Tag - Wild Rumpus Books

Free Twin Cities April Family Events & Activities
Family Fun: Tail Time at Wild Rumpus Books, Minneapolis
7 Ideas for Fun on Presidents Day in the Twin Cities
Top Preschool Storytimes in the Twin Cities
Got Preschoolers? 10 Twin Cities Spots to Entertain & Educate
Celebrate Mom with Free Admission this Weekend!
Christmas Week Wish List
Free List for November 23 – 24, 2013
Making the Most of the Twin Cities Book Festival
The Three Little Pigs and the Somewhat Bad Wolf by Mark Teague – Book Review

Free Twin Cities April Family Events & Activities

Free Twin Cities April

Thanks to this month’s sponsor Rockin’ Jump!  Check them out at FFTC’s Rockin’ Party on April 15.

Click here for more Rockin' Party InformationClick here for more information.

April is literally blooming with free events and activities in the Twin Cities!

Read More

Family Fun: Tail Time at Wild Rumpus Books, Minneapolis

Tail Time at the Wild Rumpus

It figures I’d pick a day to go to the Wild Rumpus bookstore when I’ve spent the morning swimming in laundry, tripping over the vacuum cleaner and coming to the sinking realization that we’re truly outgrowing our house. But I had already planned to take the girls to “Tail Time” at Wild Rumpus. What’s a little more claustrophobia? Might as well make a day of it!

You can begin by ducking through the preschool-sized purple front door. Then, you can try to get a seat for the wildly popular storytime (ongoing Mondays at 10:30am but apparently impossible unless you show up a half hour early). The bookstore was so packed that we abandoned hopes of any “Tail Time” and the girls decided to pursue their own activities – Emily found a cozy reading nook and Olivia wanted to scout out the various animals that inhabit the shop.

We found a regular menagerie: cages full of birds, ferrets, chinchillas and a lizard. Cats lazed about atop towering displays of books. An aquarium glowed in the bathroom and I’m quite sure chickens scuttle down the narrow aisles between the bookshelves, though we didn’t see any this trip.

Claustrophobic, yes, but still great for the little ones. And the animals make this independent bookstore truly unique in the area. A lot more fun to stumble over them than my piles of laundry back home.

Read more about a book-lovers trip to Wild Rumpus Books here.
For more ideas on where to take the kids for storytime, try our Top Preschool Storytimes in the Twin Cities post.

7 Ideas for Fun on Presidents Day in the Twin Cities

If you’ve got Presidents Day to while away with the kids, you might be looking for a way to get out and make the most of it. We’ve rounded up 7 free or inexpensive ways:

CTCBe Inspired! ALL ACCESS CELEBRATION @ Children’s Theatre Company, 2400 3rd Avenue S, Minneapolis • 11am-4pm • FREE
Details: Celebrate a world of wonder and imagination at CTC’s FREE open house event. Take backstage tours and a Theatre Arts Training Class, play with puppets used in the current main stage show The Snowy Day, hear stories, learn dance moves, and more!

Rice & Arlington Batting Cages @ 1500 Rice St, St. Paul • noon-8pm
Details: Batter up and train for baseball season with special prices for Presidents Day – $1/token for 22 pitches.

Read More

Top Preschool Storytimes in the Twin Cities

Once upon a time, preschool storytimes were an integral part of my weekday routine as a stay-at-home mom with toddlers and preschoolers. Top Preschool Storytimes in the Twin Cities

The time we spent at bookstores, libraries and other tot spots around town made up a big piece of our social life. We’d see familiar faces, discover new stories, and I would often take away valuable nuggets of parenting advice. The list below of toddler and preschool story times are hosted at highly kid-friendly venues around the Twin Cities. And, with one noted exception, each program is completely free entertainment for your young ones.

Thanks to our sponsor Base Camp Pre-K Days.  If you are looking for a program with one of the most wonderful preschool teachers, David Donavan, look no further than Base Camp.  preschool pre-K DaysClick here for Base Camp Pre-K Days

Read More

Got Preschoolers? 10 Twin Cities Spots to Entertain & Educate

Kids are preschoolers for such a short-time. Before you know it, they are heading off to school and then middle school and then conquering the world.

The fall has come where I find myself finally down to one kid at home during the day. My preschooler and I are now able to see her three older sibs off at the bus stop each morning and then stroll home to spend all that quality one-on-one time she’s been waiting her whole short life for. We’re also planning to tackle the list (below) of kid-centric activities around town that I’ve kept in my back pocket since my oldest could toddle. Let me share some of my favorite places to take preschoolers — and I’ll mention where it’s absolutely appropriate to bring older siblings as well. Please note that all of the following activities take place on weekdays. For more inspiration on where to take the entire family on the weekend, visit our Family Fun Calendar.

Thanks to our sponsor Base Camp Pre-K Days.  If you are looking for a program with one of the most wonderful preschool teachers, David Donavan, look no further than Base Camp.  preschool pre-K DaysClick here for Base Camp Pre-K Days

Read More

Celebrate Mom with Free Admission this Weekend!

Not that we’re necessarily suggesting you go cheap for Mother’s Day – but we’re pleased to provide you with a list of places that are saluting moms this weekend with free admission and/or activities:

  • Minnesota Zoo: Moms receive free admission Saturday & Sunday sponsored by Macy’s (May 10 & 11).
  • Minnesota Children’s Museum: Moms (and grandmothers!) admitted free on Sunday, May 11. The fun exhibit Dinosaurs: Land of Fire and Ice is currently in its final weeks.
  • Science Museum of Minnesota: Celebrate Mother’s Day with free admission to the Ultimate Dinosaurs exhibit and Omnitheater with any paid admission (available in person at the box office or by calling 651-221-9444) OR free admission to the museum with reservations to the Science Museum’s Mother’s Day Brunch (prices here).
  • Oliver Kelley Farm, Elk River: This 1860’s-era working farm grants free admission to mothers with accompanying child on Saturday & Sunday (May 10 & 11).

Venues that are always free:

  • Landmark Center: St. Paul Civic Symphony presents a free Mother’s Day concert, 1pm.

Other ideas for Mother’s Day fun:

  • Creative Kidstuff: Make-and-take thumbprint necklace keepsake craft scheduled for all locations Saturday, May 10, 10am – 1pm.
  • Craftstravaganza, Minnesota State Fairgrounds: 100% handmade goods plus free workshops and activities throughout the day. 10am – 5pm.

And remember, the entire month of May is Minnesota Museum Month so keep in mind all of our state’s engaging museums and the special events that have been scheduled to celebrate it. Check back on Family Fun Twin Cities for updates!

Christmas Week Wish List

It’s the weekend between Christmas and New Years Day.  Things tend to be quiet this weekend, but there are a few things on my Wish List going on this weekend.

pippiPippi Longstocking Movie

American Swedish Institute, 2600 Park Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55407
Saturday, December 28, 2013 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Price included with Museum Admission
$9 / adults $7 / ages 62 and above $5 / ages 6-18 and full-time students with ID
Free/ ASI members and kids ages 5 and under

We are into all things Swedish this Christmas.  Pippi Longstocking is a 9 year old Swedish girl, so this is a perfect time to introduce her to my third-grade daughter.  The American Swedish Institute is showoing the Pippi Longstocking movie on Saturday.  Afterwards, children can make a “thing finder” to explore the museum with.  I thought this would pair nicely with a trip to the Red Balloon Bookshop or The Wild Rumpus to get a copy of Pippi Longstockings to read.  They both carry the paperback version (that looks like the picture to the left) for $6.99.

ChooChooBob_365x200Choo Choo Bob’s Great RiverCentre Train Show

Saint Paul RiverCentre – Exhibit Hall A, 175 West Kellogg Blvd, Saint Paul, MN 55102
Saturday and Sunday, December 28-29, 2013; 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Admission is $8.00 and children ages 7 and under are free.

Everyone who is anyone will be going to the Choo Choo Bob Train Show at the RiverCentre this weekend. this weekend.  It’s so stock full of cool train activities, it’s got to be every little boys dream.  Tickets to this would have made a good stocking stuffer (doh!).  Some of the activities your family can enjoy are:

Model railroad displays in all gauges.

  •     Model train vendors.
  •     Three FREE inflatables…jump ’til you drop.
  •     FREE ride-on train for the kids.
  •     Multiple Thomas the Tank Engine play tables.
  •     Children’s activity area.
  •     Railroad museums and authors will have displays.
  •     The Choo Choo Bob Show will be performing live on stage. Meet the cast members, sing along to your favorite songs and enjoy the live show.

MCM_ExteriorCreativity Jam

Minnesota Children’s Museum, 10 West Seventh Street, St. Paul, MN 55102
Ends January 26, 2014
Admission: $9.50/pp

This exhibit is coming to and end soon.  There is one more Free Sunday before it’s done and January is not a bad month to attend the Target Free Third Sunday.  But since this is my Wish List.  I would like to visit the Minnesota Children’s Museum once when its not a free day.  This exhibit appeals to me more than the licensed character exhibits that have been popping up more and more often.  MCM wants our hlep in developing exciting, unique programs and exhibits. While you are there give them input and feedback on experiences while exercising your own critical thinking skills.  Some of the hands-on areas include:

  • “Change”: Over-sized art and construction projects encourage children to communicate, work together and to build off and add onto others’ work. Visitors can use stickers, paint, lights and other materials to transform a “big white room” into what they imagine or hunt through a clean and safe “junk yard” to find the perfect object take apart and put back together again.
  • “Make”: In a “maker space,” children design, engineer and build projects of their own choosing using authentic tools and materials. Adults and children can create something new with sewing machines or get an up-close look at how electricity works with circuits, batteries and conductors.
  • “Create”: A unique arts programming and exhibit hybrid will get minds and hands moving as families participate in recycled cardboard challenges or ramp play where children can use ramps of all sizes and objects to test how things roll, move, slide and fall.
  • “Collaborate”: Families can test out new exhibit concepts, provide real-time feedback and insights, both offline and online, and share their own experiences and ideas as they contribute, collaborate and co-create in a “Museum Lab.”

Joy Peters is a co-creator and writer for FamilyFunTwinCities.com.

Free List for November 23 – 24, 2013

I know — we’re already begun posting holiday activities around town and it isn’t yet Thanksgiving. But we found several (free!) events this weekend that we’ll admit have us in the spirit and we felt deserved to be shared with you. Read on for our favorites.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Green Gifts Fair
Midtown Global Market
920 E. Lake St., Minneapolis
10am – 5pm

Consider bringing the whole family along for some holiday shopping at this eco-friendly gift fair. I checked the schedule to make sure there were some kid-friendly activities listed. Joy has further details about this Do It Green! Minnesota event here.

Bachman’s Holiday Open House
and Annual Holiday Play
Bachman’s on Lyndale
6010 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis
Events 10am – 4pm

Saturday only at Bachman’s – Santa arrives on his reindeer-drawn sleigh to perform in this year’s original holiday play, “Who Crashed Santa’s Sleigh?” Performances at 11am, 12.30pm, & 2pm. Also enjoy crafts, treats, demonstrations and other special guests.

Ballet Minnesota presents
the Classic Nutcracker Preview Performance
Mall of America Rotunda
Noon – 5pm

Here’s your chance to sample this holiday classic without committing to a full-length ballet. Dancers from Ballet Minnesota will perform the Spanish, Arabian, and Chinese dances every half an hour starting at noon until 2:30 p.m. followed by the Toy Soldiers performance at 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. 

Author Event: The Christmas Wish
Wild Rumpus Books
2720 West 43rd Street, Minneapolis
11am – 12pm

Join the authors and real-life protagonist of this beautiful Christmas story for a reading, signing, and holiday treats.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Leonardo’s Basement Open House
1188 Hubbard Ave, St. Paul
1 – 3pm

Design, build, tinker and create as a family at this drop-in event. In my experience it wasn’t necessary to pre-register. All you need to remember to bring is your imagination. Activities may be more appropriate for kids ages 5 & up.

As always, be sure to check out our complete Free Calendar for more ideas this weekend and beyond!

Making the Most of the Twin Cities Book Festival

The amount of children’s book authors in the Twin Cities area is amazing to me.  This is such an great place to live if you are a book lover — and who isn’t?  Throughout the year, we have opportunities to meet authors at bookstores like The Red Balloon and Wild Rumpus. However, a couple times a year, there are events that bring many authors into one place.   One of these events is the Twin Cities Book Festival from Rain Taxi. The Children’s Pavilion alone will host 13 authors.  Besides the authors, there will be activities available all day, including:

Scheduled Activities:

Free Face Painting (10:00 – 3:00)
The musical stylings of Duke Otherwise (11:30, 1:00. 2:30)
Meet Captain ReadMore! (1:30 and 2:30)
Beyond the Book: Fun Activities with Scarletta Press Authors
10:00 -11:30 am: Greg Bancroft, Betsy’s Day at the Game
11:30 -1:00 pm: Stephanie Wallingford and Dawn Rynders, A Day at the Lake
1:00 – 3:00pm: Gary Cook, The Best Saturday Ever!

All-Day Activities:

Storywalk featuring Moo! by David LaRochelle & Mike Wohnoutka
Author Book Scavenger Hunt—win a deck of cards if you find all the answers!
Fold-a-Book with the Friends of the Minneapolis Central Library
Book Necklaces with
Minnesota Center for Book Arts
Poetry on the Spot with author
Stephanie Watson
Get Carded! Show us your library card and wear your “I Got Carded” button with pride.

You could go just for these activities for as long or short of a visit as you like and have a very nice family outing.  However, if you want to make a little more of it, getting to know the authors is a fun way to make the experience a little more intimate.  Most of them also offer encouragement for young writers.

Elizabeti’s Doll Trailer at ARTISTdirect.

S.A. Bodeen is the author of the award-winning Elizabeti trilogy.  This series of children’s picture books follows a young Tanzanian girl as she adjusts to the birth of a baby brother, a baby sister and starting school.  In the first book, Elizabeti’s Doll, Elizabeti finds a rock that she adopts as her doll and cares for it as her mother cares for her new brother.  The trailer for the reading of this story  can be found at ELIZABETI’S DOLL Trailer @ARTISTdirect.  Bodeen will also be signing copies of her award-winning young adult novels.

SabudaquoteRobert Sabuda creates pop up books.  Actually, he creates critically acclaimed pop up books.  If you and your kids enjoy book arts, I really recommend checking out his site.  He offers a lot of pointers in Pop-Up Questions and also some instructions for making your own pop up books on his website.  I think it would be really fun to study his website this week with my grade schooler and then go visit with Mr. Sabuda.

BullardLisa Bullard will be releasing Turn Left at the Cow — a young adult mystery — just in time for the Book Festival this week.  If you want to prep for your visit, you may want to visit Ms. Bullard’s Children’s Literature Network post, where she gives some excellent ideas for brainstorming your own stories — including making a map collage or utilizing Pinterest.  Speaking of Pinterest, you can go get 13 clues to the story at the author’s Pinterest board for the book.

ratLynne Jonell writes the Magic series that started with Hamster Magic, Lawnmower Magic and currently Grasshopper Magic.  She also wrote the Emmy and the Rat Series which has won the Minnesota Book Award.  If your kids are fans of the Emmy series, they can design their own personalized bookmark for reading these books.

Deborah Jo Larson will be appearing with her picture book, One Frozen Lake.  Ms. Larson has ice-fishing coloring pages you can download from her site. 

Mary Logue is an author and poet and rug maker.  She has published children’s and adult’s books.  Her latest children’s book is Sleep Like a Tiger.  You can see the trailer for it below.

WinteroftheRobotsKurtis Scaletta is another author with a book releasing this week.  You can be among the first to get your hands on The Winter of the Robots and get it signed by the author.   Mr. Scaletta offers some really cool Extras to go with each of his books.  Like some of the other authors on this list, his Q & A page on his website is a great place to go if you want to get some insight into his creative process.  He also reminds you that most writers (like musicians) have day jobs.


I have already embarrassed myself over at Free Family Fun with my article on Stephen Shaskan.  If I could remember my password, I would have just moved the article over to this site, but unfortunately, I can’t, so you’ll have to read it over there.  But to sum it up Stephen Shaskan is a really cool person and he has a really cool website.  You will enjoy checking it out.  Shaskan also writes music.  Below are some of the kids songs he has written.  (There is a big space after this plugin.  Keep going, there are more authors.)


Obert Skye is a new author to me.  His website is somewhat unfinished, so I don’t have much to recommend from it yet.  He will be at the book festival with his latest book, Pinocula.  This is a part of his Creature from My Closet series which he talks about in the video below.  This video kind of gives you a peak into his personality, too.

Fall2013_Rite_Bejing_800x500Lauren Stringer will be at the festival with her latest book When Stravinsky Met Nijinsky. This book is about an infamous riot in Paris after the opening night of the ballet, The Rite of Spring.  This ballet, is being performed this month for free by Ballet Minnesota.  Wouldn’t it be fun to get the book signed by the author and then go see the ballet.  What do your kids feel about the story?  Is it something to riot over?

If you aspiring young writer also likes creating comics, they will want to meet Yasmine Surovec  — the creator of the Cat versus Human website.  She will be sharing her latest book, I See Kitty.  I’ve included one of her comics below.  If you are a cat person you will enjoy her website.



Kristen Tracy writes children and young adult novels.  She is also a poet. Below is a link to her poem Rain at the Zoo from American Life Poetry.


Stephanie Watson writes the Elvis & Olive series which we have started reading at home.  They are perfect books for grade school girls.  She has most recently written the picture book, The Wee Hours.  You can see a trailer for it below.

 I hope you and your family find this useful and can pick a few favorite authors to get to know.  They can be some of the most interesting people.

Joy Peters is one of the creators of FamilyFunTwinCities.com.  Her writing focuses on providing an arts-oriented family lifestyle on a small budget.



The Three Little Pigs and the Somewhat Bad Wolf by Mark Teague – Book Review

The Three Little Pigs and The Somewhat Bad Wolf

Around the time Mark Teague visited the Twin Cities on his promo tour for, The Three Little Pigs and The Somewhat Bad Wolf, we checked the book out from the library. The best part of Mark Teague’s books are the illustrations. The are big, bright, and engaging. The pictures alone will draw in your younger audience. The story is a slightly goofy version of the fairy tale, with enough grown up jokes speckled throughout the pages to keep adults amused.  

Some people do not like modern retellings of fairy tales that smooth away the rough (scary or violent) edges of the classic tale. If that’s you, you wouldn’t like this book. The Big Bad Wolf is only Somewhat Bad in this retelling and, in an ending reminiscent of a Raggedy Ann Tale, the pigs win him over with niceness and everyone agrees to live together in harmony. I think this retelling is okay. After all, if you want to be true to the classic tale, two of the three pigs get eaten and then the wolf is eaten by the third pig.

This book definitely passes my read over and over and over again test. The story is a simple, classic favorite. There is something about tales like this that read a little like a song. The reader keeps coming back to the same refrain. It makes a more enjoyable read for the reader and for the small child. The grown up jokes that he tosses in are just enough to make it amusing but not overwhelming. The illustrations really are the cream.

Where to find The Three Little Pigs and The Somewhat Bad Wolf

If you are interested in adding this book to your permanent collection, you can pick it up at most bookstores. The book is $16.99.  It is also available through Hennepin County Library — where they will store it for you for free when you are done with it.




© 2016 Family Fun Twin Cities LLC. All Rights Reserved. 1786 Carroll Ave, Saint Paul, MN, 55104, USA