Saturday, June 30, 2012

Picture Books We Love: “Little Bird” and “The Night Riders”

Two magnificent new picture books (one in release; the other soon to be released) tell their stories with pictures in a way that can coax the storyteller out of your child. As both books tell their stories almost entirely in visuals, they offer a perfect opportunity to encourage your child to narrate the stories.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

“SQUIDS Wild West” Really Grabbed Me!

Mobile Games We Love
I have to confess right up front, I haven’t really been into the elaborate gaming end of apps, but after playing SQUIDS Wild West by The Game Bakers, I understand why games have bested motion pictures when it comes to grabbing people’s attention and time.

Monday, June 25, 2012

A New Definition of “Brave”

Pixar's Thirteenth Animated Feature - 2012
If you’re alive in the United States right now, you’re aware that Disney/Pixar has released a new film called Brave and it’s already a hit. I saw my first promo for this film last fall. Sometimes my 3 ½ year old’s speech is difficult to understand, but she could say (and demand) Brave clear as a bell. Why were we not first in line on opening day? Well, just so happens the opening coincides with my family vacation. We were driving to the beach on Friday. A tepid review in The New York Times pulled me up short. Would Brave be worth the wait?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Apps We Love: Marble Math and Marble Math Jr. by Artgig

I haven’t seen an app that makes better use of the tilting function of iPhone and iPad than Marble Math by Artgig Apps. The app turns your device into a maze. The object of the game is to navigate a marble through the maze by tilting your device. And it works great!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Spend More Time With Rubbish Books!

You heard me right. You owe it to yourself to take a good long look at (more precisely) RubbishBooks. It’s the one-year-old brain-child of Matt Ryan, self-described writer/illustrator/animator/developer/and “whatever else.” RubbishBooks is a series of short stories for children featuring his monster characters Patrick, Kevin, and Arty, as well as a host of supporting characters like Dr. Toast (a slice of toast with a medical degree, naturally).

Sunday, June 17, 2012

TV Series We Love: “Timmy Time” by Aardman Animations

Timmy’s a little lamb with (according to his creators) a lot to learn. Good thing he’s in preschool. This clay-animated marvel may be the most adorable depiction of a preschool to date. Timmy Time is a spin off from Aardman’s Shaun the Sheep series, itself a spin off from the short film, Wallace and Gromit: A Close Shave.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Learning Toys We Love: Switch & Go Dinos by VTech

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of VTechKids for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
SwitchAndGo Sliver
Sliver the T-Rex and Horns the Triceratops
The moment you turn on one of VTech’s Switch & Go Dinos, the toy demands respect—literally. These are talking toys and Sliver the T-Rex shouted, “Obey your king,” and “Fear me!” as Horns the Triceratops told us to “Stay strong!” There’s a bit of good-natured, even hilarious junior “trash talk” with the Switch and Go Dinos that adds to the fun.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Apps We Love: MoMA Art Lab

When I heard that New York’s Museum of Modern Art created their first art-making app, I imagined something amazing. And I was not disappointed. MoMA Art Lab invites the user to step into the shoes of great artists like Henri Matisse and to imitate their techniques to create original works of art. The activities offered by MoMA Art Lab are fun and the app is easy to use for even the youngest user. But the app is also profound in that users—including you—really do pick up the tools and adopt the techniques of great artists; and that’s exciting and stimulating in a way few apps are.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Summer Splash Giveaway

$400 Summer Splash Cash Giveaway

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This giveaway is open worldwide.
It will end at 11:59pm EST on June 24th, 2012.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Life Is a Circus “Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted”

The Central Park Zoo is a very small, very urban zoo. It’s easy to imagine that the animals that live there would be New Yorkers first, wild animals second. That idea forms the core of the Madagascar franchise. This group of animals—a lion, hippo, giraffe, and zebra—are urbane, “show-biz” animals that love the adulation of the crowds, the three square meals a day, and the safety that comes with zoo life.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Run Away to “Moonrise Kingdom”

Movie Review by Jack Silbert
With 2009’s Fantastic Mr. Fox, Wes Anderson unequivocally proved he could make a film for children. (And now that Maurice Sendak has passed, I can comfortably say that Mr. Fox was a superior kids’ movie to that year’s Where the Wild Things Are.) Ah, but can Mr. Anderson make a movie starring children? And can that movie appeal to children? Moonrise Kingdom joyously answers the first question in the affirmative: This film is an absolute delight—inventive, smart, funny, and sweet. As for the second question, eh, it depends on the kid. But I’ll get back to that.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Shakespeare? In Love!

I’ve become intrigued by an app that hasn’t even been invented yet. It proposes to offer a way into Shakespeare for the youngest users through music. It’s called Kinderbard and it’s the project-in-development of self-described “Shakespeare geek” Daeshin Kim.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Time Flies When You’re Having Fun!

Apps We Love: Monster Time by Myello Digital
It’s about time someone created an app that teaches and supports kids in learning to tell time. Monster Time delivers precisely what I’d hope such an app would: it teaches users how to tell time at it clearly explains the way clocks—both digital and analog—measure and keep time.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Fairest One of All: “Snow White and the Huntsman”

In March when I reviewed this year’s other Snow White film, Mirror Mirror, I mentioned that I completely understand an actress’s desire to play Snow White’s Wicked Queen. She’s a baddie for the ages. In both Mirror Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman, the quest for physical beauty consumes and ultimately destroys the Wicked Queen. In Mirror Mirror, the journey was as goofy and over-the-top as the wonderfully outrageous costumes. In Snow White and the Huntsman, the quest is as dark as the deathly haunting art direction. Snow White and the Huntsman is dark and grim, as the Brother’s Grimm intended, a peek into dark souls motivated by hatred and revenge. Charlize Theron as Ravenna—the girl who would be queen—takes her bite of the apple in a movie that is heavy with gravitas; visually reminiscent of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and grounded in a strangely convincing world of mysticism, fairies, magic, and faith.