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Category Archive: ADULT BOOKS

Jan
13

Shakespeare Can Be Fun! is a very fun series for kids.

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Shakespeare for children?  Anon! (“Anon,” is often used by Shakespeare to mean “in short a short time, soon.”  )  In one of my ambitious moments, I thought it would be great fun to read scenes from Romeo and Juliet out loud with my kids.  Hysterics ensued every time the word “anon” appeared, followed by  “What …

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Jan
04

Worth the purchase? Mother-Tween book club’s verdict on Hugo Cabret

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The Invention of Hugo Cabret is a thick hardcover book, and it cost me $27.95 CAD at the bookstore. Rarely do I fork out that much money on children’s books, especially one that consists of about 50% illustrations. My kids convinced me to take the plunge, because we’re on a “read the book, see the …

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Dec
20

Help! Five ideas to keep you and the kids entertained over winter break

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Winter break can be a stressful time for many parents. When it’s freezing cold outside and the kids are off school, what’s a parent to do?  Being stuck at home doesn’t have to mean endless hours of electronic games and TV. Here are some stress-free ideas to keep you and the kids entertained on those …

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Dec
14

Four Educational gifts adults and kids will love

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If you’re looking for a gift that is brainy and entertaining, here are  four  recommendations for a variety of ages that are sure to please. WISE ALEC. I love Trivia games, but it’s difficult to find one that levels the playing field so everyone in the family can play. Wise Alec makes it easy to …

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Dec
12

Read it, watch it, discuss it! PART TWO: Pinocchio

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Disney’s movie version of Pinnochio is so ubiquitous and celebrated, it’s easy to overlook the book’s existence.  I recently stumbled across the book, “Pinocchio” by Carlo Collodi, and it is an absolute gem. “Once upon there was …”A king?” did I hear you cry?  But if you did cry “king,”children, you were wrong.  Because once …

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Dec
07

Read it, watch it, discuss it! Bonding over books and movies. PART ONE.

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Tell me, what’s better than snuggling on a couch with the kids and a favourite book?  Maybe snuggling on a couch together to watch that book on film?  Or seeing that book performed live on stage?  Okay, I can’t choose.  So, why not have it all? Why not kick up my parent-kids book club a …

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Dec
02

Funniest holiday book ever: Lemony Snicket’s “The Latke who couldn’t stop screaming: A Christmas Story.”

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Hannukah is not Jewish Christmas.   This is difficult to explain, because Hannukah usually falls in December. (The date varies, since Jewish holidays follow the lunar calendar.)  During Hannukah, it is customary to exchange gifts.  Oh, and Hannukah is also called, “The Festival of Lights.”  Confused?  Afraid to ask? A latke is a potato pancake …

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Nov
16

Jazz is for kids: No smoky lounges or late hours required.

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It’s funny how Jazz is the “R” rated music. Must be the sexy saxophone, or the sultry singers lying on the piano that are responsible for this image.  (Remember Michelle Pfeiffer in the Fabulous Baker Boys?)  Smoky, jazz-infused lounges with patrons in dark sunglasses  doesn’t exactly promote a child-friendly image. Woody Allen plays jazzy clarinet …

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Nov
13

Mother-tween book club showdown: THE HELP VS. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD.

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On the heels of our first mother-tween meeting on “To Kill A Mockinbird,” my daughter suggested we read “The Help.” It seemed like a logical choice, since both books deal with civil rights and with deep-seeded racism in the Southern states. My daughter finished “The Help” and announced, “Mom, this book is awesome!  It’s even …

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Nov
07

Learn, laugh, and cry with NON-FICTION that flows like fiction. For real! For you and the kids.

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“Non-fiction” needs an image makeover. Let’s start with the name: “Non-fiction.”  How would you like to be described by something that you’re not?  Imagine:  “Meet my daughter, Exciting, and my other daughter, Non-exciting.” We don’t call books that are not mysteries, “non-mysteries,” so why apply “non-fiction” to such a vast array of topics and writing? …

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Nov
01

READ TO ME! Audible.com lets you and your kids listen to books any time, anywhere.

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Problem #1: You’re at the gym at the 15 minute mark on the elliptical, desperate for a distraction that will take away the tedium.  The magazine in front of you just isn’t cutting it, and what’s worse you’re getting blurry-eyed from trying to read while bobbing up and down. Problem #2:  You’re stuck in the …

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Oct
31

Harry Houdini died on Halloween, but his mystique lives. Relive the magic in these books: One for the kids, and one for you.

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Harry Houdini continues to fascinate, 85 years after his death on Halloween.  Considered the greatest escape artist of all time, there was not a lock he could not unfasten.  He was bound up with chains and handcuffs and dropped into rivers and lakes, but he escaped every time. Houdini was the greatest performer of his …

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Oct
28

Top 5 movies based on books that won’t disappoint. Is that possible?

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I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been disappointed by a movie based on a book. Two words: BARNEY’s VERSION. I mean “A” for effort, but the movie doesn’t even come close to Mordecai Richler’s witty and touching voice.   I liked that book way too much, and I set my expectations too …

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Oct
24

All roads lead to Paris: The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein

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Between the first and second world wars, Gertrude Stein’s apartment at 27 rue de Fleurus was the place to schmooze for painters and writers.  Picasso (a close friend of Stein’s), Matisse, Cezanne, and Hemingway comprise some of the regulars that came round to eat, drink, and talk about life and art.  A pioneer collector of “modern” …

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Oct
15

Fall into Reading 2011 Challenge

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Because we all sometimes need a little challenge to keep us motivated and in top form, I really like the idea of a “Reading Challenge.” This one comes courtesy of Callapidder Days, and runs until Dec. 21st.  I missed the deadline to sign up in September, but no matter.  You can still sign up on [...]

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Oct
11

Two scary reads for October: Be afraid, be very afraid!

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With Halloween just around the corner, I thought it was time to feature two books that have chilled me to the bone.  Mwahahaha!  Both books are non-fiction, because sometimes the truth is scarier than fiction.

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erick Larson is set [...]

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Oct
09

Project #4: The Mother-Tween Book Club

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Now that my daughter is a tween, I figure we can finally read some of the same books.   I told her that it would be our private book club, and that when we had both finished the book we would go out on a dinner date to discuss.  I am so excited!!  Finding a [...]

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Sep
30

EAST OF EDEN by John Steinbeck

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East of Eden has to be one of my favourite books.  I am a John Steinbeck fan, almost in spite of myself.  Descriptive writing about the Salinas Valley in California is not my cup of tea, but  in the hands of Steinbeck it’s different.  He is a master of combining the poetic, plot, and character development. …

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Sep
21

Apostrophe neglect

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Last night my daughter received an evite to a birthday party.  She was very excited, but I cringed inside when I read the invitation.  ”YOUR INVITED!”  Is it my invited?  His invited?  Our invited? Of course, I didn’t react or mention anything to my daughter.  Inside, I was cringing and itching to scream!   Poor …

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