March 28, 2011

This week I received letters from Chonlatorn S. and Alejandro D., both students at Rue Elementary School in Council Bluffs, Iowa. They had just read my book, ANIMALS NOBODY LOVES, and they were writing to defend the octopus, coyote, and other animals they think should not be in this book because they are not dangerous to humans. Chanlatorn wrote: "When skunks are in danger they will spray on you. They don’t bite you." I agree with both of these readers that no one needs to be afraid of these animals. In fact, that is one of the reasons I wrote the book!

Let me tell you about two Texas students I met last month who really go to extraordinary lengths to teach other students about "animals that nobody loves." Courtney (14) and Erik (12) are homeschooled, and I met them when they came to one of my presentations at a local school. This sister and brother work with an entomologist (pronounced en-toh-MAH-loh-gist, a scientist who specializes in the study of insects) and have started their own business, called NOT SO CREEPY CRITTERS. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Courtney and Erik, pictured above, told me that this all started because they wanted to help other kids get over feelings of arachnophobia (ah-RACK-no-FO-bia, meaning "fear of spiders"). Spiders do much more good than harm, eating insects that damage crops and other plants. And as Courtney and Erik have learned, some of them even make interesting pets!

This brother and sister team do presentations in classrooms and at kid events, and they introduce their audience to a wide variety of "not so creepy creatures." Their traveling menagerie of live creatures includes 4 colorful tarantulas, 2 different scorpion species, Bearded Dragon, centipede, a snake, Leopard Gecko, Blue-Tongued Skink, Peppered Roaches and Madagascar Hissing Roaches! Last summer they wrote a book, and they are working hard to continue growing their business. They tell me that fainting goats and chickens are next on their list!

Courtney and Eric are well-mannered, dedicated defenders of creepy critters, and they have also built a very informative and interesting website. Check out the section called Arachnids for lots of fascinating spider photographs, and Critter Facts, where you are challenged to decide whether a statement is a fact, or simply an opinion.

 

 

 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(4) Comments  •   Labels: Animals Nobody Loves, Animals, School Visits, Spiders, Insects, Kids comments, Facts and Fables   •  Permalink (link to this article)   •  Share: