Michelle Cusolito: No Water? No Baths? Wrong!
From: Polliwog on Safari
August 28, 2012 at 08:00AM
Today features guest blogger Darcy Pattison.
animals stay clean? They still need to get rid of dirt, germs, bugs and
of ranges that divide the Rocky Mountains watersheds into those that flow
toward the Mississippi River and those that flow toward the Pacific Ocean.
Standing on the back porch of my childhood home, the Continental Divide was a
mere half mile north and was our playground. Regina, New Mexico lays at about
6000 foot elevation, 100 miles north of Albuquerque. Scrub brush fills this
high desert area.
fatten up the spring calves and rounded them up for the sale ring before winter
storms hit. Our most important asset was water rights to the Hatch Lake, which
allowed some irrigation of fields and planting of some grasses.
them from scrap bits of wood. They always escaped, of course. It was a dry
climate, with dusty roads, rare days of rain, and harsh winters.
who anoint themselves with ants to get rid of parasites. What? This is strange,
but true. For over 100 years, naturalists have observed birds that stand on an
ant nest and let ants swarm over them. Studies have revealed that birds are
allowing ants to carry off parasites. Other birds will locate an ant nest, then
pick up an ant in its beak, crush it and use it as a washrag to clean its
feathers. Scientists believe the formic acid from the ant acts as an antiseptic
to kill and discourage parasites.
dry landscape of my childhood. I wondered what were some other ways that
animals stayed clean? After a lot of research and multiple drafts, the result
was Desert Baths, a companion book to my first nature book, Prairie Storms.
species. Instead, I wanted to add an extra layer of information, while still
keeping the story fun to read. For Prairie Storms, the extra layer was the
variety of storms throughout a year. For Desert Baths, the extra layer is
Here are some possible discussion questions to share with your children after reading Desert Baths.
- Is regular hygiene easy or
hard for you?
- Do you need to be reminded to brush your teeth?
- Do you resist baths?
- How would it affect your health if you didn’t bathe and
clean yourself regularly?
writing teacher Darcy Pattison is the author of picture books and novels. Her
three nature books include Prairie Storms (Sylvan Dell), Desert Baths (Sylvan
Dell) and Wisdom, the Midway Albatross: Surviving the Japanese Tsunami and
Other Disasters for over 60 Years (Mims House). For more, see her website.