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    What to do this weekend: decisions, decisions

    Fri Oct 2

    This happens to me every year: Three of my favorite annual family events always end up on the same day! This Sunday, October 4, is the dreaded day when the Blessing of the Animals at the Cathedral St. John the Divine, the celeb-studded Great Children's Read at Columbia University and the Medieval Festival at the Cloisters all conflict. (That photo to the left is my daughter at the Cloisters two years back!) And they're all free, so I can't even use my budget to help me choose! In addition to my big three--all of which are outside (I hope they don't get rained out!)--there are a ton of other amazing activities around town, most of which are free. You can find our free picks here -- International Pickle Day on the Lower East Side and the Apple Picking fest at the Queens County Farm Museum both sound pretty sweet--as well as other recommended events that cost a minimal amount of cash on Saturday and Sunday . But They Might Be...

    Big literary names this weekend at Books of Wonder

    Fri Oct 2

    The iconic Chelsea children's bookshop consistently showcases top-notch authors and illustrators, and this Saturday is no exception. Two of our favorites will be there: The delightful Patrick McDonnell will present his latest work, Wag! (you may remember his Hug Time , which charmed the heck out of us), and Brooklyn's Michael Rex will get goofy with The Runaway Mummy, one of five Halloween parodies featured in our current issue. We're not sure what connects the two authors—or the seven others making an appearance at the event—but no doubt there's a method to BoW's inspired madness.

    Family Day at the Whitney tomorrow

    Fri Oct 2

    If you've yet to see the Whitney's Georgia O'Keeffe exhibition which we touted in our September issue , tomorrow afternoon is the perfect time to check it out. During the museum's annual Family Day , admission is just 10 bucks for your entire brood. (Technically kids under 18 get in free, but we assume parents are going too!) The fee includes access to the exhibition plus a ton of awesome, kid-friendly activities, including guided gallery tours, abstract art workshops and even window box planting in honor of O'Keeffe's signature subject. Bonus: With tons of kids running around, no one will notice if your darlings misbehave.

    Introducing Gwen, the homeless American Girl

    Fri Oct 2

    The American Girl Company has had its triumphs (the introduction of Rebecca, a historically accurate Jewish girl!) and its defeats (the discontinuation of the line's classic Samantha). But the recent controversy over Gwen, the newest AG doll, has us just downright confused. It appears that Gwen was released back in February 2009, but is just now seeing all kinds of hype; the HuffPo recently ran an article about the doll's most prominent characteristic: homelessness. Wait, what? Though many commenters, both on and offline, have tried to make the "Oh, she's just a doll!" argument, the fact is the issue at stake goes beyond the toy. At $95 a pop, with not a penny going toward fund-raising for homeless children and teens, Gwen becomes a joke. While the intention to teach children about homelessness, a very real problem, is noble, selling that lesson for $95 in the form of a shiny doll that an actual homeless girl could never afford doesn't exactly have us running...

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