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 it!!

--Jin-Jay Chang, Grade 3

Star Wars Review

The new edition of Star Wars turned out very good. It is rated PG.
When Obi-Wan Kenobi gives Luke the lightsaber, you get to see Obi-Wan's house.

--Samuel Wood

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 airport.
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 bad.
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 them.

--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 personalities.
Spencer Naar, the actor who portrayed James, shared these thoughts about the play with Rachelle Tomushev, the actress who played the spider.
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 tiring.
R.T.: What did you think of the performances? Why?
S.N.: I thought they were O.K. but we still needed a little work.
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 Area.
S.L.: Have you directed any movies?
J.G.: Yes, two. One was a documentary about madness and one was a short film.
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 plays.
S.L.: How many years have you directed at the Children's Theater?
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 Theater?
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 scripts.
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 live there!
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 too.
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 coral.
I would like to go back to Australia and see my animal friends again.

--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 Peru.
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 easily digestable.
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 Peru.
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 amazing trip.

--author unknown

Getting ready for a horse show

These are the things that you do when you are going to a horse show.
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 horse.
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 the horse).
Now you are off to the show!

--Sasha Kollman, Grade 3

Horse Camp

In the summer of 1996, I went to a horse camp at the Stanford Barn.
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 once!
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 wasn't hurt.
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 performances.
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.

--Eric Mueller

"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 world.
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 didn't.

--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

College Knowledge

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
He's cool.
--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

Mission Impossible

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

"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 understand you.
There aren't very many choices of drinks and there's different food every day.
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

101 Dalmatians

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

Dante's Peak

Boy meets Girl. Boy and Girl meet Volcano. Volcano erupts. Boy and Girl get rescued. Boy and Girl French Kiss. Family goes fishing.
"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.

--Ross Bennett

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