Great Explorers Need Great Guides

This week I’ve been reading a classic in the area of ecology writing, May Theilgaard Watts’ book, Reading the American Landscape. I was going to rave about the book and the way it so deftly elucidates the way native species have been pushed to the edges in North America. I was going to go on…

What Can a Kid Do?: A Book Review

A 5-year-old may or may not summit every 4,000+-foot mountain in New Hampshire. Let that sink in a little. For perspective, if you live in or have visited New England, you may have climbed the popular Mt. Monadnock and felt the pain. Now realize that it is 3165 feet. Yeah. So “small” it was beneath…

Field Test: Cricket 5-Minute Firestarter

The challenge: Burn a mess season’s worth of fallen tree limbs in a backyard that has been drenched by one of the coldest, wettest Aprils on record. The tools: One paper grocery bag and a box of the new 5-Minute Cricket Firestarters Like most dads, I like to consider myself an expert at starting fires….

A Different Kind of Green Gift

While a lot of folks look forward to this day after Thanksgiving, I am not that much into shopping for shopping’s sake (Go to Walmart at 5 a.m.? Isn’t that what the Internet’s for?). But November is a very full month for us. In addition to the usual full social calendar, school parties and activities,…

Beating a Rainbow to Death

“The dorado did a most extraordinary thing as it died: it began to flash all kinds of colors in rapid succession. Blue, green, red, gold, and violet flickered and shimmered neon-like on its surface as it struggled. I felt like I was beating a rainbow to death” —Yann Martel, Life of Pi Maybe once upon…

No Bikes in Narnia: A Review of Wildwood by Colin Meloy

At first glance, Wildwood sounds familiar. Evil magical woman leader? Check. Kids as heroes? Yes. Ominous canines as femme fatales’s pawns? 10-4! Talking animals? Oh, yeah. Now that a second book is on its way, the set is even called “Wildwood Chronicles.” I love the Decemberists. If you didn’t know, this is the band for…

The Mom 100 Cookbook: A Book Report

As a dad who is the primary caregiver at least two days a week, who cooks a huge portion of our meals, and does a lot of stuff that we were all raised to think of as “women’s work,” I raise an eyebrow when the mom label gets used on stuff that doesn’t need it….

A Greener Giving Tree

As part of my job, I’ve been reading The Giving Tree many many times lately, and my formerly rosy opinion of this tale of an apple tree’s friendship with a boy has changed a bit. At the start of the book, we should take it more seriously when the boy plays “King of the Forest”….

On the Hook with a Book Named Kook

I recently read a book about surfing by Peter Heller. Except that it wasn’t just about surfing. In fact, for me it was hardly about that sport at all. What it was about (that concerns us here) is love. Love of the ocean. Love of significant others. And love of surfing. And how these three…

Our Holiday Shopping Guide to Great Books

Hello, and Merry Christmas! The two of us writing this site both have undergraduate degrees in English Literature, so when it comes to great gift ideas, we often turn to books. We love ’em, and books like Last Child in the Woods and Lenore Skenazy’s Free-Range Kids have provided the philosophical ground and inspiration for…