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Tell Us Your Favorite Family Films
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What could smelly sneakers, forbidden romance and an old lipstick have in common? You'll have to watch Holes -- a smart movie based on a best-selling book by Louis Sachar -- to find out. Sachar, an author who kids adore, unleashes two plots in Holes: The first is about mild-mannered adolescent Stanley Yelnats, who is sent to juvenile detention camp after he's wrongly accused of stealing a valuable pair of sneakers. The second plot, set in the Old West, revolves around a gun-toting outlaw named Kissing Kate, who leaves her brazen signature, a scarlet kiss, at every hold-up. At first, the two plots operate on different planes. It seems a sure bet that Stanley will get eaten alive by all the rougher, tougher kids at Juvie, but when he teams up with Zero, a quiet-but-savvy partner, the two boys set a generations-old saga, involving Kissin' Kate, into motion. Our kids were transfixed by a plot where the past and present collide in an unusual film that looks and feels adult, but is aimed right at the hearts and minds of pre-teens.
It's easy to overlook clues to the past in your own backyard, so when we heard that a local museum had a replicated pit where kids dig for ancient artifacts we had to check it out. Young participants get a grip, literally, on history, when they get their hands dirty digging up replicated artifacts from the Middle East. Searching for household artifacts in the sand stimulated our daughter, and pulling shards out of the dirt made her positively gleeful. The link between past and present became very real for our young one, who unearthed a pottery fragment that she tentatively identified, with help, as a kitchen tool, possibly from an olive oil press. She enjoyed this experience so much that she asked to do it a second time, the best "two thumbs-up" possible from a kid. Israelites, Hittites, and even cuneiform writing all made their way to our dinner table chat, all from a young lady bursting with pride in her own knowledge.
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Time Allotment: a morning or afternoon
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