Arts & Entertainment
"Mars Attacks," "Space Jam" good movies
"Mars Attacks" is my favorite movie.
It's about these aliens come and invade earth and these army men
try to stop the aliens. My favorite part is when the alien says "We come in
peace" and shoots the building.
The second movie I like is "Space Jam." It's about these aliens who
capture the Looney Toons. The Looney Toons challenge aliens to a basketball
game because the Looney Toons secretly write a rule that says give them a
chance to defend themselves. The deal is if the Looney Toons win, they're
free. If the aliens win, the Looney Toons are prisoners.
You'll have to see the movie to find out who wins. I'm telling you,
the money is worth it. You'll regret it if you don't see this movie. I mean
--Jin-Jay Chang, Grade 3
Star Wars Review
The new edition of Star Wars turned out very good. It is
When Obi-Wan Kenobi gives Luke the lightsaber, you get to see
The movie "Mars Attacks" turned out to be a success. I
thought it was a good movie.
The Martians were well made. They looked almost real. It was funny.
Though it wasn't for children, Mars Attacks toys have been made and Mars
Attacks books and posters, all for children. The movie was created by
well-known Tim Burton, creator of "Nightmare Before Christmas" and
"Beetlejuice." It is rated PG-13. It's a "worth it" movie.
--Brian Alfrey, Grade 3
Liked the play
I saw the play James and the Giant Peach. It was good and I
saw my friends in the James and Giant Peach Lyla, Maggie, Lauren, Lisha,
Suelyn and Jessica. My friends were so good.
--Nasa Shiraishi, Grade 3
James and the Giant Peach
The third, fourth and fifth grades of Nixon school
performed a play called James and the Giant Peach.
Jim Gunn was the director. Spencer Naar was James. I was one of the
26 narrators. The play was performed in the Nixon school theater on
February 20, 21, and 22.
We did it so people could see a good show and because it was fun.
The third-, fourth- and fifth-graders worked hard every day from after
school to 5:30 p.m. If you were there to watch the play, we hope you liked
it; if you were not there, we missed you.
--Lisha Lee, Grade 3
Trip to Mexico
Hi, my name is Callie.
I am going to tell you about my vacation to Mexico. It was a good
vacation. We got up at 4 'clock in the morning to go to the
We had to wait three hours to get on the plane. I ate something on
the plane for breakfast that wasn't good. My favorite part of the ride was
taking off. When we landed my ears plugged up and they hurt really
When we got to Mexico they had to check us into the country, then
we got our luggage. We took a bus to our hotel. It looked like desert
everywhere until we saw the ocean. The ocean was clear and blue with huge
beautiful rocks in it. Our room had a balcony that looked out at the ocean,
two beds, a TV and a bathroom. Every day, we played on the beach from 8
o'clock to 5 o'clock. We even ate at a restaurant right on the beach. We
really liked the beach. We also really liked shopping in the town. We ate a
lot of fish. We went on a submarine we saw millions of fish in the water. I
saw a stingray and a lot of seals messing around and playing.
--Callie Strawn, Grade 3
Yo-yos The toy of choice
What goes up and down and spins around? A yo-yo. Read this
and find out about this "primitive" toy.
The yo-yo's action is created by someone throwing its body down, to
make the yo-yo spin, thus unraveling the string. Then, with an upward flick
of the wrist, the yo-yo comes back up, coiling the string again.
Different tricks may be performed: like sleep, walk-the-dog,
around-the- world, twister, and rock-the-cradle.
There is no best-at-everything yo-yo. Different yo-yos are good for
different tricks. Here are some yo-yos and their best tricks: Brains and
Fireballs are good for sleeping, walking the dog, twister, and
around-the-world. Galaxies are good for sleeping, walking the dog,
twisters, and rock-the-cradle. Imperials are good for sleeping, walking the
dog, and around-the-world.
If you are interested in yo-yos, most toy and science stores hold
--Brent Hughes, Grade 5
'97 Outreach Play Gets Applause
Nixon students performed "James and the Giant Peach" for
this year's Palo Alto Children's Theater outreach program.
With director Jim Gunn, grades 3-5 gave an outstanding performance
for opening night. Great, bright makeup and elaborate costumes lit up the
stage. Over 1,000 tickets were sold.
The main characters in "James and the Giant Peach" included James,
a small orphan boy, and six insects: spider, centipede, earthworm, glow
worm, ladybug, and grasshopper--all of them with their own
Spencer Naar, the actor who portrayed James, shared these thoughts
about the play with Rachelle Tomushev, the actress who played the
R.T.: Did you ever get stage fright?
S.N.: James Henry Trotter! No, I didn't get stage fright.
R.T.: Was it fun performing?
S.N.: Yes, because it is fun acting.
R.T.: What character did you want to be in the beginning?
S.N.: James or the Centipede.
R.T.: Was it a lot of hard work? If so, what was so hard?
S.N.: Actually it wasn't that hard but sometimes it was
R.T.: What did you think of the performances? Why?
S.N.: I thought they were O.K. but we still needed a little
Scott Lananna, another member of the "James" cast, has an
opportunity to interview the play's director, Jim Gunn.
S.L.: Where did you start directing?
J.G.: At Paly High School, then at Stanford, and around the Bay
S.L.: Have you directed any movies?
J.G.: Yes, two. One was a documentary about madness and one was a
S.L.: Do you write or help write any scripts?
J.G.: All the time.
S.L.: Did anyone inspire you to direct or act?
J.G.: Pat Briggs inspired me to act. She is the head of Palo Alto
Children's Theater. Just reading a whole lot of plays made me want to write
S.L.: How many years have you directed at the Children's
J.G.: 2 1/2.
S.L.: Did you go to directing or drama school?
J.G.: I went to Stanford and Foothill College. Then I went to
A.C.T.'s theater conservatory.
S.L.: Have you directed any plays besides Children's
J.G.: Yes, about 30 adult productions.
S.L.: What were your best ones?
J.G.: "Hamlet: Document in Madness" and a few of my own
S.L.: What kind of plays do you like directing the most?
J.G.: Pretty much anything.
--Scott Lananna, Spencer Naar, and Rachelle Tomushev, Grade 5
Yosemite is a wonderful place to be if you like wild life
and rock climbing.
You can rent a bike (but not for free) and go cycling around
Yosemite. It's really fun, I've done it before.
The really amazing thing about Yosemite is that Indians used to
In some places you might see caves (be careful, don't get stuck in
one), holes in rocks,(even in one place there is a rock which is sliced in
half!) And, there are some gigantic boulders.
The Indians lived in the caves and on top of the boulders the
Indians made pots and cooked in the holes in the rocks.
Go to Yosemite. We hope you have fun!
--Mark Ustinov, Grade 3
A summer in Australia
I have been to Australia. I went to Australia last summer
because my dad had to go on sabbatical.
It was winter there. The weather was cold and wet. When I was there
I went to the Grampians. This is a state park. I saw kangaroos and fed
them. I also saw a duck-billed platypus.
When I was there I went to an island called Port Phillip Island and
saw some Fairy penguins. My brother and I fed some fish to pelicans
We went to the Great Barrier Reef and saw some neat fish while we
were snorkeling. We took walks on the beach and collected lots and lots of
I would like to go back to Australia and see my animal friends
--A.J. Giaccia, Grade 3
My Amazon River trip
How many 6-year-old children get to take a boat down part
of the Amazon River and see rain forest wildlife close-up?
This was the question I asked myself as the boat carrying my father
and me approached the Tambopata Research Center for macaws in southern
Looking through a National Geographic magazine, my father had
gotten interested in an article about macaws (a large kind of parrot). The
article talked about the large birds flying to a clay lick, or clay cliff,
early in the morning to eat clay. After he read more of the article, it
answered his question, "why did the macaws eat the clay?" They eat it
because the clay helps the birds digest the parts of food that are not
I was also interested in the rainforest and it's ecology. I was
very excited when my father said that he had gotten tickets for a flight to
About 5 a.m., our plane landed in Puerto Maldonado. It was very
foggy, misty, hot and humid--a climate very unlike California.
This is where our adventure started! After a seven-hour boat ride,
we arrived at the research center and were greeted by a group of noisy red
and green Macaws that had been rescued from the wild.
We went on a boat under the clay cliff to see the macaws. There
were three different kinds of macaws that came to the clay lick. The groups
did not mix and came to eat at their own time. The cliffs had spots of blue
or red depending on which group was eating.
I got to do many other exciting and interesting things like seeing
161 different kinds of birds, spotting the rare Giant River Otter, and body
surfing down the Tambopata River. We came back covered with mosquito bites
all over and our shirts that we wore will never be white again! It was an
Getting ready for a horse show
These are the things that you do when you are going to a
A week or two before the horse show you have to work on things like
jumping or getting the right lead.
But on the day of the horse show you have to groom your
First you pick their feet with a hoof pick, so they don't have
rocks in their hoofs. Now for the brushing. First you use the curry comb
and you rub it in circles. Now you use a soft brush and brush their body.
Now you braid the mane and tail.
Now you put on the saddle. First you put on the pad, then you put
on the saddle, then you buckle up the girth. The last thing is the bridle.
First you put the bit in the horse's mouth, then you buckle the noseband,
then you buckle up the throatlatch (buckle it loosely so you don't choke
Now you are off to the show!
--Sasha Kollman, Grade 3
In the summer of 1996, I went to a horse camp at the
I was eight-and-a-half years old. The camp was eight days long. I
learned to groom, tack up, walk, trot, canter and I even galloped
The horse I rode was named Ebony. About three days before the end,
I fell off of Ebony. He bucked me off, because I whipped him too much. I
Right after, I had to get back on Ebony. I felt scared to even
trot. I was the only one in the whole camp who fell off her horse, and my
mom was the most scared of all the moms of letting me do horse camp! Even
though I fell off, I still love horses.
At the end, there was a special horse show for the grown-ups and
siblings. The kids dressed up for the show. I wore a cowgirl hat hanging
from my neck, a jean vest, jeans and pink cowgirl boots with tassels and
sparkles. On my head I had on an English riding hard hat. I rode a course
with Ebony trotting over poles laid on the ground. At the end of the
course, we cantered arouind the ring twice.
I'm going to do horse camp again this summer. My mom bought me new
boots. They are brown and they are not cowgirl boots. I'm looking forward
to jumping. Mom is not excited about jumping, but Dad said it's OK. n
--Di Eaton, Grade 3
James and the Giant Peach
James and the Giant Peach was an outreach show at the Nixon
School in Palo Alto.
The show ran February 20, 21 and 22 with great success. The
performances were greatly received by ticket sales of 1,008 in four
The children in the cast worked very hard for six weeks, prior to
the shows opening. It was the first time performing for many of the 57
children in the cast.
With outstanding direction from Jim Gunn and help from many parent
volunteers, this show was a great success. We at Nixon thank the City of
Palo Alto and Children's Theater for giving Nixon the chance to have an
outreach show and hope we can have another one next year.
"James and the Giant Peach" comes to Nixon
At L.M. Nixon School, there was a play. It was James and
the Giant Peach. It was based on the book. The director was Jim Gunn. He
works at Children's Theater. The play was a hit. My friends were in the
play, too. Siskel and Ebert gave it two thumbs up!
--Katie Brewer, Grade 5
Nintendo 64 report
So far lots of people like Nintendo 64 because of its
spectacular graphics. But some people like it because it is just new. And
other people like it just for the games.
Kids like video games because they are fun and kill time and
because they get to do things that they would not be able to do in the real
But Nintendo 64 is the most wanted of all of them because of its
spectacular graphics and sound effects. But grownups think it is just
another game. Nintendo 64 is one of the newest video game systems and has
out-ruled every other one too. For example, here are a few of the games:
Mario 64, Mario Cart, Star Wars and so on. Even though Nintendo 64 has not
got very many games, it still is the best.
--Brian Salazar, Grade 5
Mission Impossible (PG-13)
I liked "Mission Impossible" because you are always on the
edge of your seat in suspense. It's about an undercover team with high tech
equipment. The team sets up robbers and catches them red-handed. Everybody
on the team is a secret spy so they have to change their names. Their real
names are on a disk and their false names are on another disk. A robber
steals the first disk and is now going for the second. Their mission is to
catch the robber with proof. "Mission Impossible" starring Tom Cruise. It
has some violence in it, I recommend that kids under 9 shouldn't watch it.
--Nick Rouse, Grade 4
Play put on at Nixon School
Nixon School put on the play "James and the Giant Peach."
About 50 third-, fourth- and fifth-graders rehearsed four days a week after
school for five weeks. We did show the weekend of Feb. 20.
Our director was Jim Gunn. Last year Jim directed "Rumpelstiltskin"
at Nixon. It was a great show. More people came to see "Rumpelstiltskin"
than any other play that the Children's Theater had put on!
I was in "James and the Giant Peach." It was fun, but you have to
work very, very hard. I was in last year's show, too. I had three lines but
I had tons of fun. This year I got 11 lines and got to throw styrofoam
hailstones at James, Centipede, Ladybug, Earthworm, Grasshopper, Gloworm
and Miss Spider.
Everyone in the play did their best to put on a great show and they
succeeded. "James and the Giant Peach" sold more than 1,000 tickets--a new
record! Did you go to see " James and the Giant Peach?" Too bad if you
--Ysbrand Nusse, Grade 4
James and the Giant Peach
Rated five stars.
James and all his friends, Centipede, Grasshopper, Earthworm,
Ladybug, Spider and Glowworm starred in a magical show as they went on an
adventure in a giant peach!
But they had to watch out for the sharks and the cloud-men! See the
astonished captain and officers, and the mean but funny aunts. Many
fantastic, super narrators told the story of your life. It was a great
show! Buy the book!
Come see other shows at the Palo Alto Children's Theatre. Child
tickets are $2 and adult tickets are $4. You can pick them up at the Palo
Alo Children's Theatre Box Office, located at 1305 Middlefield Road in Palo
Alto. To order, call 329-2216. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 9:30
a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
--Allison Duncan Stone
My dog's name is Barkley,
He's only five years old, He's cute, silly, and moronic,
At least that's what he's told.
Barkley likes chasing gophers,
Raccoons, skunks, and moles.
He even barks at airplanes,
He'll never catch one of those.
I think he's rather stupid,
He stumbles, trips, and falls.
He can't find the sticks I throw,
But he can find his balls.
Although he's quite a dummy,
I love him all the same,
He may be a dodo head,
But he's number one in my hall of fame!
--Jordan Barbeau, Grade 4
I wish I was born with the knowledge
The knowledge to go to college
To read, to write, to feed, to fight,
And get every single thing wright!
--Zachary Klapholz-Brown, Grade 4
Sat on His False Teeth
There was an old man of Germany,
Who sat on some false, false teeth an' bent'm
He didn't know what to do because
They weren't his, he rent'em
From his teeth men shop.
--Marsha Matveyev, Grade 4
A fly flies above the sky
When he comes down
He hits the ground.
How does a fly fly so high?
How do they fly so high?
They must have strong wings to fly
Fly up to the sky.
To catch a fly you must fly very high
And bring him down to the ground
How do you catch a fly?
--Aris Theologis, Grade 4
Maui is my kitty cat.
He's white like a ghost.
He stays outside all day and night
And sometimes gets in fights.
But when he is inside
He is on the couch
And curls up like a pouch.
He's warm when I pet him,
His fur I can pull.
Even though he's lazy
--Maggie Wynn, Grade 4
Time should not be wasted,
It is so important, yes,
and if you use it wrong,
What will happen? You should guess.
Because if you ever use it,
in a way that isn't right,
you just might find yourself,
in a coffin very tight.
You'll get so very old,
when you waste your time all day,
but if you use time right,
then perhaps you will not pay.
Time should not be wasted,
it's so important, yes,
and if you use it wrong,
what will happen? You should guess.
You should guess. You should guess.
You should guess.
--Gregory Finkelstein, Grade 4
I liked the movie "Mission Impossible" because you are
always on the edge of your seat in suspense.
It's about an undercover team with high tech equipment. The team
sets up robbers and catches them red-handed.
Everybody on the team is a secret spy so they have to change their
names. Their real names are on a disk and their false names are on another
disk. A robber steals the first disk and is now going for the second. Their
mission is to catch the robber with proof.
"Mission Impossible" stars Tom Cruise. It is rated PG-13. It has
some violence in it. I recommend that kids under 9 shouldn't watch.
--Nick Rouse, Grade 4
"Star Wars" strikes again! People everywhere are rushing to
theaters, waiting overnight and through days, trying to see this special
effects movie. Everyone is talking about it.
How did George Lucas think of "Star Wars"? How did he come up with
The Empire, Yoda and Storm Troopers?
Just think of "Star Wars." What comes to mind? Think when the
trilogy first came out. What did people think of it? How did people first
think it was going to be? Exciting? Or did they think it was going to be
boring, weird or just plain great?
--Ashley Lautzenheiser, Grade 4
Fresh Choice serves fresh, hot food
I think Fresh Choice is a good restaurant because they
always have hot and fresh food. They also have different kinds of food. I
also think it's good because you can serve yourself and you can eat as much
as you want.
I think Fresh Choice is not the best restaurant because the servers
don't understand you.
Jacob is seven. He thinks it's good because there's good food and
it's hot. He also likes it because you can serve yourself and there are
refills on everything. He doesn't like it because the servers don't
There aren't very many choices of drinks and there's different food
Joe is 47. He thinks Fresh Choice is good because there's good food
with a wide selection. He thinks there's friendly service. It has good
prices which makes it a great place for families. Joe likes the Chinese
chicken salad and the tapioca pudding. Overall, everyone can find something
they like there and so it must be a pretty good restaurant.
--Nathan Urbassik, Grade 4
Any "dog lovers" out there? In this film you'll see plenty
of them 101 to be exact! This is a wonderful film for the whole family. Now
the cartoon dogs are out, and live-action dalmatians are in! Featuring
Pongo, Perdy and the rest of the crew, starring Glenn Close as the evil
Cruella De Vil, you'll sure be at the edge of your seat, seeing spots--a
whole lot of spots!
This movie earns four and one-half stars.
--Shannon Marie Quirk, Grade 4
Boy meets Girl. Boy and Girl meet Volcano. Volcano erupts.
Boy and Girl get rescued. Boy and Girl French Kiss. Family goes
"Dante's Peak" has a very simple plot. Even though it was a simple
plot, it was an action movie. It was like "Twister." People died, it was a
big emergency, things blew up, and there were lots of special effects. The
setting for "Dante's Peak" was in the small town of Dante's Peak, a town of
about 7,000 people at the bottom of the volcano. The story probably
happened in the 1990s.
In the beginning of the movie, Harry (Pierce Brosnan, who used to
be James Bond) was a member of the U. S. Geological Services. He went up to
study the volcano. He thought it was going to erupt, but his boss did not
think it would. He tried to convince his boss they should have a town
meeting. They were going to vote on evacuating the town. But the boss would
not let him warn the town.
I don't want to give away the rest of the story. The actors in this
movie were very believable. They weren't crying or screaming, like I would
be, but they were very calm. I probably would have died.
My favorite actor was Pierce Brosnan, who played Harry. He had the
best ideas and rescued everybody. He knew about the volcano, and knew the
most about it.
The movie was well-written. No one was bored in the theater, no one
got up to leave or talked through the whole thing. There was even a lady in
front of my dad who sat through most of the movie with her head down and
her eyes covered.
I give this movie two thumbs up!
--Edlynn Breslow, Grade 4
What's hot, what's not
Sports are always HOT with kids. The fourth grade at L.M.
Nixon School voted on which sport was their favorite. The choices were
rounders, dodgeball, soccer and basketball.
The results were as follows:
Rounders : 9 votes
Dodgeball: 7 votes
Soccer: 21 votes
Basketball: 26 votes
So, it looks like basketball is the kids' favorite sport.
The reason rounders didn't get many votes may be because it causes
a lot of conflict among the players. Basketball is played on TV a lot and
has many famous players, such as Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan, which is
why it is such a popular sport.
Another HOT item is the Palo Alto Children's Theatre. They choose
interesting plays and stories and children from all over Palo Alto can come
and try out for the parts.
Once you are chosen, you have to spend many hours at rehearsal. But
it is all worth it in the end.
I hope more children will get interested in this fun experience,
and go to as many plays as they can.
© 1997 Palo Alto Online. All Rights Reserved.