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Where the Sidewalk Ends – Family Dinner Book Club

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Our Family Dinner Book Club selection for the month of April is Where the Sidewalk Ends By Shel Silverstein. Here you’ll find a menu that can be prepared with the help of your children, and will hopefully be a fun and interactive activity for the whole family. Head over to Growing Book by Book for some talking points to get the conversation started, easy table crafts, and an idea for a family service project. We invite you to share a picture from your dinner with us anytime during the month on social media with #familydinnerbookclub.

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein is a book of silly poems the entire family can enjoy. When I first started rereading this book in preparation for this month’s Family Dinner Book Club I said something to David about it being a poetry book for children, to which he replied, “poetry for children? That’s all poetry.” I must agree with him. Poetry, stories, and art in general are for everybody. In cooking and eating, I don’t consider anything to be “kid food” or “adult food”. It’s just food, and it is just a matter of exposure, time, and courage before a child or an adult begins to enjoy something they hadn’t before. I feel the same about poetry. There are certainly stories and poems that I wouldn’t read to the girls right now at ages 5 and 6, because they might be too scary or use inappropriate language, but I love when I hear David reading Mary Oliver or Rumi to them. Maybe some of it goes over their heads, but at the very least, they are being exposed to beautiful poetry and hopefully being inspired to write their own.

This is how I feel about Where the Sidewalk Ends after reading it as an adult. I loved reading these silly poems as a child, and I think it was one of my first introductions to poetry. Child or adult, anyone can enjoy these poems and try to write their own. When I was younger, I tried to memorize “Sick” so that I could make my mom laugh on a weekend. I never did memorize the entire thing, but I’ve always remembered the first few lines. There is also a poem about pancakes, so of course I made a large stack of pancakes for our family dinner book club. Taking inspiration from Shel Silverstein to be silly and have fun, this dinner is just that. We will be dining on the living room floor, or if there is room, under the dining room table, and using our pillows as seat cushions. It is breakfast for dinner in this silly world, but the fun doesn’t stop there! Enjoy your refreshing bowl or orange juice, practice your chopstick skills to eat cereal off a plate, and don’t forget your glass of eggs and bacon!

Kids in the Kitchen!

It can be a messy job, but kids can help crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk them. Just make sure to remove any egg shell bits from the eggs before cooking! Eggshells are easiest to remove from the bowl by using another piece of eggshell to scoop it out.

Let the kids choose their favorite cereal to eat with chopsticks (from your approved list of cereals, of course).

Older kids can help pour the pancake batter onto the skillet and help flip them when ready. Younger kids can be in charge of watching the pancake batter bubble as it cooks. Have them count the number of bubbles and tell you when all the bubbles have popped.

Where the Sidewalk Ends
Family Dinner Book Club Menu
Dinner is best served in a silly location like the living room floor or under the dining table.

scrambled eggs and bacon in drinking glasses
tall stack of pancakes
cereal with chopsticks
orange juice bowls

Errol so badly wanted to enjoy this dinner, but he was forced to watch the fun using his most pathetic face. Don’t worry, he got some bacon and eggs after the humans were all finished with the meal.

What is your family’s favorite poem in Where the Sidewalk Ends?

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