Art & Max
From Dorothia's list on children’s books with nature, whimsy, and humor.
5 authors have picked their favorite books about lizards and why they recommend each book.
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From Dorothia's list on children’s books with nature, whimsy, and humor.
I was born into a large, unique family. Our house was nestled in the Colorado foothill mountains. Our small tv with the rabbit ear antenna had one fuzzy station, so we depended upon our imaginations for entertainment. We read fairy tales, performed puppet shows, fed fairies on the full moon, painted, drew, wrote stories, explored the canyon. I once observed a small pebbled cylinder inch its way across a puddle. I thought it was magic! It was a caddis fly larvae. That spark of excitement from nature, imagination, and whimsy are what inspire me today when I create. I hope these books will inspire you–or at least make you laugh.
I am Goose! was inspired by the children at Head-Start. They loved playing Duck, Duck Goose, but not all of the children cared about the rules. The story starts out with a simple, friendly game of Duck, Duck, Goose. It goes off the rails in giggle-inducing confusion when a silly goose tries to make it all about him. “Are you kidding me? I am Goose!”
A literal-minded goose derails a favorite childhood game—Duck, Duck, Goose—by objecting when Pig, Fox, Dodo, and other players are tapped as “Goose”. Distraction, squabbling, and asking for snacks threaten to end the game completely. Bossy Rabbit restores calm, but Goose doesn’t understand what the problem is until he gets a taste of his own medicine.
From Melody's list on sci-fi that will melt your heart.
All of R. Lee Smith’s novels are dark, explicit, and fascinating, but my favorite (and it was a Sophie’s Choice, for sure!) is The Last Hour of Gann. The heroine, Amber, and her spaceship full of fellow pioneers crash land on a dystopian alien world inhabited by lizard people. The humans are woefully unprepared to survive in the wild and all too willing to turn on one another. When a passing lizard/warrior/judge, Meoraq, stumbles upon their camp, Amber jumps at the opportunity to beg for his aid, a near-impossible task without knowing his language. Together, they learn to communicate, and as Meoraq embarks on the futile task of keeping “his humans” safe, so begins the delicious, inexplicable, slow-burn romance between woman and lizard that I never knew I needed.
Science fiction is a wonderful genre and a fun one to write because it offers authors the opportunity to explore age-old topics from a fresh perspective. For me, as both a writer and a voracious reader, the one thing that ties me to a great story—no matter the genre—is romance. Whether the hero is an alien from a faraway world or a werewolf with mechanical organs, the heart of a story is its characters, the relationships they form, and the healing power of love. Below are my top five recommended reads in science fiction that are sure to melt your heart!
Delaney McCormick is not an animal, but after being abducted by aliens and witnessing the murder of her only friend, she pretends to be one. She endures the humiliation of being washed, the tediousness of being trained to “sit” and “come,” and the intrigue of hearing private conversations. But in her owner’s care, she finds something unexpected on this Antarctic planet, something she never had in all her years on Earth while house-hopping between foster families: a home. Must she continue the charade, acting like an animal to hide from the murderer waiting on her misstep? Or can she trust her owner with her secrets… and her heart?
From Nancy's list on with sideways humor and irony.
This book has so many things going for it, including the inimitable pairing of Escoffier and Di Giacomo (see their other book collaborations). Brief Thief is full of wit, charmingly illustrated, and deliciously fun to read aloud using the voices of a lizard and his conscience. Yes, there is potty humor, but it is arguably more about problem-solving and doing the right thing. Even the title is clever – the lizard was a thief briefly, and it was briefs that he stole. The last two wordless spreads are priceless.
I was born where the sun rose in the prairies and set behind the Rockies. Now I live on the West Coast of Canada. I am a picture bookmaker, and from my recommendations, you might think that I also have a thing for thieves: cupcake thieves, underwear thieves, hat thieves, chicken thieves, pie thieves. But I’m really here for the element of surprise and well-earned laughs in children’s picture books. They say comedy is hard, but comedy in picture books is even harder. These five picks are a great place to start if you like smartly silly picture books with a bit of off-kilter humor and a sense of irony. Bonus points for puns.
A cheeky celebration of boobies!
Meet the Blue-footed Booby, who does not have boobies at all, since only mammals have boobies. We learn that mammals have boobies to feed babies -- even though milk can also come from plants. And did you know that boobies, or breasts, vary from person to person, that boobies change over time, and that different animals have different numbers of boobies? Witty and wide-ranging, this eye-opening picture book goes on to explore connections between boobies and mountains, boobies and ancient art, and, of course, boobies and you!
From Elizabeth's list on alien romances featuring heroines of color.
All hail the queen of sci-fi romance. Regine Abel is one of the most prolific and well-respected authors in the genre. She’s dozens of dozens of titles and they’re exceptional. This one in particular features an actual alien-looking lizard alien who is obsessed with the heroine. In addition to a truly alien-looking hero, the heroine is well-rounded with drive and skills as a huntress.
As a woman of color, impassioned reader, and author to boot, I'm always advocating for inclusion in my romance reads. All of my romances feature a lead or leads of color and I'm particularly drawn to books where I can identify myself in the heroines. I like to provide other readers of color with the same experience through my books, while writing compelling romances that can be enjoyed by anyone. I have published 12 novels, with 4+ coming out in 2022. I've hit the bestseller charts on Amazon in SciFi romances and multicultural romances with every new release. You can expect my Xiveri Mates series in audio, French, and German as early as March 2022.
Miari, Blue skin. Seven feet. Strapped with corded muscle, the aliens have come again but this time, their king is here and he's watching me with hunger. A hybrid with red alien skin and brown human eyes, I've got no family and am not desired by colony men. I'm an inventor, a mechanic, a tinkerer. The alien king seeks to claim me, but he'll have to find me first.
Raku, She is my Xiveri mate, yet she runs from me – straight into the horrors of her savage moon colony. Does she not know that I would slaughter in her defense? My brilliant hybrid thinks herself a slave – my slave – and in place of acceptance, offers me only pacts and bargains. Shamed by her pacts, I still take them all gluttonously, because she is mine.
From Laura's list on animal adaptations for young readers.
You really can’t go wrong with a book from Usborne publishers. Reptiles is a gem. It has all the features of a traditional non-fiction book--chapter titles, table of contents, glossary, and a list of related websites--and it bestows information in kid-friendly language. When a procedure is outlined, such as temperature regulation for a desert lizard through a long hot day, the process is distilled into 4 numbered steps. The small size of the book (6” x 8”), the beautiful integration of photographs and illustrations, and the high interest level of the topics covered makes this book a surefire winner with kids.
When I was a child, I saw a grasshopper doing the sidestroke in the ocean and it sparked my interest in animal behavior. Though I still don’t know if all grasshoppers do the sidestroke, I’ve learned a lot about animal adaptations since then. And I’ve learned a lot about what motivates young readers from my years as a reading specialist and a classroom teacher. I’ve put that knowledge to work in my two popular books: Who Has These Feet? and Who Has This Tail?
Who Has These Feet uses a lively guessing game format to introduce children to animal adaptations. Young readers enjoy following the predictable format of the text to explore the link between shape and function in the feet of nine animals from different habitats. The brightly detailed paintings by Erik Brooks are scientifically accurate and very appealing.
From M.L.'s list on character driven novels.
I remember it distinctly—the day my father brought home Dragonsong for me. I had shown signs of being an avid reader and he thought I might like this book because it had a pretty cover. It did have a startlingly beautiful cover, but it was the story inside that captivated me. The tale of Menolly’s flight away from the stagnation of her family and her survival struck a chord in me, and I imagined myself as Menolly, learning to live life on my own without the support of those around me. And secretly, I always wanted a fire lizard for a pet. McCaffrey immerses you in her world so completely that you can see it, and Menolly is the perfect vehicle for that adventure.
My passions for strong, dynamic characters in novels are threefold: as a teacher, an author, and a reader. The most important interest in character development came as a reader. I was drawn to characters who seemed to leap off the page and remind me of real people. As a teacher, there's no greater satisfaction than discussing a fictional character with your students as if they were a historical figure. And as an author, I'm so much more interested in who my characters are than in what they do. Their choices should always evolve out of their personalities. If you really want to stay in a reader’s mind, have a character they're willing to fight for.
Peyton and Marco have solved more cases than many senior members of the San Francisco PD, but this case (the death of a high-end real estate agent) is proving more difficult than the others. With no evidence, no suspects, and no motive, Peyton fears they won't get a break in the case before the killer strikes again. In the multi-million dollar San Francisco real estate market, realtors are literally dying for a sale.
From Mord's list on which spark the dreamer.
It is Bakker’s controversial rethinking of the lives and science behind earth’s prehistory. In his avant-garde ideas, Bakker proposes and answers questions of things like what these monsters are and how they defended themselves or hunted. He even spoke on how they might have reproduced.
It’s a book to create dreamers who can take the torch to shed new light on those questions we all share in common as members of humanity.
As a decades-long collector of fossils & student of undiscovered and/or extinct creatures, I’ve gained traction in both fields on a professional level, which is what my spark ignited into. My choice for the final position could’ve been a tie between The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien, Roadmarks by Roger Zelazny, Farseer by Robert J. Sawyer, but since I could only choose 5 which sparked the dreamer.
In Murder Red Ink, Mord McGhee imaginatively explores the incomprehensible depths of horror, human nature, and captures the brutal reality of the monster behind the Jack the Ripper murders of 1888 in a science fiction whirlwind of the darkest sort.
From Kat's list on understanding why we haven’t cured cancer yet.
On the surface, this fascinating story about the evolutionary journeys of diverse animal species ranging from lizards to porcupines to field mice may seem a strange choice to include in a list of books about cancer, but in fact, it holds many important lessons about how evolution works and how likely we are to get the same outcomes if we ran the tape of time again. In turn, this is vital information underpinning our new understanding of cancer as an evolutionary process within the body, which can potentially be steered through the application of clever treatment strategies to bring about long-term control or even cures.
I’ve long been fascinated by how life unfolds from a single fertilized egg cell containing just one set of DNA, whether it’s a human, mouse, frog, worm, or anything else. While studying for my PhD in the Gurdon Institute in Cambridge, which combines brings together researchers working on development and cancer, and spending twelve years in science communication at Cancer Research UK, the world’s largest cancer research charity, I came to see cancer and development as two sides of the same coin: one process unfolding healthy life as egg becomes embryo, and the other ultimately bringing disease and death as a single cell grows into a deadly tumor.
Many of us think of cancer as a contemporary killer, a disease of our own making caused by our modern lifestyles. But that perception just isn’t true. Although it might be rare in many species, cancer is the enemy lurking within almost every living creature. Why? Because cancer is a bug in the system of life. And just like life, it keeps on evolving and evading our best attempts to beat it.
Rebel Cell: Cancer, Evolution and the Science of Life takes us from the dawn of life on planet earth right up to the present day to get to the heart of what cancer really is and how we can find better strategies for living with it or even one day driving it to extinction.
From Marilyn's list on empowerment and hope.
Sarah by Laura Albert aka JT LeRoy captivated my attention right from the start. The story crackles with originality even years after its release. The writing is so vivid that it engulfs the reader in the story. The characters are three dimensional, and the tale being told in the first person and present tense makes you empathize more with the main character. Having gone through a difficult upbringing, the story of Cherry Vanilla and their quest to find love and acceptance spoke to me. This is a title I would highly recommend, not only for the merit of the writing but also because its message continues to resonate to this day. Also check out the audiobook of Sarah, read splendidly by Winsome Brown.
As with many people, my life has been full of twists and turns. I know what it means to be an outsider and to be cast aside as though my voice and presence doesn’t matter. But, with grit and determination, I battled systemic racism head-on, and with my good L.U.C.K (labor under correct knowledge), encouragement, and faith, I am thriving in an environment that was designed to be non-inclusive for People of Color. Currently, I am the only Black female professor in the 94-year history in the college where I am employed.
Emma shines a light on the discriminatory practices deeply embedded in this country’s education system. She is bright, eager to learn and willing to work hard. But racial rebuffs from teachers and colleagues present her with a tidal wave of deterrents.
This book takes readers through Emma’s past in a way that clearly lays out the obstacles young African American girls confront in a highly encoded education system—and it reveals the successful strategies Emma develops to surmount them. It also points out that these hurdles shouldn’t exist and brings hope that those who follow in Emma’s footsteps and learn from her can build on her experiences and change that system.
From Craig's list on to make tea shoot out of your nose.
This book takes the fish out of water trope I just spoke about in a whole different direction. In Vainqueur, it’s not so much a fish, as a hungry shark that finds itself out of its usual element.
A dragon wakes up from a lengthy nap and finds that the whole world is now an RPG-style game. It can level up, gain abilities, and accept quests. Thankfully, it’s a bloody big dragon, which makes some of the quests a tad easier to complete.
The dragon really steals the show and behaves exactly as you’d expect a grumpy old murder machine might. The book has wonderful dialogue and a fresh perspective on some of the genre tropes. It’s a nice easy read, with the perfect amount of groveling minions.
There’s always time for a good laugh, the kind that makes your beverage of choice try to escape out your nostrils. There’s something magical about a book that can make you laugh, because comedy is so personal to each of us. I have a very strange sense of humour. It’s an odd hybrid of British sarcasm, Australian swearing, and Canadian self-deprecation. Because of this, when I find something that clicks and genuinely makes me giggle, I won’t shut up about it. I’ll tell the postman, the pizza delivery person, the police officer who keeps telling me to put trousers on when I’m out in public. Now I’m telling you!
Level Up tells the story of what happens when reality breaks and starts following video game rules. Marcus finds himself thrown into familiar situations that poke fun at gaming tropes, all whilst trying to figure out how he can win the game and level up.
Also, there’s a squirrel called Nutsack. If you stifled a snigger at how immature that name is, you’re the target audience.