Needless to say, the books are a hit with youngsters who identify with the tricksters. But in addition to offering lessons in Chinese culture, which are sewn into their plots, the books end with directions for a themed hands-on project, be it kite-making or cooking dumplings. And the intricate, jewel-toned, cut-paper illustrations by Yongsheng Xuan ice the cake beautifully.
Compestine plans to continue the series -- fireworks are next on her list -- but not until she's completed current projects aimed at preschool and middle-grade kids. Fortunately, the fire for writing the stories is far from burning out. "Sometimes I feel like I've lost touch with China," she says. "Writing these books brings me closer to home." -- Susan Froyd
Children's Museum production is the Cat's meow
Forget the big-budget movie with Mike Myers mugging under all that makeup -- not to mention the off-color jokes. We all know the Cat is for kids, and they'll be able to reclaim the consummate Seuss sensation for their own today at the Children's Museum of Denver, 2121 Children's Museum Drive (I-25 and 23rd Avenue). Little ones are sure to purr with delight during the Saturday Family Showcase presentation of The Cat in the Hat, an interactive theatrical affair by Beyond the Horizons that also includes excerpts from such Seuss favorites as Green Eggs and Ham and Oh, the Places You'll Go!After throwing themselves into the story (and, we surmise, having way more fun than child stars Dakota Fanning and Spencer Breslin, or even Thing One and Thing Two) with games, rhymes and all sorts of audience participation, those in attendance will end the experience by making Cat in the Hat pins using recycled materials. Let's face it: This kind of fun is almost always better than the big picture.
Showtimes are 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.; tickets are $1 with museum admission (members free). Call 303-433-7444 or log on to www.mychildsmuseum.org for more. -- Susan Froyd