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Arvada’s “Flat Stanley” takes kid fun to a cool new dimension

Since 1964, the “Flat Stanley” books have encouraged kids to see the world, well, three-dimensionally.

Flat Stanley devotees spread the gospel today by encouraging young people to send letters to strangers around the globe, with words of encouragement and a Flat Stanley likeness enclosed. When that US Airways flight miraculously landed in the Hudson River in 2009, a passenger was carrying a Flat Stanley in his briefcase.

So never dispute the power of a flat-out positive message.

“The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley” is a cheerful, kid-pleasing musical based on

“Ice Cream Theater” music isn’t just for kids

This weekend the Manitou Art Theatre in Colorado Springs kicks off “Ice Cream Theatre,” its kid- friendly summer concert series, with a show featuring Ben Rudnick.

Rudnick’s fun take on children’s music combines a love of the Grateful Dead with kid-appropriate themes.

Rudnick, however, rejects the “children’s music” label.

“We don’t think of it as ‘kids’ music,’ ” he says. “It’s not all so incredibly straightforward, imparting some lesson or some incredibly silly thing about boogers. Because I don’t really want to sing about boogers.”

Instead, jazzy jams spiked with elements of bluegrass, folk and roots music set off Rudnick’s sound. Songs have titles like “A Frog Named Sam,” “Chet’s Fabulous Diner” and “The Challenger Baseball Song.” As Rudnick points out, many of the songs aren’t specifically aimed at kids, but the content is nonetheless appropriate for young listeners.

“It seems to me the best idea is to make music I want to hear,” says Rudnick, a guitarist, who started writing songs with kids in mind after preparing to play music for his own daughter Emily’s fourth-birthday party.