When We Go Walking

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
When We Go Walking Book Poster Image
Much to treasure in girl's discoveries on family walks.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value
Wendy examines her finds with curiosity, wondering what they are and where they came from. She turns them into artistic display, which may inspire interest in creating found art. The story reinforces the lesson that it's good to pick up litter and dispose of it properly.
 
Positive Messages
Wendy enjoys the regular walks despite occasional discomforts -- like soggy socks on rainy days and sweaty skin in summer. The walks are an opportunity for discovery, and for savoring time with family. 
 
Positive Role Models & Representations
The shared walk brings Wendy's family together, sharing what they see and enjoying the time together. They take note of the changing seasons and appreciate the small details. They pick up litter and throw it out along the way.
 
Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that When We Go Walking is sure to inspire both parents and children to get outside and start exploring. The family picks up litter and disposes of it at the dump. Wendy is allowed to bring home her finds. Parents might quibble that some of what she finds is best left alone, including a fallen road sign she picks up.
 

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What's the story?

Wendy's entire family -- even the cat -- enjoy walking together along Rambling Road in every season. Her mom totes binoculars to spot wildlife, her dad points out airplanes and leaves, and even the baby exclaims about the colors he sees. Wendy brings a bag to collect treasures: a number 5, a broken sign, a faded flag. When snow has her stuck at home, she sets to work turning her collection into an artful display.

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Is it any good?

WHEN WE GO WALKING is a sweet read-aloud book. Paint and collage illustrations are full of details for children to explore: tiny bugs on a dirt path, a sunbathing turtle on a rock, Wendy's parents enjoying a quiet moment admiring the view. The nicely paced text carries through all four seasons. 
 
Parents will smile in recognition as Wendy's mom and dad question her: Does she really need all that stuff she's lugging home? Of course she does. And her art project finally answers the question of what to do with it all.
 
 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what they find on walks. Talk about each season and what you might find.
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  • Families can also talk about collecting found items. When is it OK to take home something you find? When is it better to leave things where you found them?
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  • Grab a collecting bag and head out on a walk to see what you find. When you get home, turn your found treasure into art.
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