Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Retro Apps We Love: “Punky Dunk and the Gold Fish,” “Colorforms Revolution,” and “Knock Knock and the Who’s There Doors”

If you’re like me, you love to share old favorites—books, toys, even jokes—from your own childhood with your kids. I found a trio of apps that re-imagine “hits” from the past and makes them joyously, cleverly new. These apps welcome our kids into the fold of generations who’ve grown up with time-tested books and toys that they’re sure to share with their own kids one day.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Love Is the Miracle: “The Miracles on Honey Bee Hill”

Film Short Review by Regina Robbins
What’s Millie to do? She’s a pillar of her community, loved and trusted by her neighbors, and especially by the members of her church. But Millie dearly wants to experience a special kind of love that friendship doesn’t provide. After many tearful nights, she takes initiative and puts herself out there on the Internet dating scene…and meets an amazing person. When they come face to face for the first time, Millie and Ed know they are soul mates, and after a joyful courtship, they decide to be married. There’s just one problem: Ed is also female. Poor Millie can’t believe it when her adoring “church family” condemn her relationship and threaten to cut her out of their lives if she continues her sinful lifestyle.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Ivy + Bean Blog-A-Bration Continues!

Hey, everybody, it’s week three of the Ivy + Bean Blog-A-Bration and we’re giving away a paperback copy of book three in the series, Ivy and Bean Break the Fossil Record. And just like last week, we’re also giving away 3 sets of Ivy and Bean Mini Notes. AND during week 9, a Grand Prize Winner will be chosen from all of the previous winners to receive:

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Apps We Love: Toon Goggles

Review by Alexis Crisman Kelly
I was a bit skeptical when I first glanced through the Toon Googles app, especially when I realized that there was no “brand name” content to view. Read: You won't find episodes of Doc McStuffins or Bubble Guppies here. What you will find is hundreds of hours of original content (like MONK Little Dog above) organized around six themes: Boys; Girls; Action; Comedy; Pre-School; and Educational.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Books We Love: “Hang Glider & Mud Mask”

Stop the presses! Okay, now turn the book over and start the presses again. The only picture book of its kind, Hang Glider & Mud Mask is uniquely constructed with two front covers, two spines, and a z-shaped binding that links the two sides of the story. It’s a Möbius strip of a book as the story folds over on itself, each story “ending” on the front cover of the other story. In one story, a hang glider works his way down from the sky to the ground; in the other story, a person wearing a mud mask climbs ever higher, and they meet in the “middle.” It works like a film loop. It’s a clever little milestone and a children’s book for grown-ups; or perhaps it’s a grown-up book for kids.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

It's Week 2 of the Ivy and Bean Day Blog-A-Bration

October 13th is the 1st Annual International Ivy and Bean Day, launch day of the 9th book in the New York Times bestselling series: Ivy and Bean Make the Rules. It’s week two of the Blog-A-Bration and we’re giving away a paperback copy of book two in the series, Ivy and Bean and the Ghost that Had to Go. And just like last week, we’re also giving away 3 sets of Ivy and Bean Mini Notes. AND during week 9, a Grand Prize Winner will be chosen from all of the previous winners to receive:

Friday, August 17, 2012

I See Some Very Funny Dead People: “ParaNorman”

Film Review by Maggie Hames
You know what’s wrong with this world? According to Norman of the animated film ParaNorman, people just don’t listen. And he should know, because nobody listens like Norman; it’s just that the door doesn’t swing the other way for him. Norman sees (and hears, and relates to, and jokes with) dead people in a parody of M. Night Shymalan’s 1999 mega-hit The Sixth Sense. But few people (dead or alive) lend him a sympathetic ear, with the exception of his recently-deceased grandmother, wonderfully voiced by Elaine Stritch. Kodi Smit-McPhee delivers a terrific and nuanced performance as Norman in this Chris Butler and Sam Fell directed film.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

To Life! “The Odd Life of Timothy Green”

Film Review by Maggie Hames
The Odd Life of Timothy Green feels like a fable, a fabulous tale set in a storybook town. The lead characters, Cindy and Jim Green (Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton) even narrate the movie as a story told to an official at an adoption agency. Their town of Stanleyville feels magical, yet it’s peopled with recognizable and surprisingly real characters, considering its amazing plot points.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

It’s a Countdown to Ivy and Bean Day Blog-A-Bration!

October 13th is the 1st Annual International Ivy and Bean Day! That’s the day that bookstores and libraries around the world will be celebrating the launch of the 9th book in the New York Times bestselling series: Ivy and Bean Make the Rules. As part of the celebration, we’ll give away a paperback copy of each of the first eight books—one each week—beginning with the first book in the series, Ivy + Bean. But that’s not all!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

London Calling: Gold Medal-Worthy British Media

I can hardly believe the Olympics are almost over. If you’ve been following the games, I’ll bet you’re yearning to visit (or revisit) the United Kingdom. I know I am! But with a tiny bit of effort, you can surround yourself with media that will transport you to the land of Dickens, Shakespeare, the Spice Girls, and Lily Rose Cooper; and you won’t have to wait in line at airport security.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Let the Games Begin: We're Part of the Ultimate Summer Giveaway

Welcome to the Ultimate Summer Giveaway! Like a Bump on a Blog and our wonderful sponsors have teamed up to bring you some amazing prizes for 2 lucky winners. $225 PayPal Cash is the grand prize awarded to the first winner.

Stick With This App: “Caillou Stickers!”

If you’ve visited this site before, you know I love media that invites kids to become storytellers. Whether it’s a wordless picture book or app based on popular classic games like Fuzzy Felt or Colorforms, this type of media can stimulate the imagination as it encourages children to “talk through” a narrative.

Friday, August 3, 2012

This Dog Can’t Hunt, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days”

The Wimpy Kid bunch is back for another go at milking the cash cow, er, I mean the bunch is back with another pre-tween/full-on tween “comedy.” David Bowers has got to be the laziest director on the planet. It’s not that this film is really bad. (Bad might be interesting.) It’s just so mediocre: the story, the acting, the shooting, the jokes—you name it. “Good enough” seems, well, good enough for Bowers.

Go For the Gold! And Silver.

For that matter, go for the “Recommended” and “Approved” as well. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to check out the “Fun Stuff.” We’re talking the Parents’ Choice Awards and those are the five honors they bestow. It may not sound like they’re gushing, but it takes a lot for a book to gain the distinction of being “Approved” by Parents’ Choice. In honor of the Olympics, the following is a round-up of the media that were honored with the Spring 2012 “Fun Stuff” award, because we’ve all been working very hard and have earned a bit of fun. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Talking to Your Child About the Aurora Tragedy

The unthinkable happened in Aurora, Colorado, in the early morning hours of July 20. This is a tragedy that may have hit closer to home for children, as it involved a movie (The Dark Knight Rises) that many of them planned to see. It’s a movie based on a beloved comic-book character, one devoted to stopping the sort of madness that took place in real life. (“No guns,” Batman says to Catwoman in the film. Indeed, the superhero swore off firearms in the comic books in 1939.)