It is the best night light show.
The police in Iceland have a warning. Drive carefully! Iceland has many visitors. They come to see the Northern Lights. These night lights fill the sky with color. People drive in the dark to see the beautiful sky. The roads are slippery. “Beware of icy roads,” warn the police. Stay safe and enjoy the sky show! God wants us to enjoy good things. He gives us leaders to help keep us safe. “Hear instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it.” Read Proverbs 8:33.
DID YOU KNOW?
• Iceland has lots of visitors. People want to see the Northern Lights. This light show happens when tiny bits of the Sun’s rays mix with the Earth’s air. The sky is filled with rainbows of color!
• Green, purple and yellow are the brightest colors in the Northern Lights. These sky lights are only seen at night. Visitors drive all over Iceland wondering, “Where will the sky light up next?”
• The roads in Iceland are dangerous. They are narrow and curvy. They are slippery with ice.
• Night drivers in Iceland can get sleepy. Some are too busy watching the sky. Some turn off the car’s lights. All are dangerous ways to drive!
• The police in Iceland know how drivers can stay safe. “Slow down!” or “Ride a bus!” Bus tours are a good way for sleepy visitors to see the Northern Lights.
Is there a beetle named Alexander?
Dr. Brett Ratcliffe keeps finding new kinds of beetles. He says one out of every four living things on Earth is a beetle! We are not even close to finding all of them! He also says that it is hard to come up with new names. Beetles are not named in the Bible. But God created them just the same. Genesis 1:24 tells us that He made all “living creatures according to their kinds.”
DID YOU KNOW?
• Scientists have a particular way to name the new creatures they find. Carl von Linne´ invented the system about 240 years ago. All the names are written in Latin because it was the language scientists used at the time.
• Beetles are insects with two pairs of wings. The first pair is thick and hard. It covers the delicate flying wings. They are folded underneath.
Beetles also have chewing mouth parts.
• Dr. Ratcliffe studies scarab beetles. The antennae on these beetles have tips that open like a fan. Scarabs live all over the Earth, even in animal burrows in the freezing Arctic.
• People in some countries in Asia roast and grind up scarab beetles to use in medicines. Many other people eat both the larvae (grubs) and adult beetles. These are fried, roasted, or even eaten raw!
• A.A. Milne wrote Winnie-the-Pooh stories. He also wrote poems. “Forgiven” begins this way: I found a little beetle; so that Beetle was his name, I called him Alexander and he answered just the same. Ask Mom or Dad to find a copy of the poem online and read it to you.
This is utterly buttery!
Artists at the Pennsylvania Farm Show carve images from butter every year. This year’s “superheroes” are drinking milk. They are a doctor, a fireman, a dairy farmer, an athlete, and a soldier. The statues were kept in a cold room so they would not melt. The butter was turned into a gas for heating water after the show was over. People in Old Testament times made and used something like butter. It probably was thick sour milk. Read Genesis 18:8 or Job 20:17.
DID YOU KNOW?
• Jim Victor and Marie Pelton started work on the butter statues in December. It took them one month. Mr. Victor has carved the farm show butter statues for 15 years.
• Long-ago Romans used butter for a skin cream and to make hair shiny. They did not eat it! Sailors in England 450 years ago were promised butter to eat everyday. And the Pilgrims packed several barrels of butter for their trip on the Mayflower.
• Homemakers in the 1700s and 1800s often impressed their guests with their butter. They placed it into a wooden mold that had a design carved into it. They pressed the butter into the design and then turned it out onto a dish. Pretty and tasty!
• Ghee (pronounce the H) is butter that has been heated. It separates into clear golden oil on the top and whitish milk solids on the bottom. The oil is skimmed off and used for cooking. It does not burn.
• Try making your own butter. Fill a baby food jar half-full with whipping cream. Make sure the lid is tight. Then shake, shake, shake for about ten minutes or more. See what you get.
Tiny bricks make a big picture.
A mural is a big picture. Some murals are made of tiny things. People made a mural with Legos. It was fun to play together. The mural took three weeks to build. It was a wall full of colorful pictures. Create a picture with Legos. Look outside for ideas! God’s creation is full of color. Genesis 1 tells us about all of the things that God created.
DID YOU KNOW
• The Lego Company had a great idea! Let’s build one of the biggest Lego murals in the world. It was built in Toronto, Canada.
• The mural was taller than a giraffe. It was made from 663,552 Lego bricks. About eighteen thousand people stuck the bricks onto the mural. It took three weeks to build the big picture.
• There were eight ways to look at the colorful mural. You could see different things by standing in different places. There was a lot to see in the Lego mural!
• The Lego Company made a cool time-lapse video of the mural. It showed thousands of people playing with thousands of tiny Lego bricks. The video was shown in movie theaters. It got people excited to play together.
• The Lego mural helped kids too! Thousands of Lego sets were given to charity. Lots of kids can play with Legos now!
No snakes allowed!
Snakes are called “serpents” in the Bible. Read Genesis 3:1. Hawaii’s agriculture department has brought in four brown tree snakes from Guam. These snakes cannot make babies. And they have tiny radios that signal where they always are. They will not be able to slither away. Four Jack Russell terriers will learn how to find these snakes—and any others that might get into Hawaii. Officials there want to protect other animals from snakes.
DID YOU KNOW?
• God created Jack Russell terriers to hunt. They are good at catching mice and moles. They love to work.
• The Reverend John Russell bred these dogs in England. They were used for hunting foxes there. Now many people enter them in races or agility tests.
• Brown tree snakes got to Guam accidentally. Some probably rode on cargo ships from New Guinea 60 or 70 years ago. More and more snakes hatch because they have no enemies on Guam.
• They have eaten most of the island’s birds. They also climb on electrical lines. That causes power outages and damage.
• You can see why authorities in Hawaii want to train dogs to look on ships for these snakes. They do not want problems like the ones in Guam to come to their islands.
The prophet Ezekiel tells of the time when a river from God will be full of fish. See Ezekiel 47:9. Garra rufa fish swim in the streams in Turkey and other Middle East countries. They eat many things that live in the water with them. But people have learned that they also eat dead skin. So the fish are nicknamed “doctor fish.” The people who come to this café must wash their feet two times and use sanitizer before they soak. Then they pay eight dollars for 30 soothing minutes.
DID YOU KNOW?
• Garra rufa fish are hard to keep alive in places like foot spas. The fish need clean, moving water; oxygen; and good fish food. These fish would not make good pets.
• But there are some fish that are great for kids. Goldfish top the list. They do not cost much. And they are easy to feed and take care of.
• Mollies are colorful. They get along with other fish. And they love to hang out and hide in plants.
• Guppies are tiny little fish. They like to be with other guppies. So get more than one or two. Be careful that larger fish do not eat them!
• Bright, colorful bettas are also called Siamese fighting fish. So it is best to have just one. It will live happily in a jelly jar. And it is a very pretty fish.
It is like a box of crayons!
A Mandarin duck played hide-and-seek with photographers in New York City’s Central Park. Some days it was on the pond. Other days it was gone. One visitor said that its bright colors reminded him of “sunsets and rainbows.” The duck is not native to our country. A bird expert said it might have escaped from someone’s private flock. Cecil Frances Alexander wrote a hymn that you might know. Part of the refrain reminds us that, “All things bright and beautiful, The Lord God made them all.”
DID YOU KNOW?
• Mandarin ducks first lived in China and Japan. The males (called “drakes”) look very different from one another. The females look quite a bit alike.
• These ducks prefer small wooded ponds. And they are good fliers. They often perch in trees.
• A female usually chooses a hole in a tree trunk as a place to lay her eggs. Her newly hatched ducklings are covered in fluffy down. They are able to leave the nest right away.
• They just jump out of it and land on the ground unharmed. The mother gathers her babies at the foot of the tree and leads them straight to water.
• People in China often used to give a pair of Mandarins to a new bride and groom. This is because they thought that the ducks mate for life. Images of these ducks often appear in Chinese art.
It is the Color of the Year.
The Pantone Company is in New Jersey. It has chosen a “Color of the Year” for the last 20 years. It sends its workers to art exhibits, movies, and fashion shows around the world. They note which colors people are using and wearing. The company chooses the color that was the most popular. It gives the color a name. That becomes the Color of the Year. “Where is the way to the dwelling of light?” God asks Job in chapter 38. God created light. And light is filled with colors.
DID YOU KNOW?
• Rainbows are made when sunlight shines on drops of water in the sky. Rainbows appear after a heavy rain. But they also can be seen in mist, fog, a spray of water, and on the dew.
• Light separates into seven colors when it is reflected off water droplets. Those colors are red, orange, green, blue, indigo, and violet. The phrase, “ROY G BIV,” will help you remember the rainbow colors in order.
• There is no end to a rainbow! Each one is a full circle. Most of us cannot see it because we are on the ground.
• How do we see color? Light shines on an object. Our eyes see only the colors that bounce off or are reflected from that object.
• White reflects all colors equally. But black absorbs all colors. No colors from black are bounced back to our eyes.
George Washington was young once.
Charles Wilson Peale painted a portrait of George Washington when George was 40 years old. It might be the only painting of him before the Revolutionary War. The painting was given to Washington and Lee University three years after President Washington died. The U.S. dollar bill shows a portrait of the President done when he was 66 years old. A twenty-year-old George Washington kept a prayer journal and used it all his life. One entry said, “Be merciful to me, O God, and pardon me for Jesus Christ’s sake.”
DID YOU KNOW?
• Did a young George Washington cut down a cherry tree? No one knows. But he did write out 110 rules of good manners that he always followed.
• George was very good in math. But his mother had no money to send him to college. So he became a surveyor (a person who measures and maps land).
• He was not afraid to do hard things. Look at Mr. Peale’s painting. What things show that George Washington was a soldier?
• George loved hound dogs. He treated them like members of his family! He gave them unusual names: Tartar, Truelove, and Sweet Lips!
• His teeth bothered him. So he had all of them pulled when he was 57. He wore false teeth made from ivory and set in silver from then on.
Who can solve this mystery?
Roy Funch found hundreds of mounds spaced out in a desert. They are as tall as your dad or taller. Some have baked in the hot sun for nearly 4,000 years. Stephen Martin studies insects. The two cut into the mounds. Dr. Martin thinks they are made from dirt the termites tossed aside as they dug their tunnels! But termites do not live under the mounds. Where are they? Even if the scientists never find an answer, we can be sure that this is no mystery to God. Colossians 1:17 reminds us that “In Him all things hold together.”
• The termite mounds stretch over an area as big as Great Britain! They are in a desert region of Brazil called Caatinga [CA-ching-ah]. The mounds have baked in the Sun. The clay is like stone. And people living there use chunks of the mounds to build their adobe houses.
• Scientists know about two thousand kinds of termites. Some are a big threat to homeowners in the United States.
• Subterranean termites live underground in every state but Alaska. There can be two million members in one colony. They build “mud tubes” on houses to protect themselves from open air. They are the most destructive termites in our country.
• Dampwood termites are usually bigger than other kinds of these insects. They do not infest houses because that wood is too dry for them. But people must be careful not to stack wet logs next to the house.
• Drywood termites do not need soil to live. They often build nests in roofs and wooden wall supports. They are found in southern states.
• Mud tubes on the outside of a house, soft wood that sounds hollow when tapped, and bubbling paint on the house might be signs that termites are at work.
Take care of the parrots.
Puerto Rico is the only place where the green Puerto Rican parrots live in the wild. There may have been thousands of these birds 500 years ago. Farmers cut down many trees to plant crops. Then hurricanes knocked down whole forests. Scientists have breeding centers for the birds. They want forests full of the parrots once again. God wants us to care for the animals He created. Read Proverbs 27:23.
DID YOU KNOW?
• Christopher Columbus sailed to the island we call Puerto Rico about 525 years ago. Hundreds of noisy bright green parrots with white rings around their eyes may have swooped overhead. People living in Puerto Rico today would like to see the birds flying high above too.
• Parrots are hard to care for as pets. They need lots of attention, exercise, and ways to play. Experts say finches and canaries, parakeets, and cockatiels might be better birds for kids to have as pets.
• Finches and canaries are beautiful and they have soft songs and chirps. These birds need one or two companions because it is not good to handle them. These birds are for watching.
• Parakeets do not mind being handled. They are gentle. And they can be taught to talk.
• Cockatiels are the largest of these good birds for kids. They can learn to talk, whistle, and do cute tricks. But that also means that they need more work than the others. Talk to your parents to see if they agree that you are ready to care for a pet bird.
Hurray! They are home!
The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy returned to Seattle from working in the Arctic Ocean. The crew and scientists studied the temperature, salt content, and depth of ocean water. Icebreakers are made to clear paths through the Arctic ice for other ships to get safely through. The Healy can do that. But it is used mostly for research. God reminds Job that He brings forth ice and frost. See Job 38:29.
• The bottom and sides of an icebreaker are shaped to push broken ice around or under the ship. It clears paths by pushing straight into ice pockets. Ice usually breaks easily. An icebreaker can drive up onto very thick ice to break it under the ship’s weight.
• The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy is named for Captain Michael A. Healy who lived in the 1800s. He worked to protect the natural resources of Alaska. He took scientists on expeditions in the Arctic.
• He brought reindeer from Siberia to Alaska to provide food and clothing for the native peoples. He guided his ship, called Bear, through the ice to rescue other vessels. He was a brave man.
• Have one or both of your parents ever been away from home for a long time? How did you stay in touch? How did you feel when everyone was back at home together?
• Do you remember the story of Joseph? He was sold by his brothers and taken to Egypt. His brothers traveled to Egypt to buy food many years later. Genesis 45:2 tells us what Joseph did when he saw his brothers. He wept even longer when he saw his father again (see Genesis 46:29).