Magazine article Newsweek

Focus on Family

Magazine article Newsweek

Focus on Family

Article excerpt

CARTOONS A Big-Time Action Hero Is Cut Down to Size Jackie Chan movies have made more than $100 million in the United States, so it's little wonder TV would like a piece of the action hero. Earlier this month Kids WB launched a Saturday-morning animated show called "Jackie Chan Adventures" that features the sleuthing martial-arts expert and his spunky little niece Jade. Not surprisingly, the two hurl themselves headlong into foiling the crimes of a gallery of heinous villains. The Jackie character is still sweet, even if cartoon kung fu looks less amazing than those on film. And sometimes Jackie's dialogue is straight out of a fortune cookie. "Courage without wisdom," he tells little Jade, "is foolishness."

KIDS' BOOKS A Tiny Troublemaker Penelope Jane is a very tiny fairy ("tall as an eyelash") who lives in Carrie's top right dresser drawer. She's French (her favorite food is the croissant), and when she wreaks havoc in Carrie's kindergarten classroom, she finds a way to be heroic to make up for her naughtiness. "Penelope Jane: A Fairy's Tale"--with charming illus-trations by G. Brian Karas--is the first children's book from singer-songwriter Roseanne Cash, and it comes with a bonus CD. Cash sings "How to Be Strong," a sweet self-esteem song for Penelope Jane and everyone else on the playground.

LEARNING Work Till You Drop Add Etta Kralovec and John Buell to the small but vocal cadre of those who question loading down kids with work at the end of each school day. In their new book, "The End of Homework: How Homework Disrupts Families, Overburdens Children and Limits Learning," the two educators make the case that not only is homework inequitable (it favors kids whose families have the most resources), it doesn't necessarily improve test scores. …

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