Label: Pets

April 10, 2011





This is our Chipmunk.

He lives in the screened-in porch on the ground floor of our house. He gets in and out through a tear in the screen. Cute, isn’t he?

I haven’t named him. Do you have any ideas?



Posted by: Seymour Simon

(4) Comments  •   Labels: Animals, Seymour Simon, Pets   •  Permalink (link to this article)

March 30, 2011


Did you ever have a hermit crab as a pet? Lots of kids do. Part of the responsibility of owning a hermit crab is making sure it has a larger shell available when it outgrows the one it came in.


What you’ve probably never seen is what happens in the wild. Researchers in Belize discovered that when one crab finds a suitable empty shell, it waits until a crowd of other crabs join it. Then they climb, piggyback-style, onto each others’ shells, in a line from largest to the smallest. Once the first crab squeezes into the free shell, then the whole line follows, right down the row.


Photograph of Hermit Crab swapping shells ©

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(6) Comments  •   Labels: science news, Animals, Pets   •  Permalink (link to this article)

February 27, 2011

What a great time I had at Churchville Elementary School last week! The flurry of reading, writing and sharing by the students - which happened before, during and after my visit - was just wonderful!


Look at this great bulletin board done by sixth graders. They read my GLOBAL WARMING book, used a Carbon Footprint Calculator to determine their own impact on Earth’s atmosphere, and then wrote EARTH PLEDGES about their promises to change their own behavior to be better environmental citizens. Wonderful!


A student named Taylor F. wrote today to tell me that she has read almost all of my books that are in her library - FIFTY-SEVEN (57) books. Wow! Taylor!! You must be one of my biggest fans!

The comments and photographs are still coming in, including this one from a teacher and her son (a third-grader in the school).

Hi Mr. Simon!

Thank you so much for visiting Churchville! I am one of the third grade teachers there, and my son is a third grade student at Churchville as well!  When we got home, we were so excited to talk about your visit!  We love your books and enjoy reading them!  

On a side note, yesterday was our dog’s 10th birthday!  Ethan wanted to share this picture of our dog, Maveric, with you! 

Thank you again,

Tara and Ethan


Maveric is a beautiful dog, isn’t he?

I also received this letter from Mrs. Gorgol. Gail is the librarian at the school, and it is largely due to her efforts, along with Library Assistant Leslie Mulreaney, that the kids and I had such a great time exploring to the ends of the universe and learning about the animals that we each love the most!! Here is the beautiful letter she wrote.

Dear Seymour,

Your engaging website has been a rich resource for our students to learn about science. They have been reading your blog posts at school and at home and many have made personal connections to what they read. As a result of those connections, they were inspired to write comments of their own, send you photos, ask you questions and enter your contests. They did research and conducted a survey. They were excited to see their work published so quickly on your website and shared with a wide audience of readers across the country. This experience has been invaluable for our students as readers, writers and learners. We look forward to continuing to use your website to enrich our exploration and understanding of the fascinating world of science.

Sincerely, Gail Gorgol / Librarian / Churchville Elementary School 


I think that I am the one who should say "thank you" to everyone at Churchville Elementary. You really know how to make an author feel welcome! I loved spending time with you all.

Seymour Simon






Posted by: Seymour Simon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: Dogs, School Visits, Teachers and Librarians, Pets, Kids comments   •  Permalink (link to this article)

February 16, 2011


Recently, Mr. K’s fifth grade class in Churchville, Pennsylvania read my book DOGS and created a poll about kids’ favorite dogs. That led to three weeks of students writing about their favorite dogs. We even ran a dog-related contest one snowy day in January.


I think it is time for cat lovers to have their say! Write and tell us about your favorite cat and why you love him or her.

Here’s an interesting, little known fact about cats to get you started: Scientists have discovered that a cat’s purr can coax its owner into giving them what they want by using a special noise that the human brain can’t ignore. According to the study, cats’ subliminal ‘feed me’ messages are disguised as ordinary purrs but have a high-pitched element that makes a human react as if it is an emergency, just like the cry of a baby.

Cats are highly intelligent animals. But you cat-lovers already knew that, didn’t you?


Posted by: Seymour Simon

(11) Comments  •   Labels: Animals, Cats, Pets, Kids comments   •  Permalink (link to this article)

February 10, 2011



We’ve had many comments this week on the blog entry where I asked readers to tell me their favorite kind of dog. A lot of you have dogs (or know dogs) and you really love them!

Jackie took it even further, uploading a photograph of herself and her dog with this note:

"Dear Seymour. I wanted to tell you that my favorite dog is a Hungarian Puli, a sheep dog. This is a photo of her and me when I was little. Her name is Choulie! (pron: CHEW-lee) My mom said our dog is a rare breed! I didn’t know that until now!!!!"


Hungarian Pulis were bred to be sheepdogs, and were used for both herding and guarding livestock. As a family dog, they make good security dogs and faithful family guardians. They see their family as their "flock," and do not like strangers until they are sure that person is not a threat to the family. I first learned about Hungarian Pulis because my neighbor had one. I needed to be introduced to their Puli and let him see the family showing me affection before it was safe to walk into their yard!

The Puli’s coat falls in long, tight curls, almost like dreadlocks. With that thick coat a Puli can even fight off a wolf, because it is so hard for the wolf’s teeth to penetrate the curls to bite the skin. Those long locks also make a Puli virtually waterproof, which is probably why many European canal boat owners used Pulis to guard their homes.

These dogs are a lot of fun, because they are highly intelligent and keep a sense of puppy-like playfulness all their lives. However, if you are considering having one as a pet, you should know that Pulis need a lot of exercise. You’ll be happiest if you both enjoy an active, outdoor lifestyle.

Jackie, your Mom is right that you don’t see too many Hungarian Pulis in the U.S. these days. But, did you know this is an ancient breed that has been around for a long time? There is historical evidence of Pulis in Asia at least 2,000 years ago!

Thanks for uploading your photo and telling us about your best friend!

Photo: American Kennel Club

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: Dogs, Kids Write, Pets   •  Permalink (link to this article)

February 8, 2011




Over the summer, I got a call from Barnes and Noble. "Hey Seymour," they said. "We’re making the first color reader for kids. How would you like to write a book for us that we can give away to every single person who either buys a NookColor device, or downloads the NookColor app for their iPad?"

That sounded pretty good to me, so after some discussion, we decided to create a book called FUN FACTS ABOUT PETS. I did a lot of research to come up with unusual and surprising facts about common (and not so common) household pets.

The 11 pets profiled in this book are:

Bunnies, cats, dogs, goldfish, guinea pigs, hamsters, lizards, parakeets, pot-bellied pigs, snakes and Shetland ponies. 

 Do you know why cats go night crazy?

Have you ever heard that pot-bellied pigs are so smart that some can open the refrigerator when they are hungry?! And you’ll discover that dogs’ feet sweat (and why). The book is really a lot of fun, and to top it off, actress Leslie Carrara (Abby Cadabby) does a spirited, funny reading that gives the book a dose of extra pizzazz!

Thanks to all the folks at Barnes and for working with us to make this special eBook available free to all my readers. Go to the page for FUN FACTS ABOUT PETS on my website, where you will find links to either download the free book for your NookColor, or a link to download the NookKids app for your iPad.

Happy reading!

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(2) Comments  •   Labels: New Books, Animals, Cats, eBooks, Dogs, Pets   •  Permalink (link to this article)

May 19, 2010

As you may have read previously in this space, we are creating free, downloadable TEACHER GUIDES to go with all 26 of Seymour’s Collins/Smithsonian books.

One of the nice features at the start of each Guide is a brief piece of first person writing from Seymour entitled "Why I Wrote This Book." It’s designed for teachers or parents to read aloud with kids before starting to talk about the book together.

Today we are working on the Guide to accompany CATS, and we thought you might like to preview what Seymour wrote about the genesis of this book.


 When I wrote the book on cats, my family had two feral cats that had been born in our back yard and that we took into our house when they were a few weeks old. They became tame and we named them Mittens and Sir Isaac Newton (aka Newty Frewty). You can guess the reason for naming a cat Mittens but let me tell you about Newty.  Sir Isaac Newton was one of the greatest scientists of all time and he had a mind that was “forever voyaging through strange seas of thought,” according to the poet Wordsworth. My cat Newty was always wandering into strange places in my house so that is how he got tagged with the name of the great scientist, Newton.  

 We have completed a prototype Teacher Guide - for EARTHQUAKES - and are currently testing it in classrooms.  If you would like to give us your feedback you can download a copy by clicking on this link. We would love to hear from you!




Posted by: Liz Nealon

(3) Comments  •   Labels: Animals, Animal Books, Cats, Pets   •  Permalink (link to this article)

March 20, 2010

As we wrap up the week here at Seymour Science, we’re also finishing up the series of blog entries we’ve been doing to accompany his new book,  DOGS. We’ve talked about how to select the right puppy for your family and how to train your new puppy.

As a final entry in this series,  we thought that kids would like to know about the art contest that the American Kennel Club runs every year. Seymour judged the national finalists last year, and the entries were adorable. The 2010 AKC Kids’  Corner Art Contest asks you to draw a picture of yourself doing something fun with your favorite dog.

If you know a child who might be interested in entering, you can download the entry form at AKC Kids’ Corner.

Good luck (and have a good weekend).

Simon, Seymour. DOGS. New York:  Collins/Smithsonian, 2009, pg 31. 

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(3) Comments  •   Labels: Dogs, Pets   •  Permalink (link to this article)

March 16, 2010

Last week, I shared 6 things every family should know before deciding to get a puppy, and promised a followup about how to train your new pet. So,  here we go!

The first thing that you can teach your puppy is its own name. Always reward a puppy when you call its name and it comes running, either by petting and praising it or by giving it a tidbit.  After awhile, just use praise to reward an older puppy. You don’t want to teach it to come only when you have food.

Simon, Seymour. DOGS. New York:  Collins/Smithsonian, 2009, pg 13.

Don’t use baby talk with a puppy. Keep your commands short, clear and consistent (everyone in the family should use the same words, in a similar tone). A puppy learns by the tone of your voice as well as by the words.

One of the first things you will need to do is paper train your puppy, as soon as it comes home. Spread newspapers on the floor of the room where the puppy is kept, but leave part of the floor bare. Your puppy should be placed on the newspapers as soon as it wakes up from a nap and after each meal. Watch the puppy carefully. As soon as it shows that it wants to squat to relieve itself, rush it over to the newspapers. When it wets the paper, praise it by saying "Good dog, good dog." As you praise your puppy, pet it and make it feel good.

When you see the puppy wet the bare floor, say "Bad dog," in a stern tone. Push its nose to the wet spot and let him know you are unhappy by the tone of your voice.  Then place the puppy on the paper and pet it. Clean up the mistake on the floor very thoroughly; you may want to use a few drops of vinegar to disguise the odor of the spot. If the scent of urine remains, it will attract the puppy and it will tend to wet there again. It’s useless to scold a puppy for mistakes a long time after they have been made, so you will have to spend a lot of time watching your puppy in the beginning to get good results. An 8-week-old puppy doesn’t have much control over its bladder and bowel movements, so it will learn much quicker if you watch it so that you can praise it when it goes on the paper.

Then,  when you first start to take your puppy outside for walks, take a piece of newspaper with you and repeat the process out of doors. Before long,  your puppy will be housebroken.

Other kinds of training should really be started only after your puppy is housebroken. You teach a puppy any new behavior in the same way. Remember that directions should be simple and always in the same tone. Always reward your puppy when it is successful.

Don’t try to teach your puppy too many things at once. Wait until your puppy has learned one thing before you go on to the next. A good command to learn from the beginning is the word "no."  Say this firmly and make the puppy stop whatever it is doing. If the puppy stops by itself after you say no, praise and pet the puppy.

"Sit"  is the command you will give when you wan your puppy to sit down and be still. Push down...

read more

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Animals, Animal Books, Dogs, Pets   •  Permalink (link to this article)

March 12, 2010

I’ve noticed as I visit schools around the country that my new DOGS book is very popular with all the kids,  from Texas to South Carolina to this week in New Jersey.

Children love dogs, and whose child hasn’t begged for a puppy of their own? A dog can be a wonderful companion, but it is important to make the right choice for your family. Here are six important things to consider before you bring a puppy home:

1. Do some research on types of breeds before you choose a puppy, and make sure you are choosing a breed that is compatible with your own family’s lifestyle. Some breeds need lots of daily exercise - are you an active family? If you choose a breed that needs plenty of attention from family members or else it becomes bored and destructive, you’d better be sure there are people around during the day. Some breeds require large amounts of grooming - is this something you’re willing to take on? There are many questions to ask, but the point is to do your homework before you buy. The American Kennel Club website is a good place to read about all the different breeds as you think about which dog is the right one for your family.

2.  When you choose a puppy, look for one that is lively and alert. Make sure that its eyes and nose are clear and without any discharges. A well-cared-for puppy should be clean, look well rounded, and have loose,  soft skin. If the puppy looks listless or the kennel is dirty, do not buy. You will be much happier if you start off with a healthy puppy.

3.  Which puppy of a litter should you pick: the active one that trots right up to you and licks your hand, or the shy one that is cowering in a corner?

Your best bet might be neither of these. A puppy that is too friendly to everyone might make a real pest of itself. The other one might be too timid and shy away from strangers.

Choose an independent-looking puppy that will accept your petting but is also perfectly content playing with the other puppies in the litter.

Simon, Seymour. DOGS. New York:  Collins/Smithsonian, 2009, pg 30.

4. When you bring your puppy home, keep things calm and relaxed. Don’t have everybody crowding around, picking up the puppy and trying to play with it. It needs a chance to explore its new surroundings in its own time.

5. When they are alone for the first time at night, most puppies will cry or yelp all night long. This is only natural and is nothing to worry about.  Don’t punish the puppy for crying - this will only make it more frightened. On the other hand, don’t take the puppy into bed with you,  either. Then it will expect to sleep in your bed every night. Instead,  try to make sure the puppy gets lots of exercise during the day so it’s tired at night, and try wrapping a loudly ticking clock in an old, soft blanket, so the puppy hears something beside it. Even if all this doesn’t work, don’t worry. Most puppies will calm down after the first few nights.

6. If your puppy comes with a diet sheet, follow the instructions. Introduce any changes gradually. Generally, puppies should be fed three small meals a day until they are six months old, then twice a day until they are one year old. Full-grown dogs can be fed either once or twice a day. Your vet may recommend a special vitamin supplement or some other additions to your puppy’s diet. Naturally, you should follow these recommendations.

Next week, we’ll talk about early training. A great measure of your dog’s successful integration into your family depends on how well you train it as a puppy. 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: Dogs, Pets   •  Permalink (link to this article)

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