Category Archives: Kids’ Books

PETRUCELLI PICKS: 2019 GIFT GUIDE: THE YEAR’S BEST BOOKS FOR THE YOUNG AND YOUNG-AT-HEART

From Advocate to Feminist, Grassroots to Queens, and Revolutionary to Zeal, The ABCs of AOC (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, $13.99) introduces readers to values, places and issues that relate to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s life and platform.
A clear and engaging explanation of each term is paired with a stunning, contemporary illustration that will delight readers. This is an alphabet book, an  empowering and informative book, that’s the perfect conversation starter for young people interested in government and activism.


Oh the joy of Naked Mole Rat Saves the World (Algonquin Young Readers , $16.95)! Twelve-year-old kit-with-a-small-k likes shopping at the flea market with her best friend, Clem, roller-skating, climbing to the roof to look at the stars, and volunteering at an animal shelter. Until suddenly she has a really big, really strange secret that makes life more complicated than she’s prepared for: Sometimes, without warning, she turns into a tiny naked mole rat.

It first happened as kit watched Clem fall and get hurt during a performance with her acrobatic-troupe family on TV. Since then, the transformations keep coming. Kit can’t tell Clem, because Clem hasn’t been herself after the accident. Somehow, kit has to save the day. But she’s no hero, and turning into a naked mole rat isn’t a superpower. Or is it?


Just think! A trip to Down Under without the expenses or passport.  Outback: The Amazing Animals of Australia: A Photoicular Book (Workman Publishing, $26.95) uses Photicular technology that’s like a 3-D movie on the page, this book whisks you to the vast, remote world of wild Australia, where heat waves dance forever and animals, isolated by the vagaries of continental drift, are unlike those found anywhere else on Earth.
Each moving image delivers a rich, immersive visual experience—and the result is breathtaking. The kangaroo hops. A wombat waddles. The frilled lizard races on two legs across the desert floor. A peacock spider dances and shows off its vibrant colors. A superb experience!


Unearth a wealth of weird, wacky and wild facts about dinosaurs, told in Mike Lowery’s signature comic style with bright and energetic artwork, fresh framing devices and hilarious jokes in Everything Awesome about Dinosaurs and other Prehistoric Beasts (Orchard Books, $16.99).
This will be the go-to book for dinosaur enthusiasts that kids will put in their backpacks and obsess over, bridging the gap between encyclopedic nonfiction content and lighter picture book fare, filling the need with a one-stop shop for the legions of 6-9 year-olds who want to know absolutely everything there is to know about dinosaurs. Everything.


Are you ready to swing? Discover the wonders of jazz with Welcome to Jazz (Workman Publishing , $24.95), an interactive swing-along picture book whose 12 sound chips will introduce readers to the instruments of jazz—the rhythm section with its banjo, drums, and tuba, and the leads, like the clarinet, trumpet and trombone.
And you’ll hear singers scat, improvising melodies with nonsense syllables like be-bop and doo-we-ah!
Along the way, you’ll learn how this unique African American art form started in New Orleans, and how jazz changed over time as innovative musicians like King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Billie Holiday added their own ideas to it.
Press the buttons to hear the band, the rhythms and the singer calling out: “Oh when the saints—oh when the saints. . . “


The Christina Starspeeder saga continues in Attack of the Furball (Scholastic Inc., $12.99) a laugh-out-loud epic from author Amy Ignatow and illustrator Jarrett Krosoczka in the bestselling series, Star Wars: Jedi Academy.
As told through a mix of comics, doodles and journal entries, it’s a new year at Jedi Academy. Christina Starspeeder made it through her first year at the advanced Jedi Academy . . . barely.. And year two isn’t looking any easier.
When working on the planet Cholganna, Christina falls in love with a baby nexu, a cat-like creature who’s fluffiness is impossible to resist. But when she sneaks “Fluffernut” into the dorms, Christina slowly begins to realize why it’s never a good idea to take wild animals for pets.  Fluffernut begins growing and growing . . . she’ll eventually grow to be 14 feet long and 3 feet tall! Will this be the end of Christina’s Jedi Academy career?


The Atlas Obscura Explorer’s Guide for the World’s Most Adventurous Kid (Workman Publishing, $19.95) is a thrilling expedition to 100 of the most surprising, mysterious and weird-but-true places on earth.
For curious kids, this is the chance to embark on the journey of a lifetime—and see how faraway countries have more in common than you might expect.
Hopscotch from country to country in a chain of connecting attractions: Explore Mexico’s glittering cave of crystals, then visit the world’s largest cave in Vietnam. Peer over a 355-foot waterfall in Zambia, then learn how Antarctica’s Blood Falls got their mysterious color. Or see mysterious mummies in Japan and France, then majestic ice caves in both Argentina and Austria.  passports not needed.


Everything I Need to Know I Learned From Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood: Wonderful Wisdom From Everyone’s Favorite Neighbor (Clarkson Potter , $15) is for the young . . . and young-at-heart.
With colorful illustrations and quotes that touch on themes of kindness, empathy, self-care, respect and love, this feel-good (re)introduces and reminds us that we are special, we must be generous with our gratitude, remember to have fun and feed the fish and that all kinds of feelings are okay.


He’s hot and hunky and waiting to be your boyfriend. Sort of. If Keanu Were Your Boyfriend: The Man, the Myth, the WHOA! (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, $13.00) is  part biography and part dreamlike narrative, an  imagination to dating the Internet’s boyfriend, Keanu Reeves.

Apparently, Keanu’s humility knows no bounds, just like our love for him. After all, the Keanusance didn’t just come out of nowhere. He’s had an epic 40-year career that includes the heart-stopping John Wick, the heart-melting Always Be My Maybe, and the heart-pounding The Matrix. His generosity and kindness are legendary, and he remains an enigmatic mystery we’re dying to solve.


Paint by Sticker Kids includes everything you need to create twelve vibrant, full-color “paintings.” The images are rendered in “low-poly,” a computer graphics style that creates a 3-D effect.
As in paint-by-number, each template is divided into dozens of spaces, each with a number that corresponds to a particular colored sticker.
Paint by Sticker Kids: Unicorns and MagicFind the sticker, peel it and place it in the right space. Add the next, and the next, and the next—it’s an activity that’s utterly absorbing as you watch a “painting” emerge from a flat black-and-white illustration to a dazzling image with color, body, spirit. The pages are perforated for easy removal, making it simple to frame the completed images. Workman has a slew of such artistic adventures.
Paint by Sticker Kids: Unicorns & Magic (Workman Publishing, $9.95) are recent addition to the bestselling series.  Theses boredom-busting activity books features a dazzling array of magical creatures including an enchanted cottage, a mystical wizard casting a spell, a sparkling mermaid, and more.
Paint by Sticker Kids: ChristmasAnd with Paint by Sticker Kids: Christmas ($9.95) the fun continues. From a sparkling Christmas Tree to a fluffy snowman, this activity book is packed with 10 playful illustrations that will get every kid in the holiday spirit.


How about a wild adventure? Venture around the world with Coyote Peterson with Wildlife Adventure: An Interactive Guide With Facts, Photos, and More! (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, $12.99).
Peterson teaches fans how to discover the animals in their own backyard before whisking them away to learn more about the desert, rainforest, savanna, even more epic locations.
Wildlife Adventure: An Interactive Guide with Facts, Photos, and More! (Brave Wilderness)Members of the Coyote Pack will be able to go on endless adventures through 10 photographic scenes that can be decorated with this guide’s hundreds of stickers. Jam-packed with animal facts, gear check-lists, write-in activities, Coyote Pack badges and much more, this guide is the perfect holiday gift for boys and girls of all ages. Be brave and stay wild.
A perfect companion: Epic Encounters in the Animal Kingdom (tk), Coyote Peterson, is back with the sequel to the bestselling Brave Adventures: Wild Animals in a Wild World. Once again, Coyote and his crew voyage to new environments and encounter an even more eclectic ensemble of the planets’ animals.
From a slimy octopus to elusive tree climbing lizards to nomadic wolverines, this book promises to be another fast-paced, wild experience.

Ugh. The beginning of a new year means planning, rescheduling, cancelling and planning and rescheduling again. And again. And again.  Welcome Beth Evans’ nifty I Can’t Wait to Cancel This: A Planner For People Won’t Don’t Like People (Morrow Gift, $14.99), an undated monthly (un)planner featuring a dozen never-been-seen-before cartoons from the delightfully unconventional Evans.
I Can’t Wait to Cancel This includes 12 month sections that can be started anytime—just circle the appropriate month listed at the top of the section page—each illustrated with a never-been-seen-before cartoon, as well as four- week-long spreads broken down into seven-day slots. It also features a portfolio pocket on the inside back cover, an elastic closure and original cover art created by Evans.


Straight from the mind of New York Times bestselling author Nathan W. Pyle, Strange Planet (Morrow Gift, $14.99) is an adorable and profound universe in pink, blue, green and purple, based on the phenomenally popular Instagram of the same name.
The book covers a full life cycle of the planet’s inhabitants, including milestones such as The Emergence Day,  The Formal Education of a Being, Being Begins a Vocation, The Hobbies of a Being and The Being Reflects on Life While Watching the Planet Rotate.
With dozens of never-before-seen illustrations in addition to old favorites, this book offers a sweet and hilarious look at a distant world not all that unlike our own.


Holidaze cheer pops up with Star Wars: A Merry Sithmas Pop-Up Book (Insight Kids, $15.99). Color and create festive 3D paper models during an enchanting journey through the galaxy. This gem includes removable paper pieces, more than two dozen stickers and step-by-step instructions to construct and color holiday-themed 3D pop-ups.
Each pop-up is easy and fun to build, from Darth Vader and a gingerbread Boba Fett, to Chewbacca and a collection of caroling porgs—plus more—for the ultimate Star Wars holiday celebration.


Hungry for a most appetizing book? A Woman’s Place: The Inventors, Rumrunners, Lawbreakers, Scientists, and Single Moms Who Changed the World with Food  (Little, Brown and Company, $25) sets the record straight, sharing stories of more than 80 hidden figures of food who made a lasting mark on history.
 Discover the stories of:
  • Georgia Gilmore, who fueled the Montgomery Bus Boycott with chicken sandwiches and slices of pie
  • Hattie Burr, who financed the fight for female suffrage by publishing cookbooks
  • Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay, who, with just a few grains of salt, inspired a march for the independence of India
  • The inventors of the dishwasher, coffee filter, the first buffalo wings, Veuve Clicquot champagne (the only bubbly I drink!) , the PB&J sandwich, and more
With gorgeous full-color illustrations and 10 recipes that bring the story off of the page and onto your plate, this book reclaims women’s rightful place–in the kitchen, and beyond.

Lucy will have you laughing and on the ball . . . but not that Lucy

Charlie Brown knows the truth: “Happiness is anyone and anything that’s loved by you.”

And though the he thinks he’s not so well liked, people love him. Even Lucy. Even if he doesn’t have a nickel.

Lovable Lucy takes the spotlight in Lucy: Speak Out! Andrews McMeel, $9.99), the latest collection of Peanuts comics for kids.
In this de(lightful collection of classic Peanuts comics for younger readers, Lucy rallies her friends to speak out for equal rights for women.
Between social causes and dropping fly balls in the outfield, Lucy decides to write a biography of Beethoven, much to Schroeder’s dismay.
Meanwhile, life in the Peanuts gang is as hilarious as always: Woodstock takes up farming, Peppermint Patty struggles to make the grade, and Charlie Brown’s rotten luck lands him in the hospital. You won’t want to miss this latest edition of outstanding Peanuts fun.

Laurie B. Arnold’s Latest in Her Acclaimed “Hello, There” Series is a Main Bain Adventure!

I have a good friend (she was the editor-in-chief of Redbook of which I was the Entertainment Editor) who left Madhattan and moved with her hubby and kids to Bainbridge Island, off the coast of Washington State.

I don’t see her often. And sorely miss her.

And then . . . faster than a dolphin can be seen frolicking in Puget Sound, I found that Hello, There I’m Coming Home!, the third (and final) kids’ book in Laurie B. Arnold’s highly acclaimed “Hello There” series, takes place on Bainbridge Island!
In this third and final book in the series, plucky Madison McGee, along with her magic fanny pack and the MegaPix6000, a TV she uses to teleport into whatever is playing on the screen, is on a fateful trip back to the Island, where she grew up, to spend the summer with her best friends, Noah and Violet.
It’s an emotional journey, shadowed with memories of her mother, and questions about her father’s disappearance. As Madison and her dog Leroy travel from New Mexico to the west coast, she opens her fanny pack and discovers a photo of a black-haired boy. Even though she’s sure he’s a stranger, she intuitively knows that he needs her help. Again, it’s the MegaPix6000 to the rescue, and the “Mighty Trio” enters a weird and frightening world of magicians, shape-shifters and evil doers.
The biggest mystery for Madison to solve is a personal one. Her search for answers leads her to discover that sometimes life changes in unimaginable ways, and that the unexpected can finally lead her home.
And me? Now I can join Madison. And participate in some armchair traveling. Next time I actually visit,  maybe I’ll bump into Laurie, her husband Steve and her “perfect fuzzy dog Scout.” Isn’t he cute? What about the other pooch? That dog, she explains, “is my friend’s golden retriever, Jake, who always likes to get in on the action. “
I think I’ll send a note to the author (below with two of her most charming pooches), asking her (nicely) to have Madison return for yet another adventure! You can write her as well by visiting her @ lauriearnoldbooks.com.
You can find the Madison’s adventure @ amzn.to/2TAYatv.

PETRUCELLI PICKS: 2018 GIFT GUIDE: BEGIN A NEW CHAPTER FOR THE YOUNG (AND YOUNG-AT-HEART) WITH THESE CHILDREN’S BOOK

School is starting in the forest, but Chester Raccoon does not want to go. To help ease Chester’s fears, Mrs. Raccoon shares a family secret called the Kissing Hand to give him the reassurance of her love any time his world feels a little scary.

Audrey Penn’s The Kissing Hand 25th Anniversary Family Edition (Tanglewood Publishing , $19.99, tanglewoodbooks.com) has found its way into the hearts of teachers, librarians, parents, and children around the world, especially during times of separation like starting school, entering daycare, or going to camp.

Celebrate the special Kissing Hand anniversary with Chester and his mother in this limited edition family keepsake with a dedication page, Letters to Chester booklet download and, of course, heart stickers.


After witnessing an act of domestic terrorism while training on his bike, Jake is found near death, with a serious head injury and unable to remember the plane crash or the aftermath that landed him in the hospital.Nobody believes Jake. Except the terrorists

A terrorist leader’s teenage daughter, Betsy, is sent to kill Jake and eliminate him as a possible witness. When Jake’s mother blames his head injury for his tales of attempted murder, he has to rely on his girlfriend, Laurissa, to help him escape the killers and the law enforcement agents convinced that Jake himself had a role in the crash.

In Surface Tension (Tanglewood Publishing, $17.99), Mike Mullin, author of the Ashfall series, delivers a gripping story with memorable characters and all-too-real scenarios.


Sibling 1 throws blenders and plays guitar. Sibling 2 is allergic to everything and is into magic. Sibling 3 is a varsity swimmer with a group of female fans.  The only thing they have in common is their biological father, and the only thing they can agree on is that they all want to meet him.806: A Novel Hardcover

Welcome to 806: A Novel (Tanglewood Publishing, $16.99). With the help of a broken-down, “borrowed” Jeep, KT, Jesse, and Gabe make their way across the country evading police, trying their luck on the slots, and meeting a life-changing pig, all to track down Donor 806, their father. Any hope of success requires smarts, luck, and ingenuity. Good thing they have each other…even if they don’t see it that way.

The book is written by Cynthia Weil, one of musicdom’s most famous and honored songwriters. We will never lose our lovin’ feeling for her!


Hello There, Do You Still Know Me? (Prospecta Press, $9.99, LaurieArnoldBooks.com), Laurie B. Arnold’s sequel to the popular kids novel, Hello There, We’ve Been Waiting For You!, Madison McGee and her best friends are visiting her old neighbor Rosalie Claire in Costa Rica. Their dreams of lazy summer beach days end quickly when Madison’s wacky grandmother, Florida, shows up on their doorstep dangerously ill with a mysterious ailment. Hello There, Do You Still Know Me? by [Arnold, Laurie B.]When the MegaPix 6000 shows up again, Madison and her friends have to figure out a way to turn the magic TV into a time machine so they can save Florida. Once the intrepid trio hurtles into the past, a dizzying adventure unfolds, filled with heart-filled, unexpected consequences. More news: Coming Spring 2019, the final book in this charming and magical kids’ trilogy.


The weasel and boy are back! Space travel was a breeze compared to their latest challenge: obedience school. But can a weasel be trained? Find out what happens when wild animals go to school, just like kids. Salvo Lavis & James Munn’s Wild Wild Weasel (Spitball Studio, $15.95, WorldOfTheWeasel.com) is a follow-up to Once Upon a Weasel and the second book in the World of the Weasel series.

World of the Weasel presents picture books about a young boy and his pet weasel who injects excitement into the boy’s quiet life and helps stimulate his imagination. Filled with rich illustrations for younger kids and great vocabulary words for budding readers, our books are ideal for kids 4-10 and the adults who read with them.

 

Gas emits light! Make “hot” ice! Sean Connolly delivers a STEM bang in his new book

Sean Connolly is called “the master of daring STEM books.” We can see (and read) why.

His latest tome, The Book of Ingeniously Daring Chemistry: 24 Experiments for Young Scientists (Workman Publishing, $14.95,) turns questions like “Why does helium make balloons float?” and “How does fluoride protect teeth?” into learning opportunities. It’s a journey through the periodic table of elements with Connolly.

The Book of Ingeniously Daring Chemistry: 24 Experiments for Young Scientists (Irresponsible Science)

Ingeniously marrying science and fun, it is a perfect introduction to chemistry for curious kids as well as those who might prefer a more engaging approach to science. It’s like having a miniature science lab between two covers.

The book puts knowledge into action using household ingredients to conduct 24 awesome, hands-on experiments, including:

  • Sodium: Make “hot ice” by crystallizing vinegar and baking soda into sodium acetate.
  • Neon: See how this gas emits light by powering a light bulb with static electricity.
  • Iron: Submerge steel wool in vinegar to see how this metal oxidizes.
  • Phosphorus: Play cat detective by using ultraviolet light to locate bad cat smells!

Two great new kids’ books no one will try and weasel out of reading

We refuse to weasel out of such exciting news.
We just learned about the World of the Weasel, a new picture book series about a young boy and his pet weasel who injects excitement into the boy’s quiet life and helps stimulate his imagination.

These are not your grandmother’s picture books. No Dick and Jane.
Filled with rich illustrations for younger kids and great vocabulary words for budding readers, World of the Weasel books are ideal for kids ages 4 through 10 and the adults who read with them. Visually appealing illustrations and amusing Boy and Weasel adventures create an imaginative and engaging story for readers…young and old.
There are two books so far. Once Upon a Weasel is the first book in the  series from authors Salvo Lavis and James Munn and illustrator Dave Leonard.  They are pretty savvy, smart guys, with talent for words and art.
WILD WILD WEASEL cover 1000w
New this year: Wild Wild Weasel. Space travel was a breeze compared to their latest challenge: obedience school. But can a weasel be trained? Find out what happens when wild animals go to school, just like kids.
Find out more @ worldoftheweasel.com

 

Somewhere out there is a genius songwriter. Her name is Cynthia Weil, now starting a new chapter of her life

On our list of favorite female songwriters: Cynthia Weil. We have never lost that lovin’ feeling for her. And we are not kidding. Somewhere out there are other good female songwriters, but Weil, a Grammy award-winning and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, is a genius. Make that Genius. 

Weil, still as stunning as special
Collaborating with her husband, Barry Mann, she has written countless standards.  Our all-time favorite is “Blame It on the Bossa Nova”, a song that was a huge hit for Eydie Gorme, a friend we so sorely miss.

Weil has been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (only the third woman to receive this honor in the non-performing category). She has been honored with multiple Grammy nominations and two Grammy awards for “Somewhere Out There,” which won the awards for “Motion Picture Song of the Year” and “Song of the Year.” Weil is so important in the history of pop music that she is featured as a real-life character in the Tony Award-winning musical Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.

Weil. Such a novel woman. It’s only fitting, then, that her new children’s book, 806: A Novel (Tanglewood Publishing, $16.99), has a teen songwriter as its main character.  The book hits shelves on March 13.

806: A Novel806: A Novel takes readers on a life-changing road trip with more than a few twists and turns. Taking on the thought-provoking topic of sperm donor kids seeking their father while facing challenges and disappointments along the way, the story is balanced by its humor, newfound familial relationships, and heartfelt moments. Teens will connect with KT, Jesse, and Gabe for different reasons during their journey as they race through the book to discover how everything turns out.

We told you she was a genius. By the way: Is it any wonder that “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling”, is the most played song of the 20th century? I pray she will continue making her own kind of music.

Gift Guide 2017: Petrucelli Picks the Best Books, Toys & Games, DVDs and Apps for Kids of the Year

We start a new chapter every time we get to read and cherish a new books. And we read and cherish many every year. It was tough, but we choose these as must-read, must-have for every library.

Walter and the Wallet (Eifrig Publishing, $14.99) Walter Whippingdale is having the worst day of his life. The girl he likes is making googly eyes at another boy in his class. He struck out during recess. He broke his favorite watch. A giant pimple appeared on his nose. And to top it off, he somehow managed to get mustard in his eye at lunch! Walking home from school, his head is hanging low. Which is precisely how Walter spots a wallet lying in the street . . . a wallet bursting with cash. Suddenly, his terrible day is about to change. But how? Cash in on this is a lovely, lyrical tale full of life lessons. 
 
Ralphie, Always Loved (About Something Good , $14.99 or $7.99) will remind you of all that is good, and reaffirm your belief in love’s power to uplift and transform. Anyone who has felt a deep connection with their own beloved pet will find joy, kindness and light in Ralphie’s story; the book is perfect for sharing with little ones as well as friends and family. The cat’s meow! aboutsomethinggood.com/ralphie-always-loved/
 
The Global Warming Express (Terra Nova Books, $14.99) Whoever thought such an important issue could make for a fabulous kid’s book? We have placed the Earth in peril—through pollution, global warming, oil spills and our general disrespect and neglect of the environment. Those who respond first are the animals. There is The Fluff, a penguin; Creamy, a harp seal; Tomás, a black bear; Flora, a polar bear; and Lady Athabasca, a whooping crane, among others. The animals have all suffered from destruction to their habitats and neglect of the environment, and want to do something about it. They jump on a magical train powered by positive thoughts and take off to let others know about the problems Earth’s creatures are facing. This is the perfect book to begin conversations, educate kids and parents, and even help start up school programs in every neighborhood. terranovabooks.com/the-global-warming-express.html
 

Whenever the wind breaks, poor Argyle Fox has a tough time. With his signature style, he wants to play outside on a springtime day, but the wind is wreaking havoc with his fun and games. As soon as he builds a card tower, climbs into a giant spider web, or takes up his pirate sword, here comes the wind: WoooshMama Fox tells grumpy Argyle that if he thinks long enough, he will come up with something to do. Following his mother’s suggestion and inspired by her knitting, he works all the pieces of his day together and creates the perfect solution. Argyle’s story, warmly told in Argyle Fox  (Tanglewood Publishing, $17.99) shows that failure is often a path to success and celebrates perseverance, creative thinking, and an old-fashioned springtime activity. tanglewoodbooks.com/books/picture-books/argyle-fox/

We don’t usually recommend pop-up books for wee ones since inquisitive minds (and hands!) destroy such wondersl We make an exception with The Nutcracker: A Papercut Pop-Up Book (Thames & Hudson, $19.95), knowing parents and grandparents will protect papercut artist Shobhna Patel’s exquisite retelling of Tchaikovsky’s ballet using an entirely new pop-up technique featuring dazzling laser-cut illustrations that will enchant readers young and old. Patel has invented a new paper-engineering technique called the “paperscope,” which is used for the first time in this charming book. The book features four pop-up paperscopes that spring when the reader presses each paperscope down with their hand to reveal the scene hidden within. The effect is one of a magical series of stage sets, recalling the story’s origins as a ballet. Simply magnificent!

Public Media Distribution and PBS Distribution have enough great DVDs to fill 1,367 stockings and appeal to the young (and young-at-heart). Three faves: We loved Miffy’s Adventures Big and Small: Play Date With Miffy, an all-new DVD from the lovable and popular children’s Nick Jr. TV series. Miffy's Adventures Big and Small: Play Date with Miffy! DVDChildren will enjoy watching Miffy and her friends Melanie and Grunty as they embark on adventures and new experiences, sing memorable songs and have fun–all the while learning about kindness, respect, and friendship. Miffy and friends jump in puddles, take a ballet lesson, play hide and seek and much more in these 11 fun-filled playtime adventures. We also loved Wild Kratts: Wild Winter Creatures!Product Details Join Martin Kratt and Chris Kratt as they embark on four snowy winter adventures from their hit PBS KIDS series. Chris and Martin continue to face Zach Varmitech when he kidnaps a polar bear cub and a walrus calf, and again when he threatens to use an entire walrus herd to mine precious pearls for Donita Donata’s fashion line. Entertaining and educational. Super Why: Super Why Sleeping Beauty & OtherSuper Why: Sleeping Beauty and Other Fairytale Adventures takes Super Readers on four classic adventures. You will especially love the Sleeping Beauty segment. The Super Readers travel into the famous story of Sleeping Beauty to speak with a Princess who loves sleeping just as much as Princess Pea loves tea parties!

Disney Book Group has oodles of nifty books for the wee ones. Disney Baby: My First Christmas ($8.99) introduces Baby to the wonders of Christmas with Mickey and friends. From sticky candy canes to fluffy white snow, Baby will delight in the touch and feel elements of this engaging board book. Join Olaf on a fantastic adventure in Olaf’s Frozen Adventure Olaf’s Journey ($12.99), a board book featuring LED lights showing through every page. In The Twelve Days of Christmas ($16.99), Theodor Seuss Geisel Award-Winning Greg Pizzoli’s pitch-perfect humor gives this classic carol new life. As more and more gifts show up in the story, fans of Greg’s previous books will love identifying familiar animals. This hilarious interpretation with festive foil on the cover makes for a perfect holiday gift. When a series of animals come knocking at the door seeking a warm place to sleep, there’s always room for one more! William’s Winter Nap ($17.99) is the perfect read-aloud for a cold winter night. Product DetailsLinda Ashman’s playful rhymes, paired with Chuck Groenink’s irresistible animal illustrations, will have young readers cuddling up to this book with their favorite stuffed animals at bedtime. Celebrate the spirit of the season with Mickey’s Christmas Storybook Treasury ($30), a collectible Mickey & Friends volume featuring four beautifully illustrated Christmas stories:https://gallery.mailchimp.com/e7c92a67158fbb0135a774c5b/images/1cad778d-cefd-4156-9525-251351689192.jpg “Mickey’s Christmas Carol,” “Huey, Dewey, and Louie’s Christmas Wish,” “Donald’s Christmas Tree” and “The Gift of the Magi.” Bring home the timeless appeal of Disney storytelling and experience the magic again and again. Who doesn’t love the holidays? Twinkling lights, merry carolers, the smell of chestnuts roasting on an open fire and the alien creature battling your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man? Welcome to the exciting world of Marvel’s Super Hero Adventures!
In Deck the Malls ($4.99), the first book in the series, join Spider-Man and his amazing arachnid ally Spider-Gwen as they take on the alien menace known as Venom. Will Spider-Man outrun Venom before the creature can steal his powers? Spider-Man & Friends: Deck the Malls: An Early Chapter Book (Marvel Chapter Book (eBook)) by [Cadenhead, MacKenzie, Ryan, Sean]Will Spider-Gwen figure out Venom’s weakness before it’s too late? Will the spider-friends save the day in time to finish their holiday shopping? It’s anything but a silent night this festive season.  Art of Coloring: Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas ($15.99) These images are ideal for adding your own brand of color and style. https://gallery.mailchimp.com/e7c92a67158fbb0135a774c5b/images/7053b328-bcc2-4153-a166-7d6801496a50.jpgPerfect for cultivating creativity, relaxation, and focus, these pages are filled with artwork evocative of the delightfully frightful world of Jack Skellington.  Six Words Fresh Off the Boat captures hundreds of takes on the immigration experience, from every-day people as well as world-famous celebrities including Aziz Ansari, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Julianne Moore, Mario Batali, George Takei, Neil Gaiman, Amanda Palmer, Billy Collins and Dr. Sanjay Gupta. This book will have you thinking in sixes and challenging others to share six words about their lives.  First premiering on Broadway in November 13, 1997, Disney’s award-winning “Best Musical” The Lion King celebrated its 20th anniversary in November. https://gallery.mailchimp.com/e7c92a67158fbb0135a774c5b/images/21c65265-7a4a-490b-b162-4b1eeff937fb.jpgNow a veteran actor to the musical, Alton Fitzgerald White—the longest running “Mufasa”—reflects on his own life, career, and the rich lore of The Lion King, in My Pride: Mastering Life’s Daily Performance.

Inspired by the iconic series, Kim Smith’s adorable new picture book imagines what Scully and Mulder would be like as children camping out in a backyard filled with strange lights, sounds and… aliens? When it first aired, The X-Files was one of the most popular sci-fi TV shows in American television, lasting nine seasons and two feature films. With 2016’s revival season and production for the 2018 season of The X-Files set to begin this summer, excitement for the series continues to grow.

The X-Files: Earth Children Are Weird  (Quirk Books ($18.99) is a great way for parents to share one of their favorite TV shows and the picture book would be a great addition to any Halloween coverage you might be planning.

A bit (get it?) about apps. We know nada. We don’t even own a cell phone! But a very reliable source from way up North tells us about My Town Games, a company that has great and safe apps for kids. My Town: Pets is a purr-fect choice: It allows children to have fun adopting cats, dogs, birds and hamsters, caring for them, taking them to the vet–everything they would do with real pets–which will present the opportunity to learn animal interaction and responsibility that can carry over into their real lives. If they walk their dog at the park’s litter sand area, make sure they don’t just don’t forget to clean up the poop.MyTownPetsScreenShot2 An added bonus is connectivity of My Town games and with shared characters and places that can travel from one game to another, all part of the larger My Town family of apps. Another bonus: My Town: Pets received an endorsement from Kids First!, a program of The Coalition for Quality Children’s Media, a national, nonprofit organization founded in 1991 whose mission is to teach children critical viewing skills and to increase the visibility and availability of quality children’s media. So far, there are 22 titles in My Town’s library. Another neat app: My Little Princess: Stores. It allows children to open up a whole new digital dollhouse with new characters to dress up and test out the latest makeup trends and style. Find your characters’ best friend and go pick up food at the supermarket, or plan a party and pick up the items to celebrate with. MyLittlePrincess

 

A trio of great games from (who else) Endless Games.
Name something everyone loves to play. If you said Family Feud, you’ve scored lots of points!Family Feud 40th Anniversary Retro Edition Board Game Endless Games has released this nifty Family Feud 40th Anniversary Retro Edition Board Game, featuring the classic FF home version console. There are more than 500 survey questions, so every family will have ample chances to play . . . again  and again and again. Richard Dawson’s kisses not included.

Remember that TV fave The Gig Short? What about that musical movie A Dorks Stink? No, we are not making typos. Nor are we losing our minds. We are simply having fun with Out of Order, a game in which film, TV, song and book titles are scrambled.  Take away a letter here, add a letter there and in five steps the correct answer is revealed. So: The Gig Short = The Gig Shot = The Gag Shot = The Gang Shot = The Gang Show = The Gong Show. The Dorks Stink = A Dorks Sink = A Dorks Line = A Doris Line = A Chorus Line.  Be the first to unscramble and identify the title to win. 
 
The curtain has risen on series four of the popular Playbill Puzzles, a 1,000-piece jumble featuring Playbill covers of current Broadway plays and musicals.Playbill Broadway Cover Puzzle, 1000 Piece by Endless Games Even Mama Rose would would agree this family fun adventure is coming up roses . . . as long as the pieces fit.
 
Spinmaster continues to break the toy formula with these three marvel must-haves. Do your kids want a pet? A dazzling dog? A curious cat? A grunting guinea pig? Some frivolous fish? If your your apartment rental forbids such a childhood necessary or someone in the family is allergic, fret no more! Bring Zhu Zhu pet hamsters home. This battery-powered facmisle comes in nifty neon colors and the Hamster House Play Set is the perfect place for any Zhu to live. The set comes with an exclusive Winkie hamster and a slide and tunnel, making recreations of scenes from the TV show as A-B-C (or is it Z-H-U?). If he needs companions, add Mr. Squiggles, Roxie, Num Nums and the rest of the gang. Our pet favorite toy this season! 
 

Kids can get ahead with the fun with the Airbrush Styling Studio. Tapping into the trend of online beauty tutorials, the Studio’s innovative cordless airbrush tool and colorful makeup sticks (washable markers) teaches them how to easily apply stylish hair and makeup on your very own model. Use the hair and makeup stencils to recreate your favorite looks from the Lookbook, and customize with gems and eye color stickers. Airbrush colorful highlights and attach the hair extensions wear the extensions in your own hair! Once the Lookbook styles are mastered, design your own using the free play templates and share your amazing Lookbook creations. Then, simply wash off to design all over again. It’s easy to create endless looks just like a real stylist with the Cool Maker Airbrush Styling Studio.

We spend way too much playing with M.A.X., a 12-inch tall advanced robot who is crammed with tons of fun, educational features. Designed for budding engineers and tinkerers 0 years and older, this robot-building kit offers a challenging yet rewarding build consisting of 332 parts. A Wealth of Interactive FeaturesOnce he’s assembled, M.A.X. functions as a friendly robot companion and personal assistant. He engages kids in conversation, learns from every interaction, remembers important dates, and more. He even features a built-in gaming platform. Customizable programming allows kids to personalize M.A.X. to meet their own specifications so that every assembled M.A.X. robot is truly one of a kind. And like all Meccano kits, M.A.X. can be reassembled into a huge variety of other robotics toys.

We discover two delightful books meant for “young readers” . . . may we add they are also for the young-at-heart!

We came across two books meant for the wee ones, but we simply cannot stop reading them ourselves. No wonder we are young-at-heart!

Carrot and Pea (HMH Books for Young Readers, $16.99) is a charming and creative celebration of embracing differences and standing out in a crowd that will teach and remind everyone that our differences make us unique and wonderful . . . and most important, they make us, us.

Colin is tall and orange. He is definitely not a pea. He’s a carrot. He has nothing in common with his friend Lee, a round, green pea. He can’t roll, or bounce. In fact, Colin can’t do any of the things Lee and his pea pals can do. How can Colin and Lee ever be friends?

Morag Hood has written stories and painted pictures since childhood, and this delight is her debut picture book. She also created the nifty artwork, collaged from orange and green plastic grocery bags.

Next up: Frankie is an adorable shelter puppy who has just arrived at his new home. He’s so excited by the things he finds . . . A new home! A new bed! A new ball!

But wait… another dog already lives here. His name is Nico. That’s Nico’s home. Nico’s bed. Nico’s ball.

It’s not easy being the new dog in the house. Will Frankie be able to find his place here too?

Humorous and heartfelt, Frankie (HMH Books for Young Readers, $12.99), the latest from Geisel Honor-winning author-illustrator Mary Sullivan, introduces not one, but two new dogs with big personalities as they struggle to get along and find their places in the pack. The whimsical and wondrous book is based on her real-life experience. Frankie will surely win over fans of Sullivan’s previous books, Ball and Treat, as well as the hearts of dog-lovers everywhere.

Sullivan has donated a portion of sales to the Austin (Texas) Pets Alive,  the shelter that first took (the real) Frankie in and helped him find a new permanent home!

Do we dare: This is the cat’s meow!

 

 

A Thanksgiving treat: Stuff yourself on the new take of “Anne of Green Gables”

Too many TV stations air too many turkeys on Thanksgiving. Never PBS. After your day of thanks, give your local public television thanks for airing L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables.

This is the classic Lucy Maud Montgomery story that tells the tale of Anne Shirley, a precocious young girl taken from an orphanage and placed in the care of the uptight Marilla Cuthbert and her brother, Matthew. The conservative Marilla has a profound effect on the adventurous Anne and creates a journey of learning and personal engagement that has resonated with generations since L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables was first published in 1908. The book remains an iconic work of Canadian literature and has sold more than 50 million copies worldwide and been translated into 20 languages.

Directed by John Kent Harrison and based on the original script by Susan Coyne, this adaptation, filmed in Canada, stars critically acclaimed Martin Sheen, who portrays Matthew Cuthbert, one half of the brother-sister couple who care for Anne Shirley.

Some people Anne, and not Annie, is the most famous in the world. Whatever. Ella Ballentine stars as Anne in the two-hour, made-for-TV movie. “My mom read Anne of Green Gables to me when I was younger,” Ella recalls. “And every now and then the cartoon came on TV, so I saw little bits of that. Then I did an episode of Reign on the CW, and Megan Follows is on that. I didn’t have a scene with her, but my mom was telling me, ‘Oh, you know, she played Anne of Green Gables before.’ And I thought, ‘How cool is it to be Anne of Green Gables?’ So then when there was the audition for this, I got really excited.1297803878688_original

Is there anything specific in today’s world that she would miss if she could go back in time to the late 1800s, when Anne of Green Gables is set?

Without an eye on an iPhone: “Modern hospitals,” she says.

Maybe she knows that we will remind you the PBS film is just that the doctor ordered? Can’t wait? PBS Distribution offers it on DVD on November 8.