It is harvest time for stone fruit! I walk most mornings with the dogs and have been captivated by the trees dripping with fruit. We are experiencing a horrific drought here in Central California but the farmers aren’t giving up. Take a look at these peaches coming soon to a fruit stand or farmers market near you:
Here are some Peachy Keen kids’ books to enjoy while eating a peach:
Peach Heaven by Yangsook Choi (author and illustrator)
Picture book ages 4-8
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
When asked to write about the best thing in her town for a homework assignment, Yangsook only had to look at the picture above her desk of children playing in a peach orchard. This was what she imagined heaven was like. She wrote about the famous peaches that grew in the orchards surrounding her town of Puchon. Unfortunately, Yangsook did not often get to eat these peaches because they were very expensive and were sent to markets throughout Korea.
When a huge hailstorm caused the entire crop to fall from the trees, peaches were carried by the heavy rains and poured down the roofs of the Puchon. The townspeople happily collected the fruit. No one could understand how the peaches had traveled without being damaged but everyone ate peaches until they were full. Yangsook was sure she was in peach heaven. Later, when Yangsook thought about the farmers who had worked so hard to grow the perfect peaches, she couldn’t sleep. Then she had an idea. Yangsook reached out to her neighbors who returned to the orchards and tied peaches to the trees.
Author Yangsook Choi based this story on this event that happened in her hometown when she was a girl. In the author’s note she explains that peaches are regarded as a magic fruit in Korean mythology. They are said to symbolize peace. Two of my children are Korean and I am thrilled to add this book to our collection of Korean titles.
Peach & Blue by Sarah S. Kilborne (author) Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher (illustrators)
Picture book ages 4-6
I think this book is a bit odd. It is the story of an adventurous blue bellied toad who meets a peach hanging in a tree. Peach is sad because she wants to see the world beyond the tree. She knows that her fate is to be made into a cobbler or a tart. The toad, with the help of relatives, manages to get Peach out of the tree. They live side by side and ponder life together beside a pond. I don’t mind anthropomorphic animals but I’m not quite sure about living, talking fruit. The illustrations are gorgeous and I do like the lovely ending – “I don’t think I’ll last forever,” said Peach. “That’s okay,” said Blue. “Not many folks do. But until then, you have me, and I have you.”
Peach Boy by William H. Hooks (author) and June Otani (illustrator)
Bank Street Ready-to-Read
Wouldn’t it be fun to open a peach and have a child pop out? That’s just what happens in Peach Boy. An elderly Japanese couple’s only wish is for a child. The wife finds a large peach in the river and brings it home. When the couple prepares to slice into the peach, they hear a voice. The peach splits and out jumps a baby boy! They name him Momotaro which means Peach Boy. Momotaro grows up to save the town from the wicked oni monsters with the help of a hawk, a monkey, and a dog. This version of this Japanese folktale was written for children learning to read on their own but it can be enjoyed by all ages.
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
Middle Grade Fiction
James and the Giant Peach has what I consider to be the best opening of any book. We meet James who has had a perfect life with his parents in their beautiful seaside home. Then, one day, James’s mother and father went to London to do some shopping, and there a terrible thing happened. Both of them suddenly got eaten up (in full daylight, mind you, and on a crowded street) by an enormous angry rhinoceros which had escaped from the London Zoo.
James is sent to live with his two horrible aunts where he becomes the saddest and loneliest boy in the world. But, life becomes interesting when he is given a bag of magic green things that end up sinking into the root system of a peach tree. James is swept up into an adventure with the insect inhabitants of a giant peach.
Even if you have read James and the Giant Peach, I encourage you to read it again and share it with a child. It is the perfect summer book.
From Pit to Peach Tree
Nonfiction picture book grades 1-2
Ellen Weiss (author)
If you don’t have the opportunity to visit a peach orchard, this title is the next best thing. In this book for young readers, the life cycle of a peach tree is explained in simple accompanied by beautiful photographs. The book includes a table of contents, index, and glossary which makes it a great book to support common core in early grades.
Now, what to do with all these peaches?
Easton wants to play fetch.
We, however, love to eat peaches.
EASY PEACHY SALSA
- 4 large peaches (peeled and pits removed)
- 2 medium tomatoes
- 1 bell pepper (cut off top and take out seeds)
- 1/2 onion
- 1 lemon
- cilantro to taste
Dice the peaches, tomatoes, bell pepper, and onion and mix them together in a bowl. Squeeze the lemon juice over the fruit and veggies. Cut and add cilantro to taste. (Use jalapeno peppers if you like spicier salsa)
EASY PEACHY FROZEN YOGURT
- 4 ripe peaches (peeled, pitted, and sliced)
- 1/4 cup of honey
- 2 1/2 cups vanilla yogurt
Freeze the peach slices for at least 4 hours.
Blend the peaches, honey and vanilla yogurt in a blender or food processor.
You can pour this into an airtight container and freeze or use an ice cream maker following the manufacturer’s instructions.
Makes 1 quart