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Family Valued 11.02.05

Little shop of treats

Halloween's not over 'til School of the Arts says it's over! School of the Arts' production of Little Shop of Horrors, a musical sci-fi spoof, chronicles the perils of bonding with sweet talking houseplants from outer space. But don't judge Seymour, an amateur botanist, too harshly. Even if you're not a geeky orphan living in a broken-down florist shop on Skid Row, it's hard to resist fame, fortune, and the chance to get the girl. Of course, you must pay the piper, or in this case, feed the plant. | "I liked how they actually changed Audrey II's --- the plant's --- size," says 12-year-old Mike, "and the dentist is hysterical!" His 9-year-old sister, Julia, notes, "I like the girls' costumes, and they have really good voices." | Both kids loved the songs, ranging from boppin' 50's pop to funky, old school r&b. At our house, "Feed me Seymour!" has replaced, "Give me some of your tots, Napoleon." | Julia doesn't recommend this show for kids under 7. "They feed Audrey II some plastic body parts, and there's a couple swear words." Nothing she hasn't heard me say occasionally. Also, the abusive dentist is addicted to nitrous oxide, but his fate reinforces the message that drugs are for losers. | Funny and oddly touching, Little Shop of Horrors continues November 3 to 5 at 7 p.m. at SOTA, 45 Prince Street. You won't pay a pound of flesh to see it. Tickets, available at Wegmans' video departments, are $9, $7 for children, students, and seniors. Call 324-3535 for info.

--- Linda Kostin (www.junkstorecowgirl.com)

Rochester children read books

I distinctly remember the moment that I fell in love with the Rochester Children's Book Festival (www.rochesterchildrensbookfestival.org). Standing in the back of a crowded room, I watched as Vivian Vande Velde read her picture book, Troll Teacher. The Festival provides the rare opportunity to enjoy that delightful synchronicity of an author who can read aloud, a book worth reading aloud, and an enthralled audience.

The 9th Annual Rochester Children's Book Festival falls on Saturday, November 5, in the R. Thomas Flynn Campus Center at Monroe Community College (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.). The event is geared to the entire family, but it definitely emphasizes the children of its title.

The pre-reader in your family can enjoy continuous picture book readings by the likes of Robin Pulver (Axle Annie and the Speed Grump, Author Day for Room 3T), Cat Bowman Smith (Auction!), Will Hubbell (Snow Day Dance), Daniel Mahoney (A Really Good Snowman), Stu Smith (My School's a Zoo!), and Michelle Knudsen (Carl the Complainer). Members of the Blackstorytelling League of Rochester will tell African folktales, legends, and more.

When the listeners get the fidgets, there are crafts, puppets, and other artsy pursuits available. Or head to Presentation Place, which will feature digital photography, sculpted chicken models, tall tales, a poetry slam, horse bartering, and life in a lighthouse, presumably not all at the same time. From 1 to 3:15 p.m., the young adult readers in your clan can consult with Vivian Vande Velde (Now You See It..., Witch Dreams), Chris Crutcher (The Sledding Hill, Whale Talk), Mary Beth Miller (Aimee), Laurie Halse Anderson (Prom, Speak), and Linda Sue Park (Project Mulberry, A Single Shard).

--- Craig Brownlie