-work actor, turns out to be an alien doing research for the essential galactic tome, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Don’t panic. The newly (and absolutely) homeless Arthur is in good hands as he travels through the galaxy with Ford. And by good hands, I mean mostly harmless ones, of course.  

Why The Ten-Year-Old thinks you’ll like it: “Totally hilarious. The two funniest space aliens, except for maybe Chewbacca, that I’ve ever heard of are Zaphod Beeblebrox and Ford Prefect. If I’d understood the Vogon poetry, I’m sure I would have found it majorly offensive, but I didn’t so who knows.”

Who would like this book, according to The Ten-Year-Old: 

“Anyone who likes sci-fi would like this book. It’s a series of very weird coincidences.”

Ten (The Winnie Years) by Lauren Myracle

The Ten-Year-Old first met Lauren Myracle through her Upside-Down Magic series. Ten didn’t feature adorable cats on the cover, but it did have a protagonist exactly The Ten-Year-Old’s age, so she agreed to give it a try. 

What The Ten-Year-Old thinks about it: 

“It’s about a girl who lives in Atlanta and her life. Very good storytelling. The whole thing about the crack in the wall and her storing stuff in it was cool. It’s more realistic than you’d think given the first couple of lines about unicorns.”

“It doesn’t exactly capture my experience of being ten, but Winnie had problems with her friendships that I could totally understand. One friend was really kind of mean. I think those friendship problems are something anyone–even a seven-year-old–can relate to. Well, maybe not babies.”

Who would like this book, according to The Ten-Year-Old: 

“Anybody looking for something good to read that won’t make you laugh out loud super hard and freak your parents out while they’re driving. It is funny in parts, though.”

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Wordless Wednesday: Man Enters the Cosmos at the Adler Planetarium

Man Enters the Cosmos (c)1980 Henry Moore. (Photo: Shala Howell)

This sundial sculpture outside the Adler Planetarium, titled Man Enters the Cosmos, celebrates the nation’s space program. At the time the sculpture was commissioned by the Trustees of the B. F. Ferguson Fund and created by Henry Moore in 1980, that program had already sent men to the moon and probes to Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.

NASA, The Ten-Year-Old and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

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Happy Fourth of July!

A wee bit of public art from the newly revitalized Chicago Riverwalk. (Photo: Michael Howell)

Hope you spot something interesting while you’re out and about today.

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

Elvis: Collector’s Edition by Closer Weekly Magazine
The Ten-Year-Old is away at Grandma & Grandpa Summer Camp this week, doing secret Grandma & Grandpa Summer Camp things.

I obviously don’t have first hand knowledge of the books she is reading there, but I have it on good authority (Grandma’s) that when The Ten-Year-Old found Grandpa’s copy of Closer Magazine’s Elvis: 2017 Collector’s Edition, she spirited it off to an undisclosed location and it hasn’t been seen since.

Apparently, we need to review some basic rules of book sharing when The Ten-Year-Old gets home.

In the meantime, The Ten-Year-Old wants you to know that reading this book is nearly as much fun as catching lizards. When I asked her to bring the magazine back to some public spot so that Grandpa could read it too, she protested. “But Mommyo, it’s got all the facts about Elvis in one place. Do you know how long I’ve been looking for something like this?”

Fortunately for Grandpa, there’s a limited number of these books still available on eBay.

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Wordless Wednesday: The Ten-Year-Old tours Jurassic World at the Field Museum

(Photo: Shala Howell)

(Photo: Shala Howell)

(Photo: Shala Howell)

(Photo: Shala Howell)

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