Category Archives: Non-Fiction

Mr. Ferris and His Wheel

Mr. Ferris and His Wheel

Mr. Ferris and his Wheel

Completed in 1889 for the World’s Fair, France’s Eiffel Tower was the world’s tallest man-made structure at 986 feet. Organizers of the next World’s Fair, in 1893 in Chicago, were under a lot of pressure to build something so impressive, so they held a contest to see who could come up with the best idea.

The winner was George Ferris, a steel expert who had a crazy idea…his structure would MOVE. This book is the story of how George built his enormous wheel. George was under a very tight deadline. Four months. In Chicago. During the winter! He really only had one chance to get it right.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “measure twice, cut once”? My Dad used to say that when he was working with wood. It means you should double-check your measurements and design for accuracy…because if you make a mistake you waste time and materials because you have to do it again. George did not have any time to waste and could not afford even a single mistake. The whole project is an amazing story of precision and teamwork. George’s Ferris wheel was assembled from over 100,000 separate parts from more than a dozen different steel mills. Correctly made parts arrived at the building site in the right order and were put together “like a giant Lego toy.” Amazing. Some men have the brains and the guts to dream big.

Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s minds.”
~Daniel H. Burnham, American architect and construction chief of the 1893 World’s Fair

Websites:

Books:

Who Invented the Ferris Wheel George Ferris and his Amazing Invention George Ferris What a Wheel Roller Coasters
Amazing Amusement Park Rides Water Rides Ferris Wheels Carousels
Exciting Entertainment Inventions Fast Facts Roller Coasters
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Sniffer Dogs: How Dogs and Their Noses Save the World

Sniffer Dogs: How Dogs and Their Noses Save the World

The Grimm Legacy

Before reading Sniffer Dogs, I knew about all kinds of workings dogs – farm dogs, police dogs, fire dogs & therapy dogs. I also knew there were some dogs whose job had to do with their nose – like drug sniffing dogs and bomb sniffing dogs. But I didn’t know dogs could be trained to sniff out all kinds of other things. They can be trained to sniff out certain kinds of animals in the wild or be trained to sniff the changes in a person’s body chemistry to warn them of a medical problem – like an allergic reaction. These dogs, and their noses, are truly amazing.

In each section you will learn about a dog job and then you will see a picture of a real working dog and learn his/her story. The dog on the cover is an Eco Dog. His name is Tucker. He is trained to track wolverines, gray wolves, moose, caribou, and orca whales – that’s why he has on a life jacket! But he doesn’t even like to swim. He just knows that if he sniffs out orca whale scat (poop) – he gets to play ball. : ) When he’s in the boat, his nose tells the scientists where to go to study whales.

Websites:

Books:

Bomb Sniffing Dogs Eco Dogs Fire Dogs Lifeguard Dogs
Medical Detective Dogs Pest Sniffing Dogs Service Dogs Snow Search Dogs
Therapy Dogs Wilderness Search Dogs Lily Rags Hero Dog of WWI
Tuesday Tucks Me In
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Handle With Care an Unusual Butterfly Journey

Handle With Care an Unusual Butterfly Journey

Handle With Care an Unusual Butterfly Journey

This book has the greatest pictures – just look at the cover. See the butterfly’s wings showing through the pupa (or chrysalis)? Inside is where a caterpillar is changing into a butterfly. That process is called metamorphosis. Amazing. All of the pictures are this detailed and colorful.

The book tells the story of a butterfly farm in Costa Rica. The caterpillars live inside a greenhouse. As caterpillars they eat the greenhouse plants, but once they turn into butterflies they eat sugar water…and bananas! The most amazing fact I read…there are so many caterpillars in the greenhouse that workers can hear the caterpillars chewing!

The butterflies are raised to go to museums so people can learn about butterflies. When they are pupating (inside the pupa) they are packed up and mailed. The timing has to be just right so the butterflies hatch out AFTER they’ve reached their destination.

Websites:

Books:

Grow Your Own Butterfly Farm Butterfly House Catterpillar to Butterfly National Geographic Butterflies
Waiting for Wings Origami Birds & Butterflies
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The Mad Potter George E. Ohr Eccentric Genius

The Mad Potter George E. Ohr Eccentric Genius

George E. Ohr was a potter from Biloxi Mississippi. He’s been dead for a long time – he was a little boy during the U.S.Civil War. Even so, when you read about him, it seems like you could just walk into his studio and start making stuff out of clay with him. He doesn’t seem old-fashioned or distant. He seems like a friend. He called his pots his “mud babies”. As you can see by his picture on the cover of this book – George was one-of-a-kind. There is another picture of him in this book with his mustache sticking straight out on both sides and his eyes crossed. This is a man who listened to his own voice and nobody else’s. Some of the words people used to describe him were:

  • scallywag
  • rascal
  • braggart
  • clown

But he was more than that. He was also a genius, and an artist. The picture of the pots he made are amazing. They are one-of-a-kind also, just like George.

This book is the story of George’s life from the time he was a boy helping in his father’s blacksmith shop or his mother’s grocery store, to the time he spent digging up natural clay along the banks of the Mississippi to make into his “mud babies”. If you have ever felt like the oddball, the one whose ideas don’t seem quite in step with everyone else, you’ll like George’s story. Reading about how he believed in himself makes you feel confident enough to do the same. If George was “mad” he was the good kind!


Websites:


Books:

Dave the Potter The Pot That Juan Built Super Simple Clay Projects Decorated Pottery
Easy Clay Crafts in 5 Steps The Kids N Clay Ceramics Book A Single Shard
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