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Old 4th May 2008   #1
Kaysie
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Default Book Review: The Salamander Room (Mazer)

The Salamander Room - by Anne Mazer, Illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher.

Since this book is so short and the story so poignant, I decided to post it in its entirety.

Brian found a salamander in the woods. It was a little orange salamander [Pseudotriton ruber from the pictures] that crawled through the dried leaves of the forest floor.
The salamander was warm and cozy in the boy’s hand. “Come live with me,” Brian said.
He took the salamander home.

“Where will he sleep?” his mother asked.
“I will make him a salamander bed to sleep in. I will cover him with leaves that are fresh and green and bring moss that looks like little stars to be a pillow for his head. I will bring him crickets to sing him to sleep and bullfrogs to tell him good-night stories.”

“And when he wakes up, where will he play?”
“I will carpet my room with shiny wet leaves and water them so he can slide around and play. I will bring tree stumps into my room so he can climb up the bark and sun himself on top. And I will bring boulders that he can creep over.”

“He will miss his friends in the forest.”
“I will bring salamander friends to play with him [Ambystoma maculatum].”

“They will be hungry. How will you feed them?”
“I will bring insects to live in my room. And every day I will catch some and feed the salamanders. And I will make little pools of water on top of the boulders so they can drink whenever they are thirsty.”

“The insects will multiply, and soon there will be bugs and insects everywhere.”
“I will find birds to eat the extra bugs and insects. And the bullfrogs will eat them too.”

“Where will the birds and bullfrogs live?”
“I will bring trees for the birds to roost in, and make ponds for the frogs.”

“Birds need to fly.”
“We can lift off the ceiling. They will sail out in the sky, but they will come back to my room when it is time for dinner, because they will know that the biggest, juiciest insects are there.”

“But the trees – how will they grow?”
“The rain will come through the open roof, and the sun, too. And vines will creep up the walls of my room, and ferns will grow under my bed. There will be big white mushrooms and moss like little stars growing around the tree stumps that the salamanders climb on.”

“And you – where will you sleep?”
“I will sleep on a bed under the stars, with the moon shining through the green leaves of the trees; owls will hoot and crickets will sing; and next to me, on the boulder with its head resting on soft moss, the salamander will sleep.”



The illustrations in this book are absolutely spectacular. I am saddened I can't post pictures of them right now. I REALLY suggest this book to anyone with children. It's fairly scientifically accurate, and it does help create a sense of what goes into keeping a salamander as a pet, not just a 'newt in a fishbowl'.




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Old 5th May 2008   #2
Michael Shrom
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Default Re: The Salamander Room

That book is great. I gave it to my neice as part of her wedding present. I think it's one of those childrens books that are good for adults too. My niece and her husband both have some kind of degree in ecology.



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Old 5th May 2008   #3
Kaysie
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Default Re: The Salamander Room

Yeah, I bought it for myself as well. I'm kicking myself for not picking up "The Salamander Ball" when I was in Tennessee though.



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Old 5th May 2008   #4
Foster Reves
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Default Re: The Salamander Room

I picked up a copy myself about six months ago. What caudate loving father-to-be could pass that one up when shopping for childrens books? Kaysie, I saw "the Salamander Ball" as well when we were in Gatlinburg. I also passed on it and am now regretting that decision somewhat as well.
Chip



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Old 6th May 2008   #5
Nathan
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Default Re: The Salamander Room

I remember reading that book when I was little. It's a great read-even for grownups.



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Old 6th May 2008   #6
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Default Re: The Salamander Room

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Originally Posted by Kaysie View Post
There will be big white mushrooms
Living in a decrepid poorly constructed building with ongoing damp and mould issues I can now say thats not nearly as much fun as I thought it may be when I read this as a youngster.

As for the rest, sounds like a species mixing disaster waiting to happen!



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Old 6th May 2008   #7
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Default Re: The Salamander Room

Back when I made my living doing programs and classes for kids...I often read this book and introduced the kids to the critters in it. There is a CD that has a song on it that was inspired by the book, it is published by the Narada company and the song is "the green room".

We just bought a home and my hubby and I are deciding how to decorate our bedroom, the other morning, as we listened to the birds singing on our wooded lot, we thought about painting it so it would look like the salamander room...doing the ceiling to look as though we were looking out at the sky....

I used to have psuedotriton ruber in my old backyard...I'm still finding out what's living in this one.



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Old 7th May 2008   #8
Kaysie
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Default Re: The Salamander Room

As far as species mixing... this 'tank' is a rather large ecosystem, and all of the animals would naturally occur together. So I think it gives more the impression that you should consider the entire system when considering one animal.

Cheddarsox, I also want to paint my room the same way: trees, sky, clouds... maybe somehow work in a skylight. glorious!



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Old 12th May 2008   #9
Wes von Papineäu
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Default Re: The Salamander Room

PARENT DISH Book pick of the week (09 May 08): The Salamander Room by Christina Sbarro

http://www.parentdish.com/2008/05/09...lamander-room/



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Old 12th May 2008   #10
Kaysie
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Default Re: The Salamander Room

Sbarro links to caudata.org! Yay!



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Old 12th May 2008   #11
Marco Ferrigno
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Default Re: The Salamander Room

thats beautiful, very touching..



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Old 12th May 2008   #12
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Default Re: The Salamander Room

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Originally Posted by Kaysie View Post
I'm kicking myself for not picking up "The Salamander Ball" when I was in Tennessee though.
I couldn't let that recommendation go unexplored, so I picked it up. OMG, is that a darling book with illustrations that are amazing. I can't stop looking at them! I want to cut them all out and put them on the walls! The fridge! The ceiling!



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