We all know that Pixar makes terrific movies. A smaller group knows that Brad Bird's 1999 adaptation of a Ted Hughes book, The Iron Giant, was the best non-Pixar, non-Miyazaki animated film of the last decade. So, put Brad Bird behind the wheel of a Pixar vehicle and you get the incredible The Incredibles.
"It was one of the funniest movies I've ever seen," Lila says. Yes, and furthermore, it's one of the most relentlessly entertaining movies I've ever seen. When it's not killing you with cleverness, the depth of feeling and human insight is moving you nearly to tears (this is a Bird gift). And for action, it's on a level with the best The Matrix had to offer.
Lila says she can see why they rated it PG. There is a good bit of violence, and death and grief get a workout. There is also some suggestion of how parents might spend their time other than shopping, though our kids --- all under 9 --- missed that. As Lila put it, "There is just some stuff kids don't really get... and weapons."
The voice work is great, with Holly Hunter as Helen Parr/Elastigirl getting especially high marks. But Bird's vision, depth, and writing, brought to life by the army of Pixar Wizards, are the real stars.
Lila thinks kids of all ages would like it, but our two-year-old needed a couple of breaks. But The Incredibles feels like an instant classic, accomplishing so many things simultaneously, it seems like something of a miracle.
--- Lila and Adam Wilcox
Barnes and Noble 330 Greece Ridge Center Dr. Fri, Nov 12: PJ storytime, The Polar Express, 7 p.m. | Wednesdays: Wee Ones Storytime, 9:30 a.m.; Storytime & Craft, 10:30 a.m. | Fridays: Storytelling by Mike, 10:30 a.m. | Hours: Mon-Sat, 9 a.m.-11 p.m., Sun, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. 227-4020
Brighton Memorial Library 2300 Elmwood Ave. Thurs, Nov 11: Juggling workshop, ages 8-12 at 10 a.m.; all ages at 11 a.m. Register | Drop-In Storytimes, through Nov 29: Mondays: Tot Time, ages 18 mos.-2 years, 10:30 a.m.; Mondays: Pre-K, ages 3-5, 11:30 a.m.; Tuesdays: PJ Storytime, 7 p.m.; Thursdays: Family Storytime, 7 p.m.; Fridays: Toddler, ages 3-4, 10 a.m. | Fri, Nov 5: Friday Movie Matinee, 3 p.m. | 784-5300, www.brightonlibrary.org
Cashin In Tues, Nov 16. Financial workshop for girls ages 11-17, Girl Scout Program Center, 1020 John St, W Henrietta, 6:30-8:30 p.m. $11. 239-7922
Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County Fridays through Nov 19. Fantastic, funny, favorite stories, 115 South Ave, ages 3-5, 10-10:30 a.m. Register. 428-8150
Cheer Clinic Sat, Nov 13. Ages 5-18, learn routine, jumps, stunts, Premier Cheer, 1150 University Ave, 3-5 p.m. Free. 244-2496
Children's Book Festival Sat, Nov 13. Crafts, storytelling, participation, MCC Brighton, Warshof Conference Center, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Free. 292-2534
Family Fun Day Sat, Nov 13. Face painting, balloon animals, storytelling, games, Paradigm Café, 3118 E Henrietta Rd, 10 a.m. Free. 334-9520. www.paradigmcafe.com
Helmer Nature Center Sat, Nov 13. Learn how to build a shelter like the Native Americans, grades 3-5, 154 Pinegrove Ave, Irondequoit, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. $8/pair. Register by Nov 11. 336-3035
Henrietta Public Library 455 Calkins Rd. Tuesdays and Wednesdays: Preschool storytime, ages 3-4, Tues 11-11:30 a.m., Wed 10:15-10:45 a.m. | Wed, Nov 17: Toddler storytime, age 2, 10:15-10:45 a.m. | Thurs, Nov 11: Preschoolers' sing-along, 10:30 a.m. | Register. 359-7092, TDD 321-1499, www.hpl.org
Memorial Art Gallery Thursdays in November. Preschool creative workshop, art project, story reading, Gallery tour, ages 2.5-5 with adult, 500 University Ave, 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. $15/child. Reservations. 473-7720 x 3056
The Polar Express Sun, Nov 14. Storytelling, Lift Bridge Book Store, 45 Main St, Brockport, 2-3 p.m. Free. 637-8354
Rochester Association for the Education of Young Children Wed, Nov 10: Play, the Arts, and Brain Development, St. Paul's Child Care Center, 13 Vick Park B, 6:45-8:30 p.m. | Tues, Nov 16:Storytelling with the Language of Dance, with Elizabeth Clark, Gannett School, RMSC, 657 East Ave, 3:45-5 p.m. | Adults only. Free. 244-3380
Rochester Museum and Science Center 657 East Ave. Thurs, Nov 11, nautical fun, design your own boat, origami, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. | Sat, Nov 13, Howard Wilson Coles Birthday Celebration, perfomance by RIT/NTID Dance Company, 3 p.m. | Surprise! It's Science, through May 2005 | Rochester's Frederick Douglass, through January 2006 | Live Science! demos and theater, Wed-Fri 3:30 p.m.; Sat 2, 3, 4 p.m.; Sun 1:30, 2:30, 3:30 p.m. Sat 3 p.m. show sign-interpreted | Ongoing exhibits include: AdventureZone, Carlson Inquiry Room, At the Western Door | Hours: Mon-Sat 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun 12-5 p.m. Tix: $5-$7. 271-1880, www.rmsc.org.
Rochester Public Library Sun, Nov 14. "Creative Bookmaking," 115 South Ave, 2 p.m. Free. 428-8350/8351
Seneca Park Zoo 2222 St Paul St. Orangutan Awareness Week, through Nov 13. | Family nights, ZooDiscovery classes. Hours: daily 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tix: $5, $4 seniors, $2 kids. 467-9453, www.senecazoo.org
Strasenburgh Planetarium RMSC, 657 East Ave. Giant-screen films: Pulse: A Stomp Odyssey: Sat 3 and 8 p.m.; Bears: Wed and Fri 4 p.m., Thurs 2 ,3, 4 p.m., Sat 2 and 4 p.m., Sun 1, 2, 3, 4 p.m. | Star shows: Holiday Songs and Skies with Mr. Jack Frost: Sat, Nov 13, 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.; Hubble's Universe: Sat 11 a.m., 3 p.m., Sun 3 p.m. | Thurs and Sat, 1 p.m.; I See the Sky: Sat 9:30 a.m.; The Sky Tonight: Sat 10:30 a.m.| Laser shows: '70s Laser: Sat 9 p.m. | Tix: $4-$7. 271-1880
Strong Museum 1 Manhattan Square. Sat-Sun, Nov 13-14. National Toy Hall of Fame Induction, yo-yo, hula hoop demonstrations, Sat 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun 12-5 p.m. Free with admission | Wed, Nov 10, Wednesdays for Tots, music and stories with Mrs. McPuppet. 9:30 a.m. | Mon, Nov 15, Monday Kicks, ages 2-6. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. | Arthur's World, through Jan 23 | Long-term exhibits include National Toy Hall of Fame, Can You Tell Me How To Get To Sesame Street? and Super Kids Market. | Hours: Mon-Thurs 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Fri 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun 12-5 p.m. Tix: $7; $6 seniors, students; $5 children. 263-2700
Luna died of fright. She lived with the other gerbils, including one of her babies, in my older son's room. One day Sammy, one of our cats, found them and loomed over their cages, unable to reach them but unwilling to leave. The next day Luna was dead.
There's life and death all around our house. In the spring female frogs and toads extrude egg-filled strands into our decorative pond. Then sometimes, exhausted, they flounder on the edge and crows peck them to death. You can still see dried-out toad skins staining the rocks weeks later when the tadpoles start twitching across the pond.
When Luna died it was winter and the ground was frozen so I stuck her in a Ziploc bag in the freezer on the shelf below the meat. After a thaw the boys and I headed beyond the pond carrying a spade and a stone with "Luna" scratched on it.
The younger boy placed her, Ziploc and all, into the hole. "Thank you," he said, "for all the good times." His brother sprinkled gerbil food into the grave because "some cultures bury their dead with food."
"Luna, I liked it when you ran on your wheel," he said. "And I liked it when you nibbled the cardboard tubes I put in your cage."
Sammy appeared and sniffed the hole as we filled it in. I chased him off but his brother, Twister, came over to paw at the soft earth around the grave.
--- Jennifer Loviglio