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Archive for February, 2009

DIY Seuss Film Fest

Home Movies (Larry Strong/Contra Costa Times)
Dr. Seuss’ birthday is March 2, and the whole nation is gearing up for Read Across America — that coast-to-coast school read-a-thon. We’re all in favor of reading, particularly when the literary material is so rhymically, rhymingly fabulous. But if you’re in the mood for a DIY Dr. Seuss film fest too, here are a few suggestions…

Horton Hears a Who DVD Horton Hears a Who – An animated Whoville springs to life in this 2008 adaptation of Dr. Seuss’s 1954 book classic starring Jim Carrey as Horton, the lovable elephant, and Steve Carrell as Whoville’s Mayor. Watch the original cartoon version and compare.

The Cat in the Hat – In this 2003 live action remake, Spencer Breslin and Dakota Fanning play the bored sibs who get a visit from the notorious Cat in the Hat (Mike Myers) and Things #1 and 2. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Saturday, February 21st, 2009
Under: Movies | No Comments »

GREEN Eggs & Ham

Green eggs and ham (Laurie McAdam illustration)
Looking for some eggstremely tasty recipes to celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday? You can always add a few drops of green food coloring to your basic scrambled egg mixture, of course, but this recipe for “Green Eggs and Ham Deluxe” from one of our favorite book web sites,, sounds fabulous … of course, our kids are likely to pick out every parsley fleck, but we don’t care! Check out the recipe after the jump, then venture over to Seussville for more recipes and more fun, including a Fox in Socks matching game.
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Posted on Friday, February 20th, 2009
Under: Books | 2 Comments »


Gap Year (illus. by Chuck Todd, Contra Costa Times) Gap Year programs are becoming an increasingly popular option for teens who are not quite ready for college – or who’d like to take a year off from the intensity of college prep and spend some time traveling, learning a foreign languauge or doing community service in another part of the world. It’s an idea that’s supported by colleges too, because a good Gap Year is well planned and filled with enrichment. And there are dozens of Gap Year companies out there to help you figure out how to do that.

If you’ve got a child who’s interested in exploring Gap Year options – filming a documentary in New Orleans? exploring Mayan heritage in Guatemala? studying Italian culture in Siena? – you might want to check out the Gap Year Fair in San Francisco next week – Sunday, March 1 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Jewish Community High School of the Bay, 1835 Ellis St. Speak with reps from Dynamy Internship Year, Carpe Diem Education, i-to-i Meaningful Travel, Sojourns Abroad, and nearly 20 other Gap Year companies. Hear a talk by Holly Bull, who’s been organizing these trips as president of the Center for Interim Programs in Princeton, New Jersey, for the last 20 years. Oh, and the fair is free. It’s a win-win.

Need more general info on Gap Year programs? Check out Planet Gap Year, a portal for planning advice, gap year fair dates, program information, etc.

Posted on Thursday, February 19th, 2009
Under: Teens | No Comments »

CAMERA-Toting Otter Turns the Tables

Camera toting otter (Courtesy Santa Cruz Sentinel)
Most. Adorable. Story. Ever. Enrique Aguirre, a San Francisco-based wildlife photographer, was out on Monterey Bay on a picture taking safari when he caught this otter turning the tables on him. Yep, that would be a video camera in the otter’s paws, aimed directly at Aguirre. The incredulous photographer – the human one, I mean – thinks the camcorder probably fell out of a kayaker’s hands at some point, and was scooped up by the little sea creature. But the otter dove before Aguirre or any of his fellow photogs could stop and ask him the make and model. We’re hoping the otter posts his footage on YouTube.

Posted on Thursday, February 19th, 2009
Under: Just Bizarre | No Comments »

OOBLECK & Goo, How To

Dr. Seuss on the Hollywood Walk of Fame One of Dr. Seuss’ most famous books — and one beloved by science teachers everywhere — is “Bartholomew and the Oobleck.” Published in 1949, it’s the tale of Bartholomew Cubbins, page to spoiled, stubborn King Derwin of Didd, who has decided that sun, fog, rain and snow are borrrring and he’d like something else to fall from the sky. Voila. Generations of children were introduced to Oobleck, a green goo with remarkable properties – but not exactly what you want coating your garden, your castle or your friends.

Oobleck is a bizarre substance – liquid and solid at the same time. If you want to go all scientisty here, it’s actually a non-Newtonian liquid and despite the Seussian connection, according to the Lawrence Hall of Science staff, Albert Einstein was already writing about the stuff back in 1906. But even 21st century kids adore the goo because it’s just so darn weird – and you can make it at home with ordinary household ingredients. Here’s how…
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Posted on Wednesday, February 18th, 2009
Under: Books, Crafts | No Comments »

FAB FIVE for the Weekend

The Jazzinators (Pleasanton Youth Music Festival)
1. Catch Pleasanton’s 7th annual Youth Music Festival, a musical extravaganza featuring young musicians – including the Jazzinators, pictured above – and vocalists from Fremont to Stockton, this Friday at 8 p.m. at the Amador Theater. ($7-$10)

2. Sing, dance and rock out to Uncle Eye & the Strange Change Machine at Berkeley’s La Pena Center Saturday at 10:30 a.m. If Uncle Eye’s name sounds familiar, that’s because you’ve seen him – and his buddy Wilber, the Rubber Chicken of Freedom, on PBS Kids. (Tickets $4 kids, $5 adults, $12 for a family pass)
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Posted on Wednesday, February 18th, 2009
Under: Family Entertainment | No Comments »

EVENFLO Activity Table Recall

Recalled Evenflo Activity Table Annnnnnnd, another recall. This time it’s 213,000 Evenflo Activity Centers (pictured, right), whose end cap can fall off, posing a fall hazard – and we’ve read and re-read the Consumer Product Safety Commission report and we still can’t figure out how the loss of an end cap can make you fall. But the Evenflo and CPSC staffers say nine children have gotten bumps and bruises, and one broke his collarbone, so they’re taking no chances. If you’ve got an Evenflo ExerSaucer Triple Fun stationary activity center (model #6231711), a $120 toy purchased any time since Oct. 2006, call Evenflo at 800-233-5921 (or click the link) to get a free replacement cap.

Posted on Wednesday, February 18th, 2009
Under: Toy Recalls | No Comments »

HANDY Manny Recalled

Recalled Handy Manny set Oh Manny! Keep your eyes to yourself! Disney and the Consumer Product Safety Commission just recalled 20,000 “Handy Manny” Toy Tool Sets after reports started coming in that the eyeballs were falling off the preschool toys. Two children started to choke on them, but there have been no injuries. All the same, time to yank Handy Manny out of your toy box and return it to any Disney Store for a full refund.

In other CPSC news, they’ve also recalled 300,000 hooded sweatshirts, made by Hill Sportswear. The culprit? The drawstrings. We see these kinds of recalls frequently, but this time a Fresno 3-year-old died after the drawstring on his sweatshirt got caught on a playground set and strangled the little boy. Horrifying. If you’ve got little ones, check their clothing and make sure there are no drawstrings that could hurt them. For more recall news or to sign up for the CSPC agency’s e-mail alert system, visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission web site.

Posted on Tuesday, February 17th, 2009
Under: Toy Recalls | No Comments »

DAVID After the Dentist

Hilarious and a little profound too. We’ve definitely had days where we wondered “is this real life?” and “Is it going to be forever? Ahhhh…”

Now spoofs are popping up all over the web, including one starring Christian Bale’s, er, voice and another featuring Chad Vader – Darth’s younger and “less charismatic” younger brother – riding home after the dentist.

Posted on Tuesday, February 17th, 2009
Under: Just Bizarre | No Comments »

DR. SEUSS Giveaway

"I Can Read With My Eyes Shut" by Dr. Seuss Dr. Seuss’ birthday is just around the corner, so we’ll be bringing you all the usual treats and surprises – recipes for green eggs and ham, Seuss trivia, movie ideas and two weeks of Seussian giveaways, starting with these two fabulous books, “Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?” and “I Can Read with My Eyes Shut!” this week. Click “comments” and name your very first Seuss book — we’ll giggle fondly and draw a winner’s name next Monday. My first Seuss? “And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street”. Most marvelous thing ever! (Update: This contest is now closed, but a new Dr. Seuss book giveaway is posted here.)

Posted on Tuesday, February 17th, 2009
Under: Books, Contest | 23 Comments »