An interesting article concerning the plight of the horseshoe crab was published in The Atlantic newspaper recently. Although harvesting the blood of horseshoe crabs can have negative effects on the horseshoe crab population, the biomedical need for their blood gives value to their species. Once a synthetic replacement for their copper-based blood has been placed into play, the horseshoe crab population could be, once again, considered simply bait. It’s crucial to the survival of horseshoe crabs that people become familiar with them, & recognize them as the harmless, fascinating sea animals that they are. If horseshoe crabs become popular and beloved as whales have become, people will begin to care for them & want to protect them. This is what motivated me to write The Bumpy, Lumpy Horseshoe Crab, about one of the most endearing marine creatures that lives at the edge of the sea.
The address to read this article:
We found this clamshell at Crane Beach in Ipswich this summer when collecting shells for the book, Did You Make the Hole in the Shell in the Sea? It looks like two moon snails had their sights set on devouring the same clam, and both raced to see which would drill through the shell first. The evidence shows that both succeeded and had a shared lunch. The clam didn’t have a chance!
Our newest addition to our live sea animal program is a beautiful, cobalt blue lobster. According to Catherine Ellis of Connecticut’s Mystic Aquarium, “blue American lobsters occur one in every three million lobsters.” A blue lobster’s coloring is the result of a genetic defect, where the lobster produces a protein in excess that wraps around an astaxanthin molecule, forming a blue complex known as crustacyanin. That’s the scientific explanation, we just think he’s strikingly handsome! We have been so inspired by this beautiful blue lobster, that we’ve begun work on a new illustrated children’s book that features a blue lobster. Stay tuned!
The link below is a cleverly animated piece about the arrival of green crabs to the Maine coast, and the challenges their growing population is causing. Although green crabs are causing a lot of trouble for the hardworking men and women who are employed in the clamming industry in Maine, I must say that my green crabs are one of my favorite sea animals, and are extremely popular with the staff and students of the schools I visit. Hopefully balance can be restored to allow all species to thrive in the Maine coastal waters. Enjoy!
The address below is a link to a very funny story about an author’s first experience with selling books on Amazon.com. Although selling books on Amazon can be profitable when a large quantity of books are ordered at a time, in most cases, Amazon doesn’t like keeping large inventories of books, and orders can come trickling in. That’s, of course, unless you’re in some way represented by one of the “big six” publishing houses in the United States.
Amazon takes 55% of the customer’s payment for each book, leaving the seller to pay for the book’s printing, packaging for mailing, and postage out of what’s left. Because most of Amazon’s warehouses seem to be in the Mid-West, postage from the Northeast can be significant. Author Dennis Danziger was excited to get his first order from Amazon. He wasted no time confirming his order, and proceeded to pay 49 cents for a padded envelope ($1.25 for larger children’s books), then added the cost of a single copy’s printing ($5.71), and added the least expensive postage available while still getting the job done ($8.60), to calculate his total cost at $14.80. He was paid $8.98 from Amazon for his book. My favorite Dennis Danziger’s quote is, “But I know at this rate, as soon as I sell the 999 remaining copies, I’ll be a relatively well-read author. And I’ll be homeless.”
I know that Amazon can offer some really good deals on books, and I must say I’m as guilty as the next guy in buying books from Amazon. But if you have the opportunity to buy a book directly from the author, even if you have to pay a little more, it could be well worth it. If you enjoy the author’s work, you will be helping him/her to continue the ability to write and publish future work. Or another option would be to send a link from Amazon’s seller’s page of your favorite author’s work to everyone you know… all of your 658 closest friends on FB and more, recommending that they buy the book, so Amazon is forced to keep a real inventory of the book at their warehouse. Either way works.
At any rate, please take a peak at this article. It’s short, funny, and really expresses the pros and cons to working with Amazon.com.
We had so much fun launching our new book, Did You Make the Hole in the Shell in the Sea?, at The Gift Horse Bookstore during the Holiday Stroll in Topsfield, Massachusetts. Both children and adults enjoyed interacting with the sea animals, and even adults learned a thing or two they hadn’t known before (including what makes the hole in the shells in the sea!) It was a great kick-off to giving our new book a little exposure.
Artist/designer Robert DuGrenier from Vermont has designed and created hand blown glass shells that are so life-like, hermit crabs are crawling inside and using them as their homes. This gives us a wonderful view of how hermit crabs look inside their shells. Scientist in New Zealand are using glass shells to help study hermit crabs. It took about 7-10 days for hermit crabs to move into the glass shells, voluntarily, after the shells had been placed inside their tanks. These scientists have a code of ethics that would make it unacceptable to force the hermit crabs into the shells. Congratulations to these scientists who had the patience to wait for the hermit crabs to accept the shells on their own, and for giving us a fascinating view of life inside a hermit crab’s shell.