August 31, 2021

Get to Know Night Animals

 Welcome this month's guest blogger, Rebecca Hirsch*!

Fall is coming. Maybe you’ve noticed it too—a chill in the air, leaves starting to turn, darkness arriving earlier in the evening. It's perfect time of year for an outdoor exploration of the dark and its animals with my new picture book, Night Creatures: Animals That Swoop, Crawl, and Creep while You Sleep.

The book follows a mother and child as they enjoy a night outdoors in their backyard. They catch fireflies, roast marshmallows, gaze up at the stars, and camp out in a tent. But the animals that swoop, crawl and creep around them are the main focus of the story. In a glowing review, Kirkus declared the book “well executed” and said “the illustrations effectively represent the night world on the page, with shadow and muted colors that require readers to look closely and pay attention. The spare, lyrical text is rhythmic and soothing, just right for a bedtime story.”

You can stay up late one night, maybe in a park or other secluded setting, and see if you can spot animals waking up around you. These animals may be nocturnal (active only at night) or crepuscular (active only at dusk or dawn). You can learn to identify night creatures even if you can’t see them clearly.

You’ll need: ✔ flashlight  ✔ piece of red cellophane or a red sock

Cover the lit end of the flashlight with cellophane or the sock so the light comes out red in color. Red light won’t ruin your own eyes’ adjustment to the dark, and many night creatures do not see red light and so they will not be disturbed by it.

Here’s what you can look for during a night outdoors:

Want more activities for your nighttime exploration? Click to download the free pdf, Night Creatures Activity Guide🦇  🦉  🦨  
*Rebecca E. Hirsch writes lots of science and nature nonfiction: articles, picture books, and middle grade books. She used to work as a research biologist, and her writings invite kids to discover and explore the outdoors. Her latest book is Night Creatures: Animals That Swoop, Crawl, and Creep while You Sleep. Other books include Plants Can't Sit Still, When Plants Attack, and The Monarchs Are Missing. She lives with her family in the mountains of Pennsylvania, where she gardens, wrangles a small flock of chickens, and takes long walks in the woods.

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