About the Holiday
By 1970 awareness was growing worldwide about the damage that industrialization, pollution, and pesticides were causing people and the environment. On April 22, 1970, millions of people demonstrated for change. In response, in July President Nixon and the US Congress created the Environmental Protections Agency and enacted laws such as the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act among others. Earth Day is now celebrated around the globe as a day for political action and civic participation.
Today, it’s more important than ever for citizens to participate in the protection of the environment so that the advances we have made are not rolled back or lost. This year the theme of Earth Day is Protect Our Species. To learn more about endangered and threatened species—from plants to animals to insects, including the Hines emerald dragonfly, and how you can help, visit the Earth Day Network. To celebrate today’s holiday, join an action group in your community dedicated to protecting natural resources.
I received a copy of Soar High, Dragonfly! from Sleeping Bear Press for review consideration. All opinions are my own. I’m happy to be teaming with Sleeping Bear Press for a giveaway of the book. See details below.
Soar High, Dragonfly!
Written by Sheri Mabry Bestor | Illustrated by Jonny Lambert
As winter turns to spring, flowers bloom, baby birds hatch, and “high above, tiny wings hum like wind through the leaves.” The sound comes from dragonflies. In the warm air, the females are looking for places to lay their eggs. They find a pond, where they can lay eggs in the water or within the stem of a plant. While some eggs are eaten, many others hatch into nymphs. Underwater, the nymphs have a special way of swimming that propels them to find food to eat.
As a nymph “he eats, he grows. As he grows, he sheds his casing. Squirt. Gulp! Squirt. Gulp!” At last the nymph is ready to leave the water. During the night, he climbs the stem of a water reed and waits for daylight. The nymph has undergone many casing changes, but finally, his last casing grows too tight. “It cracks. He wiggles and squiggles. Out he crawls!” Although his wings are free, he is too tired to fly.
In the warmth of the sun, the dragonfly’s wings dry. “They hum in the morning light.” When he is ready, he takes off into the sky… “he’s flying! Soar high, dragonfly!” Without practice, the dragonfly can fly forward, backward, and even hover. Using his large eyes, he scans for predators, darting away at the last moment.
The dragonfly is a marvel, moving his wings and changing his body to keep warm day and night. Summer brings mating season, and with the autumn the dragonflies migrate to warmer climates to lay their eggs and begin their life cycle again.
Sheri Mabry Bestor’s lyrical text is accompanied by equally engaging factual information about dragonflies, and the green darner dragonfly in particular. Each page contains a sentence or two of fascinating description about egg laying, life stages, feeding customs, movement (“Nymphs squirt water out of their back ends to propel themselves forward.”), body regulation (“Dragonflies have special ways to keep warm. They can capture the heat of the sun by adjusting their four wings just right.”), and migratory habits of these favorite insects.
For young readers interested in insects and nature, Bestor’s captivating storytelling, which uses short sentences that echo the quick, darting movement of dragonflies, will keep them absorbed as they learn about this most intriguing creature.
Jonny Lambert brings his talent as a paper engineer to the vibrant, collage-style illustrations that will wow kids with their beauty. The iridescent brilliance of the green darner dragonfly is represented through a green and yellow-mottled head and thorax that gives way to a blue striped abdomen. Light-sage-colored wings mirror the dragonfly’s delicate appearance. A stunning palette of greens and blues usher children into the underwater world of the pond where the nymphs grow among fish, frogs, snails, and other creatures. Each stage and change the dragonfly experiences is clearly shown and enhances learning.
A superb book for general story times as well as STEM learning, Soar High, Dragonfly! would find eager readers at home as well as in classroom and public libraries. Check out the first gorgeous collaboration between Sheri Mabry Bestor and Jonny Lambert, Good Trick, Walking Stick!, too! You can read my review of that book here.
Ages 5 – 8
Sleeping Bear Press, 2019 | ISBN 978-1585364107
Discover more about Sheri Mabry Bestor and her books on her website.
Earth Day Activity
Your kids can bring the beauty of nature inside with this easy-to-make dragonfly craft.
- Wooden clothespin
- Wax paper
- Bright green craft paint
- Bright blue craft paint
- Green glitter
- Blue glitter
- Paint brush
- Thread or fishing line (optional)
- Adhesive magnet (optional)
To Make the Body
- Paint the top part of the clothespin (to the point where the metal hinge crosses the wood) green
- Sprinkle green glitter on the wet paint, let dry
- Paint the bottom part of the clothespin blue
- Sprinkle blue glitter on the wet paint, let dry
- If the glitter doesn’t completely stick, apply a thin layer of glue with a toothpick and add more glitter
To Make the Wings
- Cut two 5-inch-by-3/4-inch strips from the wax paper
- Cut a curved edge at each end of the wax paper strips, cutting straight down from the top and curving around the bottom corner
- Cut curved notches in the center, top and bottom, of each wing to allow the wings to fit into the clothespin
- Open the clothespin and slip the wings in, curved edge down and allowing the top wing to overlap the bottom wing slightly
Attach the thread or fishing line to the dragonfly to hang, or to make a refrigerator magnet, attach an adhesive magnetic strip to the back.
You can find Soar High, Dragonfly! at these booksellers
Picture Book Review