Dear Ann Cannon • I love movies. I love to go to the movies. As far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing like seeing a new film on the big screen with a tub of popcorn on your lap with a Coke on the side. The only problem is that my wife never wants to go with me. She’s just not that interested. She’d rather stay home and read a book. I’d really love it if we could go to some movies together and then talk about them after. Any suggestions to help me make my dream for us become a reality?
— Movie Maniac
Dear Movie Maniac • It’s pretty much human nature to want the people we love to love the same things we do, right? However, as your own experience suggests, things don’t always work out that way. So. What can you do? OK, you say your wife likes to read. Ask her if she’s interested in starting a two-person book-and-movie club with you. You read a book of her choice. She goes with you to a movie of your choice. She may not be interested in this arrangement, but who knows? It can’t hurt to ask.
If this doesn’t work, then invite a friend to go with you. Or go by yourself. In other words, be adaptable and don’t pout. I’m not crazy about pouters, and I’ll bet your wife isn’t either. Meanwhile, focus on finding an activity that you both enjoy doing together and put your energy there.
Dear Ann Cannon • Now that school is starting up again, can you recommend any new picture books for young children? Especially for those who are going to school for the first time?
— Ann Cannon
Dear Ann Cannon • I’m so glad you asked, because as it turns out I do have some terrific suggestions for kids and their parents.
My favorite new book is “We Don’t Eat Our Classmates” by Ryan T. Higgins. Yes, you read that right. It’s all about a little T. Rex named Penelope who’s VERY nervous about starting school. What will her classmates be like? Will they be nice? Will they have a lot of teeth? As it turns out, Penelope’s classmates are all children. So she eats them. Why? BECAUSE CHILDREN ARE DELICIOUS! The teacher tells her to spit them out immediately, which she does. But, as Penelope discovers, it’s hard to make friends with classmates if they’re afraid you’re going to eat them.
Higgins is the author/illustrator who created the likable “Mother Bruce,” a story about a grumpy bear who becomes the unwilling parent to a flock of goslings. His trademark wit is on full display in “We Don’t Eat Our Classmates.”
Another choice is “Click, Clack, Quack to School!” by the best-selling duo Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin. Farmer Brown and his animals receive an invitation to visit a local elementary school. The animals are excited to take a field trip — until Farmer Brown starts laying down the law. There will be no mooing or clucking or oinking when they go to school. Hooting and hollering, along with stomping and clomping, are also forbidden, and seriously now — where’s the fun in that?! Fortunately, the animals and the schoolchildren, too, are all in for a happy surprise.
And then there’s “Llama Llama Loves to Read.” Anna Dewdney, the beloved creator of the Llama Llama books, died in 2016. But the character Llama Llama lives on in much the way Curious George has survived (for decades now!) the death of his creators, H.A. Rey and Margret Rey. In this new book, Llama Llama discovers that letters make words and that words threaded together make sentences. And if a llama (or a person) can read that sentence, then guess what. That person (or that llama) is a legit reader.
Hope this helps!
— Ann Cannon