Now Sponsoring “Story Dogs”, Sunshine Coast

Photo Ella and Charlie new

I am very proud to announce that I am now an official sponsor of a Story Dogs team here on the Sunshine Coast, sponsoring Ella and Charlie (pictured). Story Dogs is a registered charity that supports literacy programs in schools by sending in a volunteer human-canine partnership to help students on their paths to becoming confident, enthusiastic readers.

I first came across the concept several years ago via an American website and then looked for a similar program in Australia. I looked into volunteering with my Golden Retriever Daisy, but quickly realised Daisy was too much of a clown and I didn’t think we’d pass the behaviour test! Now, with my son starting Prep this year, I came across the program again and was truly excited to discover that I could add my name to the list of enthusiastic sponsors who help to keep this program running around the nation.

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While the sponsorship money is pooled across the country to ensure that no child misses out, the beautiful faces of my personal sponsorship are Ella and Charlie, who volunteer at St Thomas Moore primary school here on the Sunshine Coast, and I have committed to sponsoring a Story Dogs team each year that my son is in primary school.

As a former English teacher and now author, I know that reading is the keystone skill to a life of opportunity. 

You don’t have to be an official sponsor to help out too. You can donate or volunteer your time. Just visit the Story Dogs website at www.storydogs.org.au.

Movie Review: Captain Underpants

Bright. Loud. Frivalous.

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I went to see this movie for two reasons. Firstly, I have a five-year-old son, who upon hearing the very term, ‘Captain Underpants’, began to laugh and asked to see the movie. Secondly, because I once heard an interview with the creator of the novels, Dav Pilkey, and was so moved by his story that I have longed for the moment my son was old enough to enjoy Pilkey’s creations.

You see, Pilkey was a child with dyslexia and ADHD and was repeatedly sent out of class and into the hallways. The pain he experienced at school gave him a keen sense of connection and service to children and actually began volunteering with school kids straight out school himself–something very unique for an eighteen-year-old. This was a young man who had a mission, I thought. And I think the worldwide phenomenon that is his books, proves that. This is a man who gets kids.

Having said that, I haven’t read any of the Captain Underpants books (as I’m still waiting for my son to get a bit older). My review here is strictly on the movie.

Firstly, my beef with his film is the level of violence contained in it for a G-rated film. I don’t see how animated violence (torching cats, having people hit by cars (repeatedly), or machines that want to shrink your brain and turn you into a zombie) is any different to actual violence. My son climbed into my lap towards the end (the grande finale of violence) and said it was scary. Still, he did want to hang on till the end and that is the first film he has actually sat through till the credits rolled.

I think this movie is pitched at kids slightly older than five. I’m thinking 7-9 years would be a good indication, as some of the humour is mature and there is a fair amount of written text that contains jokes, if only you know how to read.

It’s over the top. It’s meant to be.

But too much violence for me (and my son).

3 stars.