Animals besides spiders

By Children Rising
May 16, 2013

This week, Erick read a book about various semi-scary animals, including the great white shark, desert scorpion, grizzly bear, king cobra, crocodile and hippopotamus.
I thought the inclusion of the hippopotamus was a little strange since they are vegetarians, but as Erick turned to the hippo page, he was somewhat horrified. Staring back at us was a giant hippo with its mouth gaping wide, showing us all its huge teeth and a pale, wrinkled tongue.
“Do these eat people?” Erick asked.
I assured him that hippos do not eat people and pointed out that the (very) large back teeth of the open-mouthed hippo were quite blunt.
“I think they eat grass or water plants,” I said.
After that, we started a book about fire fighters.

But…the hippopotamuses in the book did pique my interest. In the animal book, they were simply described a large animals that like water. After some research, I discovered that hippos are one of the most feared animals in Africa. They are quite strictly herbivores (mostly grass), but they cause more human deaths than any carnivore. Even crocodiles will avoid attacking hippos and their young despite living in the same body of water.
I found out that hippos are very territorial and their primary defense is to charge their massive, three-ton bodies at a threat while gnashing their teeth. While many carnivores will ignore humans and some will even run away, hippos will attack with little provocation.

So Erick was correct to interpret the hippo’s open mouth as a threat (that is how hippos intimidate each other). I will definitely have to share my discoveries with him next week.

Spider-Man II

By Children Rising
May 2, 2013

Erick surprised me this week by picking out another Spider-Man book. He was curious to know more about this superhero. We reviewed a little about what we learned about Spider-Man the previous week, including why spiders are important and the web aspect. Erick was concerned that Spider-Man does not have flying capabilities.
“Spider-Man doesn’t fly, but he can use his web to swing from high places,” I explained. “So it’s a little like flying.”

We also talked about how Spider-Man’s real name is Peter Parker, but when he puts on his costume, he is Spider-Man. Erick remembered many details about our costumed hero, and the most troubling thing to him was the fact that Spider-Man didn’t want people to know who his identity. That is a hard thing to explain, and I thought it might take too long to talk about safety and the desire to live a somewhat “normal life.” So we dived into the book.

With many colorful illustrations, the book showed many instances of Spider-Man saving people and fighting crime. We observed how Spider-Man helped police and firefighters do their jobs. The conclusion of the book was the basic message: If Spider-Man knows there is trouble, he is going to help.

Now that is something to think about.

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