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Short Stuff

For kids: items in the news – from voting for your favorite book online to tae kwon do in the Olympics.

David Bickford

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Let's boogie

April 25 marks the beginning of National Dance Week. This celebration of dance started in 1981 when a group of dance-related organizations got together to promote dance across the United States.

Today, dance schools and studios and even public libraries get in on the action with special performances, workshops, dance parties, story readings, and movie screenings about dance.

Dance Week even has its own "spokesmouse" for kids. Angelina Ballerina, a cuddly cartoon mouse dressed in a pink tutu, loves to show off her moves. She appears on posters, as a stuffed animal, and as a real-life, person-size character at Dance Week events to help kids get excited about getting their groove on.

To find out if there are any events in your area, visit

An unusual way to get some air

Most animals need oxygen, and many creatures use lungs to get the air they need. But not a tiny frog that lives in cold, fast-moving streams in a part of the Indonesian rain forest. The frog – no longer than two inches – gets all the air it needs by absorbing oxygen through its skin.

Scientists think that one reason the Indonesian frogs may have "lost" their lungs over time is to help them stay put in the swiftly flowing waters where they live. Lungs help animals stay afloat in water, but if the frogs had such buoyancy, they'd be swept away by the streams' current.

The simplest camera

April 27 is Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day. Did you know that you can create a camera from common household items? Yep, all you need is an opaque container such as an oatmeal canister, a sewing needle to make the pinhole, a piece of film or photographic paper, tape, scissors, and a piece of cardboard.

A pinhole camera has no lens. Instead, it projects an image onto film or paper through the pinhole. People in ancient Greece made pinhole cameras using wicker baskets or by crossing leaves.


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