September 3 – International Vulture Awareness Day


About the Holiday

With their bald pink heads and dusty brown feathers vultures and turkey vultures may not be the peacocks of the bird kingdom, but they play a crucial role in the environmental cycle. These scavengers live on carrion, clearing away and “recycling” the carcasses of dead animals. Because of the vulture’s appearance and stereotypical depictions, their plight as an endangered species goes largely unnoticed. Environmental groups in South Africa and England established today’s holiday (also known as International Turkey Vulture Day) to promote awareness f the declining number of vultures, a cause that has been picked up by zoos and other conservation groups around the world.

Vulture View

Written by April Pulley Sayre | Illustrated by Steve Jenkins


In the clear blue morning sky the vultures soar. “Wings stretch wide / to catch a ride / on warming air / Going where?” One turkey vulture scans the ground, dipping and tilting as it searches for its breakfast. A snake rattles and hisses in the rocks. The vulture passes it by. A golden fox gazes silently into the distance, but the vulture flies away. A bear half-way up a tree would be easy prey, but the vulture lets him continue his climb.


Image copyright Steve Jenkins, courtesy of

The turkey vultures are searching for a particular meal. They “smell the air. / They sniff, search, seek / for foods that… / REEK! The aromas of the landscape rise to the vultures. Are they attracted by the “fragrant flowers? / No, no.” “That spicy smoke? No, no.” Maybe “that stinky dead deer? Yes, yes!”

The vultures descend to dine on their “rotten” meal. Afterward they clean themselves in the nearby water and preen their feathers. Still hungry, “they hop, flap, soar / to look for more.” As the sun sets the vultures’ “wings glide, wings ride / through cooling air.” They come from all over to vulture trees—beautiful, bare silhouettes on the sky—to “settle and sleep, like families.”


Image copyright Steve Jenkins, courtesy of

With the rising sun and the warmer air, the vultures take to the sky again in search of their singular meal.

Intriguing facts about how vultures fly, the seven species of vultures, why and how vultures feed on carrion, nesting behaviors, and vulture festivals around the United States follow the text.

In this Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book, April Pulley Sayre brings a poet’s sensibility to the misunderstood vulture. In her lyrical lines the sights and smells of the vulture’s terrain and the vulture’s flight patterns are elevated to educate young readers of the actual beauty of this distinctive species. The benefits vultures provide to the environment as well as their familial attachments make these birds some of the most fascinating animals in the wild kingdom. Who among us doesn’t look up at the circling majesty of birds of prey? Sayre’s text gives readers the bird’s eye Vulture View.


Image copyright Steve Jenkins, courtesy of

With his signature cut-paper collage illustrations, Steve Jenkins gives shape to the vulture’s world. The mottled dark body and the wings and tail fringed with white meet layers of pink that form the vulture’s wrinkled head. The rattlesnake is a smooth combination of greens and browns while the fox is brilliantly orange and soft. Hills and mountains jut from the bottom of pages, and a bony carcass lays amid tall grass, decaying and attracting a vulture. As the birds streak through wispy fiber clouds to descend upon the vulture tree in the shadowy evening, readers will come to appreciate the life and role of the vulture.

Ages 4 – 8

Henry Holt and Company, 2007 | ISBN 978-0805075571

Wow! You will find a wealth of information on April Pulley Sayre‘s website which includes her many books, educators’ resources, and much more information on natural history topics.

Even just hovering over the icon links on Steve Jenkins‘ website is fun—and there’s so much more to discover once you click on them!

International Vulture Awareness Day Activity


Valuable Vultures Coloring Page


Vultures are a valuable part of our ecosystem. Here’s a printable Valuable Vultures Coloring Page for you to enjoy. Why not try your hand at using cut or torn paper like Steve Jenkins does in Vulture View to fill in the design?

Picture Book Review

April 10 – National Sibling Day

sisters & brothers by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page picture book review

About the Holiday

Brothers and sisters, huh? Sometimes you can’t live with them—but you’d never really want to live without them! Sure the bad part is that they know all your secrets and your quirks and you vie for that last cookie, but the good part is that they know all your secrets and your quirks and you didn’t really want that last cookie anyway.

Today do something fun with your sibling or siblings or tell them you love them—or both!

Sisters & Brothers: Sibling Relationships in the Animal World

By Steve Jenkins and Robin Page


You know that most animals are born in a litter or with one or two other siblings, but do you really consider that they are brothers and sisters just like human siblings? You might wonder if they have the same kind of relationship with each other that people do. How do they get along? How do they communicate? Do they stay together or go their separate ways? Sisters & Brothers: Sibling Relationships in the Animal World reveals the answers to these questions and more about 21 animals from around the world.

Would you like to be a clone of your brother or sister? Maybe not so much. If you were a nine-banded armadillo, though, you’d have no choice. These armadillos are always born four at a time—all females or all males—and are identical in every way! They stay with their mother until they are four months old and then set off on their own adventures.

If there are a lot of women and girls in your family, you may feel as if you’ve been born into a community of whiptail lizards. In the world of whiptails, there are no males! While their unusual reproduction method may avoid some battles, the identical traits of these creatures leaves them vulnerable to disease or changes in their environment.

Are you the youngest in your family? If you were a naked mole rat, you’d have to lie on the floor of your narrow tunnel and let your older siblings walk over you to pass. Mole rats aren’t the only ones who have worked out a hierarchical system. Brother bears fight fierce battles until the weaker one leaves to find his own territory, and black widow spiders even eat their weaker brothers and sisters!

Many animal siblings get along, however, and even help each other grow strong and develop important traits. Two of the fastest animals on earth—cheetahs and peregrine falcons—practice hunting techniques on each other, acquiring speed and accuracy along the way. There are even wildlife families that include adopted members, such as the cichlid fish and myna birds.

These are just a few of the intriguing animals readers will discover in this unique look at the world’s wild kingdom. Each animal is beautifully rendered through large cut or torn paper collages that enhance the short text, perfect for a child’s attention span. The final pages offer more information on each creature, and a list for further reading is also included.

Ages 4 – 8

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2008 | ISBN 978-0547727387

National Sibling Day Activity

CPB - Heart Jar

I Heart You! Jar


Sometimes it’s hard to say “I love you” (or even “I like you”) to siblings. But sisters and brothers like to know they’re important to each other. Here’s a gift you can make to give them that will tell them what is in your heart.


  • A clear jar with a lid—you can use a recyclable jar or buy a mason jar or other decorative jar at a craft store
  • Red felt
  • Scissors


1. Cut red hearts from the felt

2. Add hearts to the jar—you can add as many as you like and continue to fill the jar after you’ve given it to your sibling. Here are some ideas:

  • Add one heart for each year you have known your sibling
  • Add one heart for each thing you love about your sibling (write those traits on the hearts)
  • Give a new heart whenever your sibling does something nice for you

3. Give your I Heart You! jar to your sister(s) and/or brother(s)

March 3 -World Wildlife Day

Actual Size by Steve Jenkins Picture Book Review

About the Holiday  

Sponsored by the United Nations, World Wildlife Day celebrates the many varieties of wild animals and plants that make up our earth. It is also a day to raise awareness of the ways in which conservation of natural resources and sustainable development benefits people and all the world’s species. The theme this year is “The future of wildlife is in our hands.” African and Asian elephants are the main focus of the 2016 global campaigns.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says: “On this World Wildlife Day, I call on all citizens, businesses and governments to play their part in protecting the world’s wild animals and plants.  The actions taken by each of us will determine the fate of the world’s wildlife.  The future of wildlife is in our hands!”

For more information on World Wildlife Day 2016 and to see what events are taking place in cities around the world visit

Actual Size

By Steve Jenkins


We know wildlife is all around us, but apart from our pets and the occasional mosquito we swat or bumble bee we avoid, we tend to see it from a distance. We watch birds flutter at feeders through a window, we see exotic animals at the zoo, aquarium, or wildlife parks, and point out cows and horses while driving. If asked how big the chickadee or elephant is, we’d say small and huge! But how small? How huge?

What makes Steve Jenkins’ book Actual Size so fascinating is that he shows readers on the page exactly how big or how tiny with scale drawings of each creature. The Atlas Moth on page 1 is so large part of one wing dips into page 2, where you hardly notice the dwarf goby—at a minuscule 1/3 inch long—in the bottom corner. As you turn the page you almost catch your breath to find the enormous 12-inch-wide eye of a giant squid staring back at you.

An ostrich with its egg and the whip-like tongue of the giant anteater are also here. And if you’re at all squeamish about spiders, you might want to avoid pages 12 and 13! The snout of the saltwater crocodile and the Goliath frog are both so long that they require a fold-out page! Kids will love putting their tiny hand against the gorilla’s and their foot on the African elephant’s.

Actual Size features 18 of the world’s well-known and unusual creatures, each described in more detail, including weight, habitat, diet, behavior, defenses, and more, at the end of the book.

Steve Jenkins’ striking collages, created from cut and torn paper, beckon readers to look closer at these awesome creatures.

Ages 4 – 9

Houghton Mifflin Books, 2004 | ISBN 978-0547512914

World Wildlife Day Activity

CPB - Wildlife Day Elephant Print (2)

Hands Down Best Elephant Print


A way to make the cutest elephant print ever is right in your hands! With a little paint and paper, you can create a wildlife print that’s as unique as you are. This is a fun activity to do with a child and parent or two siblings. Working with different size hands can make your print more interesting.


  • Paper, any color
  • Paint, any color you would like your elephants to be
  • Paint brush
  • Black marker


In this print your palm creates the body of the elephant, your four fingers create the legs, and your thumb becomes the trunk.

1. Make the right-facing elephant:

  • Paint your left hand. Make sure to fill in all the creases on your palm and fingers.
  • Press your hand onto the left side of the piece of paper

 2. Make the left-facing elephant:

  • Paint your right hand. Make sure to fill in all the creases on your palm and fingers.
  • Place your hand on the right side of the paper so that your thumb touches the end of the thumb on the left hand print. Press your hand onto the right side of the piece of paper

3. You can fill in any thin or open spaces with the paintbrush if you like

4. Let the handprints dry

5. Turn the page so that the four fingers that create the legs of the elephant are facing down.

6. Draw a dot for an eye at the base of the thumb, an ear in the palm, and a tail at the back of the hand.

7.  To make the sun, dip your thumb in yellow paint and press it into the corner of the paper. Make little rays with the edge of the paintbrush.

8. Hang your print with or without a frame.