cover image A LITHGOW PALOOZA! 101 Ways to Entertain and Inspire Your Kids

A LITHGOW PALOOZA! 101 Ways to Entertain and Inspire Your Kids

John Lithgow, . . S&S/Fireside, $15 (351pp) ISBN 978-0-7432-6124-1

Actor and children's author Lithgow (I'm a Manatee ) has amassed a whimsical yet educational collection of activities parents can use to keep kids of all ages amused and engaged in learning while having fun. The book is divided into themed sections: "Big Paloozas," "Performance Paloozas," "Word Paloozas," "Music Paloozas" and other games. In each, parents will find suggestions rated by age and budget (most can be done cheaply or for free) such as building a fairy house from a shoebox, inventing a secret language or pretending to be an animal for a day. Lithgow accompanies many of the ideas, such as creating a photo essay (for children age nine and up), by noteworthy sidebars (in this case, a short history of photographer Gordon Parks). Lithgow's many years as a children's performer and author have served him well; the activities are, for the most part, varied and original. And the author, who used many of these while raising his own kids, has a knack for tapping into children's minds and worlds. Yet he presents his material in a straightforward manner that will make the games and projects easy for parents to implement and supervise, including the "running time" for each "palooza," related topics to pursue and suggested reading materials. With simple yet intriguing ideas, this is a delightful compilation to be used on rainy or sunny days with kids. Lithgow's humor and wit will inspire parents and children to rediscover the joys of good, old-fashioned imaginative play. (Apr. 6)

Forecast: Lithgow is a popular celebrity with both children and adults, so there's a ready-made market for this book. His photo on the cover will help draw attention to it in bookstores.