Tuesday, May 31, 2011

If it’s Tuesday it must be toys and tours

"Brown Teddy Bear" by Lydia Jacobs

Welcome to the newest edition of, “If it’s Tuesday it must be toys and tours.” Like our sister columns, Wednesday’s “Book Report,” Thursday’s “Musical Notes” and Friday’s “Popcorn Report,” which respectively features information on books, music and movies, this weekly post highlights the best in product offerings in the world of toys, games, puzzles, crafts, sporting goods and vacation specials for children and teens, as well as industry news and up-to-date product recalls from United States Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC). Be sure to check back each Tuesday.

This week, with the launch of the 2011 Scripps National Spelling Bee, we’ll take a look at games that are not only fun but help promote literacy and spelling competency, and we’ll also provide you with ticketing information for attending this exciting nationally televised event.

Bee Week 2011, officially began on Sunday, May 29 and runs through Friday. June 3 at the Gaylord National Hotel near Washington, D.C.

This year’s crop of 275 spelling finalists, ages eight to 15-years old hail from all 50 states, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and also  represent such diverse global locales as Japan, Jamaica, New Zealand, South Korea, China, Canada and the Department of Defense Schools in Europe.

Spellers have been sponsored by various organizations, and will be vying for financial prizes in addition to the distinction of being the top young wordsmith of the English language.

Each of these young people began their spelling journeys months ago and participated in various levels of the competition that began in their home or school classrooms and went on to school-wide and regional finals.

Getting a child interested in an event such as this can be rewarding as well as fun and entertaining. Below are some ideal games to spark enthusiasm and provide high levels of academic achievement with skills that are transferable to a number of educational settings.



SPELLING GAMES

Scrabble

The granddaddy of word games that has been on the scene since 1946, Scrabble is the crossword style game played with tiles on a board. The object is to create as many words as you can with the tiles you receive. The more complex the words you create, the better your score.

Over the years, Scrabble has seen many new versions introduced to the public, including now one for Kindle, which retails for $0.99 through Amazon.com.
Amazon also offers the traditional Scrabble for $19.16, with best pricing through Amazon Marketplace at $15.75.


Quiddler
This is a fast paced and competitive card game that can be played with one to eight participants with the object of the game to create as many words as you can from the hand you are dealt.

Amazon.com offers Quiddler for $11.58, where you can also read product reviews. Best available pricing is through Amazon Marketplace at $9.34.


Bananagrams

One of the most unique and primarily word-of-mouth promoted games, Bananagrams has taken the country by storm, and now it’s gone global with international editions. 

As a word formation game, it is slightly similar to Scrabble but it is fast-paced, portable and almost addictive as you can play in groups or solo. The game has simple rules and is very affordable.

The video embedded at the end of this post, provided by Mastermind Toys gives a good idea of how much fun the game is to play.

Amazon.com offers Bananagrams at $14.85 along with product reviews. Amazon Marketplace has best pricing at $10.60.





TICKETS
“Bees" by Petr Kratochvil

If you and your family are in the Washington, D.C. area over the next few days, tickets are available for the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which is being held at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, in the Maryland Ballroom.

All seating for the Bee is open and available on a first come basis, and if you are driving to the event, parking is adjacent to the Maryland Ballroom.

Tickets are priced at $25.00 per person for all of the preliminary rounds which run from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and include a break from 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. on Wednesday, June 1, 2011. (Seating will begin at 7:00 a.m. EDT).

Tickets for the Semi Final Rounds Thursday June 2, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. are $25.00. (Seating will begin at 9:00 a.m. EDT).

Championship Final Round tickets for Thursday June 2, 8:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. are priced at $40.00 per person. (Seating will begin at 7:00 p.m. EDT).

To learn more about The National Spelling Bee and purchase tickets online by connecting to this link at spellingbee.com.

If you’re unable to attend the actual Spelling Bee in person, ESPN 3 and ESPN will be broadcasting the event live at the following times:

Preliminary rounds ESPN 3, Wednesday, June 1, 2011 at 8:00 a.m. EDT and online live streaming at 1:15 p.m. EDT
Semifinal rounds ESPN Thursday, June 2 at 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. EDT
The Championship Final Rounds ESPN, Thursday, June 2 at 8:30 p.m to 10:00 p.m. EDT

Round results will also be posted in real time at spellingbee.com


PRODUCT SAFETY RECALLS AND NEWS

The following is a compilation of notices from the United States Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC).
 
Below you will find the most recent recalls and product news updates from the CPSC for the last 7 days.

In case you happened to have missed any of the announcements, just click on the following links for complete information on each of the items and breaking news.

TOYS


SPORTS AND RECREATION RELATED




CPSC NEWS



If you are searching for other consumer product items such as household, outdoor products, utensils, furniture and clothing that may relate to all family members, please review additional listings at the CPSC’s search page.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Popcorn Report: Guide to this week's movies with ratings and trailers

Welcome to the Popcorn Report a weekly Friday column on National Children’s Entertainment. Beginning this week, our report will also include the latest trailers released for upcoming movies, film industry news, and DVDs that are new to the marketplace for home viewing. We hope you enjoy this new feature.


'Popcorn' photo by Petr Kratochvil
It’s time to make weekend family entertainment plans and see if this week’s current crop of films will be part of your schedule. The following report covers motion picture theatrical releases opening nationwide beginning Friday, May 27, 2011.

The movies listed below have a rating, which has been established by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and have been provided with an italicized commentary from the Classification and Ratings Administration (CARA).

If a film has not been provided with an official rating, additional information may, or may not be provided.

If a film is designated NC-17, very limited information will be furnished.

For your convenience, each film title links directly to the Internet Movie Data Base, which provides the most comprehensive listing about the movie’s storyline, and includes a trailer, cast and crew information, initial audience reaction (if prior screenings have taken place) and parent advisories when available.

As always, you are the single best judge for determining your child’s choice of entertainment.

FILMS OPENING THIS WEEK


Opened May 27, 2011 The Tree of Life – Drama, Sci-Fi–PG-13- because of “some thematic material.” NOTE: In limited release.

Opening May 28, 2011 John Gets Wasted Comedy – NOT RATED.

Opening June 1, 2011 – One performance- The Metropolitan Opera die Walkure encore (The Met Live in HD) Musical- NOT RATED- NOTE: In limited release. An encore performance of Wagner’s Die Walk├╝re in select theatres on Wednesday, June 1, 2011 at 6:30 PM in all time zones. Run time:5 hr. 30 min.

For information on films that opened May 20, 2011, which included:   Bloodworth;   Cost of a Soul;   Forks Over Knives;   Louder Than a Bomb;   Midnight in Paris;   Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides;   The Annual;   The Hangover Part II and Kung Fu Panda 2, please click on the link below.


For information on films that opened May 13, 2011, which included:  Bridesmaids;   City of Life and Death;   Everything Must Go;   Go for It!;   Hesher;   L’ amour fou (II);   Priest;   and Skateland as well as listings for the weeks of April 1 to May 13, 2011 please click on the link below.


For information on films that opened the weeks of Friday, February 4 to Friday March 25, 2011 please click on the link below, where you will also find previous listings and links for prior weeks in January, as well as films that opened in 2010:

G GENERAL AUDIENCES (All Ages Admitted) PG PARENTAL GUIDANCE SUGGESTED (Some Material May Not Be Suitable for Children) PG-13 PARENTS STRONGLY CAUTIONED (Some Material May Be Inappropriate for Children Under 13) R RESTRICTED (Under 17 Requires Accompanying Parent or Adult Guardian) NC-17 NO ONE 17 AND UNDER ADMITTED – As determined by the Rating Board/Motion Picture Association of America.

NEW TRAILERS FOR UPCOMING FILMS
Disney-Pixar’s CARS 2 roars into theatres In Disney Digital 3D™ and IMAX® 3D on Friday, June 24, 2011 
.
Genre: Animation/Comedy/Adventure
Rating: TBD

Voice Talent: Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy, Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer, Bonnie Hunt, Tony Shalhoub, Cheech Marin, Jason Isaacs, Joe Mantegna, Peter Jacobson, Thomas Kretschmann, Guido Quaroni, Lloyd Sherr, Paul Dooley, John Ratzenberger, Jenifer Lewis, Michael Wallis, Katherine Helmond, John Turturro, Franco Nero, Vanessa Redgrave, Eddie Izzard, Bruce Campbell, Michel Michelis, Jeff Gordon, Darrell Waltrip, Lewis Hamilton, David Hobbs

Director:John Lasseter
Co-Director: Brad Lewis
Producer: Denise Ream
Story By: John Lasseter, Brad Lewis and Dan Fogelman
Screenplay By: Ben Queen
Composer: Michael Giacchino

“Star racecar Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson) and the incomparable tow truck Mater (voice of Larry the Cable Guy) take their friendship to exciting new places in “Cars 2” when they head overseas to compete in the first-ever World Grand Prix to determine the world’s fastest car.  But the road to the championship is filled with plenty of potholes, detours and hilarious surprises when Mater gets caught up in an intriguing adventure of his own: international espionage.  Mater finds himself torn between assisting Lightning McQueen in the high-profile race and towing the line in a top-secret mission orchestrated by master British super spy Finn McMissile (voice of Michael Caine) and the stunning rookie field spy Holley Shiftwell (voice of Emily Mortimer).  Mater’s action-packed journey leads him on an explosive chase through the streets of Japan and Europe, trailed by his friends and watched by the whole world.  The fast-paced fun includes a colorful new all-car cast, complete with menacing villains and international racing competitors.

 John Lasseter returns to the driver’s seat to direct this follow-up to his 2006 Golden Globe®-winning “Cars.” “Cars 2” is co-directed by Brad Lewis, producer of the Oscar®-winning film “Ratatouille,” and produced by visual effects industry veteran Denise Ream (associate producer, “Up”; visual effects executive producer, “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith”).  The film hits the track on June 24, 2011, and will be presented in Disney Digital 3D™ and IMAX® 3D in select theaters.

Notes:

John Lasseter made his feature film directing debut with “Toy Story” in 1995.  He has since directed such Disney•Pixar classics as “A Bug’s Life,” “Toy Story 2” and “Cars” and served as executive producer of all other Pixar films to date. He is currently the chief creative officer of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios and principal creative advisor of Walt Disney Imagineering.

 “Cars 2” is the 12th feature-length animated film from Pixar Animation Studios (its first 11 have earned $6.5 billion at the global box office).  Pixar, which has earned 29 Academy Awards® and seven Golden Globes®, celebrates its 25th Anniversary in 2011.

 “Cars” originally released on June 9, 2006, and grossed nearly $462 million worldwide. It was nominated for two Oscars® and one Golden Globe®, winning the first ever Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature Film.

When star racecar Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson) and the incomparable tow truck Mater (voice of Larry the Cable Guy) head overseas to compete in the first-ever World Grand Prix, Mater gets caught up in an intriguing adventure of his own: international espionage.”

Cars 2: Back Into Cars 2 - Featurette



From the Walt Disney Studios, The Muppets are set to return to the big screen Thanksgiving weekend, beginning Wednesday, November 23, 2011.

Genre: Family Comedy
Rating: TBD

Cast: Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, Animal, Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper and Walter

Director: James Bobin
Producers: David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman
Executive Producers: Jason Segel, Nicholas Stoller, Martin G. Baker
Writers: Jason Segel, Nicholas Stoller

"On vacation in Los Angeles, Walter, the world's biggest Muppet fan, and his friends Gary (Jason Segel) and Mary (Amy Adams) from Smalltown, USA, discover the nefarious plan of oilman Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) to raze the Muppet Theater and drill for the oil recently discovered beneath the Muppets' former stomping grounds. To stage The Greatest Muppet Telethon Ever and raise the $10 million needed to save the theater, Walter, Mary and Gary help Kermit reunite the Muppets, who have all gone their separate ways: Fozzie now performs with a Reno casino tribute band called the Moopets, Miss Piggy is a plus-size fashion editor at Vogue Paris, Animal is in a Santa Barbara clinic for anger management, and Gonzo is a high-powered plumbing magnate. With secret, signature, celebrity cameos, “The Muppets” hits the big screen Nov. 23, 2011
 
Notes:

Funnyman Jason Segel (TV’s “How I Met Your Mother,” “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”) stars in, co-writes and executive produces “The Muppets.” 

“The Muppets” is directed by James Bobin, who was a director/writer/EP for HBO’s “Flight of the Concords.” 


Kermit received a star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2002. His song “The Rainbow Connection” was nominated for an Academy Award®.

 Bret McKenzie, who starred in, wrote for and served as composer for HBO’s “Flight of the Concords,” is the music supervisor for “The Muppets,” as well as the writer/producer on some of the songs, which include big Muppet-style opening and closing numbers. 


 It’s been 11 years since the Muppets’ last big-screen feature film.

When Walter, the world's biggest Muppet fan, and friends Gary (Jason Segel) and Mary (Amy Adams) discover the nefarious plan of oilman Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) to raze the Muppet Theater, they help Kermit reunite the Muppets to stage The Greatest Muppet Telethon Ever and raise the $10 million needed to save the theater.”

"The Fuzzy Pack" Teaser Trailer




Disney- Pixar’s MONSTERS UNIVERSITY In Disney Digital 3D™ set to release June 21, 2013

Genre:Comedy/Animation
Rating: TBD

Voice Talent: Billy Crystal, John Goodman
 
Director: Dan Scanlon
Producer: Kori Rae

“Mike Wazowski and James P. Sullivan are an inseparable pair, but that wasn’t always the case. From the moment these two mismatched monsters met they couldn’t stand each other. “Monsters University” unlocks the door to how Mike and Sulley overcame their differences and became the best of friends.


Screaming with laughter and fun, “Monsters University” is directed by Dan Scanlon (“Cars,” “Mater and the Ghostlight,” “Tracy”) and produced by Kori Rae (“Up,” “The Incredibles,” “Monsters, Inc.”). The film opens in U.S. theaters on June 21, 2013, and will be shown in Disney Digital 3D™ in select theaters. 
 
Notes:

“Monsters, Inc.,” originally released on November 2, 2001, was nominated for four Oscars®: Best Animated Feature Film, Best Original Score, Best Sound Editing and Best Original Song—“If I Didn’t Have You,” for which it won.
 
Monsters University” will hit U.S. theaters nearly 12 years after the “Monsters, Inc.” theatrical debut.

Billy Crystal and John Goodman reprise their roles in the prequel as the wise-cracking Mike Wazowski and lovable Sulley.

Monsters University” features a host of new faces and a few returning favorites from “Monsters, Inc.”

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Musical Notes: Music industry news and releases for children and teens

‘PlayingGuitar’ by Petr Kratochvil

Welcome to another edition of “Musical Notes.” This weekly column is dedicated solely to the best in musical entertainment. Like our sister columns, “If it’s Tuesday it must be toys and tours,” Wednesday’s “Book Report” and Friday’s “Popcorn Report,” which respectively features information on toys and travel, the world of literature and movies, this weekly post highlights the important world of music as positive entertainment for children and teens. Be sure to check back each Thursday.

This week’s edition of Musical Notes covers news of the Okee Dokee Brothers upcoming excellent adventure, top picks for live entertainment for the holiday weekend and Music for Little People recording label receives multiple honors.

NEWS
Photo by Alex Johnson

Talk about creative ways in which to spark artistic inspiration – on Wednesday, June 1, 2011 family folk entertainers, the Okee Dokee Brothers, will embark on a journey on the Mississippi, chronicling their adventure and creating music for their forthcoming album.

The duo are being joined with a wilderness guide and documentary filmmaker as they explore stops along the way; meet up with other musicians and write new songs.

Parents and children are invited to follow their progress through their website and by listening to regular updates on the Absolutely Mindy Show on Sirius-XM’s Kid Place Live.

Join them for a true taste of musical adventure; it should be fun and educational all at the same time. 

The video below explains it all.




LIVE PERFORMANCES AND ENTERTAINING EVENTS

H and M presents Baby Loves Disco at the Cumberland Mall

Saturday, May 28, 2011
1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.   
1000 Cumberland Mall, Atlanta, Georgia 30339
 Entrance 1 Seating Event Area
Show Details: “Shake that booty at the best family disco around. Real DJs, real music, real dancing fun-filled activities for all your little ones including face painting, tattoos, mini manis, craft activities, and more.”

A FREE EVENT – Sponsored by H and M - No purchase necessary, free admission with wristband. Wristbands are available while supplies last at H & M. – Maximum of 4 per person, all attendees must have a wristband to gain entry.
 
For more information, visit this link.


Kansas City Jiggle Jam

Saturday, May 28th, 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Sunday, May 29th,
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Crown Center Square 25th and Grand Street Kansas City, Missouri

Show Details: This is an outstanding, one-of-a-kind kid festival of entertainment and fun, which last year garnered over 30,000 people.

Jiggle Jam hosts three stages featuring a wide array of indi kids’ music stars, including Brady Rymer, the Okee Dokee Brothers, Justin Roberts and Jim Cosgrove to name just a few.

There are also dancing, crafting, exercise workshops, educational music for listening and learning, bubble tents, bouncy toys, train rides, Tween activities, food and drinks, shopping and much more.

Admission
$8 presale
$12 at the gate
$15 Weekend Pass (online only)
Under 2 free
There’s ample FREE parking surrounding the grounds. (Handicapped parking is available in the Crown Center parking garages.)

For further information or to purchase tickets, please follow this link.


Every Family Rocks





Sunday May 29, 2011
12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Des Moines Family Music Festival
Iowa State Fair Grounds, 3000 E Grand Ave, Des Moines, Iowa 50317-2494

Top-flight musical entertainment including Justin Roberts, They Might Be Giants, the Battersby Duo and more.

Lots of kid-pleasing activities: Guitar Hero, Spin Art, Kids' Jam Band with Central Iowa Music Lab, Instrumental Petting Zoo with the Iowa Symphony Academy Hula Hooping, face painting, juggler, balloon animals, Urbandale Dance and Gymnastics demo, Little Ninjas demo, fun crafts to take home -bracelets, paper hats, sock puppets and more, and an appearances by Spike the Drake Bulldog, Cubbie Bear and Curious George.

Admission
$10 in advance
$15 at the door
Children 2 and under are free
Rain or shine
For more information or to purchase tickets, please follow this link.


AWARDS AND HONORS


Music for Little People honored by seven Parents’ Choice Foundation Awards


For the last 26 years, Music for Little People, the premiere music retailer and children’s recording label have garnered almost 200 awards for their commitment to excellence, and this week The Parents' Choice Foundation has added to those honors by singling out for distinction, seven winning products hailed from Music for Little People’s recording label.
By following each link that is provided below, you’ll be able to sound sample or order each of these distinguished recordings for your family’s musical collection.
In each instance, you have been linked to the best available format and online price at the time of this publication. For your convenience, the Suggested Retail Price (SRP) has also been provided to enable you to cross-compare with your favorite retailer.
The coveted Silver Honor Award was bestowed upon the following:
These recordings received the distinguished Recommended Award:


SRP $14.98 

SRP $13.98 

Approved Awards were issued to:
SRP $13.98 


SRP DVD only $9.99

Music for Little People is the only label to have won this many awards in a single year since Parents' Choice began 33 years ago. Congratulations Music for Little People!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Book Report: Sharing the latest in books, apps and literary marketplace news

"Books" by Paula Slade

Welcome to another edition of “The Book Report.” This weekly column is dedicated solely to the best in books, apps, audio and video adaptations, technology updates as well as literary news and events. Like our sister columns, “If it’s Tuesday it must be toys and tours,” Thursday’s “Musical Notes” and Friday’s “Popcorn Report,” which respectively features the information on toys and travel, music, and movies, this weekly post highlights the important world of literature as positive entertainment for children and teens. Be sure to check back each Wednesday.

NEWS

Barnes and Noble unveils the new Nook

The battle of the eReaders has just been upped with Barnes & Noble’s introduction of the latest version of the Nook that features “Easiest to use 6 touchscreen ; most advanced E-Ink display, crisp text, even in bright sun ; longest battery life- read up to 2 months on just 1 charge; ultra-light and thin -under 8 ounces; largest bookstore with more than 2 million titles (get them in seconds) and expert recommendations and fun social features.”

The new Nook costs $139 and is now on sale to order on the Barnes & Noble website, and best of all it will ship June 10th, 2011 – just in time for Father’s Day.

This comes on the heels of Amazon.com’s announcement last week that they are now selling more e-books than print books. Let the games begin.

EVENTS

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art

The Bric-a-Brac Theatre Company presents Daddy, What if…The Poetry and Songs of Shel Silverstein

Shel Silverstein’s best known and beloved poems and songs, which have already captivated at least two generations of children and their parents and are to be shared with the newest generation. The performance will invite and encourage active participations by the audience.”

FREE with museum admission
125 West Bay Road, Amherst, Massachusetts 01002
Saturday, May 28 and Sunday May 29, 2011


Phone: (413) 658-1100/ Fax (413) 658-1139


APPS

Disney’s Cars Lightning Was Here: My Puzzle Book

With the June 24, 2011 launch of the new Disney-Pixar Cars 2 feature, children will enjoy seeing the original cast of characters come to life in this story app that takes fans of the franchise on a tour of Radiator Springs.

The app provides a professional narration track, the option for parents to record their own voice reading the story, plus interactive puzzles and sound effects.

The video below provides a preview of Cars Lightning Was Here: My Puzzle Book.
This app is available for the iPhone, iPod Touch and the iPad for only $0.99 through the iTunes store.




BOOKS

Because I Said So!
By: Keller Williams

Popular musician, Keller Williams has crossed over into the world of children’s music with his sixteenth album, Kids, and on the heels of that CD comes his first children’s book based on the lyrics of one of the album’s catchy tunes, “Because I Said So!”
                                                                                                         
From Fun Read Publishing, Because I Said So!, is a humorously illustrated version of the song, translated with child-like vision by noted Virginia based artist, Bill Harris.

“Told through the eyes of 'Lil Keller', the moral of the story is that you can't always get what you want and there isn't always a good reason why. “ Everything from having a pet alligator to a real airplane are all part of a child’s inner world of imaginative “wants” and these are handled well in this fun 33-page read.

Both the book and a CD of the song are available direct from the artist’s website for $20. Recommended reading level ages 2-8.


DVD

THE NORTH STARAND MORE STORIES ABOUT FOLLOWING YOUR DREAMS

Produced by: The award-winning Weston Woods Studios for Scholastic Storybook Treasures

Just released, THE NORTH STAR is a truly inspirational collection of entertaining children’s books that are suitable for all ages and have won such prestigious awards as: Caldecott Honor, Smithsonian Notable Book, Parents’ Choice Award, Storytelling World Award, and ALA Notable Video.

This compilation of stories, which visually come to life instills the all-important themes of cooperation; friendship; problem solving and believing in the journey that one takes in life in order to capture their dreams.

The 57-minute collection plus extras includes an interview with That Book Woman author Heather Henson and illustrator David Small plus a Read-along. 

Included in this offering are the following stories listed below. (Production notes provided by distributor New Video, where the DVD carries a Suggested Retail Price of $14.95 US or $16.95 CAN) but may be ordered with best pricing through Amazon.com for $10.99 or Amazon Marketplace for $8.52.)

To explore each of the titles further in depth, simply click on links below to the original books, which are also offered through Amazon.com.

THE NORTH STAR (Written and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds, narrated by Tim Curry) In this classic storybook about lifelong learning, children of all ages will be inspired to navigate their full potential and follow their dreams.


THAT BOOK WOMAN (By Heather Henson, illustrated by David Small, narrated by Walker Harrison) This is the moving story of the Pack Horse Librarians, whose bravery and commitment helped rural children find something wonderful in books.


PLAYERS IN PIGTAILS (By Shana Corey, illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon, narrated by Zooey Deschanel) One brave girl proves that she’s in a league of her own as she strives to become a player in the first-ever All-American Girls Professional Baseball league.


YO! YES? (Written and illustrated by Chris Raschka) Two lonely boys who don’t know each other meet on a city street with a simple greeting in this heart-warming tale of friendship and cooperation.


SWAMP ANGEL (By Anne Isaacs, illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky, narrated by Alison Moorer) Angelica, or “Swamp Angel,” the greatest woodswoman in Tennessee, takes on a huge ravenous bear known as Thundering Tarnation. Can she tackle this beast?”

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

If it’s Tuesday it must be toys and tours

"Brown Teddy Bear" by Lydia Jacobs
Welcome to the newest edition of, “If it’s Tuesday it must be toys and tours.” Like our sister columns, Wednesday’s “Book Report,” Thursday’s “Musical Notes” and Friday’s “Popcorn Report,” which respectively features information on books, music and movies, this weekly post highlights the best in product offerings in the world of toys, games, puzzles, crafts, sporting goods and vacation specials for children and teens, as well as industry news and up-to-date product recalls from United States Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC). Be sure to check back each Tuesday.

This week we’ll take a look at coloring books that not only offer an opportunity for artistic coloring self-expression but include an educational component. We’ll also share some news on a tour offering at Crayola, and take a look at current product recalls that you may have missed.

COLORING BOOKS

Flower Fairies Alphabet Coloring Book
By Cicely Mary Barker

This 24-page classic is a reissue of the original bestselling Flower Fairies Alphabet Coloring Book. A combination of charming fairy images paired with alphabetical flower names. There are no "U" or "X" fairies,  however it is a splendid visual composite from a master 19th Century artist whose illustrations were prized for recreating the grace of children and the finite detail of nature. The coloring book is suggested for ages 4-8, but older children will enjoy the coloring details as well.

Amazon.com offers a page selection view of the Flower Fairies Alphabet Coloring Book in addition to more detailed product information. Regular price through Amazon.com for this product is $4.99. Amazon Marketplace has best pricing for $2.05.


Masterpieces - A fact-filled coloring book
Written and illustrated by Steven Zorn and Mary Martin
This 128- page coloring book, perfect for ages 9-12, introduces children to some of the greatest works of art from such masters as Gaugin, Renior, Degas and Whistler to name a few. Sixty pages of easy-to-color, simplified versions of great works of art from the last 500 years are accompanied with stories about each painter.

Amazon.com offers a page selection view of Masterpieces – A fact-filled coloring book as well as more detailed product information.  Regular price through Amazon.com for this product is $9.95. Amazon Marketplace has best pricing for $6.09.

Life in a Medieval Castle and Village Coloring Book
By John Green

Medieval history springs to life in this 42-page coloring book of detailed drawings with captions. Scenes of banquets, castles, battles and every day life are perfect for children 4-8.

Amazon.com offers a page selection view of Life in a Medieval Castle and Village Coloring Book as well as more detailed product information.  Regular price through Amazon.com for this product is $3.95. Amazon Marketplace has best pricing at $1.65.


Wild Animals Coloring Book
By: John Green

Children ages 4-8 will learn about 47 different species in this 48-page coloring book. Finely detailed line renderings with captions introduce animals such as snow leopard, gorilla, reindeer, kangaroo and more.

Amazon.com offers a page selection view of the Wild Animals Coloring Book as well as more detailed product information.  Regular price through Amazon.com for this product is $3.95. Amazon Marketplace has best pricing for $1.02.


Let’s Learn Italian Coloring Book
By: Anne-Francoise Hazzan

Teaching a child a second language is easiest the younger they are when you introduce the language. Let’s Learn Italian is geared for the toddler/preschool set with simplified illustrations that reflects each letter of the alphabet along with a single word at the top of each page.

The Let’s Learn Coloring Book series is also available in French, Spanish and German, however these editions are more appropriate for ages 4-8 years.

Amazon.com offers a page selection view of Let’s Learn Italian Coloring Book as well as more detailed product information.  Regular price through Amazon.com for this product is $9.69. Amazon Marketplace has best pricing for $3.95.


TOURS

The Crayola Factory

If your summer vacation is taking you to Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley region, one of the most fun places to visit is The Crayola Factory at 30 Centre Square in Easton.

More of an activity center than a true factory, you and your child will nonetheless see how crayons are manufactured, in addition to having a splendid time partaking in a number of fun-filled coloring activities and exhibits, as well as shopping in their amazing gift store that houses the world’s largest crayon.

Open year round with tickets priced at $10.24 for adults and children over three. Seniors ticket price is $9.71 and children under three are FREE. Admission to The Crayola Factory also includes a FREE admission to the National Canal Museum.

You can learn more about The Crayola Factory and The National Canal Museum from the video below, or you can plan your trip and purchase advance tickets through TicketWeb at The Crayola Factory website.





 PRODUCT SAFETY RECALLS AND NEWS

As of this publication, no new Toy/Sports and Recreation product recalls or news have been listed on the United States Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) website since last week’s post.

If you are searching for other consumer product items such as household, outdoor products, utensils, furniture and clothing that may relate to all family members, please review additional listings at the CPSC’s search page.