January 12, 2006
Thursday, January 12, 2006
I didn’t have my 6-year-old with me for this review, but I’ll be taking him after the official release on Friday. And I won’t mind seeing “Hoodwinked” for a second time.
Think Little Red Riding Hood, and add a dash of “CSI.” Now sprinkle in a little “Fletch,” “Mission Impossible” and “Charlie’s Angels,” and you have the setting for “Hoodwinked.”
Here’s the plot: There’s been a string of thefts in the forest, and the loot is the local baker’s recipes. Someone, or something, is trying to put all of the bakers out of business, including the Muffin Man, and Granny is tops on the list. So Red embarks on a coming-of-age pilgrimage to Granny’s house with the secret recipes in tow. What follows is a fast-paced, humor-laden account of the crimes and the investigation. Many sides of the story are told, including perspectives from Red, Granny and the Wolf--all backed by a lively soundtrack.
It’s always nice to have a kids’ movie parents can enjoy. And not in the it-was-better-than-I-thought-it-would-be-and-I-actually-stayed-awake way. But more like that-was-a-really-neat-movie-and-I-won’t-mind-buying-the-DVD-and-watching-it-30-or-so-times. Much of the humor will sail right over the heads of younger kids, but there is enough kid eye candy and action sequences they will enjoy. Warning: There is some crude humor and fight sequences toward the end, but nothing, I felt, to worry about. In fact, I found it more subdued than much of what is out there today on TV or in theaters. I recommend this movie for ages 6 and up. My only problem was: Why did they expose the crook two-thirds of the way into the movie? But it still didn’t spoil it for me, and most kids won’t pick up on it. Enjoy. Mike Phillips
Camp and Summer Adventure Fair
“You want to go to camp? And you want to go to sleepover camp? Staying away from me longer than one night with someone else responsible for your health and well-being?” Those were the thoughts I tried to calm when my boys asked about summer camp. Because at the same time I know that summer camp can be a wonderful experience for a child—an experience I wanted my boys to have.
But how do you find a camp? And how do you find a camp where you feel confident about the people who are responsible for your child’s health and well being? Enter the Camp and Summer Adventure Fair, a free event organized by the American Camp Association, Illinois and Chicago Parent magazine on Jan 21-22. Here you can meet directors from more than 80 adventure, day, specialty, academic and special needs camps from the Midwest and across the country. You and your child can ask them any question you might have—from camp philosophy to whether kids sleep in bunk beds or tents.
You may think there is a certain conflict of interest here. After all, I am the editor of Chicago Parent and I am endorsing an event that the magazine sponsors. But, Chicago Parent is sponsoring the event because we believe in it. For two years, I have gone to the event and as a result, my boys have gone to wonderful camps that we might never have thought of if not for the fair. And my boys enjoyed wandering up and down the aisles, as well as playing the games Radio Disney sponsors.
The Camp and Summer Adventure Fair. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Jan 21. Seven Bridges, 6440 Double Eagle Dr., Woodridge. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 22. Marriott Lincolnshire, 10 Marriott Dr., Lincolnshire. (312) 332-0833, www.campandadventurefair.com. Susy Schultz
Product Test Brain Quest Brain Quest is a portable deck of cards with questions and answers to a number of topics that are separated by grade level, and include all sorts of questions on topics such as math and reading.
My kids brought the decks along when we were driving. It was great. For the few things that they didn't seem to know (the questions were very challenging), they enjoyed learning new things. I made sure that the kids were the ones answering the questions, even though they seemed more interested in testing their parents’ knowledge. The cards are portable and handy, and I loved the variety of questions. I would definitely recommend this product. Any game that makes learning fun is well worth it. Kim Johnson, mom of Alex, 10, and Greg, 7, Woodridge. Brain Quest, Workman Publishing, $10.95, is available at most game stores, or through the company Web site, www.brainquest.com, or by calling (800) 722-7202.