• Reading with Walnuts Archive

    The annual school Science Fair is upon us once again, and that means it’s time to start thinking up clever topics. I’m always amazed how the lemon light bulb and potato-powered battery make their appearance every year. Maybe this year, they can head back to the produce department, and let another veggie take center stage…like the zucchini. Never Insult a Killer Zucchini! is a delightful new picture book that pays tribute to this elementary school rite of passage. If you’ve been wracking your brain to help your kid come up with a prize-worthy experiment, this book not only provides food for thought, but pokes fun at the craziness of kids (and parents!) trying to outdo their classmates. Readers will enjoy this riotous romp, as the [&hellip

    Read More...

    It’s hard to believe that it will not only be a green Christmas this year, but possibly one of the warmest on records. And while it may be too soon to tell what January and February will bring, it doesn’t exactly put us in the seasonal mindset. If you’re looking to get into the holiday spirit –or are secretly hankering for a dusting of snow (don’t worry, we won’t tell)–two new picture books will surely satisfy your fix this season. The Tea Party in the Woods is a tender, unsuspecting story of a girl who sets out to deliver a pie to her grandmother. But before you think you’ve heard this one before, you can stop yourself right there. The lush watercolor imagery of this [&hellip

    Read More...

    When my husband was younger, his family celebrated Christmas…even though they are Jewish. His parents hung stockings by the fireplace, and his dad even dressed up as Santa for the neighborhood kids. (No Christmas tree, but enough to make him and his younger brother feel like they were not being left out of what felt like the rest of the world’s celebration.) I can’t imagine how he must felt, but I’m sure he and many other kids can relate to those same feelings shared by the title character in the delightful new picture book, Dear Santa, Love, Rachel Rosenstein. Determined to experience the joys of the season–especially a visit from Old St. Nick–she challenges her own family’s decision to remain faithful to its Jewish upbringing. [&hellip

    Read More...

    On the eve of All Hallow’s Eve means that Thanksgiving can’t be too far behind. One of my favorite pre-Turkey Day memories comes from hunkering down to watch (of course) “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” on TV. Before my favorite part when Snoopy and Woodstock sit down to their own feast (natch), the Peanuts gang piles into the family station wagon and heads out to Grandma’s house singing, “Over the River and Through the Woods.” It always made me laugh to hear their voices practically tripping over each other; never mind how out of synch they sounded, their cacophony created its own special harmony…much like family life. That’s the same feeling I got from reading the new picture book by the same name as the popular [&hellip

    Read More...

    I made a meaningful discovery doing laundry the other day. While emptying out the contents of a pair of pants, I came upon a handful of unexpected treasure: a piece of sea glass and an acorn. I didn’t need to know whose clothing these came from; judging from these finds, I knew it had to be my 7-year-old. She’s the first one in our family to bring home a red fall leaf, and has been known to stuff her pockets with weeds, wildflowers and pine tree pieces…only for me to find them in paper cups filled with water on her bedroom dresser. Little slices of childhood like these are more precious than gold, but to the parent of a young child, they can be also [&hellip

    Read More...

    I don’t care how old my kids are; I still can’t resist checking out new picture books. Maybe it’s that irreplaceable smell of the freshly printed pages or the excitement of an inviting cover whose illustrations are begging me to find out what’s inside…whatever the reason, I’m hooked on books–and they’re not even for me! As a mom, I find the best books speak to me as a parents as much as they do to¬† my kids. Witty puns read like inside jokes and tickle my funny bone on days I can use it most. And that’s the beauty of Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast, an ode to breakfast gone awry. Much like my kids fighting over the last ice pop on a sweltering [&hellip

    Read More...

    As much as I hate to admit it, summer is quickly drawing to a close. If you happen to live in a place where school has already started, then you know the sting of those first few weeks: Everyone is desperately trying to get back into the swing of things, and you promised yourself you would start off the new school year without yelling. (OK, so promises are made to be broken.) But seriously, we know how hard it can be to motivate your kids to get to the bus on time, do their homework and get to bed…just so they can wake up and start all over again. To give my girls a little boost, we ease into the whole homework cycle by making [&hellip

    Read More...

    As August begins to wind down and the new school year looms in the not-so-distant future, my thoughts always turn to ways to get my kids back into the groove. (And of course, if you know me well enough, that usually involves a good book.) For any parent who’s fretting over how their child will fit in to a new class of kids, the delightful Ally-Saurus & The First Day of School offers some much-needed reassurance. This story follows the antics of a precocious tot who appears to be more comfortable as a dinosaur than in her own skin. Like so many imaginative, young kids her age, her cuteness borders on near-frustration for her ever-patient parents. So when the first day of school arrives and [&hellip

    Read More...

    This week, my fifth grader experienced her first bout of writer’s block…something that every good student must contend with at some point in their academic career–and one I know all too well. She was attempting to write a speech for school, but couldn’t quite get started. How do you motivate a kid who’d rather be doing anything but sit still? Perhaps that’s why Poppy’s Best Paper struck a chord with us. At a time in the year when kids have had just about enough of school work, this story follows the tale of a confident young rabbit who is certain she can crank out the best paper in her class, without even trying. But this smugness suddenly turns sour once Poppy, back at home, takes [&hellip

    Read More...

    There are few things I love more than getting my hands on a new book, especially kids’ books. (And if you happen to be an avid reader of this blog, you’ll understand this completely). The heavenly scent of freshly printed pages gets me every time (no e-readers for me, thank you very much), and the opportunity to dive head first into a new world is incredibly compelling. Books for kids have an important job to do, as far as I’m concerned: They must not only hold their attention, but stimulate their mind and capture their imagination. This season, I’m delighted to find two great picture books that tap into this love of learning with the great outdoors. Bug Detective is the bible for all things [&hellip

    Read More...