Long Island Parent Talk

Get the inside scoop on all things kids and parenting on Long Island.

How to choose the best children's books

"The Barnes & Noble Guide to Children's Books,"

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Reading books at bedtime has been part of my 2-year-old daughter's nightly routine since she was an infant. It's something we look forward to doing together, especially after working all day.

Each night she chooses the books, and even though she picks the same ones each night, I love watching her get excited about the characters as she eagerly awaits to lift the flaps or get to her favorite...

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Get 'Pout-Pout Fish' kids books and plush for $5 each at Kohl's

Kohl's Cares features "Pout-Pout Fish" merchandise through the

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Summer is the perfect season to read about fish, and The Kohl’s Cares fundraising program makes it easy with its newest featured author: Deborah Diesen, whose books include “The Pout-Pout-Fish” and “The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark.”

Each book is $5, and the department store is also offering plush characters from the story for $5 each as well. A matching tote bag is also $5. The proceeds...

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Review: 'Learn to Tie a Tie with the Rabbit & the Fox'

"Learn to Tie a Tie with the Rabbit

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The illustrated, 26-page “Learn to Tie a Tie with the Rabbit & the Fox” ($14.95) is a little young for my son. At 9, he is already reading the “Harry Potter” 700-pagers. But one good thing came out of this little self-published book — my son’s learned to tie a tie, a helpful skill for an upcoming special event where his father won’t be there to help.

Author Sybrina Durant employs the story...

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Wear flip-flops, get a free smoothie today on Long Island

Tropical Smoothie Cafe is giving away free smoothies

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There's no better way to celebrate the first day of summer than with a refreshing smoothie -- and when it's free, that's just icing on the cake.

Today, Tropical Smoothie Cafe will be giving away free, 24-ounce Jetty Punch Smoothies from 2-7 p.m. to any customer wearing flip-flops in honor of National Flip-Flop Day.

The cafes will be collecting donations for the brand's national charity...

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Weekend family fun on Long Island: Magic show, circus fun, baseball and more

The Long Island Ducks held their home opener

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Looking for things to do with the kids this weekend? From Long Island Ducks games to a magic show, circus performance and more, there's much to do on Long Island. Here are my top five picks for fun family-friendly activities this weekend:

1. Long Island Ducks vs. Sugar Land Skeeters at Bethpage Ballpark (3 Court House Dr., Central Islip). Cheer on the home team and enjoy a baseball game on...

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Kid-approved new science books

"The Big, Bad Book of Beasts: The World's

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Boys and girls into science will likely gravitate to the following new books, as my 9-year-old did:

“The Big, Bad Book of Beasts: The World's Most Curious Creatures” (HarperCollins, $18.99) by Michael Largo is an encyclopedia of creatures, real, extinct or imagined. In the real category, illustrated text informs readers of interesting facts such as this: On average, a woodpecker bangs its...

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Debra Messing talks parenting and Outstanding Mother of the Year Awards

Debra Messing arrives at the 70th annual Golden

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"Will & Grace" actress Debra Messing was honored at this year's Outstanding Mother of the Year awards in Manhattan last month.

After eight seasons playing the role of Grace Adler on the hit television show, Messing went on to star in USA's miniseries "The Starter Wife" and NBC's "Smash." She also appeared on the big screen in "Along Came Polly" and...

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Hot summer reading for kids: 'The School for Good and Evil'

Soman Chainani is the author of the new

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The newest kids’ trilogy to hit bookstores is the action-packed “The School for Good and Evil” (HarperCollins, $16.99) by Soman Chainani. The premise: Every four years, two children are kidnapped from a village. They are enrolled in the School for Good and Evil, where the good study to be fairy tale prince and princesses, and the bad train to be villains. The story is filled with battles, monsters...

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'Sesame Street' creates a new Muppet with a parent in jail

Sofia, Abby and Rosita comfort Alex by giving

(Credit: Sesame Workshop / Gil Vaknin)

Step aside Elmo and Abby Cadabby, there's a new Muppet on "Sesame Street." Alex, the first Muppet to have a dad in jail, was created by Sesame Workshop to help children ages 3-8 to cope when a parent is incarcerated.

The new "Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration" campaign was launched due to the increasing need for resources and support for children dealing with...

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App review: Monsters University Storybook Deluxe!

A screen grab of the new Monsters University

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The product tie-ins seem to be coming out earlier and earlier — this time, it’s the Monsters University Storybook Deluxe!, a new app for the Disney prequel “Monsters University” animated film due out June 21. This one is sweet, almost comforting, and got a big wide smile out of my son as soon as he turned it on at his usually grouchy hour — 7 a.m. Over Cheerios and an apple, Harrison had to create...

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