Friday, March 30, 2012

All Is Vanity. Nothing's Fair: "Mirror Mirror"

If you’ve visited this site, you may already know how much I love and admire Walt Disney’s 1937 classic film, Snow White. It’s one of our most popular posts to boot. So—a new Snow White story? I’m there. In fact, Mirror Mirror directed by Tarsem Singh starring Julia Roberts as the wicked queen is just one of two major motion pictures on the subject. Charlize Theron will take her bite of the apple this June in Snow White and the Huntsman. I totally get it. Who wouldn’t want a chance to play Snow White’s wicked queen, this vain and murderous villainess for the ages? My take on Julia Roberts’ performance as the wicked queen is also my review of the film: good but not great.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Doctor Is Real In

TV Shows We Love: Doc McStuffins
There’s a new gal in town you should meet. She’s an adorable little girl who “operates” a clinic for stuffed animals and toys. She’s Doc McStuffins. (Everyone, including her parents, calls her “Doc.”) Her clinic is her backyard playhouse. Her medical staff consists of toys—stuffed lamb, snowman, hippo and a plastic dragon—who come to life when they’re “alone” with Doc.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Media Darlings Is One Year Old!

Here’s a short recap of our first very wonderful year:

Our first story went live on Monday, March 28, 2011. It was a tribute to my favorite documentary, The Hobart Shakespeareans. My title folded in documentary subject Rafe Esquith’s motto, “Work hard and be nice.”

Sunday, March 25, 2012

TV Shows We Love: “The Aquabats! Super Show!” and “Mike the Knight”

I’m in tween heaven: The Aquabats have their own show. Don’t confuse this band with The Monkees, a band that was created by tv producers in order to create The Monkees tv show. The Aquabats are a real-live band. Originally formed in 1994 in Orange County, California, they’ve released five full-length studio albums and have toured internationally. And they’ve found new life in the world of kid’s television, thanks to front man Christian Jacobs (The MC Bat Commander) who co-created, writes, and directs Yo Gabba Gabba! for the littlest hipsters. Jacobs seems awfully fond of exclamation points, but his shows are worthy of all the excitement.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Hello, Gorgeous!

Picks from the Book Industry Guild of New York’s 26th Annual Show
This show honors the art of bookmaking in all its glory: beautiful papers, masterful printing, gorgeous illustrations and typography, expert binding; in short, all the elements of gift-worthy “keeper” books that are as beautiful as they are smart (just like you!). The books honored by the Book Industry Guild are anti-e-books. They’re a feast for the eyes as well as food for the soul.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Let Me Draw You a Picture!

Books We Love: Make a World by Ed Emberley
If you have a child who is just learning how to write, you know that they learn their letters one stroke at a time. There are any number of workbooks and apps that encourage kids to trace letters. It’s fundamental and one of the building blocks of literacy. I don’t need to sell you on its importance.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Books We Love: “Just a Second” by Steve Jenkins

I love it when a book changes what I know AND how I think. I don’t generally expect such a paradigm shift from a children’s book, but Just a Second does just that, compelling the reader to imagine what can (and does) take place in the span of a second.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Night and Day It’s “Cinderella”

Disney’s Twelfth Animated Feature – 1950
The 1950s were a magical decade for Disney. The studio produced a slate of memorable, winning films including Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and Lady and the Tramp, book-ended by two iconic princesses: Cinderella in 1950 and Sleeping Beauty in 1959. Some decades you can do no wrong.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Apps We Love: NxtApp 4 Kids and Kids Switcheroo

Once your pre-schooler has learned to count, how do you encourage real numeracy? How do you help kids understand that numbers aren’t just sounds but have values? That the number two can be understood as one plus one; and for that matter, the number three is two plus one, and so on? How can we encourage and support this “click” moment in our kids’ understanding? Well, there’s an app for that. (What are the chances?)

Monday, March 5, 2012

In Praise of Picture Books: Books We (and Caldecott) Love

I’ve always loved picture books. My earliest childhood memory is a picture book on puffins. Picture books encourage creativity as illustrations inspire the reader/viewer to write a story in their own imagination. It’s a different type of literacy, entirely compatible and complementary to young readers’ early attempts at phonics and reading.

Friday, March 2, 2012

I’m Here to Speak for “The Lorax”

I’m such a fan of the stories of Ted Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, that I’ve lost patience with the stream of film directors who profess to love Geisel’s work as they dance on his grave. The Ron Howard-directed How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the Bo Welch-directed Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat, and the Jimmy Hayward-directed Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who! were pretty awful, adding bizarre backstories, characters, and storylines that often negated Geisel’s original work. I’m figuring Welch and Hayward added “Dr. Seuss” to their titles because nobody would associate their films with the wonderful little books otherwise.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Books We Love: “Plunked” by Michael Northrop

Book Review by Jack Silbert
Super Bowl, NBA All-Star Game, blah blah blah. A serious subset of us sports fans spend the entire winter counting down to the only day that matters: When pitchers and catchers report. Baseball fans are a special breed—a bit more obsessive, a bit more nostalgic, a bit more introspective. And if you’ve noticed that the baseball fans in your life have been smiling a bit more recently, have a bit more “spring” in their steps, that’s because spring training is underway.