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Happy Meals

Brilliant babysitting at Brandt's

by and

MON 6/2

Eating out with tykes in tow needn't require a cartoon-laden cardboard box and a pool of plastic balls. It's wholly possible to dine like a grown-up while the little ones have the time of their lives, thanks to the Monday-night "Jazzy Storytime" each week at Brandt's Café, in the Delmar Loop at 6525 Delmar Boulevard (314-727-3663).

From 6:30-7:30 p.m., Jazzy Storytime features kid-friendly folk tunes, stories and sing-alongs courtesy of Georgy Rock, who regularly performs for children at area hospitals and churches, and her accompanist, a musician/singer known as Mr. Dill. The program started about three months ago, after owner Jay Brandt saw Ms. Rock perform a children's story about a magic trumpet, with Mr. Dill backing her up on flügelhorn, as part of an adult bill in his eatery. Just like that, "Jazzy Storytime" was born.

"Having two preschoolers, I know it's hard for parents to go out for a nice dinner," says Brandt. "This way, they enjoy themselves, and we entertain the kids."

"Jazzy Storytime" doesn't just benefit the kids who show up. Ten percent of Monday night's sales are earmarked for area preschools and literacy programs, and patrons are asked to bring used children's books for area shelters. "I figured if 'Jazzy Storytime' was going to be about making reading fun for kids," Brandt explains, "we should do something to make it for all kids." -- Rose Martelli

Who Let the Gods Out?
Pee-wees at the Pagan Picnic

When it comes to your child's spiritual welfare, there are so many options -- altar boy, yeshiva bocher, chalice-keeper during those Satanic masses -- how are you to decide?

The free-form gnosticism of the annual Pagan Picnic is a great place to start. Kids will enjoy such family-friendly activities as a puppet show and make-it-take-it drum workshop. Because paganism embraces so many styles of spirituality, there shouldn't be much in the way of indoctrination. At least you won't hear Bible tales of the "obey or go to hell" school -- thank God.

Stop by Tower Grove Park between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday, May 31, or between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday, June 1 (Tower Grove Avenue at Magnolia Avenue,, free).

Blessed be ... freedom from dogma, kids. -- Byron Kerman

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