Discover Wicked Bugs for Summer Holiday Fun!

The summer holidays are here – sunshine, barbeques, swimming, staying up late… and mosquitoes biting, flies buzzing around the cooked food, moths beating against your torch as you try to read at night, and crickets and cicadas making a racquet when you’re trying to sleep in you tent!  Anyone would think bugs were put here to ruin your summer fun!

But did you know that we humans wouldn’t survive on this big, beautiful planet without our friendly creepy-crawlies to help us along? At last count it is estimated that there are ten quintillion insects alive on Earth right now, which means that for each one of us, there are two hundred million of them! But don’t panic! They all have a job to do, and if you dig deeper (and many of them do live underground), what the insects do for us and the health of the planet is pretty amazing.

File:Cook Strait Giant Weta (5601688959).jpg - Wikimedia CommonsTake New Zealand’s GIANT WĒTĀ (wētāpunga) for example. This big daddy of an insect features in the Guinness Book of Records as being one of the world’s largest insects, and some of them weigh in around 70 grams – about the same weight as a saddleback or sparrow! Department of Conservation staff refer to them as the ‘mouse of the forest’ because their equally giant poos help fertilise the forest floor and help with regeneration of native bush. What a hero! And the Auckland Zoo think so too and have joined forces with DoC and local iwi to reintroduce wētāpunga to islands in the Hauraki Gulf so that they can do their fertilising work and bring back the bush.

And just when you thought things couldn’t get any weirder, did you know that the wētā’s ears are located in their knees?! Yes, really!


File:Chorus Cicada... (6926902643).jpg - Wikimedia CommonsYou really know Summer has arrived when the CICADAS start their noise! But why do they do it? And how?

The high-pitched ‘song’ is actually a mating call belted out by males. Each species has its own distinctive song that only attracts females of its own kind. This allows several different species to live together in one area.

Cicadas are the only insects capable of producing such a unique and loud sound, and they do it by contracting special muscles called tymbals in their abdomen. Some larger species can produce a call in excess of 120 decibels at close range (120 decibels is the equivalent of a thunderclap or a chainsaw)! Smaller species sing in such a high pitch that it cannot be heard by humans, but may cause dogs and other animals to howl in pain.


File:Housefly on Table.jpg - Wikimedia CommonsWe’ve all experienced the FLIES massing as soon as the barbeque is cooking and the salads are out on the picnic table. But why do they do this? The common house fly has a pretty powerful sense of smell and is attracted to strong smells – especially meat, and especially rotting meat! They like to lay their eggs in rotting material so that when their babies – maggots – hatch they have something to eat, yum! But just like the rest of us, adult flies have to eat too so that they’ve got the energy to fly. To eat their food, flies regurgitate (bring up) saliva from their stomachs, which dissolves the food until it is digestible. The house fly then uses its proboscis – like an attached straw where your nose should be – to suck up the liquefied food. Though they eat with their mouths, house flies taste with their feet. This is why they are always crawling on your food.

Lego Weta by EzraCRITTER OF THE WEEK: To tweak you interest further, check out “Critter of the Week”  on Radio New Zealand every Thursday in Afternoons with Jessie Mulligan.  Nicola Toki is the Threatened Species Ambassador for the Department of Conservation and a self-confessed “nature nerd”. Each week she talks  about a lovable member of New Zealand’s wildlife community, many of them our creepy-crawly friends. There was even a competition earlier in the year for you to make the most interesting critter out of Lego and send in a photo. Check out some of the entries here.

“An understanding of the natural world is a source of not only great curiosity, but great fulfilment.”

(David Attenborough – natural historian, environmentalist and planet-hero)



Wellington City Libraries have loads of fantastic books about insects, creepy-crawlies and the people that study insects (entomologists). Take a dive into the fascinating world of bugs… go on! There’s nothing to be afraid of!

The genius of bugs / Pollard, Simon
This book contains a cast of amazing and unexpected bugs, from the killer brain-surgeon jewel wasp to the master-of-disguise orchid mantis, to the New Zealand favourite, the wētā.

 


New Zealand’s backyard beasts / Barraud, Ned
In the garden, creeping along branches, hiding under stones or flitting from flower to flower, a whole universe of creatures is waiting to be discovered. Butterflies, moths, beetles, wasps, spiders. Did you know that  cicadas live underground for most of their life? That bumblebees have smelly feet? That some species of stick insect are all female? Or that earwigs don’t actually crawl into ears? In this book you can learn to identify some of the creatures most commonly found in the backyard.


The bug girl : (a true story) / Spencer, Sophia
Real-life 7-year-old Sophia Spencer was bullied for loving bugs until hundreds of women scientists rallied around her. Sophia tells her inspiring story in this picture book that celebrates women in science, bugs of all kinds, and the importance of staying true to yourself. Sophia Spencer has always loved bugs but when she was bullied at school she stopped talking about bugs altogether. When Sophia’s mother wrote to an entomological society looking for a bug scientist to be a pen pal for her daughter, she and Sophie were overwhelmed by the enthusiastic response–letters, photos, and videos came flooding in. Using the hashtag BugsR4Girls, scientists tweeted hundreds of times to tell Sophia to keep up her interest in bugs.


World's Biggest Baddest Bugs (Ruud Kleinpaste) Image at Mighty Ape NZWorld’s biggest baddest bugs
To find the good, the bad and ugly of the insect world, Ruud Kleinpaste – New Zealand’s very own BugMan – embarks on an entomological journey in search of the biggest and the baddest of them all in this two part DVD. From killer bees and army ants, to cockroaches and tarantula, Ruud explains exactly what makes the “stars” of the show so incredible. Through a series of deadly stunts Ruud reveals what makes these crawlies the kings of the bugs and how they are capable of so much more than just scaring us silly.


World’s strangest creepy-crawlies / Derrick, Stuart
This book includes 40 of the planet’s most bizarre species and ranks them in order of their oddness! With jaw-dropping facts and amazing photos, the pages reveal each creature’s seriously strange characteristics and the unusual ways they hunt, eat or defend themselves.   Inside World’s Strangest Creepy-Crawlies, you’ll discover the tiny terror that blows itself up to save its friends, a creature so well disguised even its own species can’t see it, and a giant spider the size of a dinner plate. And with the ‘strange-o-meter’, you can compare each animal based on its creepiness, fight factor and superpowers!


I’m trying to love spiders : (it isn’t easy) / Barton, Bethany
What do you do when you see a spider? a. Lay on a BIG spidey smoocheroo. b. Smile, but back away slowly. c. Grab the closest object, wind up, and let it fly. d. Run away screaming.
If you chose b, c, or d, then this book is for you.
I’m Trying to Love Spiders will help you see these amazing arachnids in a whole new light, from their awesomely excessive eight eyes, to the seventy-five pounds of bugs a spider can eat in a single year And you’re sure to feel better knowing you have a better chance of being struck by lightning than being fatally bit by a spider. Comforting, right? No? Either way, there’s heaps more information in here to help you forget your fears . . . or at least laugh a lot!

Solstice and Yule: The Grandfathers of Christmas

Everyone knows the story of Christmas, but actually celebrations of this time of year go back thousands of years into the past. Two cultures, the Celts and the Norse each contribute to some of the world’s original festive celebrations at the Christmas time of year.

Two drawings of the Oak king and the Holly king.

The Oak and Holly Kings of the Celts. Image © Anne Stokes 2020.

The Celts celebrated the Midwinter Solstice (and so do the Zuñi and Hopi peoples of America), whereas uniquely the Celts feature the Green King which was even used in the later Medieval Period, despite the greater popularity of Christianity.

It centred around the dawning of the new solstice, when the sun would return from the darkness during Winter and the use of two figures namely the Holly King and the Oak King. These two deities would battle one another, triumphing for six months of the year to rule over the seasons until the next fight (in which the victorious king would then reign). This would be celebrated at Midwinter (and Midsummer) when the respective king for the season was at the peak of their powers and thus claim victory over the other.

The Druids of Britain would use holly as a sacred symbol of life during the dark Winters, and offered it as a blessing (BBC, 2006).

Image of the Norse God Odin riding Sleipnir during the Wild Hunt

The God Odin and Sleipnir during the Wild Hunt.

The Norse would celebrate the Wild Hunt, where the God Odin (or the All-Father) would hunt down trolls and other creatures as he gave gifts to children across settlements during Mid-Winter.

The winters in Northern Europe were dark and foreboding, and so it lent itself to the idea that Odin and his gang would ride across the winds, amid much howling and shrieking of the trolls and other creatures as they were hunted down by the party. Along the way, Odin – similar to and pre-dating Santa Claus – would send little gifts to the children he passed through the villages and towns during the Viking Age.

Odin could be seen riding on the winds, with his horse Sleipnir, the eight-legged child of the God Loki. He was the fastest and strongest horse in the world. Every year when the Midwinter sun came over the lands, it was said to be Odin and his party hunting down trolls and other nasty creatures. On this night in particular, Odin would leave gifts out for the children, and they in turn would leave a small parcel of food for Odin and of course a carrot or bits of hay for the horse Sleipnir.


If you’re browsing the shelves at your library for books on the Celts and the Norse, you can use the Dewey Decimal system to help you find the right book. Dewey Decimal numbers are magical numbers that help us organise which books go where. Here are some useful numbers for this topic:

And here are some of our favourite books in the collection about the Celts and the Norse:

Celts / Newland, Sonya
“Who were the Celts and who were their leaders? Why did they come to the British Isles and how did they live? Explore this ancient civilisation to understand how prehistoric people have influenced the way we live today. Discover the artefacts that give evidence of their way of life, and how historians have pieced together the evidence of their lives. Learn about the homes and communities that they lived in, the food that they ate, how they travelled and worshipped, and the influence of the Romans on their society.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Myths and civilization of the Celts / Martell, Hazel
Myths and Civilization of the Celts focuses on life during the Iron Age period when the Celts dominated much of Europe before the rise of the Roman Empire. The book looks at their way of life, their arts and crafts, trade and transport, religion, food and entertainment. It also includes a map of the Celtic tribes of Europe. Using double-page spreads, Celtic myths are retold & followed by historical & cultural background material.” (Catalogue)

Norse myths and legends / Ganeri, Anita
“The world’s myths are filled with characters, creatures, and stories that have fascinated people for thousands of years. This series mixes dramatic retellings and non-fiction information to give a full picture of a culture’s myths.” (Catalogue)

Illustrated Norse myths / Frith, Alex
“A brand-new collection of Viking myths that tell the story of the Norse gods from creation to the story of how the world will end, including Odin’s quest for wisdom, the battles of Thor the thunder god, and the tale of Sigurd the Dragonslayer and the curs A collection of Viking myths that tell the story of the Norse gods from creation to the story of how the world will end, including Odin’s quest for wisdom, and the battles of Thor the thunder god.” (Catalogue)

Family Lockdown Challenge: Book Dominoes!

We’ve been thinking hard about fun, creative things we can do with our families or the people in our bubbles over the coming weeks, and after talking to the other librarians we couldn’t resist issuing you with the Book Domino Challenge.

It’s like regular dominoes, but more bookish!

How does the Book Domino Challenge work, you might ask? It’s simple — work together with your bubble-mates to take any number of books, stand them on their ends in a row, and try to create the longest unbroken domino chain you can. Don’t have enough books at home? Not a problem! You can use DVDs, CDs, playing cards, LEGO, blocks, TV remotes, pieces of wood, even actual dominoes — anything you can find that’s rectangular in shape and can stand on its end.

We’d love to see your dominoes too! You can take photos or videos of your Book Domino Challenge chains and tag us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Let’s be creative together in our bubbles!

Stuck for ideas? Check the videos below for two examples of book dominoes put together by your librarians back in 2013. Happy toppling!

Make a Bee Hotel at Tawa Library!

To celebrate Bee Aware Month come along to the library and have a go at making your own Bee Hotel.

Marvyn Kemp (Tawa) Library, Thursday 19th September, 3.30 – 4.30pm

Please bring an empty, clean 425g tin can.  All other material will be supplied.

Spaces are limited so secure a spot by registering at the desk or contact the library on 04 232 1690.

Suitable for children aged 5+ with their caregivers

Make a Bee Hotel at Johnsonville Library

To celebrate Bee Aware Month come along to the library and have a go at making your own Bee Hotel.

Johnsonville Library – Thursday 5th September – 3.30 – 4.30pm

Please bring an empty, clean 425g tin can.  All other materials will be supplied.

Spaces are limited so secure a spot by registering at the desk or contact the library on ph:477 6151.

Suitable for school age and up.

Games Night at Johnsonville Library!

Join us for a Games Night at Johnsonville Library this Friday 30 August at 5pm.

We have a range of board games to choose from including popular classics like Settler of Catan, Risk or Trivial Pursuit and less common games like Starfluxx, Munchkin or King of Tokyo.

Most games are for ages 8+ though we have a few games for younger children too. You could also bring a game of your own to play with new people.

Games Night starts at 5pm but you are welcome to arrive late, you might just need to wait a little before you can join in the next round.

We’re looking forward to seeing you there

Games Night at Johnsonville Library!

Join us for a Games Night at Johnsonville Library this Friday 26 July at 5pm.

We have a range of board games to choose from including popular classics like Settler of Catan, Risk or Trivial Pursuit and less common games like Starfluxx, Munchkin or King of Tokyo.

Most games are for ages 8+ though we have a few games for younger children too. You could also bring a game of your own to play with new people.

Games Night starts at 5pm but you are welcome to arrive late, you might just need to wait a little before you can join in the next round.

We’re looking forward to seeing you there

Games Night at Johnsonville Library!

Join us for a Games Night at Johnsonville Library this Friday 28 June at 5pm.

We have a range of board games to choose from including popular classics like Settler of Catan, Risk or Trivial Pursuit and less common games like Starfluxx, Munchkin or King of Tokyo.

Most games are for ages 8+ though we have a few games for younger children too. You could also bring a game of your own to play with new people.

Games Night starts at 5pm but you are welcome to arrive late, you might just need to wait a little before you can join in the next round.

We’re looking forward to seeing you there.

Top 10 Children’s non-fiction February 2017

Lego has always been a favourite in the Children’s non-fiction collection, but have you ever considered using your own lego collection to make history?  Not only is the 2017 Guinness World records in the Top 10 but, they are also accepting bids for the largest Lego pyramid ever… with teams of unlimited size! So round up your mates, and their mates and their… so on and so on and who knows, Guiness World record 2018 could contain your name!

  1. Minecraft : the survivors’ book of secrets, by Stephanie Milton.
  2. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, by Jack Thorne, John Tiffany and J. K. Rowling
  3. Minecraft : Redstone handbook, by Nick Farwell
  4. The LEGO ideas book, by Daniel Lipkowitz
  5. Star Wars Character Encyclopedia, by Simon Beecroft and Pablo Hidalgo
  6. Master builder : Hack for Minecrafters, by Megan Miller
  7. Minecraft : Construction Handbook, by Matthew Needler
  8. Small scenes from a big galaxy, by Vesa Lehtimäki
  9. Lego DC comics Super heroes character encyclopedia, by Simon Hugo and Cavan Scott
  10. Guinness World Records 2017, Craig Glenday editor in chief

Dear Alien, let me tell you about Earth!

A UFO has just landed outside your bedroom window.  Out steps an Alien.  He’s green with a bright red ball glowing on the top of his cone shaped head.

He walks towards your window.!

He can see you.!

You’re scared!

You can’t move!

What does he want?

He speaks and blue bubbles come out of his mouth – but you can hear his question inside your head.

“Tell me about Earth?”

WOW, what are you going to do? Jump out of your bedroom window and talk to it or turn tail and run away as fast as you can.

What do you think about Aliens. Do you think there are other beings living out in space? It’s a really interesting question and lots of people have different thoughts about it.

If you would like to learn more about Aliens you might like to check out some of these non-fiction books at the library.


 

 

 

 

 

Or maybe you like reading fiction stories about Aliens so why not take a look at these really spacey reads.


 

 

 

 

 

Is something out there!!!!!!!!!!