Review: The Bronze Bow by Speare

I’m surprised this book isn’t more well known.

Rating for making your mind bloom: 10 out of 10.

Similar to Ms. Speare’s well known book The Witch of Blackbird Pond, The Bronze Bow also steps back into a historical time period through a first-person narration.

Daniel bar Jamin is eighteen years old and lives in Galilee in about the year, as we know today, 30 A.D or 30 C.E.  Daniel is an outcast having run away from an indentured servitude/ slavery after losing most of his family due to the Romans.  Daniel wants to fight the Romans but also crosses paths with a carpenter named Jesus.  Daniel finds himself in some very tricky situations that are not always what they seem and makes some tough choices along the way.

There are some parallels between Daniel and Kit, the narrator of Witch.  Both are coming of age in a society where they find they do not belong yet are forced to fit in in order to survive.  Both must put their families into their lives even though they didn’t want to. Both embrace people who are shunned by the general society.  Both must make difficult choices.  Religion also plays a major part in both of their lives and stories.

Both of the books received a Newberry Medal.  If you read Witch, The Bronze Bow is a must.

 

Daily Prompt: Sail

via Daily Prompt: Sail

This word is a summer word.

Teaching English, English uses this verb to describe what a boat does.  Other uses include a balloon sailing up in the air, or a bird sailing on the wind.  Are wind surfers sailing or surfing or both?

Enya uses this in one of her songs.  She describes sailing away.

In English you can sail in, sail into, sail on, sail up, sail down, sail toward, sail away…..basically any type of direction you need to go.

Years ago I took a basic boating class and the instructor always complained about local birds pooping on the sails.  The physical sails are tough and strong but too much bird poop is a bad thing.

Hoist your sails and live your life.

Review of “The Curious Incident…”

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon

This book was published a while ago but I always see it circulating and after having finally read it, I know why.

Christopher Boone is the narrator in this slice-of-life story about his life.  This book makes me think of the series The Life of Fred books.  The story is raw, open, and the narrator one wants to hug and there are no angels in this book.  Every character in the story is a real person with their flaws, even the police officer who is on a train with Christopher.

A great read for the beach for summer.

Other Parts

Interior parts of animals are somethings that may be forgotten about.  People go through biology classes to see the interiors, yet do we really think about them?

Do we really realize that all animals have similar organs to ourselves?  Do we stop to think about that?

During my last several posts about horseshoe crabs, I made a list of the body parts I haven’t talked about and usually don’t.

They have: a prosoma (top part), opisthosoma (abdomen), carapace (covering), hinge, chelicera, gnathobase, chilarium, genital operculum, gill opercula, gills, anus, cardiac, extracardiac, and subopthalmic. And I may be missing one or two.

Horseshoe crabs breathe through their gills like fish do yet their gills are on the underside of their bodies.  One can only see them when you pick one up and turn it over. They looked like layered fans.  Their gills allow them to breathe, unlike fish, both in water and on land.

And yes, they have a cardiac system to move that blue blood around.  (See earlier post). One of the main criticisms of their bleeding by pharmaceutical companies is that they insert the needles near the hinge on the horseshoe crab which is also right where their main cardiac is located.  This would be like having a large needle jammed in your neck or chest and your blood sucked out.  We don’t know for sure if they feel pain but they must if they have a brain and neurological system.

Thoughts?

 

 

Mommy and Daddy Crabs

Talking about male/ female crabs and how the horseshoe eggs come to be can be interesting and sometimes awkward depending on the audience.

Unlike the male fiddler crabs that have the large claw to attract females, male horseshoe crabs mate a completely different way.

As mentioned briefly before, females are usually larger and males smaller.  This is the first clue in identification.  If this is not clear, the next best way to identify the crab, if at all possible, is through their legs.

Horseshoe crabs have six sets of legs.  Only the back five are used for them to walk and to eat.  The front set, closest to the top of the shell or carapace, are called pedipalps, palps, or palpi. Pedi comes from the Latin for “foot” and palp from the Latin for “touching”.  On the females, these look like their walking legs.  On the males, they can be described as looking like mittens, boxing gloves, large claws, or large pincers.

Females give off pheromones to attract the males when they, the females, arrive on shore.  The males are usually waiting for the females to come up.

The males use these pedipalps to hold onto the back of the female crab on an area known as the opisthosoma.  This is the back part of the crab right before the telson.  They hang on very tightly.  Waiting.

If you, the reader, ever have the chance to observe the horseshoe crabs mating, watch carefully.  They are silent and strong and follow along with the currents one may or may not be aware of.

More than one male horseshoe crab can follow and fertilize just one female’s eggs.  One female can lay an estimated 9,000 to 90,000 eggs.  She may lay them in one hole or may create more than one hole.  The male or males follow along, attached or not, to fertilize the eggs.

Once the female lays her eggs, the eggs will be on their own.  The female leaves.

Most people find it shocking that the horseshoe crabs would go through all of this trouble and then leave their eggs. Yet if one thinks about it, they are not the only species that do this.  The animals humans look to like frogs, turtles, and fish do this as well.

The eyes (and telson) have it…..

People are terrified of the horseshoe crab’s telson, or tail.  My reaction is: really? The tail is used to help the horseshoe crab get around in the water, like a rudder on a boat, and they also use it to flip themselves over in the water should they be turned over.  However, it is very difficult for the horseshoe crab to do this on land.  Most of the time they need help, human help, to flip over or risk being eaten by birds and other wildlife.

Another interesting fact I recently learned about the horseshoe crab’s tail: there are photoreceptors on the tail.

What is a photoreceptor?  A photoreceptor is basically a cell that responds to light.

Horseshoe crabs also have 9 eyes and their vision, as we understand it, is very poor. However, they use their eyes and the photoreceptors to navigate their environment.

This gives new meaning to the expression “eyes behind your head”.

 

 

 

Blue Bloods

May begins the month I volunteer at the local Marsh.

Little by little I will share this with you.

Also this month horseshoe crabs begin their mating and egg laying on the shores of the Atlantic and on the beaches of Asia as well.

They frighten a lot of people.  They are living fossils people fear because of the way they look.

Yet they save human lives each and every day.

Have you been to the hospital and/ or had a transplant?  Horseshoe crab blood is used to test for the dreaded Ecoli bacteria on medical equipment and instruments.

Humans have red blood due to the high iron content and horseshoe crabs have blue blood due to high copper content.  They also have a a chemical in their blood called LAL: limulus amebocyte lysate.  LAL is the only (yes, only) chemical on earth, so far, that can be used to test on medical equipment.

Thank a horseshoe crab for helping to save your life or the life of someone you know and for helping to make medical procedures possible.