Articles


Gifts that unleash a kid’s unruly imagination

By Merrilee Witherell

I’m a librarian, so naturally I encourage people to use their public and school libraries. Some books, however, are meant to be purchased rather than borrowed, and what better time than the holiday gift-giving season to take a closer look at those.

 

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Parents can study up for conferences with teachers

By Merrilee Witherell

It’s almost time for parent-teacher conferences. Next to the tango, there is no dance more fraught with peril. How can parents make the best use of their brief time with their child’s teacher? Several scholars, educators and parents have put their minds to topics that come up during these conversations and have written books that can inform parents who have questions.

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Kids can enjoy some scares with fall reading

By Merilee Witherell

To me, Halloween is about not candy but suspense: the anticipation of a magical night, a transformative costume, and the thrill of being scared. This suspense can be heightened by reading books whose mood matches the season.

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Books can offer information, and even some humor

By Merrilee Witherell

After the initial shock, joy and other emotions expectant parents experience, they find that when it

comes to pregnancy and childbirth, they know pretty much nothing.

 

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Books inspire excursions in nature

By Merrilee Witherell

Sharing nature with your child can be a way to bond, spend meaningful time together and pass your respect and love for the natural world on to the next generation.

 

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Books can help kids grieve and heal

By Merrilee Witherell

As adults, we know that death and dying are an unavoidable part of life. Children, however, may struggle with both the concept of death and the grieving process.

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Lovely illustrations grace books about Christmas and more

By Merrilee Witherell

Shake up your holiday traditions this year with children’s books that greet the holidays in a style all their own.

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A Collection of NAPPA winners

By Julie Kertes Deciding

Whether a toy, book, game or album will make a good holiday gift can be a daunting task involving a taxing list of questions. Is it made well? It is age appropriate? Will it last? Will the child like it? Most importantly, is it fun?

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Lure reluctant readers with enticing choices

By Marrilee Witherell

School-year busyness sometimes gets in the way of students’ interest in leisure reading (or daily reading required by teachers, which is not exactly the same thing).

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Books that put parenting into perspective

By Reid Sullivan

No other role has challenged me as much as being a parent, and for no other position have I been as poorly prepared. Because, really, how do you prepare for your child’s first public tantrum? Are you ever ready to meet children’s constantly changing needs or answer their unanswerable questions?

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There’s something for every level of reader

By Margaret Portier

What are graphic novels and why should your children read them? A graphic novel is a book-length comic book; it uses words and sequential artwork to tell a story. (Manga is simply the Japanese word for “comic” and describes a style of art that originated in Japan.)

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Vote on this year's SALTY People's Choice Awards.

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The latest pup-filled releases and more

By Bill Delapp

Pooch power is evident in the latest round of DVD releases. Topping the list is a double-disc “platinum edition” of 101 Dalmatians (Walt Disney Home Entertainment; G), the 1961 animated feature that’s been spruced up with a colorful restoration. Plenty of extras grace the package, such as the jaw-dropping factoid that Disney himself wasn’t a fan of the film’s modernist animation, which went against his fondness for lushly traditional cartooning.

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Video reviews

By Bill DeLapp

It seems that the 2007 holiday hype first kicked into gear just after Labor Day, while all-yuletide radio formats commenced on some stations just minutes following Halloween’s Snickers haul. But now viewers should be more in the mood to gather around the boob-tube hearth for a Christmas-y video, and that worn-out tape of a burning yule log just won’t do. To the DVD rescue comes a Santa’s bag jammed with older faves and recent treats, as well as new wrinkles on a certain Charles Dickens warhorse. (Many of these videos, incidentally, are already on store shelves.)

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Neal Pollack's memoir describes a new kind of father.

By Jon Dufort

As my son’s due date approached, I felt like I was cramming for the ultimate pop quiz. I grasped at anything that promised to calm my nerves, allay my insecurities and prepare me to be the perfect father.

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By Bill DeLapp

Elsewhere in this issue, Alan and Kelly Taylor are encouraging families to set aside some together time by occasionally shutting off the television, a laudable ambition to be sure. But when you’re in the mood to fire up that boob tube, there’s probably no better family flick around than Charlotte’s Web (Paramount Home Entertainment; PG; April 3), one of two recent yuletide releases ready for their home-video close-up this month. Animatronic critters inhabit this adaptation of E.B. White’s barnyard classic, with timeless themes concerning life and death intact, and nice voice work from Julia Roberts as the web-slinging Charlotte and Steve Buscemi as Templeton the rat. Kids will eat up this one, while some adults are bound to get a little misty toward the end.

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The Disney archives offer a cornucopia of classic treats on DVD

By Bill DeLapp

When the Disney Channel premiered as a pay-cable network in April 1983, it had a veritable smorgasbord of programming at its fingertips. There were documentaries, dramas and comedies that aired during the long-running Wonderful World of Color TV anthology, as well as animated short subjects from the 1930s to 1950s, such as raconteur-author George Plimpton serving as the tongue-in-cheek host for Mouseterpiece Theater. By the time the network moved into the basic-cable realm, however, the Disney classics were slowly being phased out in favor of newer tween-age series, starting with a revamped Mickey Mouse Club with juvenile talents Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears, and followed later with kid-oriented sitcoms including Lizzie McGuire and That’s So Raven.

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Lullaby versions of rock bands’ music aim to help babies go down

By Nathan Turk

Putting kids to bed can be hard work, but the numerous lullaby CDs on the market today suggest we don’t have to wage the battle alone. Baby Rock Records offers what’s probably the hippest of bedtime music options with its Rockabye Baby! series. Tunes by the likes of U2, Pink Floyd and Coldplay—and even more typically thundering groups like Nirvana and Metallica—take the form of surprisingly non-cheesy instrumentals meant to usher your mini-rocker into slumberville.


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By Bill DeLapp

The new year means catching up on video releases that swamped store shelves during the holidays, yielding a veritable smorgasbord of treats. The December bumper crop issued by Walt Disney Home Entertainment weighed anchor with Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, Johnny Depp’s mega-successful pirate flick and the second salvo in the yo-ho-ho trilogy set for its grand finale next summer. The PG-13 outing is available in single- and double-disc packages.

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