Thursday, December 25, 2014

All This and Middle Earth, Too—“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”

Movie Review by Jack Silbert
First off, kudos to Peter Jackson for getting the word “the” into his movie title three times. That’s only two fewer “the”s than armies!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Raccoon's On Our Side: “Guardians of the Galaxy”

Movie Review by Jack Silbert
I’ll admit it: I was a little skeptical. Was Marvel scraping the bottom of the barrel, looking for even more superheroes to build a movie franchise around? Who the heck were the “Guardians of the Galaxy”? (Turns out the name has been kicking around the Marvel Universe since 1969, but the current team debuted in a 2008 comic book.) And then there was the stunt-casting: Bradley Cooper as a talking raccoon! Vin Diesel as a… uh… tree! Not to mention that August releases are not always your absolute top-quality films.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Books We Love: “When We Became Three: A Memory Book for the Modern Family” by Jill Caryl Weiner

Author Interview by Jack Silbert
The old-fashioned memory book is having a hard time keeping up with the 64GB memory on your smartphone. So what is the modern parent to do, when it comes to recording baby’s big moments? Author Jill Caryl Weiner has the answer in her delightful When We Became Three: A Memory Book for the Modern Family. It’s funny, smart, sweet, and truly helpful (not to mention the perfect Father’s Day gift for the new or soon-to-be dad). We spoke to Jill about our 21st-century parenting landscape, oversharing on Facebook, and all those bunnies on standard baby books.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Not Too Big to Fail: Disney’s “Maleficent”

This film is aptly named. You get a whole lot of the character Maleficent in the film of the same name. Directed by near-legendary special effects man but first-time director Robert Stromberg, we meet the title character as a charming, giggly winged forest fairy-child. Maleficent has got a pair of curly horns, a rather literal interpretation of what I figured for an elaborate hat on the animated Maleficent in the 1959 classic, Sleeping Beauty. Young Maleficent meets a human boy in the forest who just happens to be named Stefan and a friendship forms. For fans of the original animated tale, that’s a touchstone we can appreciate. We’re off to the races.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Cozy Up To a Good Book

I’m in heaven. My pal Cynthia introduced me to a marvelous series of board books that foster earliest literacy while planting a seed that will bloom years later. I’m talking about Cozy Classics. This series reinterprets the titans of literature—Pride and Prejudice, Moby Dick, Les Misérables, War and Peace, Jane Eyre, Oliver Twist, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer—as simple sight words (twelve words in all) juxtaposed against twelve stunningly crafted and photographed illustrations. The illustrations feature the art of felting to create characters that are placed in miniature environments. The sumptuous photographs of these tableaus invite children to enter the worlds of the stories.

Friday, May 16, 2014

How Much For the Arm? "Million Dollar Arm"

Movie Review by Jack Silbert
There’s no baseball fan quite like a young baseball fan, poring over rosters, statistics, and transactions, living and breathing the game. I feel like that’s who Million Dollar Arm is squarely aimed at. Unless your kids have really been hankering to see Don Draper in a kinder, gentler setting.

Saturday, May 10, 2014


This image was created by Micah Player, author and illustrator of Lately Lily and Chloe, Instead. Micah created it in response to the kidnapping of hundreds of girls from their school in Nigeria, and the online awareness campaign #BringBackOurGirls. I personally thank Micah and Chronicle Books for sharing this art with us.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

First Visit! My Trip To Disney World

CHAPTER 1, Meeting the Princesses
Yes, I am a middle-aged parent and I just took my first trip to a Disney resort (Disney World, to be exact). I’ve always been a bit intimidated by the sheer size of the resort, but a motivator to take the plunge was that my own little girl is in what I’d describe as her “Disney princess sweet spot,” which is a nice way of saying she’s obsessed. Since she’s been old enough to care about Halloween, she’s portrayed (in order) Aurora from Sleeping Beauty; Merida from Brave; and Ariel from The Little Mermaid; and if she could portray two princesses at once, she would. (Note to self: new product line?) At age five, she is old enough to appreciate and participate in nearly all the fun and activities an amusement park offers. So we took our trip. And simply put, anyone in search of all things princess will find heaven itself at Disney World. The princesses “themselves” will meet, greet, dine with, sign autographs for, and pose with any park-goer who asks. And the princesses do not disappoint. They are beautiful, lovely, gracious, kind, and patient; the perfect embodiments of animated characters “magically” brought to life. There’s no eye rolling, winking at the camera, irony or even fatigue here. These princesses take their roles as seriously as their fans do, which is saying a lot.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Reasons To Be Cheerful

One of our favorite author/illustrators, Alex Latimer (The Boy Who Cried Ninja; Penguin's Hidden Talent; and Lion Vs. Rabbit) just created this wonderful panel cartoon. According to Alex, “Sometimes you've drawn enough walruses for the week. Sometimes you just need to draw something else. The result is Captain Koala Rescues a Sock. This is water-coloured, which is unusual for me since I lack the patience for real world painting. That said, Captain Koala Rescues a Sock is certainly no A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.” At Media Darlings, we say ENJOY.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

No Strings Attached: “Muppets Most Wanted”

Movie Review by Jack Silbert
When I saw the recent trailer for Mr. Peabody & Sherman, it broke my heart just a little. The original segments on Jay Ward’s 1960s Bullwinkle TV show were so smart, so clever. And here we were in 2014 with fart and butt jokes, and worst of all, what appeared to be yet another run-of-the-mill lowest common denominator kids’ movie.