5 Questions with Judith Viorst

Judith Viorst

(previous interviews in this series can be found here.)

Welcome to another installment of 5 Questions with a 5-Year-Old. Today, Zoey chats with Judith Viorst, the legendary children’s author who wrote–among many many other books–Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

Zoey had the opportunity to sit and chat with Ms. Viorst during her appearance at this year’s National Book Festival in Washington, DC.

She prepared for her interview by voraciously reading (i.e., listening to me read) nearly a dozen of Judith Viorst’s books, each and every one of which she loved. She was already familiar with the Alexander books–particularly the original, since I still have my childhood copy and have read it to her numerous times before.

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Cirque du Soleil: Varekai

Varekai

(Varekai is currently playing at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia through Sunday, September 14. Buy tickets here.)

It’s no secret that the Roarbots love Cirque du Soleil. We’ve see eight different shows and recently had the amazing opportunity to tour the International Headquarters in Montreal. If you haven’t read our trip report from that tour, make sure you go and do that right now.

Go ahead. We’ll wait for you.

Whereas other groups try to cash in by using the word cirque in their name but end up delivering mixed results of varying quality, Cirque du Soleil is the original. They’re who those other guys are mimicking, and they consistently deliver stellar performances of the highest quality possible.

Varekai is no different.

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5 Questions with Kate DiCamillo

Kate DiCamillo

(previous interviews in this series can be found here.)

Welcome to another installment of 5 Questions with a 5-Year-Old. Today, Zoey chats with Kate DiCamillo, the recently named 2014-15 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature by the Library of Congress, winner of the 2004 Newbery Medal for The Tale of Despereaux, winner of the 2014 Newbery Medal for Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures, and, oh yeah, author of a long list of amazing books.

Zoey knows her best from the The Tale of Despereaux (which she has listened to several times on audiobook) and the Mercy Watson and Bink & Gollie series of chapter books.

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Upcoming: Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy

cirque dreams

It’s no secret that the Roarbots are fans of acrobatics and the whole “artistic circus” genre. (See our tour of Cirque du Soleil’s International Headquarters here.)

Cirque Dreams is in this same category and has been around since 1993, entertaining audiences around the world in theatres, casinos, theme parks, and at sea on cruise lines. They have a number of different performances touring at any one time.

Their newest show is called Jungle Fantasy and is currently touring the United States. Created and directed by theatrical and circus impresario Neil Goldberg, Jungle Fantasy is an exotic encounter inspired by nature’s unpredictable creations that are brought to life by an international cast of soaring aerialists, spine-bending contortionists, acrobats, jugglers and musicians.

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Upcoming: LEGO KidsFest & Giveaway

Lego KidsFest

Now here’s an event we’ve been looking forward to. The LEGO KidsFest will be held from October 3-5 at the Richmond Convention Center in Richmond, VA.

The show floor is an astounding three acres of LEGO awesomeness and will include a LEGO Model Museum, a Master Builder Academy, Race Ramps, Creation Nation, Construction Zone, a retail store, and the tantalizingly named Big Brick Pile.

Exhibits and activities will represent the wide variety of LEGO lines–Star Wars, Super Heroes, Ninjago, Mindstorms, Friends, Disney Princess, and Duplo–so there’s sure to be something for everyone, regardless of age or ability.

Richmond will be the tour’s second-to-last stop for 2014 (it moves on to Indianapolis next), and I can tell you that we’re waiting for this one with baited breath.

LEGO KidsFest tickets are $22 for adults and $20 for children, and they can be purchased online at legokidsfest.com.

Click this link and enter to win two tickets to the opening night session (4-8:30 pm) on Friday, Oct 3! Good luck, and thanks for playing!

5 Questions with a Polar Bear Keeper

IMG_5281

(previous interviews in this series can be found here.)

Welcome to another installment of 5 Questions with a 5-Year-Old. Today, Zoey chats with Marie-Josée Côté, one of the zookeepers (and the one in charge of the polar bears) at Zoo Sauvage de St-Félicien. See The Roarbots review of the zoo here.

Zoey is in love with polar bears. Her favorite stuffed animal in the world is a little polar bear, and she takes it with her everywhere. It’s literally been around the world since Zoey took it along to China and Japan….and now Canada!

Our local zoo–the National Zoo in Washington, DC–sadly doesn’t have any polar bears. Therefore, Zoey was beyond excited when she got to see a real, live polar bear while visiting Zoo Sauvage in Quebec.

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Upcoming: National Book Festival

National Book Festival

The Library of Congress National Book Festival is one of the best events in Washington, DC. It’s a Mecca for book nerds that also happens to be a fantastic event for kids.

This year marks the 14th year of the festival (that was originally founded by Laura Bush) but the first year that it won’t be held outdoors on the National Mall. Having the festival on the Mall was always a mixed bag. On the one hand, the location can’t be beat. Checking out your favorite authors in the shadow of the Smithsonian and Washington Monument is just awesome.

However, you also have to compete with the weather. Sometimes it rains. More often than not, it’s just ungodly hot and humid (this is DC, after all). This year, the event will be held indoors at the Washington Convention Center. Ahh, air conditioning.

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The National Toy Train Museum

National Toy Train Museum

To coincide with my post about the Choo Choo Barn, I thought I’d just talk about the National Toy Train Museum at the same time. Both are located in Strasburg, PA, which is just a short drive from Lancaster and is filled to the brim with train-related goodies.

The two museums share a common enthusiasm (they’re both lovingly devoted to the world of model railroading), but they have different missions. Whereas the Choo Choo Barn is a presentation of what model railroading looks like, the National Toy Train Museum is dedicated to sharing how the hobby was born, presenting the history of its growth, and reveling in the obvious joy its curators take from this pastime.

Bonus: they’re only about a mile apart, so there’s really no reason not to visit both of them.

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The Choo Choo Barn

Choo Choo Barn

The area around Lancaster, PA, has no shortage of stuff to do with the little ones. We recently spent a weekend in the area and devoted most of a day to the wonderful world of trains. Strasburg, PA, about 15 minutes to the southeast of Lancaster, is also known as Traintown, USA.

And for good reason. It’s home to the Strasburg Railroad, the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, the National Toy Train Museum, the Choo Choo Barn, and the incredible Red Caboose Motel.

The adorably named Choo Choo Barn certainly lives up to the cuteness of its name. Located just down the street from the Strasburg Railroad, the Choo Choo Barn is essentially an enormous model train layout.

It’s every little boy’s fantasy. At 1,700 square feet and with 22 operating trains, it certainly puts my childhood model train layout to shame.

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The Muppets Take Manhattan

The Muppets Take Manhattan

“Hey, I tell you what is. Big city, hmm? Live, work, huh? But not city only. Only peoples. Peoples is peoples. No is buildings. Is tomatoes, huh? Is peoples, is dancing, is music, is potatoes. So, peoples is peoples.”

This review is part of the 1984-a-thon, a collaborative multi-blog effort to review one of the best years of film: 1984.

Let’s begin by saying that it’s impossible to top The Muppet Movie. There just aren’t enough adjectives to do it justice. It’s one of the most enduring children’s movies of all time. Hyperbole? Not if you’ve seen it. It’s so close to perfection that the difference is negligible.

It may be impossible to top, but that doesn’t stop the machine. Indeed, there have been seven subsequent theatrical films. Some were good; some not so much. For my money, though, only The Muppets Take Manhattan comes close to being truly great.

The Muppets Take Manhattan closes out the original Muppets trilogy and marks the last feature film with Jim Henson’s direct involvement. It’s his swan song with the characters he created, and it’s the last Muppets film that should be required viewing.

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