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Archive for May, 2009

GRADUATION Fans to Keep You Cool

Paper fans (Courtesy Family Fun Magazine) Commencement is just around the corner and soon we’ll be sitting in the stands, beaming with pride, and frantically fanning ourselves with floppy graduation programs. Is it just us or does the sun shine extra bright on graduation day? We always forget to bring water, and we invariably miss a spot during the sunscreen ablutions, but this year we’re coming armed with proper fans. We spotted these in Family Fun’s May issue, as a charming little gift for a Mother’s Day tea party – but all we could think was, those would be fantastic for graduation, maybe done in school colors, rather than these pastel florals. The Family Fun folks used a 6×12-inch piece of paper, which allowed them to use pretty scrapbooking paper and get two out of each sheet. That size is just right for little hands. But us grown-ups need to move more air on graduation day, so we swiped a sheet of 8 1/2×14-inch paper from the office copy machine and that worked splendidly. Here’s how to do it – make the fans, we mean, not snitch paper.

You’ll need:
1 sheet of legal sized paper, 8 1/2×14
2 popsicle sticks
A small rubber band
Stapler, tape, and any embellishments
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Posted on Sunday, May 31st, 2009
Under: Crafts | No Comments »

TOP Zillion Best Books: Grades 2-4

Shredderman by Wendelin Van Draanen This morning’s A&E section featured a Top 10 list of great summer reads, compiled by 24 Bay Area book clubs of all ages, from kids to adults. But we got so many awesome suggestions from the Storyteller’s book clubs for kids, we just had to share more. So far, we’ve posted book recommendations for teens, tweens and older elementary school kids. Today, we’ve got books for grade schoolers, ages 7-9. Take a look, then click “comments” and add your faves too!

GREAT BOOKS FOR GRADES 2-4
The “Shredderman” series by Wendelin Van Draanen features fifth-grader and uber nerd Nolan Byrd who decides to get his revenge on the school bully by creating a cyber superhero alter ego. Introducing: Shredderman.

Also on the list… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Sunday, May 31st, 2009
Under: Books | No Comments »

TOP Zillion Best Books: Grades 4-6

Fablehaven Series by Brandon Mull This weekend, our A&E section is running a Top 10 list of great summer reads, compiled by members of 24 Bay Area book clubs of all ages. But as we mentioned earlier, some of those clubs, including Storyteller’s dozen-plus groups for kids ages 7 to 18, gave us so many wonderful suggestions, we just had to share them all. So far we’ve given you nine awesome book suggestions for teens and another nine for tweens. Today, we’ve got books for grade schoolers, ages 9-11. Take a gander, then click “comments” and add your faves too!

GREAT BOOKS FOR GRADESCHOOLERS
The “Fablehaven” series by Brandon Mull. Critics call this tale of mystical creatures, a hidden refuge and sheer magic a “children’s fantasy explosion” and worthy successor to Harry Potter.

Also on the list… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Saturday, May 30th, 2009
Under: Books | No Comments »

I (Heart) You Online

We’ll be back on Monday with a story about teens, tweens and online worries. But for now, the weekend’s about to start and we’ll leave you with this, an adorable take on online friendship

Posted on Friday, May 29th, 2009
Under: Teens | No Comments »

PIXAR’s “Up” Wins Raves

MovieWeb – Movie Photos, Videos & More

OK, show of hands – how many of you are planning to see Pixar’s newest, “Up,” this weekend? The reviews have been sensational. Common Sense Media says, “Pixar’s stunning 3-D adventure is an upper for everyone.” The very youngest tots may be alarmed by a thunderstorm sequence, and there’s a sad section in which our grumpy hero’s wife gets sick, but for the 6-and-up crowd, it’s two thumbs up.

And Plugged-in Online’s reviewer says this movie “transcends film. It is a story, and a story in the word’s best, most mythical sense—a narrative that educates and entertains, a fairy tale that can make your heart larger…And it’s a gut-busting hoot to boot.” Children (and grown-ups, including the Plugged-In reviewer) with a fear of heights may find some of the 3-D scenes a tad perilous, but it’s a great family film.

We can’t wait! Plus, our beloved Fentons Creamery figures into the plot. Mmm, “Up” followed by a Black & Tan Sundae… So, is “Up” on your must-see list? What else?

Posted on Friday, May 29th, 2009
Under: Movies | No Comments »

SLEEPYHEADS, Royal Pigs & a 2-Book Giveaway

Princess Pig Ohhhh, we are so late! Something about a long weekend just tangles up the rest of the week. But the good news is, we’re giving away a pair of picture books this time and they are… awesome. First up, “Princess Pig” by Eileen Spinelli, illustrated by Tim Bowers, tells the tale of an adorable pig who somehow winds up with a princess sash and decides, well, she must be royal.

We’re pairing it with “The Sleepy Little Alphabet,” a bedtime story involving a, b, and of course zzzzzz. That one’s written by Judy Sierra, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, and it’s absolutely darling. Want ‘em? Click “comments” and share your family’s favorite bedtime story. We’ll draw a winner’s name on Monday, June 8! (Congrats, by the way, to Liz, who won last week’s “Life Sized Zoo” book!)

Posted on Friday, May 29th, 2009
Under: Books, Contest | 16 Comments »

LEGO Cakes & the Maker Faire

Lego birthday cake (AP Photo/Sandy Huffaker/Legoland) This weekend’s Maker Faire – the world’s largest DIY festival – offers even more than the usual assortment of artists, tinkers and kid-friendly activities. It’s also a chance to gawk at the world’s largest Lego birthday cake. Legoland is celebrating its 10th birthday by sending its best model makers up to San Mateo’s Expo Center to share their very best Lego-building tips and tricks. (And if you grown-ups are looking for work, Legoland is hiring. Yes, they pay people to play with Legos.) Tickets to the fair are $10-$25.

Posted on Friday, May 29th, 2009
Under: Family Outings | No Comments »

THE Top Zillion Best Reads: Tween Time

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins As we mentioned yesterday, we asked 24 Bay Area book clubs, with members of all ages, to help us assemble a Top 10 list of great summer reads for our A&E section. But some of those clubs, including Storyteller’s dozen-plus groups for kids ages 7 to 18, gave us so many fantastic titles, we just had to share them all. Yesterday, we gave you nine suggestions for teens. Today, we’re moving on to the tween portion of the list. Take a peek, then click “comments” and add your faves too.

GREAT BOOKS FOR TWEENS:
Suzanne Collins “Hunger Games” was insanely popualr with the Lafayette bookstore’s mother-tween book groups – and a sequel, “Catching Fire,” is due out this fall. Story line?
Each year, 24 teenagers — two from each district in the apocalyptic ruins of North America — are forced to compete in the Hunger Games. Only one will make it home again. And every moment will be televised for the teeming, brutal crowds. Imagine a novel that’s equal parts “Running Man,” “Mad Max” and Theseus and the Minotaur.

Also on the list… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, May 29th, 2009
Under: Books | 2 Comments »

THE Top Zillion Best Reads: Teen Edition

If I Stay by Gayle Forman Ah, summer … sacked out with a stack of great books. The only question is, what? So we asked the most prolific readers we know, the members of 24 Bay Area book clubs, to help us assemble a Top 10 list of great summer reads for our Sunday A&E section. But you know, 10 is way too few. And some of these book clubs, including the Not Your Mother’s Book Club for teens and 20somethings, and Storyteller’s dozen-plus groups for kids ages 7 to 18, gave us so many awesome titles, we just had to share them all.

So without further ado, here’s their Top Zillion Favorite Books List for kids, teens and young adults. Browse the list – which we’re arranging by age group and parceling out over the next few days – then click “comments” and add your faves too.
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Posted on Thursday, May 28th, 2009
Under: Books | No Comments »

MIKE TYSON’s Daughter Dies

Mike Tyson (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Tragic news about Mike Tyson‘s 4-year-old daughter, Exodus, who died in a bizarre treadmill accident yesterday. Investigators believe Exodus’ neck became entangled in the loop of a cord hanging from exercise equipment at home. She either slipped or deliberately stuck her head through the loop, without realizing the danger, police said.

Every few weeks, the Consumer Product Safety folks send out a recall notice about window shades with dangling loops, sweatshirts with dangling loops, and assorted other products whose loops dangle, and we roll our eyes and say, what, someone’s going to stick their head through that? But kids do. So take a moment today to send kind thoughts toward the Tyson family, then stroll through your home and look for potential hazards.

Posted on Wednesday, May 27th, 2009
Under: Health & Safety | 11 Comments »