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Summertime, and the season is baseball. These perfect books connect with readers and children of all ages for America’s favorite game. Whether you’re a player, a participant or a fervent fan, these terrific tales provide a chance to enjoy!

by Meribeth C. Shank 

Knuckleball Ned

by R. A. Dickey, illustrations by Tim Bowers

Former major league knuckleball pitcher and award winner Dickey has crafted a picture book debut about a ball with limited spin that causes whimsical forward motion. Ned, a nervous baseball isn’t sure how his first day at school will be. But after he wobbles and bumps his way down the aisle on the bus, he makes friends
with Sammy the large softball.
At school the Foul Ball Gang makes fun of him and plays a trick on Ned’s new friend Connie Curveball. All the other balls know who they are – fastballs, sliders, etc. – but Ned hasn’t figured it out yet. Although he does discover he can also float and glide. When he rescues Connie’s shoes from the tree where the Foul Ball Gang has thrown them, he realizes he’s not a knucklehead, he’s Knuckleball Ned and proud.
Bowers uses bright acrylics and cartoon features to distinguish between the kinds of balls, no small feat to keep the story moving with characters that are so similar in shape. The several double page spreads are important for showing significant movement and highlighting critical elements in the text and its climax. This delightful tale is a charming anti-bullying book for youngsters of all ages.

Dial, $17.99 • Interest Level: Pre-Kindergarten – Grade 1
(This book may be purchased from local and online booksellers.)

Beverly Billingsly Can’t Catch

By Alexander Stadler

 Two friends, Beverly and Oliver (both bears), are always chosen last for playing softball, their academic skills and abilities notwithstanding. When they decide to do something to change this humiliating state of affairs, Beverly’s first attempt is not successful. Carlton, the star, declines to teach her saying, “Either you’ve got
it or you don’t.” Fortunately, Beverly doesn’t believe him. When she stops by the library looking to learn how to play, the librarian asks, ”Have you considered practicing?” And then offers to coach them.
Drawing a face on the softball, Mrs. Del Rubio, looking more like a red headed woodpecker than a coach, advises Oliver and Beverly that “Wallace” (the ball with the new face) “can’t stand to touch the ground.” The two buddies practice every chance they have. While neither of the two are stars, the satisfying ending for this engaging story clearly encourages readers that practicing can develop skill.

Harcourt, $16 • Interest Level: Pre-Kindergarten – Grade 2
(This book is available to borrow at the Miami Dade Library: Main Branch, Allapattah, Edison.
Also, may be purchased from local and online booksellers.)

Baseball Hour 

by Carol Nevius, illustrated by Bill Thomson

Poet Nevius’ rhyming text is deftly written and pairs smoothly with artist Thompson’s detail oriented, photo-realistic illustrations for a kid’s version of baseball practice. Beginning with warm-ups, the text spins through throwing and
catching, to batting practice and finally, with players divided into teams, proceeds to a practice game.
The illustrations depict a multicultural group of kids, with close-ups of a cleated foot on the base, stitching on gloves and balls, a determined look on one face, and a surprised look on another face when the ball lands in the mitt. There is power when bat and ball connect, plus a slide toward home, and a tagged out that extends excitement as the game progresses. Teamwork is showcased in this book.
Especially heartwarming is the climactic double-page spread, when “our time is up and practice ends. Arms like spokes, a wheel of friends” demonstrates, in a melding of words with pictures, kids’ hands celebrating in a cooperative pile.

Marshall Cavendish, $16.99 Interest Level: Kindergarten – Grade 2
(This book may be purchased from local and online booksellers.)

Meribeth Shank works in the Media Center at Miami Country Day School, an independent school in Miami Shores, Florida, has taught classes on Writing Books for Children, and earned her MFA in Writing for children from Vermont College. You can also find her on the web: http://meribeths.blogspot.com

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Movie Reviews
By Family Magazine
Family Day on Aragon Movie: “Paddington” Saturday & Sunday, July 13 & 14 • 11am

A very rare bear lost in Paddington Station meets the Brown family & crosses paths with an evil museum taxidermist. $5/pp/includes free popcorn & a drink! Tickets online or at box office. Adjacent parking garage ticket validated at box office. Coral Gables Art Cinema, 260 Aragon Ave. Coral Gables.
786-472-2249. www.gablescinema.com

Spider-Man: Far From Home In Theaters 7/2.
Rated PG-13 (for sci-fi action violence, some language & brief suggestive comments)

Peter Parker (Tom Holland) returns in
Spider-Man: Far From Home! Our friendly neighborhood Super Hero decides to join his best friends on a European vacation.
However, Peter’s plan to leave super heroics behind for a few weeks are quickly scrapped when he begrudgingly agrees to help Nick Fury (Samuel Jackson) uncover the mystery of several elemental creature attacks, creating havoc across the continent!

The Lion King In Theaters July  19
Rated PG (for sequences of violence & peril, & some thematic elements)

From Disney Live Action, director Jon Favreau’s all-new “The Lion King”. the African savanna where a future king is born, Simba. But not everyone in the kingdom celebrates the new cub’s arrival. The battle for Pride Rock is ravaged with betrayal, tragedy & drama, ultimately resulting in Simba’s exile. With help from a curious pair of newfound friends, Simba will have to figure out how to grow up & take back what is rightfully his.

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Movie Reviews
By Family Magazine
The Secret Life Of Pets 2 In Theaters 6/7. Rated PG (for some action & rude humor)

The movie follows summer 2016’s blockbuster about the lives our pets lead after we leave for work or school each day.

Dark Phoenix In Theaters 6/7. Rated PG-13 (for intense sequences of sci-fi violence & action including some gunplay, disturbing images, & brief strong language)

The X-MEN face their most formidable & powerful foe: one of their own, Jean Grey. During a rescue mission in space, Jean is nearly killed when she is hit by a mysterious cosmic force. Once she returns home, this force not only makes her infinitely more powerful, but far more unstable. With Jean spiraling out of control, & hurting the ones she loves most, she begins to unravel the very fabric that holds the X-Men together.

Family Day Movie on Aragon:
“Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” Saturday & Sunday, June 8 & 9

Rick Moranis stars as a preoccupied inventor who just can’t seem to get his electro-magnetic shrinking machine to work. Then, when he accidentally shrinks his kids down to one-quarter-inch tall & tosses them out in the trash, the real adventure begins. Now the kids face incredible dangers as they try to make their way home thru the jungle of their own backyard! A family-friendly tale filled with ingenious set design & special effects. 11am. $5/incl. free popcorn & a drink! 2–5pm. Tickets online or at box office. Adjacent parking garage ticket validated at box office. Coral Gables Art Cinema, 260 Aragon Ave. Coral Gables. 786-472-2249. www.gablescinema.com

Men In Black International In Theaters 6/14. Not Rated

The Men in Black have always protected the Earth from the scum of the universe. In this new adventure, they tackle their biggest, most global threat to date: a mole in the Men in Black organization.

zz

z

z

z

Toy Story 4 In Theaters 6/21. Rated G

Woody (voice of Tom Hanks) has always been confident about his place in the world, and that his priority is taking care of his kid, whether that’s Andy or Bonnie. So when Bonnie’s beloved new craft-project-turned-toy, Forky (voice of Tony Hale), declares himself as “trash” and not a toy, Woody takes it upon himself to show Forky why he should embrace being a toy. But when Bonnie takes the whole gang on her family’s road trip excursion, Woody ends up on an unexpected detour that includes a reunion with his long-lost friend Bo Peep (voice of Annie Potts). After years of being on her own, Bo’s adventurous spirit and life on the road belie her delicate porcelain exterior. As Woody and Bo realize they’re worlds apart when it comes to life as a toy, they soon come to find that’s the least of their worries.

z Burn Your Maps In Theaters 6/21. Rated PG-13 (for thematic elements including some mature sexual material, & brief strong language)

After developing an inexplicable fascination with Mongolia, a young boy (Jacob Tremblay) & his befuddled but supportive parents (Vera Farmiga & Marton Csokas) make a journey there, despite the cracks in their marriage & their disagreements about how to weather their son’s obsession.

z Yesterday In Theaters 6/28. Rated PG-13 (for suggestive content & language)

Jack Malik (Himesh Patel, BBC’s Eastenders) is a struggling singer-songwriter in a tiny English seaside town whose dreams of fame are rapidly fading, despite the fierce devotion & support of his childhood best friend, Ellie (Lily James, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again). Then, after a freak bus accident during a mysterious global blackout, Jack wakes up to discover that The Beatles have never existed… & he finds himself with a very complicated problem, indeed.

z

Superpower Dogs 3D at MODS IMAX Ongoing until February 28, 2020 • Rated G

Experience the life-saving superpowers and extraordinary bravery of some of the world’s most amazing dogs. In this inspiring true story, our best friends are also real-life superheroes. Journey around the globe to meet remarkable dogs who save lives and discover the powerful bond they share with their human partners. Follow Halo, a rookie puppy training to join one of the most elite disaster response teams in America that’s part of the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue team. Meet Henry, an avalanche rescue expert in the Canadian Rockies, Reef, a Newfoundland lifeguard with the Italian coastguard, Ricochet, a Californian surf legend helping people with special needs, and the Bloodhound brothers, Tipper and Tony, who are leading the fight to save endangered species in Africa. As we discover the incredible abilities of dogs and the astonishing science behind their superpowers, we will never look at our best friends the same way again! Adult/$9, Child (2–12)/Military/$7, Child (under 2)/Free. IMAX Theater at Museum of Discovery & Science, 401 SW 2 St. Fort Lauderdale. 954-713-0930. Check days & times at www.mods.org/imax

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The men in these stories are creating memories with their children and grandchildren. They demonstrate that love is active and playful. The love they show is a vital force. It’s an everyday, ordinary investment. Yet, at the same time, it’s a remarkable commitment, demanding gentle strength. These stories celebrate these important men.

by Meribeth C. Shank 

Night Job

by Karen Hesse, Illustrations by G. Brian Karas

A small boy and his dad, wearing helmets, ride a motorcycle through the city streets at dusk to an empty school. The father is the custodian, and together the two work their way around the school, cleaning. Starting with the gym, the boy shoots baskets, while the dad uses the broom. They listen to the radio as they clean the cafeteria, scrub the stage, go back and forth down the hallways. When it’s time, they eat their sandwiches companionably in the courtyard. Afterward, the boy relaxes, reading and then sleeping on the green sofa in the library, until it’s time to ride home in the chill of early morning. At home, the boy cleans out the lunch box, and then readers see the two, snuggling together, asleep on the recliner.

         This storybook is a lovely tribute to the quiet, powerful everyday love between a father and son.

Candlewick Press, $16.99 • Interest Level: Junior Kindergarten – Grade 2
(This book is available to borrow at the Miami Dade Library: North Dade Regional, South Dade Regional. Also, may be purchased from local and online booksellers.)

Raj and the Best Day Ever!

By Sebastien Braun

 Dad and Raj, a tiger and cub, make an exciting list of ideas for their day together, and pack an adventure bag to take with them. As they walk along the busy streets, readers will notice all the characters are anthropomorphized animals. At their first stop, Raj chooses his favorite superhero book at the Library. But, when they get to the checkout desk, Dad discovers he’s forgotten his wallet! Not only does this mean they can’t do at least some of what’s on the list, but it’s begun to rain. “I feel rainy inside, too.” Raj thinks. “This is going to be the WORST DAY EVER.” But then, between the two, imaginations begin to take off; they build a leaf/stick/bark boat to float downstream in the park, they have a picnic rather than stopping at the café. Instead of the bus trip home, Raj wants to fly home on his dad’s back. “A superhero duo!” says Dad.

This vigorously delightful story humorously demonstrates that time spent together is vital.

Candlewick Press, $16.99 • Interest Level: Pre-Kindergarten – Grade 1
(This book is available to borrow at the Miami Dade Library: Miami Beach Regional, West Kendall Regional. Also, may be purchased from local and online booksellers.)

Storm  

by Sam Usher

A boy and his grandad decide to fly a kite when they wake up to a windy morning, whipping up for a storm. But first, they must find the kite. As they search, however, they discover several items that remind them of previous adventures. Meanwhile the wind is blowing and whooshing and howling. Together these set the stage for their kite flying fun. Off to the park, after locating the kite, they gently lift off into a flying fantasy. Varied colors and patterns and shapes of kites fill this imagined sky. But “then I let go!” the boy confesses. Fortunately, Grandad catches the kite’s string, and since a storm is brewing, they “head for home.”

With flashing lightning outdoors, this cozy tale reminds readers that the best adventures are those that are shared.

Candlewick Press, $16.99 • Interest Level: Pre-Kindergarten – Grade 2
(This book may be purchased from local and online booksellers.)

Meribeth Shank works in the Media Center at Miami Country Day School, an independent school in Miami Shores, Florida, has taught classes on Writing Books for Children, and earned her MFA in Writing for children from Vermont College. You can also find her on the web: http://meribeths.blogspot.com

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Moms and grandmas are often heroes – sometimes they are the rescuers, sometimes they need others to help. Whether the families are human or animal, the females are in charge in these sto ries. Their children and grandchildren depend on and celebrate the strong women in their lives.

by Meribeth C. Shank 

Superhero Mom

by Timothy Knapman,  by Joe Berger

The author/illustrator team known for Superhero Dad, sets up readers for the female version with rhyming text that lilts as mom in an early morning leap out of bed keeps moving nearly constantly through the day. Beginning with breakfast (she has to mend the mixer with a screwdriver first), “flying” to catch the bus, and while racing, carrying not only her daughter but the scooter, backpack and coat, too! Playing “super” games on the playground, bandaging an injured knee, creating bath time fun with bubbles, and just in time for bed, locating the missing teddy, are all in a day’s work for this “super mom.”

The flashing colors of the digital illustrations are fittingly bright slashes with stars, polka dots, and stripes to identify the superhero theme. This fast-paced story is an rousing picture book to read in preparation for Mother’s Day.

Candlewick Press, $15.99Interest Level: Pre-Kindergarten – Grade 2
 (This book is available to borrow at the Miami Dade Library: Main Branch, Lemon City, West Dade Regional. Also, may be purchased from local and online booksellers.)

Lucky Ducklings

By Eva Moore, Illustrated by Nancy Carpenter

 Mama Duck and her baby ducks are taking a walk one fine morning from the pond and through the town when “Pippin, Bippin, Tippin, Dippin, and last of all . . . Little Joe,” fall through the grate of a storm drain!

Firefighters are called to the scene of the wild ruckus of quacking ducklings from below and the “Whack! Whack!” of Mama Duck’s frantic noisy attempts to protect her babies from above. Lyrical language, dramatic storytelling and the suspense of the repetitive “Oh dear! That could have been the end of the story. But it wasn’t, because . . . .” combine with large beautiful charcoal and digital media art using varied perspectives to create a warmly satisfying tale.

         Reminiscent of Robert McCloskey’s Make Way for Ducklings, this appropriately shorter story is based on an actual incident that happened in Montauk, Long Island, New York in 2000.

Orchard Books, $16.99 • Interest Level: Junior Kindergarten – Grade 1
(This book is available to borrow at the Miami Dade Library: South Dade Regional, West Dade Regional. Also, may be purchased from online booksellers.)

When the Wind Blows  

by Linda Booth Sweeney, illustrated by Jana Christy

A wild wind is too good to miss for a kite-flying grandson and his grandma. The rhythmic rhymes that show the story are brief and descriptive, just four lines on each double page spread with two-word phrases that capture the frenetic blowing and the delight of the adult/child pair.

Younger listeners will be caught up in the digital paintings with their brilliant jewel-like colors and the movement of the wind as the kite escapes. The family, including the mother and baby, race in a wild chase along the beach and into town where puddles offer jubilant jumping.

As the storm arrives, “Skies darken. Thunder BOOMS. Rain falls. We zoom!” and the family hurries home to safety, snacks, bath time and bed.

Putnam, $16.99 • Interest Level: Pre-Kindergarten – Grade 2
(This book may be purchased from online booksellers.)

Meribeth Shank works in the Media Center at Miami Country Day School, an independent school in Miami Shores, Florida, has taught classes on Writing Books for Children, and earned her MFA in Writing for children from Vermont College. You can also find her on the web: http://meribeths.blogspot.com

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Summertime, and the season is baseball. These perfect books connect with readers and children of all ages for America’s favorite game. Whether you’re a player, a participant or a fervent fan, these terrific tales provide a chance to enjoy!

by Meribeth C. Shank 

Knuckleball Ned

by R. A. Dickey, illustrations by Tim Bowers

Former major league knuckleball pitcher and award winner Dickey has crafted a picture book debut about a ball with limited spin that causes whimsical forward motion. Ned, a nervous baseball isn’t sure how his first day at school will be. But after he wobbles and bumps his way down the aisle on the bus, he makes friends
with Sammy the large softball.
At school the Foul Ball Gang makes fun of him and plays a trick on Ned’s new friend Connie Curveball. All the other balls know who they are – fastballs, sliders, etc. – but Ned hasn’t figured it out yet. Although he does discover he can also float and glide. When he rescues Connie’s shoes from the tree where the Foul Ball Gang has thrown them, he realizes he’s not a knucklehead, he’s Knuckleball Ned and proud.
Bowers uses bright acrylics and cartoon features to distinguish between the kinds of balls, no small feat to keep the story moving with characters that are so similar in shape. The several double page spreads are important for showing significant movement and highlighting critical elements in the text and its climax. This delightful tale is a charming anti-bullying book for youngsters of all ages.

Dial, $17.99 • Interest Level: Pre-Kindergarten – Grade 1
(This book may be purchased from local and online booksellers.)

Beverly Billingsly Can’t Catch

By Alexander Stadler

 Two friends, Beverly and Oliver (both bears), are always chosen last for playing softball, their academic skills and abilities notwithstanding. When they decide to do something to change this humiliating state of affairs, Beverly’s first attempt is not successful. Carlton, the star, declines to teach her saying, “Either you’ve got
it or you don’t.” Fortunately, Beverly doesn’t believe him. When she stops by the library looking to learn how to play, the librarian asks, ”Have you considered practicing?” And then offers to coach them.
Drawing a face on the softball, Mrs. Del Rubio, looking more like a red headed woodpecker than a coach, advises Oliver and Beverly that “Wallace” (the ball with the new face) “can’t stand to touch the ground.” The two buddies practice every chance they have. While neither of the two are stars, the satisfying ending for this engaging story clearly encourages readers that practicing can develop skill.

Harcourt, $16 • Interest Level: Pre-Kindergarten – Grade 2
(This book is available to borrow at the Miami Dade Library: Main Branch, Allapattah, Edison.
Also, may be purchased from local and online booksellers.)

Baseball Hour 

by Carol Nevius, illustrated by Bill Thomson

Poet Nevius’ rhyming text is deftly written and pairs smoothly with artist Thompson’s detail oriented, photo-realistic illustrations for a kid’s version of baseball practice. Beginning with warm-ups, the text spins through throwing and
catching, to batting practice and finally, with players divided into teams, proceeds to a practice game.
The illustrations depict a multicultural group of kids, with close-ups of a cleated foot on the base, stitching on gloves and balls, a determined look on one face, and a surprised look on another face when the ball lands in the mitt. There is power when bat and ball connect, plus a slide toward home, and a tagged out that extends excitement as the game progresses. Teamwork is showcased in this book.
Especially heartwarming is the climactic double-page spread, when “our time is up and practice ends. Arms like spokes, a wheel of friends” demonstrates, in a melding of words with pictures, kids’ hands celebrating in a cooperative pile.

Marshall Cavendish, $16.99 Interest Level: Kindergarten – Grade 2
(This book may be purchased from local and online booksellers.)

Meribeth Shank works in the Media Center at Miami Country Day School, an independent school in Miami Shores, Florida, has taught classes on Writing Books for Children, and earned her MFA in Writing for children from Vermont College. You can also find her on the web: http://meribeths.blogspot.com

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Movie Reviews
By Family Magazine
Family Day on Aragon Movie: “Paddington” Saturday & Sunday, July 13 & 14 • 11am

A very rare bear lost in Paddington Station meets the Brown family & crosses paths with an evil museum taxidermist. $5/pp/includes free popcorn & a drink! Tickets online or at box office. Adjacent parking garage ticket validated at box office. Coral Gables Art Cinema, 260 Aragon Ave. Coral Gables.
786-472-2249. www.gablescinema.com

Spider-Man: Far From Home In Theaters 7/2.
Rated PG-13 (for sci-fi action violence, some language & brief suggestive comments)

Peter Parker (Tom Holland) returns in
Spider-Man: Far From Home! Our friendly neighborhood Super Hero decides to join his best friends on a European vacation.
However, Peter’s plan to leave super heroics behind for a few weeks are quickly scrapped when he begrudgingly agrees to help Nick Fury (Samuel Jackson) uncover the mystery of several elemental creature attacks, creating havoc across the continent!

The Lion King In Theaters July  19
Rated PG (for sequences of violence & peril, & some thematic elements)

From Disney Live Action, director Jon Favreau’s all-new “The Lion King”. the African savanna where a future king is born, Simba. But not everyone in the kingdom celebrates the new cub’s arrival. The battle for Pride Rock is ravaged with betrayal, tragedy & drama, ultimately resulting in Simba’s exile. With help from a curious pair of newfound friends, Simba will have to figure out how to grow up & take back what is rightfully his.

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Movie Reviews
By Family Magazine
The Secret Life Of Pets 2 In Theaters 6/7. Rated PG (for some action & rude humor)

The movie follows summer 2016’s blockbuster about the lives our pets lead after we leave for work or school each day.

Dark Phoenix In Theaters 6/7. Rated PG-13 (for intense sequences of sci-fi violence & action including some gunplay, disturbing images, & brief strong language)

The X-MEN face their most formidable & powerful foe: one of their own, Jean Grey. During a rescue mission in space, Jean is nearly killed when she is hit by a mysterious cosmic force. Once she returns home, this force not only makes her infinitely more powerful, but far more unstable. With Jean spiraling out of control, & hurting the ones she loves most, she begins to unravel the very fabric that holds the X-Men together.

Family Day Movie on Aragon:
“Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” Saturday & Sunday, June 8 & 9

Rick Moranis stars as a preoccupied inventor who just can’t seem to get his electro-magnetic shrinking machine to work. Then, when he accidentally shrinks his kids down to one-quarter-inch tall & tosses them out in the trash, the real adventure begins. Now the kids face incredible dangers as they try to make their way home thru the jungle of their own backyard! A family-friendly tale filled with ingenious set design & special effects. 11am. $5/incl. free popcorn & a drink! 2–5pm. Tickets online or at box office. Adjacent parking garage ticket validated at box office. Coral Gables Art Cinema, 260 Aragon Ave. Coral Gables. 786-472-2249. www.gablescinema.com

Men In Black International In Theaters 6/14. Not Rated

The Men in Black have always protected the Earth from the scum of the universe. In this new adventure, they tackle their biggest, most global threat to date: a mole in the Men in Black organization.

zz

z

z

z

Toy Story 4 In Theaters 6/21. Rated G

Woody (voice of Tom Hanks) has always been confident about his place in the world, and that his priority is taking care of his kid, whether that’s Andy or Bonnie. So when Bonnie’s beloved new craft-project-turned-toy, Forky (voice of Tony Hale), declares himself as “trash” and not a toy, Woody takes it upon himself to show Forky why he should embrace being a toy. But when Bonnie takes the whole gang on her family’s road trip excursion, Woody ends up on an unexpected detour that includes a reunion with his long-lost friend Bo Peep (voice of Annie Potts). After years of being on her own, Bo’s adventurous spirit and life on the road belie her delicate porcelain exterior. As Woody and Bo realize they’re worlds apart when it comes to life as a toy, they soon come to find that’s the least of their worries.

z Burn Your Maps In Theaters 6/21. Rated PG-13 (for thematic elements including some mature sexual material, & brief strong language)

After developing an inexplicable fascination with Mongolia, a young boy (Jacob Tremblay) & his befuddled but supportive parents (Vera Farmiga & Marton Csokas) make a journey there, despite the cracks in their marriage & their disagreements about how to weather their son’s obsession.

z Yesterday In Theaters 6/28. Rated PG-13 (for suggestive content & language)

Jack Malik (Himesh Patel, BBC’s Eastenders) is a struggling singer-songwriter in a tiny English seaside town whose dreams of fame are rapidly fading, despite the fierce devotion & support of his childhood best friend, Ellie (Lily James, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again). Then, after a freak bus accident during a mysterious global blackout, Jack wakes up to discover that The Beatles have never existed… & he finds himself with a very complicated problem, indeed.

z

Superpower Dogs 3D at MODS IMAX Ongoing until February 28, 2020 • Rated G

Experience the life-saving superpowers and extraordinary bravery of some of the world’s most amazing dogs. In this inspiring true story, our best friends are also real-life superheroes. Journey around the globe to meet remarkable dogs who save lives and discover the powerful bond they share with their human partners. Follow Halo, a rookie puppy training to join one of the most elite disaster response teams in America that’s part of the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue team. Meet Henry, an avalanche rescue expert in the Canadian Rockies, Reef, a Newfoundland lifeguard with the Italian coastguard, Ricochet, a Californian surf legend helping people with special needs, and the Bloodhound brothers, Tipper and Tony, who are leading the fight to save endangered species in Africa. As we discover the incredible abilities of dogs and the astonishing science behind their superpowers, we will never look at our best friends the same way again! Adult/$9, Child (2–12)/Military/$7, Child (under 2)/Free. IMAX Theater at Museum of Discovery & Science, 401 SW 2 St. Fort Lauderdale. 954-713-0930. Check days & times at www.mods.org/imax

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The men in these stories are creating memories with their children and grandchildren. They demonstrate that love is active and playful. The love they show is a vital force. It’s an everyday, ordinary investment. Yet, at the same time, it’s a remarkable commitment, demanding gentle strength. These stories celebrate these important men.

by Meribeth C. Shank 

Night Job

by Karen Hesse, Illustrations by G. Brian Karas

A small boy and his dad, wearing helmets, ride a motorcycle through the city streets at dusk to an empty school. The father is the custodian, and together the two work their way around the school, cleaning. Starting with the gym, the boy shoots baskets, while the dad uses the broom. They listen to the radio as they clean the cafeteria, scrub the stage, go back and forth down the hallways. When it’s time, they eat their sandwiches companionably in the courtyard. Afterward, the boy relaxes, reading and then sleeping on the green sofa in the library, until it’s time to ride home in the chill of early morning. At home, the boy cleans out the lunch box, and then readers see the two, snuggling together, asleep on the recliner.

         This storybook is a lovely tribute to the quiet, powerful everyday love between a father and son.

Candlewick Press, $16.99 • Interest Level: Junior Kindergarten – Grade 2
(This book is available to borrow at the Miami Dade Library: North Dade Regional, South Dade Regional. Also, may be purchased from local and online booksellers.)

Raj and the Best Day Ever!

By Sebastien Braun

 Dad and Raj, a tiger and cub, make an exciting list of ideas for their day together, and pack an adventure bag to take with them. As they walk along the busy streets, readers will notice all the characters are anthropomorphized animals. At their first stop, Raj chooses his favorite superhero book at the Library. But, when they get to the checkout desk, Dad discovers he’s forgotten his wallet! Not only does this mean they can’t do at least some of what’s on the list, but it’s begun to rain. “I feel rainy inside, too.” Raj thinks. “This is going to be the WORST DAY EVER.” But then, between the two, imaginations begin to take off; they build a leaf/stick/bark boat to float downstream in the park, they have a picnic rather than stopping at the café. Instead of the bus trip home, Raj wants to fly home on his dad’s back. “A superhero duo!” says Dad.

This vigorously delightful story humorously demonstrates that time spent together is vital.

Candlewick Press, $16.99 • Interest Level: Pre-Kindergarten – Grade 1
(This book is available to borrow at the Miami Dade Library: Miami Beach Regional, West Kendall Regional. Also, may be purchased from local and online booksellers.)

Storm  

by Sam Usher

A boy and his grandad decide to fly a kite when they wake up to a windy morning, whipping up for a storm. But first, they must find the kite. As they search, however, they discover several items that remind them of previous adventures. Meanwhile the wind is blowing and whooshing and howling. Together these set the stage for their kite flying fun. Off to the park, after locating the kite, they gently lift off into a flying fantasy. Varied colors and patterns and shapes of kites fill this imagined sky. But “then I let go!” the boy confesses. Fortunately, Grandad catches the kite’s string, and since a storm is brewing, they “head for home.”

With flashing lightning outdoors, this cozy tale reminds readers that the best adventures are those that are shared.

Candlewick Press, $16.99 • Interest Level: Pre-Kindergarten – Grade 2
(This book may be purchased from local and online booksellers.)

Meribeth Shank works in the Media Center at Miami Country Day School, an independent school in Miami Shores, Florida, has taught classes on Writing Books for Children, and earned her MFA in Writing for children from Vermont College. You can also find her on the web: http://meribeths.blogspot.com

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Movie Reviews
By Family Magazine
Pokémon Detective Pikachu In Theaters 5/10. PG (for action/peril, some rude & suggestive humor, & thematic elements)

The story begins when ace detective Harry Goodman goes mysteriously missing, prompting his 21-year-old son Tim to find out what happened. Aiding in the investigation is Harry’s former Pokémon partner, Detective Pikachu: a hilariously wise-cracking, adorable super-sleuth who is a puzzlement even to himself. Chasing clues together they uncover a shocking plot that could threaten the whole Pokémon universe.

Booksmart In Theaters 5/24. Not rated

Two academic superstars & best friends who, on the eve of their high school graduation, suddenly realize that they should have worked less & played more. Determined never to fall short of their peers, the girls set out on a mission to cram 4 years of fun into one night. Directed by Olivia Wilde & stars Lisa Kudrow.

Family Day on Aragon Movie: “Tito & the Birds” Saturday & Sunday, May 11 & 12

Shy, 10-year-old Tito lives in Brazil with his single mother. After an unusual epidemic spreads, Tito discovers the cure is somehow related to his missing father’s research on bird song and embarks on a brave journey to save the world & possibly reunite with his long, lost father.
Featuring dazzling animation comprised of oil paintings, digital drawings & graphics. 11am. $5/pp/incl. free popcorn & a drink! Suitable for ages 11&up. Tickets online or at box office. Adjacent parking garage ticket validated at box office. Coral Gables Art Cinema, 260 Aragon Ave. Coral Gables. 786-472-2249. www.gablescinema.com

Shaun The Sheep 2: Farmageddon In Theaters 5/15. Not rated

A British stop-motion animated sci-fi comedy film based on the television series. The story focuses on Shaun & the flock, as they encounter a cute alien with extraordinary powers, who crash lands near Mossy Bottom Farm, & they will soon have to find a way to return her home in order to prevent an alien invasion called Farmageddon.

Aladdin In Theaters 5/24. Not rated

A musical fantasy film directed by Guy Ritchie & produced by Walt Disney Pictures. It is a live-action remake of Disney’s 1992 animated film of the same name. An exciting tale of the charming street rat Aladdin, the courageous & self-determined Princess Jasmine & the Genie who may be the key to their future. The film stars Mena Massoud as the charming scoundrel Aladdin, alongside Will Smith as Genie.

Speaking Sustainably Film Series Deering Estate Visitor Center Theatre • Wednesday, May 29

Screening of “Fishing the Flats for Science.” Scientists, together with their academic partners, conduct a number of research projects to better understand the movements, habitats, & spawning behaviors of bonefish, tarpon, & permit. Reception: 7pm w/light snacks & beverages, Screening: 7:30pm. Q&A w/experts & production crew after film. Free. 16701 SW 72 Ave. Miami. 305-235-1668×233. Register at www.eventbrite.com/e/screening-of-fishing-the-flats-for-science

UglyDolls In Theaters 5/3. Rated PG (for thematic elements & brief action)

In the adorably different town of Uglyville, weird is celebrated, strange is special & beauty is embraced as more than simply meets the eye. Here, the free-spirited Moxy (Kelly Clarkson) & her UglyDoll friends live every day in a whirlwind of bliss, letting their freak flags fly in a celebration of life & its endless possibilities. In this all-new story, the UglyDolls will go on a journey beyond the comfortable borders of Uglyville. There, they will confront what it means to be different, struggle with their desire to be loved, & ultimately discover that you don’t have to be perfect to be amazing because who you truly are is what matters most.

Superpower Dogs 3D at MODS IMAX

Opening April 27–February 28, 2020 Rated G

Experience the life-saving superpowers and extraordinary bravery of some of the world’s most amazing dogs. In this inspiring true story, our best friends are also real-life superheroes. Journey around the globe to meet remarkable dogs who save lives and discover the powerful bond they share with their human partners. Follow Halo, a rookie puppy training to join one of the most elite disaster response teams in America that’s part of the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue team. Meet Henry, an avalanche rescue expert in the Canadian Rockies, Reef, a Newfoundland lifeguard with the Italian coastguard, Ricochet, a Californian surf legend helping people with special needs, and the Bloodhound brothers, Tipper and Tony, who are leading the fight to save endangered species in Africa. As we discover the incredible abilities of dogs and the astonishing science behind their superpowers, we will never look at our best friends the same way again! Adult/$9, Child(2–12)/Military/$7, Child(under 2)/Free. IMAX Theater at Museum of Discovery & Science, 401 SW 2 St. Fort Lauderdale. 954-713-0930. Check days & times at www.mods.org/imax

Brightburn In Theaters 5/24. Not rated

What if a child from another world crash-landed on Earth, but instead of becoming a hero to mankind, he proved to be something far more sinister? The cast: Elizabeth Banks, David Denman, Jackson Dunn, Matt Jones & others.

Sesame Street: Awesome Alphabet Collection On DVD & Digital Download 5/7. Not Rated

Highlights include classics “The Beetles Perform Letter B” & “C is for Cookie,” animations, pop culture parodies, & favorite segments from recent seasons. Exploring the alphabet alongside their furry friends is an all-star lineup of celebrity guests. Norah Jones duets with the letter Y, Tori Kelly tries a little kindness, & Pharrell Williams belts it out for the letter B. Maya Angelou stops by to talk hugs, Sheryl Crow helps “I” soak up some sun, & Ricky Gervais tries singing a lullaby to a sleepy Elmo. Runtime is 2hrs. This title is available for preorder at Amazon.com, Walmart.com, & other e-retailers. Enter to win this DVD on Family Magazine’s Facebook page.

Godzilla: King Of The Monsters In Theaters 5/31. PG-13 (for sequences of monster action violence & destruction, & for some language)

The new story follows the heroic efforts of the crypto zoological agency Monarch as its members face off against a battery of god-sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan, & his ultimate nemesis, the three-headed King Ghidorah. When these ancient super-species, thought to be mere myths, rise again, they all vie for supremacy, leaving humanity’s very existence hanging in the balance.

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