Blogs by editor Randi Lynn Mrvos


                              Volume 1 Issue 1

Brother and Sister Day 
by:  T. M. Nantais


Nature's Recyclers  
by:  Donna Smith

Book Review
Being Frank 
 by:  Irene Roth


                 BROTHER AND SISTER  DAY

By: Karma, 8 years old
     What smells so good? It’s the hot dogs cooking on the barbecue. Ryan, Sarah's three-year old brother begins to cry. Sarah tells Ryan that she'll bring him back to the clown in a few minutes. She is going to buy him a surprise. This seems to quiet her brother. Sarah is happy to be on their way towards the hot dog stand. 
     Sarah takes Ryan’s sweaty hand. Soda pop is only allowed as a treat on a hot summer day. Sarah thinks this is the perfect day to have a taste of orange pop trickling down her throat. 

By: Fiona, 9 years old
     The man selling hot dogs looks like their grandfather. He’s tall and almost bald.  His smile is warm and welcoming. Ryan tells the man that he wants ketchup and mustard on his hot dog. Ryan lets go of Sarah’s hand to take the hot dog from the man’s hand. Sarah then asks for two orange pops, chips, and her own hot dog. She wants hers to be covered with lots of ketchup, a little bit of mustard and relish.  Sarah puts her hot dog onto the tray with their other treats and thanks him. 
     They walk toward the big white tent and stop at the clown. She places the tray down on a picnic table beside her. Sarah hands the red-nosed clown a silver coin and asks him for the purple balloon.  A dark blue sailboat is painted onto it. Sarah likes it. Ryan does too!    
By: Amanda, 5 years old
     Sarah and Ryan eat their lunch on the grass. The purple balloon now tied to Sarah’s shoelace sways in the wind. Ryan laughs to see Sarah’s balloon tied to her shoelace. She couldn’t eat and hold the balloon at the same time! It was a delicious lunch. Now, both brother and sister are anxious to sit in the big white tent.     
     Sarah unties the balloon from her shoelace. Ryan cries because he wants to hold the balloon. She gives it to him, but tells him over and over that he mustn’t let go of it. Ryan smiles.                                                                        
     Inside the big white tent are lots of people. They’re all looking up at a man walking on a tightrope.  Ryan laughs, pulls on Sarah’s hand, and points up. And then he lets go of the balloon. Oh no! It sails past Sarah’s face and up over her left shoulder. Finally, it gets trapped in the rafters. But guess what? Ryan doesn’t cry. He laughs. 
     “Look, man not alone,” he tells Sarah.
     Sarah doesn’t know if she should scold him or laugh. She does neither, but she takes him by the hand towards the benches. Ryan reluctantly follows until he sees just ahead, right there in front of them another clown holding lots of bright red balloons!  As they pass, Ryan turns his head to look as Sarah tugs at his hand. 
    “Please, Sarah may I have another one. Please?” 
     Sarah stops and looks at Ryan grinning up at her. The crowd cheers for the man up on the tightrope.  Ryan cheers, too.
     "We'll see," answered Sarah. "We'll see."
     Ryan lets go of his sister's hand and claps and claps with the cheering crowd.  And Sarah, she claps too!
     That night when Ryan goes to bed, he is extra tired and extra happy. As his eyes draw sleepy, he can see his bright red balloon tied to the bedpost. And just before he falls asleep, he whispers, "Goodnight balloon."   

Written by:  T. Marie Nantais



The appearance of Turkey Vultures conjures up images of old cowboy movies depicting the birds circling above a fatally injured man, waiting to swoop down and devour the body. Realistically, Turkey Vultures don’t stand vigil over dying humans or animals and they don’t kill their food.

What’s that Bird in the Sky?

The social Turkey Vulture lives, travels, and searches for food in large groups. The birds are raptors, which are part of the scientific order called Falconiformes. The hawk, eagle, osprey and falcon all belong to the same group. A raptor is a bird that feeds on the flesh of animals. Turkey Vultures are also known as Turkey Buzzards.

While the word Buzzard is a common folk expression used to describe the Turkey Vulture, it’s incorrect. Buzzard is actually another name for a hawk. When the English arrived in the New Land (America), they saw the soaring Vulture and believed that it was a hawk or buzzard because there are no vultures in England.

It’s a Dirty Job

Scavenging Turkey Vultures are the sanitation workers of the natural world. They prowl for carcasses by sight and smell. The Turkey Vulture’s preference for carrion fulfills two important outcomes. A carcass provides nourishment for the large bird and the Turkey Vulture cleans up the surface where the carcass lies. Their digestive system allows them to eat rotting flesh without getting sick from bacteria that would kill other wildlife if they tried consuming it. A Turkey Vulture urinates on its legs to wash away germs after eating.

Recent observations of pellets coughed up by Turkey Vultures indicate that the birds are adapting their eating habits. The evidence shows that Turkey Vultures consume mostly carrion, but they are also eating vegetation.

Not so Pretty

The black and brown-colored Turkey Vulture is 26 to 32 inches long with a six-foot wingspan. A Turkey Vulture’s featherless head serves as a utility feature because it dines with its head stuck in a carcass. The absence of feathers allows the Turkey Vulture to keep its head free of icky residue and bacteria. Its name is fitting—its bare red head resembles a turkey.

So High in the Sky

Turkey vultures possess the ability to use air currents called thermals to lift themselves up and fly without frequently flapping their wings. By riding air currents, invisible to the human eye, the Turkey vulture can tirelessly go vast distances and gain altitude effortlessly. 

Are You Messing with Me?

A Turkey Vulture’s talons and beak are weaker than other raptors; therefore, it is unable to carry  its meal away.  And, these birds have trouble ripping into flesh that isn’t decaying. But, a Turkey Vulture does have a unique way of defending itself when it feels threatened. When a Turkey Vulture is antagonized, it will vomit half digested carrion.  

Appreciating the Turkey Vulture

Centuries ago in Latin America, the people welcomed the presence of Turkey Vultures because they maintained sanitary conditions during a time when proper disposal of dead animals wasn’t easy or healthy to accomplish. The early Egyptians called the birds the “Pharaoh’s Pets” because the birds kept the walkways and public areas clean. It was considered a crime to hurt them.
If you discover Turkey Vultures roosting in the treetops, take time to admire this majestic bird. They survive by doing a thankless, needful job. After all, the Turkey Vulture is a natural recycler.

Written by: Donna Smith


Book Review:  Being Frank 

Written by:  Donna W. Earnhardt
Illustrated by: Andrea Castellani
Flashlight Press, 2012

     This is a great picture book about an important topic: telling the truth. Frank’s motto is simple: he tells the truth, and the whole truth too, even if he hurts people’s feelings. You see Frank learns that being overly honest is not always a good thing. So, Frank is confused. He doesn`t know why everyone is so upset with him when he speaks the raw truth. All he is trying to do is to be honest with everyone.   

     So, he decides to go and visit his Grandpa Ernest to get some advice. You see, Grandpa is honest, too. But he shows Frank that raw honesty can sometimes hurt others. So, we have to sugar-coat what we say with a bit of sugar and less pepper. In other words, we have to balance the truth with a bit of whimsy. And that is what his Grandpa teaches him to do through his example.
     This is a great picture book with a wonderful message for kids: we should tell the truth, but we should say it in such a way so that it doesn’t hurt others, because telling the truth shouldn’t hurt others if it is done with love and compassion.

     The illustrations are unique, animated and colorful. They express the emotion of the story extremely well.  Andrea Castellani has won numerous awards for his animation and directional talents.

Rating:  5 Stars
Reviewed by:  Irene S. Roth
Author and Editor

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