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Book pick of the week: The Salamander Room
It's the time of year when, walking along wooded trails in New England you can often spot the bright orange of the Red Spotted Newt or Red Eft. Kids call them salamanders (you can learn the difference between the two here) and the whimsical book The Salamander Room definitely captures the wonder and affection many kids feel towards these small creatures.
In the story a little boy named Brian carries home a small red salamander. He makes it a bed of leaves in his room with crickets and bullfrogs to sing it to sleep... and with each turn of the page his room becomes more and more magical as it is transformed into a forest habitat as the boy imagines how he will care for his small new pet.
It's the kind of story I remember imagining as a kid, lying in bed when I couldn't fall asleep: what if the ceiling were removed so that I could see the sky? What if I could sleep among the trees? Written by Anne Mazer, this gentle story is a lovely bedtime book. It's also a great story to read if your child happens to find a newt and wants to bring it home. Which my three year old son happened to do just yesterday.
Clutching it carefully in his palm, eyes wide, Bean begged to be allowed to keep the little Red Spotted newt as a pet. After some quick research, I found that these critters are actually easy pets to keep for a while. If he's going to have a pet, this one seems almost ideal. Better, at least than the earth worms he's always trying to put in his pockets. Although hand washing is a must. Here's why.
It's my opinion that three year olds aren't really able to keep any any kind of pet that requires actual, but the newt only requires a few small earth worms every so often, and a little terrarium to live in. So after a quick trip to the pet store, and a scamper through the woods to gather moss and bark for the newt's new habitat, Bean spent almost an hour tonight narrating a wonderfully elaborate story about what his new friend Leafy was doing in it's little home. (Other names he contemplated: Violet, Speckles, Louie and Spot.)
Does your child have a favorite nature book or a pet from the woods?