Dinosaurs, owls invade Story Hour

By Dottie Dewberry For the WPT

MABEN — Going to the Story Hour on Friday morning at the Maben Public Library is the fun place to be. It is the place to listen to stories, to play with Play-Doh, to cut and glue, and to run around with other little kids.

Sept. 21 was no different than the others; children piled in and they were soon gathered around Ms. Mary’s feet listening to “Dinosaur Days.” This is an old 1985 Random House publication, crock full of four- and five-syllable words. Amazingly enough, a few of the children knew the names: Jackson Buss even knew that a person who studies dinosaurs is called a paleontologist.

Dinosaurs roamed the earth millions of years ago, back when there were no people or animals that we know. The word dinosaur mean “terrible lizard.”

The Saltopus lives in the river full of giant crocodiles, who liked to eat the Saltopus, which are about the size of a chicken. When they came after the Saltopus, up on its feet and away it would run. Its name means “leaping foot.”

One of the largest dinosaurs is the Brontosaurus — big as a house, longer that two buses and weighs as much as five elephants. Brontosaurus mean “thunder lizard” because it makes so much noise when it walks.

The meat-eating dinosaur is the Allosaurus, which likes to eat the Brontosaurus, who will hide from the Allosaurus in the water.

The Stegosaurus, whose name means “covered lizard,” is covered with thick plates and has sharp spikes on its back. It doesn’t run or hide from anyone. When one kind of dinosaur dies out another one will take its place. One such dinosaur was the duck-billed dinosaur, called the Anatosaurus, which means “duck lizard.” It has 2,000 teeth. WOW! It is a plant eater.

The dinosaur that has the biggest teeth (long as pencil) is the Tyrannosaurus Rex, which means “king,” and it is the king of the hunters.

The Ankylosaurus was not afraid of the Rex because its body was covered with hard plates, and it had a tail that swung like a club.

The Triceratops used its sharp horns for fighting. Its name means “three horns on the face.” It would be bad news to meet.

It is hard to imagine, but dinosaurs are hatched from eggs. Some of them would have to be mighty big eggs! The Protoceratops lays many eggs but does not sit on them to hatch. The babies could be held in two hands.

In the days of dinosaurs, strange animals lived in the sea; they were called Plesiosaurs, which had long necks for catching fish in the sea.

Some of the strange animals flew in the air; they were called the Pteranodon. Its body wasn’t any bigger than a turkey, but its wings were as long as a small plane. They could float on top of the waves or glide on the wind like a glider.

What killed them? We do not know. But in their place we had animals like the saber-toothed tiger and the wooly mammoth come in its place. These too are extinct, and other animals have taken their place — thank goodness.

Ms. Mary issued crayons, pictures of the skeletons of dinosaurs, glue and elbow macaroni. The children were to color the bones of the dinosaur, then glue the elbow macaroni on to the bones. This was kind of like putting clothes on the beast.

Then Ms. Mary handed out dinosaur stencils with the Play-Doh. After some mashing, the kids did some more mashing and pressed the stencils into the flattened out dough. Now that was fun. I love flattening out Play-Doh, don’t you?

After about an hour of activities, the kids and mommas checked out some books and out the door they went with a satisfied smile on their face.

‘Incredible Owls’ As the clock struck 10 o’clock Sept. 28, the little children flocked through the door, bringing cheer to all assembled.

Soon, Ms. Mary had the kids grouped at her feet, where they listened to a Scholastic Science Vocabulary Reader titled “Incredible Owls ” by Justin McCory Martin. Basically the book covered what owls are, about their life and about the babies.

More than 200 kinds of owls live all over the world, even in the Arctic.

Amazingly enough, an owl can turn its head three-fourths of the way around its body. They can hear a mouse squeak a half-mile away. Its ears are on the side of its head; they are not the tufts of feathers sticking up from the top of its head.

Owls sleep during the day in old barns, in trees or maybe even in cactus. They are called nocturnal animals.

Some owls screech, while others hoot or sing to each other. If you go out at night, you might hear one.

Owls have fluffy wings which help them fly silently, thus sneak up on their prey.

Owls like to eat lizards, frogs, snakes, rabbits, mice and bugs, which they catch with their sharp claws.

Baby owls are born in the spring and they are called owlets. Owls are known for nesting in abandoned nests of other birds. The female owl will lay from one to 12 eggs and then set on the eggs for a month before the tiny babies peck their way out of the shells.

The mother has to teach them survival skills, plus feed them until they are big enough to do so for themselves.

After the story, Ms. Mary had a question-and-answer session to check understanding and recall of facts.

Next Ms. Mary had them gather around the tables and issued the children crayons, paper bags and glue plus cutouts of an owl’s head and body, which they were to glue to a paper bag, which in turn made a puppet.

This teaches following directions and eye-hand coordination. Later the children used their puppets with a little song that Ms. Mary sang about five little owls. Each verse had one owl disappear. The children learned to subtract one and to count backwards.

The best fun is always the Play-Doh. Rolling, mashing, cutting, stamping; they did it all.

Finally, they checked out some books and got their big stick of gum and led momma out the door.