Animals

Beyond Seahorses and Hermit Crabs: Eric Carle’s Biocentric Anthropomorphizing for Fostering Empathy and Care

Review by Leah Harrigan | There’s certainly something special about the works of Eric Carle (1929-2021), the American author and illustrator who left a legacy of more than 70 children’s books celebrated worldwide. The self-described “picture writer”, Carle gifted us his bright, iconic tissue-paper illustrations that have adorned bookshelves since the 1960s. If you’ve read the The Very Hungry Caterpillar, you’ve been acquainted with Eric Carle.

Book Review: Dinosaur Lady: The Daring Discoveries of Mary Anning, the First Paleontologist

Review by Marion Reynolds | In the early 1800’s, as a teen and young woman, Mary Anning scratched about on an English shoreline, finding fossils dating back millions of years – and making sense of them. Her work contributed significantly to the development of a scientific understanding of evolution. But as a woman and someone from a poor family, her contribution remained hidden for decades and has only recently been celebrated. Her story is one that needs to be told, especially to children growing up in this age when science, diversity, and inclusion must matter to all.

Book Review: Democracy for Dinosaurs

Review by Leah Harrigan | It’s never too early to start learning how to be an engaged citizen – just ask author Laurie Krasny Brown and illustrator Marc Brown, creators of Democracy for Dinosaurs: A Guide for Young Citizens. An introduction to civic values for young children, this book explores the important question of what it means to be a “kid citizen” in a democratic society. Brown’s familiar watercolor characters teach key principles of democracy and model ways to share, practice fairness, and respect one another’s opinions as young changemakers in an ever-evolving world.

Wood You Believe It? Beaver’s Remarkable Teeth for Building Ecosystems

By James Cassell | Perhaps the most impressive architects of the natural world, beavers are famous for their iconic buck teeth. Using their teeth, these furry engineers build dams to flood and sculpt their environment. In doing so, they not only provide protection and lodging for themselves, they also form stagnant ponds that provide valuable water storage and habitats for a diversity of plants and animal species needed to sustain ecosystems that keep our planet healthy.

Book Review: The Hyena Scientist

Review by Marion Reynolds | Science journalist Sy Montgomery and photographer Nic Bishop’s latest addition to the Scientist in the Field series, The Hyena Scientist dispels myths and misunderstandings about the of true nature of the African spotted hyena, profiles the presence of women in science, and tells the story, through anecdotes and examples, of Kay’s decades-long research in the field. The unfairly maligned hyenas resemble dogs, but are more closely related to the mongoose. Hyenas belong to their own family, the Hyenidae.

The Elephant-Human Relations Aid Program: Projects and Empathy for a Neighborhood of Friends

By Osita Achufusi | 415,000. That’s how many African elephants are left in the wild as of 2018, according to the World Wildlife Foundation. While this may seem like a sufficient amount, it’s not. Consider that an estimated 10 million of these gentle giants roamed Africa just a mere 90 years ago and that there was an approximate 111,000 drop in the African elephant population between 2006 and 2016, and suddenly 415,000 sounds dangerously low.

From Pets to Pathways for Becoming Earth Stewards

By Megan Mueller |
What is it about our relationships with pets that make them so enduring, and how do they connect us to the wider, natural world – making it more likely that we will act as earth stewards? For many, experiences with pets are experiences akin to some of the most positive and important experiences as humans – particularly experiences of caring for and being cared for by another. Research by many scholars who study human-animal relationships, including our own research at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, has shown that children closely attached to pets also demonstrate compassion and caring for all animals — as well as intolerance for cruelty to animals. In short, it is this potential for pets to elicit in us feelings of attachment, empathy, and care that make pets so relevant for helping children to connect to and care for the wider, animal world.