Kids Movies: See "Paper Planes" and More at TIFF this Easter Weekend

Thursday March 24, 2016

I've been busy pouring over the programming for TIFF Kids 2016, which starts on April 8. There are a ton of great-sounding new films I'm excited about seeing, but I'm also thrilled to see that Toronto families will get two more chances to see one of my favourite films from last year's festival.

Paper Planes is a 2014 Australian film directed by Robert Connolly and starring Ed Oxenbould as Dylan, an 11-year-old dealing not only with his mother's death, but with his father's debilitating grief. Discovering competitive paper plane flying gives Dylan somewhere to focus his energy and a way to to make new friends; which at first only drives he and his dad (Sam Worthington) further apart.

I usually only take Steve to two or three TIFF Kids movies a year, so I always hope they'll turn out to be good ones. He came with me to Paper Planes and we both thought it was a wonderful family film. I highly recommend checking it out this weekend if you get the chance.

Of course also showing this weekend is Minuscule: Valley of the Lost Ants. This happens to be another one Steve and I saw together and both really enjoyed; it's an endearing film without dialogue that mixes animated insect characters with real-world footage. Another great choice!

Paper Planes also gets bonus points for introducing Steve and I to Dami Im's cover of "Beauty in the World," which is a song that never fails to make me happy. If you're going to see the film, better to experience it fresh. But if you won't be going to Paper Planes, well, here's this:

Upcoming TIFF Kids Screenings

Paper Planes runs 96 minutes and was recommended for ages 8-12 by last year's TIFF Kids program. It and all of the TIFF Kids Easter Weekend selections - which include two collections of short films - screen once on Friday March 25th and again on Monday March 28th.


Connect Online: Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Wattpad | Goodreads | Google+

Little Free Libraries: Share What You Love, Or Give Away What You Don't Want?

Sunday March 20th, 2016

Yesterday I read a fun article on The Varsity Newspaper website that reviews the contents of several Little Free Library boxes in Toronto. Writer Lisa Power wonders what the box contents tell us about Torontonians, but of course as Power herself admits, the contents could really just indicate which books the locals most wanted to get rid of.

So when we took a nice Sunday walk in the park (this was the International Day of Happiness, after all), we checked in at a local Little Free Library to see what the contents had to say. Which was mostly that it's time for me to round up a few contributions!

Maybe this says we love our books too much to give away?

I don't know if most people really do use Little Free Libraries to read-and-return, or if they tend to keep what they like and leave other books to replace them (or maybe never return OR replace, based on these shelves). We do a little mix of both - I've definitely read and returned, and right now I have one "out on loan", but I also have an LFL find that's found a new forever home on my shelf (dutifully replaced!).

But then there's the question of how to choose which books to restock with. Based on past inventories in this particular box, it seems like a fairly even mix of books people loved and wanted to share, and others that they just wanted to get off their shelves. But who knows - one person's trashy read is another's literary treasure, so maybe I'm reading the shelf contents all wrong (I actually suspect the non-fiction nature book I was so excited to keep was one that the previous owner felt was just taking up space).

Do you have a Little Free Library near you? Do you read and return, or keep and restock? And how do you choose which of your books to release into the world?

Connect Online: Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Tumblr | Wattpad | Goodreads | Google+

Introducing the Wobbly Cats

Tuesday March 01, 2016

In November we adopted two kittens from the North Toronto Cat Rescue, bringing our household cat total to three. This is Charlotte:

And this is her brother Rubin:

They both have cerebellar hypoplasia (CH), aka Wobbly Cat Syndrome, as described in Charlotte's video. Expect them to make occasional appearances here on the blog, especially as we learn more about CH or I get more video of them being adorable and/or ridiculous.

(For the record, 16-year old tuxedo cat Gadget retains his seniority around this place, and is so far tolerating his new companions with only mild annoyance and even fleeting affection.)

Connect Online: Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Tumblr | Wattpad | Goodreads | Google+