Books and Movies to Enjoy Summer with Your Grandkids

There’s no shortage of chick flicks this summer with romantic comedies offering laughs and love onscreen. Michelle Pfeiffer returns to the silver screen in “I Could Never Be Your Woman,” a romantic comedy about an older woman falling for a younger man (Paul Rudd).

Directed by Amy Heckerling of Clueless and Fast Times at Ridgemont High fame, the film also features a sharp-tongued Tracey Ullman as a meddling Mother Nature.

Then there’s “Trust the Man” (with Julianne Moore and David Duchovny), the tale of two relation- ships gone sour and how each man decides to fight for love.

Get the grandkids together and make it a day at the multiplex. For the young (and young at heart), indulge in the charming Warner Brothers offering, “The Ant Bully.” When a little boy floods an ant colony with his toy water gun, he’s magically shrunk to the size of an ant and sentenced to hard labor in the ruins. The family comedy features the voice talents of Nicholas Cage, Julia Roberts, Paul Giamatti, Lily Tomlin and Meryl Streep, to name just a few.

So if you’re melting from the mid-summer heat or just plain tired of the rising temperature, don’t despair.

Trade the hot for a hit and head to the nearest movie theater, buy a ticket and chill out with a fun summer film.

READY for those summer visits from the grandkids? No matter how excited you are to have them stay, a time will come when you need to take care of yourself or when the whole gang just needs to take it down a notch. So pour the iced tea and head for the hammock with a book, or curl up on the couch with popcorn and the latest DVD release. Whatever your pleasure, this summer promises some great opportunities to prop up the feet, relax or learn with a book or movie at home.

Ladies, after a day of water or theme parks with the grandkids, steal some time for yourself with Pamela D. Blair’s

The Next Fifty Years (Hampton Roads Publishing Company, 2005). Subtitled, A Guide for Women at Midlife and Beyond, the book leads women on a journey of self-acceptance by exploring mind, body and spirit. Filled with quotes from well-known women 50 and older, as well as spaces to write thoughtful passages, it’s also a self-discovery journal.

Make an effort to improve your health this summer. Start by brushing up on how to be a “smart” patient with You: The Smart Patient (Free Press, 2006) by best-selling authors Michael F. Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet C. Oz, M.D. This witty and fun-to-read handbook offers a wealth of information on how to become your own medical detective and how to find and maintain the best medical care.

If it’s time to tuck in the grandkids with a story, try Uncle Peter’s Amazing Chinese Wedding (Athenaeum Books for Young Readers, 2006). The delightful tale weaves Chinese traditions into a story about a little girl who’s sad because she thinks she’s losing her favorite uncle to marriage.

Eager to immerse yourself in history in-stead of the pool? Try any of PBS’ Home Video Collection. “Empires: Great Religions” presents five stories from some of history’s greatest religions, and The American Experience series includes two presentations (Coney Island and Eugene O’Neill: A Documentary) produced or directed by Emmy winner Ric Burns.

For the more adventurous grandchild, pick up a copy of Adventures of Riley: Mission to Madagascar (Eagle-mont Press, 2005). Riley and his friends are off to the African island of Madagascar to explore its natural wonders. The eco-friendly book combines an adventure story with facts about Madagascar and features bright, vivid illustrations mixed with some nature photography.

If you’re headed to rent a movie for the night, there are lots of big screen releases up for grabs. For family-friendly fare, the fun-loving “Curious George” (June 27, 2006 release), based on the beloved character from the popular children’s book series, will delight and entertain young ones. Will Ferrell and Drew Barrymore provide the lead voice talents in a colorful, animated film directed by Ron Howard.

Whether you’re alone or hanging out with the grandkids, don’t be afraid to put the brakes on and take it easy. Wind down time can be great to replenish the tanks as well as lots of fun for the whole family with right the movies or books at home.

Originally Published on GRAND Magazine in July-August 2006 Issue

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