Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Has Her Way

We're without power here at Media Darlings in South Orange, New Jersey. Everyone's safe and sound as we wait out the power outage. In the mean time, (as I write from a local Starbucks and recharge my phone) check out our archives. Consider it a "Best of Media Darlings" week. Stay safe! See you very soon (the sooner, the better)!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

My Own Pillsbury Halloween Whoopie Pie Test

It’s Sunday afternoon in New Jersey. We’re in the path of Hurricane Sandy so we’ve been spending the weekend securing stuff, gathering supplies, and generally battening down every hatch. We’ve even found out that both my and my husband’s places of employment are closed Monday. To an extent, there’s a lot of waiting going on—waiting for the weather to change; waiting for the winds to whip up; and hoping against hope that the winds and water are merciful. As the mother of a four-year-old, I’m also hoping that Halloween—just three days away—isn’t ruined. I know, it’s much more important that we all get through this safely; but Halloween is such a big deal for kids this age. Part of me just wants to laugh in the face of fear. So I reached into my cupboard and took down the Pillsbury Halloween Funfetti Whoopie Pie Kit that has been taunting me for weeks.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Skeletons! And Muscles. And the Circulatory System.

Human Anatomy Apps for Kids
Two new apps—one for younger kids; one for older—do a great job explaining how the world’s most sophisticated machine works. Both are interesting and interactive, and depict the body through the expected deconstructed views of muscle, organs, the circulatory system, and skeleton. And both apps touch upon the ticklish subject of human reproduction in a way appropriate for each age group. Younger users need to understand that a baby grows inside her mother; older users are presented with a scientific yet culturally sensitive lesson in human reproduction.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

TV Shows We Love: “Crash and Bernstein”

When I was a kid, my absolute favorite thing in the world was the Muppets. So the idea of a Muppet-style puppet coming to life to be my sidekick? Sounds cool to me. That’s the premise of Disney XD’s new combination live action/puppet show, Crash and Bernstein. Wyatt Bernstein (played by Cole Jensen) is the only male in his house and longs for a brother. After a trip to a “Build-A-Bestie” store, his creation comes to life in the form of Crash—a rude, outrageous bada**. In this world of tweens, Crash is the boy gone wild, the fun kid with no fear. He brings the chaos.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Halloween Treats: “The Monsters’ Monster” and Apps that Say Boo!

If you’re a fan of Mutts Comics, I don’t need to sell you on the extraordinary work of Patrick McDonnell. Along with a shelf of books starring his popular Mutts stars—Earl and Mooch—he wrote and illustrated Bad Baby, Our Little Kat King, Art, and my favorite, Me … Jane, which is the Caldecott honors-winning story of the childhood of anthropologist Jane Goodall. His latest book, The Monsters’ Monster along with a pair of not-so-scary apps celebrate the Halloween season with your pre-schoolers and younger grammar schoolers.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

New York Comic Con 2012: Where Batman Meets Felix (And Passion Meets Play)

This was my first trip to New York Comic Con; or for that matter, to any serious comics convention. Held at Javits Center, anybody (and I mean anybody) who’s a serious player in comics or pop culture suggested or influenced by comics is there. Marvel and DC Comics are there. But so is every ambitious indie who’s ready to make her mark at “the big show.” It’s impossible not to feel the excitement and the passion in this serious pursuit of play.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Music We Love: “Elska – Middle of Nowhere”

The Icelandic word elska means “to love” which is no small coincidence. After I listened to Elska - Middle of Nowhere, I had cartoon hearts floating over my head. This disc is the real deal: an actual (and interesting) concept disc for young listeners that’s tuneful, thought provoking, and endearing.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Meet Becky Friedman, Story Editor of “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood”

Interview by Jack Silbert
On Labor Day weekend, my sister sent me an email alerting me to the debut of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, belated spinoff of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. I immediately did what any childless 43-year-old would do: I set the DVR.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Books We Love: “Ivy + Bean Make the Rules”

It here, fans: the First Annual International Ivy + Bean Day (That’s October 13th to you and me). After weeks of anticipation, the Ivy and Bean Blog-A-Bration culminates with the release of book nine in the popular series, Ivy + Bean Make the Rules. And it was worth the wait.

Monday, October 8, 2012

How to Help Kids Find their “Spot”

Guest Post by Irene Latham
There’s a lot of talk these days about “passion.” We want it for ourselves, and we want it for our kids. We worry that if we don’t have it—or if our kids don’t have it—we’ve somehow failed.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Tim Burton's "Dark Shadows" on Blu-Ray Giveaway!

In honor of Tim Burton's new film, Frankenweenie, we're giving away his last film, Dark Shadows, on Blu-Ray.

One lucky winner will receive a Dark Shadows Blu-Ray Combo pack. Just sign up to join this site and leave a comment below with a way to reach you (email preferred). Already follow the site? Great—just leave a comment by Friday, October 12 at 5pm EST. And good luck!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Boy, His Dog, and Pure Magic: “Frankenweenie”

At its core, Tim Burton’s black and white, stop-motion animated film (in 3D yet!) is a simple, moving tale of the relationship between a boy and his loyal dog. The film works so well because that central relationship is so touchingly rendered. And Burton understands what all dog lovers know: nobody (or nothing) will love you as fully and unquestioningly as a dog.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Books We Love: “Benny’s Brigade” by Arthur Bradford

It’s not often I describe a children’s picture book as haunting, but there is something hauntingly real about this fantastical tale of a miniature walrus Benny and the sisters who help him get home to the sea. With beautiful illustrations by Lisa Hanawalt, Benny’s Brigade by O. Henry award winning author Arthur Bradford seems just right for the change of the seasons, as the tale begins as sisters Elsie and Theo are walking to school. Benny’s Brigade feels like that last little wisp of summer that appears right before fall begins in earnest.