Chugging Along


Thomas the Tank Engine and his buddy James make stops at the Collin Creek Mall on Saturday at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. to distract the kiddies with a free 30-minute musical show featuring life-size replicas of the aforementioned trains as well as our favorite "live costumed character," Sir Topham Hatt. A few lucky kids will get tagged for the audience-participation ritual in the traveling show's only Texas performance scheduled to date. That's what the Plano mall tells us, anyway. A quick trip to Strawberry Productions' Web site reveals the hidden motive: "THOMAS is guaranteed to deliver TRAFFIC, SALES, & SMILES!" So Mommy, watch that disposable income. The mall is located at North Central Expressway and Plano Parkway; the show is in the lower-level Center Court. Call 972-422-1070. --Julie Lyons

Jackrabbit Flash
Cottontail won't lay an egg


Cadbury commercials, with that inimitable "clucking" rabbit, would lead one to believe that the Easter bunny actually lays the Easter eggs. Doug Jackson, director of Casa Mañana's Peter Cottontail III, explains that the bunnies and hens have a symbiotic relationship that allows for efficient egg production and delivery. (Good thing, too--we were beginning to wonder what kind of disease would cause a mammal to lay colored, hard-boiled eggs.) Sarah Broyles and David Coffee star in Peter Cottontail III, a children's tale in which the Easter bunny decides to retire, passing Easter duties along to his grandson. At least we know whom to hunt down if we don't get an Easter basket. Friday through Sunday, April 13 at 3101 W. Lancaster Ave., Fort Worth. Tickets are $9.50. Call 817-332-2272. --Michelle Martinez

Manor Born
Kids get a class on class


A recent midmorning, weekday grocery trip revealed the overblown and possibly misdirected emphasis on "good manners" among the toddler set. Evidence? The shrill, endless hollering of a small boy in Aisle 3: "'Scuse me, I stinky tharted!" Happily, this bowel-sound-fixated tyke is too young to attend the Mansion on Turtle Creek's spring "Children's Etiquette Class" for 5- to 12-year-olds. Mansion chef Dean Fearing designs an obstacle course of proper dining challenges for lunch, with troubleshooting by etiquette expert Charlene Levering. The two-hour course will reveal which fork to use, how to set the table and other deal-breaking mealtime manners. The Saturday-afternoon class runs from noon to 2 p.m. at the Mansion, and the $50 fee includes lunch. An adult must accompany each child and cough up, politely, another $50 if he or she eats lunch. For reservations, call 214-559-2100. --Annabelle Massey Helber


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