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Kids briefs: Group tells classic 'Rabbit' tale with puppets, masks

| Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
“The Velveteen Rabbit,” will be performed at the Hillman Center for the Performing Arts in Fox Chapel. Billy Mitchell Photography

The beloved story about an anthropomorphic plush toy rabbit will be coming to the stage Saturday at the Hillman Center for the Performing Arts in Fox Chapel.

“The Velveteen Rabbit,” based on Margery Williams' children's literary classic, tells the story of a stuffed toy rabbit that someone gave to a young boy as a gift. The rabbit, who is secretly alive and has feelings, longs for the day that the boy will choose him as a special playmate.

With devotion and love and some magic, the boy does grow to cherish his toy, who transforms into a real woodland rabbit.

Philadelphia-based Enchantment Theatre Company produces the show, which uses bunraku puppets and masks, and includes an original musical score by composer Don Sebesky.

After the show, the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh will put on a Rabbit Jamboree with carrots, punch, crafts and live bunnies from local animal organizations.

The show begins at 7:30 p.m. at the theater, located at Shady Side Academy Senior School at 423 Fox Chapel Road. Tickets are $25, $20 for senior citizens and $10 for students. Details: 412-968-3040 or www.thehillman.org

Special storytime at Carnegie Library

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's Main branch in Oakland offers weekly Inclusive Storytime sessions, designed for children ages 3 to 6 who have special needs, including autism. The library wanted to offer the one-hour sessions, at 2 p.m. Sundays, because parents of children with special needs often avoid coming to the library because they feel like the kids would be disruptive or unwelcome, library officials say.

Children's librarian Lisa Strabala will modify storytimes based on the needs of the children. For instance, if a child is sensitive to loud noises, then the storytime will include soft singing or knee-patting instead of louder singing and hand-clapping.

A craft activity is offered after the storytime, and parents can talk. Registration is required. 412-622-3114 or www.carnegielibrary.org

Bird characters fly on the big screen

Think of Hedwig the snowy owl in the Harry Potter movies, the vultures in “The Jungle Book,” and Blu the hyacinth macaw from “Rio,” to name a few. The National Aviary this weekend is showcasing its matching resident birds in the “Birds on Film” event, held all day Saturday through Monday.

Visitors can meet the North Side aviary's birds whose fellow species members appear in some movies, cast votes on the Best Dressed Bird, and enjoy movie-themed activities.

On these event days only, the aviary will show its popular “Parrots of the Caribbean” live bird show. In this production, at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. at the indoor FliteZone Theater, a flock of parrots helps pirates find their way back to the Caribbean.

The show costs an extra $5 on top of general admission of $13, $12 for age 60 and older, and $11 for ages 2 to 12. Details: 412-323-7235 or www.aviary.org

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