It started out because I asked Papa Frog if he had any leftover sandpaper. I have done a craft several time with the Froglets involving starfish. You cut out star shapes from the sandpaper, put them down on the table, cover them with a blank piece of white paper and do a crayon rubbing to make starfish appear on the page. Papa Frog came out of his Workshop with this instead.
This is all I have, he said to me. Will it work? I stared at the disk of paper, trying to figure out what I could do with it and all its holes. Then it hit me! Starfish were out, but that disk looked just like a sand dollar when it was covered with a piece of paper and rubbed with a sand dollar colored crayon.
1. The sand dollar’s mouth has a jaw with five teethlike sections to grind up tiny plants and animals. Sometimes a sand dollar “chews” its food for fifteen minutes before swallowing. It can take two days for the food to digest.
2. Scientists can age a sand dollar by counting the growth rings on the plates of the exoskeleton. Sand dollars usually live six to 10 years.
3. California sheepheads, starry flounders and large pink sea stars prey on sand dollars. When threatened by pink sea stars, sand dollars bury themselves under the sand. Observers have seen a pink sea star leave a wide path of buried sand dollars as it moves across a sand dollar bed.
When I was just a Froglet myself, my Grandpapa lived on a small island off the southern coast of Texas, called Port Aransas. I was lucky enough to spend several summers with him, surrounded by the sound of the crashing waves, and the warm beaches and the balmy island air. Those are some of my best memories. I roamed the island like a wild thing, with a roll of dollar bills in my pocket. I read so many books over those summers, and wrote so many stories. But one of my favorite memories was digging for live sand dollars. If you walked into the water, up to your knees, squatted down and dug your hands into the sand, you would find them by the handful, fuzzy, small brown sand dollars. Until this point, I had only ever seen the bleached sand dollars the shell shops sold. I caught hundreds of them each summer. A few big ones we did keep and bleach, but most went back into the water. The fun was in their finding- a veritable treasure hunt.