Category Archives: Music

2CELLOS make the “Score” with their new CD, a tribute to great film scores

We’ve always thought things that come in pairs are doubly delightful. Abbott and Costello, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Dolly Parton.

Witness the genius of 2Cellos, music’s most electric and dynamic instrumental duo. They  go to the movies on their new Portrait/Sony Music Masterworks album Score, available March 17. Bringing 2Cellos’ game-changing sound and style to the most popular melodies written for classic and contemporary movies and television, Score will be supported by a world tour, kicking off with its U.S. leg this summer. The new video for Game of Thrones is out now–enjoy.

An international sensation since their unique video version of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” rocked YouTube with millions of hits in 2011, the Croatian cellists Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser have created three albums for Sony Music Masterworks. Score finds them exploring a more traditional sound-world. Joining them here–to provide the ideal aural backdrop to their virtuosity–is the London Symphony Orchestra, with conductor/arranger Robin Smith at the helm.

“We love movie music,” says Stjepan. “This album represents some of our favorite pieces of music by our favorite film composers. Having the opportunity to arrange them for cello whilst working with the world class London Symphony Orchestra has been a dream come true.” The duo say that they choose songs that could be adapted into covers playable on only two cellos.  

Score opens with an arrangement of Ramin Djawadi’s melodies that score Game of Thrones, culminating in the bold Main Title theme, in which the stirring sound of cellos announces each of what may be the most eagerly awaited episodes in contemporary television.

Themes that drove some of the biggest epics in movie history are also featured in fresh new treatments–favorite Oscar-winning themes from James Horner’s score for Titanic (“My Heart Will Go On”); John Williams’ score for Schindler’s List; Vangelis’s score for Chariots of Fire; as well as “For the Love of a Princess” from Braveheart; “May It Be” from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring”; and the inspiring “Now We Are Free” from Gladiator.

The vocal beauty of the cello’s sound is a perfect match for a brace of romantic themes. They include the Henry Mancini/Johnny Mercer song “Moon River” from Breakfast at Tiffany’s; Ennio Morricone’s beautiful themes for Cinema Paradiso and Malena; Nino Rota’s love theme for The Godfather; Francis Lai’s Oscar-winning theme from Love Story; Hans Zimmer’s theme from Rain Man; and Stanley Myers’ haunting “Cavatina” heard in The Deer Hunter.

2Cellos have forged a signature style that breaks down the boundaries between genres of music, from classical and film music to pop and rock. As impressive when playing Bach and Vivaldi as they are when rocking out, Sulic and Hauser know no limits when it comes to performing live. They have sold out shows around the globe and also performed with Sir Elton John as part of his band, as well as opening his shows to rapturous acclaim.

2Celloswere the first instrumentalists to be featured on Glee. They have also appeared multiple times on The Today Show and The Ellen DeGeneres Show in addition to The Tonight Show, The Bachelor Live Wedding Special among others.  Their self-titled debut album, In2ition and Celloverse are available on Sony Music Masterworks.

 

Idina Menzel and Nia Long star in a Lifetime remake of the sob story “Beaches”

You gotta have friends. Sometimes you gotta have remakes. It will be interesting if Idina Menzel and Nia Long can stir up more (read = better) memories and deeper sobs when they star as lifelong best friends in the remake of the Bette Midler-Barbara Hershey flick Beaches. The new flick, an Original Lifetime movie, premiers on Saturday, January 21 at 8 p.m. (ET/PT).

https://youtu.be/NuKOIHqPuWM

Want an earlier taste? Warner Bros. Records.  has already released a five-song soundtrack EP performed by Menzel. The disc features new takes on the classic songs “Wind Beneath My Wings” and “The Glory of Love,” as well as “I Can Hear the Music,” “I’ll Stand by You,” and “Last Time” recorded specifically for the movie. 

In this contemporary remake, Beaches follows the serendipitous meeting of two young girls on the Venice Boardwalk, who, though worlds apart in lifestyle, embark on an unexpected and lifelong friendship. CC (Menzel) is an aspiring singer trying to make it in Los Angeles until she is discovered by a director who gives her her first big shot. Hillary (Long) is the daughter of a prominent civil rights lawyer who struggles to find her own destiny. Their friendship—even with its ups and downs—sustains them for decades.

What does Bette think? She’s too busy preparing for the Broadway run of Hello, Dolly!,  revival opening in March and long sold-out.

Judy Collins offers the perfect Valentine’s treat: “A Love Letter to Stephen Sondheim”

We cannot think of a better Valentine’s Day gift, even if it won’t be released until February 24. Judy Collins takes the audience through Stephen Sondheim’s remarkable treasure trove of music, interweaving stories of Broadway with her personal anecdotes in A Love Letter to Stephen Sondheim (MVD Entertainment Group). The musical treat was filmed in May 2016 at the Boettcher Concert Hall in Denver, Colorado.

“I have loved the songs and the shows of Stephen since recording ‘Send in the Clowns’ on my album Judith in 1974,” says Collins. (Her take on the tune earned Sondheim his only chart-topping song.)

“My version of the great Sondheim ballad garnered a Grammy, the top ten slot in Billboard twice in a decade, and is still played on the radio all over the world. Ever since the success, I have longed to sing the rest of Sondheim’s greatest songs. Now, I have the opportunity do to that. These songs glow with familiarity and inhabit the rooms and vistas of all our lives, scenes and melodies from A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park with George, Company, Merrily We Roll Along and Into the Woods. I pray to do justice to these great songs, and to their composer, one of our national treasures: Stephen Sondheim.”

All orchestrations are by Jonathan Tunick, who has been orchestrating Stephen Sondheim’s musicals for decades. Tunick’s genius orchestration were used by Collins for her “Send in the Clowns.”

“Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man” celebrates the legacy of the singer and cultural icon

Celebrate singer-songwriter, poet and cultural icon Leonard Cohen, when the fascinating and critically acclaimed documentary, Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man, arrives for the first time on Blu-ray (plus Digital HD) from Lionsgate. The 2015 film, narrated by Cohen himself, is based on Came So Far for Beauty, the January 2005 tribute that was held at the Sydney Opera House.

The documentary features performances of Cohen songs by such luminary artists as U2, Rufus Wainwright, Nick Cave, Jarvis Cocker, Antony, Martha Wainwright and Beth Orton. Bonus: Cohen’s former back-up singers Perla Batalla and Julie Christensen appear as special guests. Yet another bonus: The end of the film includes a performance by Leonard Cohen and U2, which was not recorded live, but filmed specifically for the film at Manhattan’s Slipper Room in May 2005. Think of this as a free concert, at which you can sit thisclose.

What did you say? You want more bonuses? The Blu-ray include exclusive performances not seen in the theatrical release: Tunes by Martha Wainwright,  Batalla, The Handsome Family and Teddy Thompson. There’s also a conversation with Cohen and audio commentary with director Lian Lunson. And what timing: Nab the flick on February 7, just before the 2017 Grammys are handed out. Music to our ears . . . and eyes! Want even more? A soundtrack CD is available from Verve.

Morphine remains addictive. Join them for a “Journey of Dreams”

Morphine can be addictive. It’s a drug of choice. When it comes to “low rock,” the Boston-born band Morphine blazed like a comet across the international music scene in the ’90s, rising from local small clubs to indie and major label record deals, high and wide critical acclaim, and packed shows until their untimely demise.

The trio’s unique and mesmeric sound continues to resonate with its fans and music lovers as the group ascends to legendary if not iconic status. The documentary Morphine: Journey of Dreams  (MVD Entertainment Group) is the definitive, in-depth tale of this unique musical act’s compelling career and life together and their resonant musical creativity.

Journey of Dreams  doesn’t just get behind the music, but inside the band as its story is primarily told by the trio’s surviving members, saxophonist Dana Colley and drummers Billy Conway and Jerome Dupree, plus the close-knit familial coterie that worked with them as well as Sandman’s girlfriend Sabine Hrechdakian.

It’s punctuated by incisive commentary and observations from such friends and admirers of the group as Henry Rollins, Joe Strummer and Steve Berlin of Los Lobos. A wealth of live performance footage gathered from across Morphine’s career recalls and amplifies the band’s innovative yet at the same time classic, timeless and “beautifully bottom-heavy” sound, as Rolling Stone (the mag, not the Mick) praised it.

Viewers ride and fly along with the hard- touring band’s road experiences, vibrantly brought to life as Colley reads from his tour diaries at key points in the film as well as through his accompanying Polaroid pictures and Super 8 films.

Journey of Dreams is not just a tale of music business struggle, triumph and tragedy, but also a love story (among its members and team as well as Sandman and Hrechdakian) as well as an adventure, drama, travelogue, and something of a roller coaster ride. When all is told, an evocative and loving tribute to a rock band that was like no other.

Addictive.

Don’t think twice, it’s all right: “50 Years with Peter Paul and Mary” is essential

The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind.

I have such cherished memories of spending time with Mary Travers throughout the years. Then, on September 16, 2009, one day before my birthday, something happened to Mary: She died.

Now Peter and Paul, apostles of folk music, continue the legacy.

50 Years with Peter Paul and Mary  (MVD Entertainment Group) is a new documentary by four-time Emmy-winning producer/director Jim Brown that focuses on portions of the trio’s career not included in previously aired PBS specials. This program features rare and previously unseen television footage including a BBC program from the early ’60s that embodies many of the trio’s best performances and most popular songs.
This is Peter Paul and Mary at the peak of their artistry, a time when this popular and influential trio dominated the Billboard music charts.  From the group’s emergence in Greenwich Village, to the Civil Rights and Antiwar era of the 1960s, through the decades of their later advocacy and music, to Mary’s moving memorial, and finally to the present, where their legacy continues to inform and inspire successive generations, this far deeper and more intimate exploration of the trio reveals the impact of their artistry and activism on their generation and the world. Celebrate the trio whose anthems provided America’s soundtrack for generations. And still do.

Bazillion Points offers two hardcore books that appeal to punks, morbid angels and misfits

And we thought we knew all the publishing companies.

A random house that offers “the most authentic, detailed and sought-after books about Nirvana, Metallica, AC/DC, Black Flag, NYHC, California punk, Norwegian black metal, Swedish death metal, and much, much more”: Bazillion Points Books. The company, that calls itself “America’s smallest but heaviest book publisher”,  has expanded its comprehensive library with two essential new offerings from the world of horror punk/hardcore and death metal/grindcore.

No, George Michael and Madonna won’t be here. The books are no minor threats, simply improved editions of two cult books that deal authoritatively with matters near and dear to all dark hearts.

Misery Obscura: The Photography of Eerie Von ($29.95)
Beginning as the unofficial photographer for punk legends the Misfits and later taking charge of the bass guitar as a founding member of underground pioneers Samhain and metal gods Danzig, Eerie Von captured the dark heart of rock’s most vital bleeding edge during a time when rock and roll was not only dangerous, but downright menacing. Hundreds of “fly-on-the-wall” photos from the best seats in the house document everything from the Misfits’ humble beginnings in Lodi, New Jersey, to the heights of Danzig’s stadium-rock glory.  There are forewords by Lyle Preslar aned Mike D’Antonio; the book ships with a signed 8×10 full-cover lobby card.
Metallica’s lead guitarist coos: “Misery Obscura has an amazing fly-on-the-wall feel that is mesmerizing but unequivocal. He puts me right back in the 1980s, in the same space where the Misfits and Samhain were.”

Choosing Death: The Improbable History of Death Metal & Grindcore ($29.95)
Albert Mudrian’s widely praised blow-by-blow history of metal’s most relentless strains was first published in 2004. Picking up the gruesome path over a decade later, Mudrian leaves no tombstone unturned, delivers three new chapters, and expands existing material with the results of 50 new interviews. Brutal new 16-page color section features raw, bloody early photos of Death, Repulsion, Obituary, Deicide, Morbid Angel, Thanatos, At the Gates, Napalm Death, Carcass, Dismember, Nihilist, and many others. There are forewords by Scott Carlson of Repulsion and BBC DJ John Peel; the book ships with free limited color woven patch. Coos  Napalm Death (dis)member Shame Embury: “Albert Mudrian, our disciple of all that is heavy and extreme, definitively documents this period of blissful cacophony for all to behold. Play fast or die!”

Visit bazillionpoints.com . . . if you dare.

 

 

Skip the New Year’s bubbly. Head straight for the “Fresh Cream.”

A most musically way to begin the New Year: The deluxe edition UMe release of Fresh Cream, the debut album by the British, blues boom power trio, Cream.

The 3-CD + 1 Blu-Ray audio disc come housed in a gatefold sleeve within a rigid slipcase and includes a 64-page hardback book, featuring new sleeve notes by respected Rolling Stone writer David Fricke. The set comprises various alternate and new stereo mixes plus several, previously unreleased BBC sessions. A special six-album 180g vinyl edition of Fresh Cream will also be released in April.

Can you name who was who?

Originally released in 1966, at the height of the UK blues bloom, Fresh Cream showcased the not inconsiderable talents of three of the then music scene’s brightest lights: Eric Clapton, fresh from John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers; drummer, Ginger Baker, straight from the Graham Bond Organisation; Jack Bruce who, at the time, had just left Manfred Mann. Collectively the three had decided to give up their roles as much sought after sidemen to form their own super group.

Coming together as Cream in the early summer of 1966, the trio moved at impressive speed to make the release of Fresh Cream in December of the same year. Highlights include the racing harmonica work-out and the call and response excitements on Muddy Waters’ “Rollin’ and Tumblin’”; a spine-tingling vocal on the Willie Dixon classic, “Spoonful”; as well as the self-penned “Sleepy Time Time”, which gave Clapton a free hand to wake up all and sundry. Their rousing treatment of the traditional standard, “Cat’s Squirrel” alerted listeners to just how well Clapton, Baker and Bruce musically complemented each other.

 

A slice of humble pie? New book takes a trip through the history of Faces

Let’s face it: The Faces had quite a life. They were an English rock band formed in 1969 by members of Small Faces after lead singer/guitarist Steve Marriott left that group to form Humble Pie. The remaining Small Faces—Ian McLagan (keyboards), Ronnie Lane (bass guitar) and Kenney Jones (drums and percussion)—were joined by Ronnie Wood (guitar) and Rod Stewart (lead vocals), both from the Jeff Beck Group, and the new line-up was renamed Faces.

Whew!

Now, the definitive story of one of Britain’s best-loved bands has found a groove. Had Me a Real Good Time: Faces, Before, During and After (Overlook Omnibus, $29.95) by music journalist Andy Neill examines the Faces as never before, exploring their roots and contribution to 70’s rock and beyond.

Formed in 1969 from the remnants of the Small Faces and the Jeff Beck Group, Rod Stewart, Ron Wood, Ronnie Lane, Ian McLagan and Kenny Jones presented a uniquely authentic musical act at a time when aestheticized disco and glam rock were in vogue. With lead singer Stewart’s raspy voice and the band’s unpretentious, direct approach to music, the famously madcap Faces cultivated both their own brand of rock and a worldwide following.

Updated to include a chapter on the legacy of keyboard player MacLagan (who died in 2014) the book provides the most comprehensive account of the Faces from their working class upbringings in Britain, through hits such as “Stay with Me,” and into their illustrious solo careers, including collaborations with the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, and Joe Cocker. Neill synthesizes original research and first-hand interviews to form this immersive account of the distinctive group.

Rod Stewart is a big fan of the book: “It’s amazing,” he says. “It’s got a huge amount of information.”

Holiday Gift Guide 2016: The Year’s Best Last-Minute Gifts

FOR TV FANS
Get an exclusive look behind the scenes of the first two seasons of Outlander with The Making of Outlander: The Series: The Official Guide to Seasons One & Two (Delacorte,$50), an official, fully illustrated companion to the hit TV series based on the bestselling novels. Millions of readers captivated by the epic romance of Claire Beauchamp Randall and Jamie Fraser have eagerly followed. Now the must-watch drama has inspired this must-have guide, which reveals that it takes a village (or perhaps a Scottish isle) to bring the breathtaking world of Outlander to life in front of our eyes. Spanning the first two seasons of the small-screen, The Making of Outlander leads readers behind the scenes and straight into the action as cast members, writers, producers, musicians, costume designers, set decorators, technicians, and more share the many adventures and challenges they face to make this sweeping saga come alive on the screen.

In the special treat Wild Kratts: A Creature Christmas (PBS Distribution), the Wild Kratts crew is resting and relaxing as they get ready for the Wild Kratts Christmas party after a busy year filled with amazing creature adventures. It’s too bad their arch villains Donita Donata, Gaston Gourmand, and Zach Varmitech are about to spoil the fun. The sound of jingle bells is replaced by alarm bells as the team discovers that Donita, Gaston, and Zach are capturing baby animals from around the globe. With Christmas fast approaching, can Martin and Chris rescue their baby animal friends and return them to their homes in time for the holidays?

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Daniel’s Winter Wonderland (PBS Distribution)features four stories including “A Snowy Day,” “Daniel’s Winter Adventure,” “Neighborhood Nutcracker,” and “Baking Mistakes.” In the stories “Daniel’s Winter Adventure” and “Neighborhood Nutcracker,” Daniel discovers that when sledding, ice skating, or learning a dance for “The Nutcracker” ballet, “if something seems hard to do, try it a little bit at a time!” In addition to these grr-ific stories, kids can watch Daniel and Miss Elaina play snow astronauts in “A Snowy Day,” and Daniel and Prince Wednesday make cookies with Baker Aker in “Baking Mistakes.”

FOR NATURE LOVERS
In The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate—Discoveries from a Secret World (Greystone Books, $24.95), Peter Wohlleben shares his deep love of woods and forests and explains the amazing processes of life, death, and regeneration he has observed in the woodland and the amazing scientific processes behind the wonders of which we are blissfully unaware. Much like human families, tree parents live together with their children, communicate with them, and support them as they grow, sharing nutrients with those who are sick or struggling and creating an ecosystem that mitigates the impact of extremes of heat and cold for the whole group. Drawing on groundbreaking new discoveries, Wohlleben presents the science behind the secret and previously unknown life of trees and their communication abilities; he describes how these discoveries have informed his own practices in the forest around him.

Countless books and blogs have extolled the virtues of the Cat Lady, now photographer David Williams celebrates cat-owning men and the precious kitties who have stolen their hearts. Men With Cats: Intimate Portraits of Feline Friendship (Quirk Books, $12.95) represent a cross-section of American society—musicians and artists, soldiers and CEOs, truck drivers and tattoo artists—with one very furry common denominator. These fun, fuzzy, and offbeat portraits are full of personality, and the accompanying stories share everything from “how we met” to how the cats earned their names. Men with Cats is a delightful gift book for anyone who appreciates the bond between pets and their people.

Small is size, big in tips and hints. Miniature Garden Grower (Mitchell Beazley, $14.99) from garden designer and writer Holly Farrell shows how to grow a variety of miniature gardens from scratch, using inexpensive, everyday equipment and materials. Projects include: one-pot gardens, terrariums, wildlife gardens, water gardens, herb gardens and vertical gardens. Heavily illustrated with diagrams and photographs, and packed with charts and tables, this book is a gardening book the whole family can enjoy.

FOR POP-UP PRAISERS:
LEGO Pop-Up (Scholastic, $29.99) is the first-ever LEGO pop-up book Matthew Reinhart creates another spectacular pop-up book, this time telling the LEGO story with equal amounts facts, fun and adventure. Packed with a variety of features- pop-ups, pull tabs, turning wheels and more, this “fun-formative” book will be a delight for both LEGO and pop-up fans alike. Part book, part comic strip, all fun, this is the ultimate collector’s item for LEGO fans.

In this spectacular pop-up guide to the White House by bestselling paper engineer Robert Sabuda, readers can take a tour behind the scenes of the office of the executive branch and the residence of the president and his family. Enter The White House: A Pop-Up of Our Nation’s Home (Orchard Books, $29.99) and travel through time as you open each spread and discover the North Face of the White House, the East Room, the Lincoln Bedroom, the Rose Garden, the Oval Office, and the South Lawn of the White House. year. According to First Lady Michelle Obama, “It’s the ‘People’s House.’ It’s a place that is steeped in history, but it’s also a place where everyone should feel welcome.”

The iconic art of Japanese artist Hokusai, from great waves to waterfalls and mountains, are reimagined in dramatic 3-D pop-ups in Hokusai Pop-Ups (Thames & Hudson, $29.95). Realized in jewel-like colors, Hokusai’s simple views of everyday scenes in Japan, his sense of balance and harmony, and his highly stylized but ever-changing techniques seem to capture the spirit and traditions of his homeland. Hokusai Pop-Ups brings this stunning art to life.

FOR MUSIC MAVENS
As the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love floods the media with debates and celebrations of music, political movements, flower power, acid rock and hippies, The Explosion of Deferred Dreams: Musical Renaissance and Social Revolution in San Francisco, 1965–1975 (PM Press, $22.95)  offers a critical re-examination of the interwoven political and musical happenings in San Francisco in the Sixties. Musician and native San Franciscan Mat Callahan uses dozens of original interviews, primary sources and personal experiences to show how the intense interplay of artistic and political movements put San Francisco, briefly, in the forefront of a worldwide revolutionary upsurge.

Prince: Life & Times (Chartwell Books, $24.99) is a lavishly illustrated authoritative chronicle of his ground-breaking career, covering every album, every movie and every tour. Jason Draper includes profiles of key collaborators such as The Time, Sheila

E and Vanity 6, assesses his various business dealings, reviews of every album and details his many side-projects, on stage, on record, on screen, and beyond. This updated second edition includes detailed information on Prince’s activity from 2008 up to his death this year.

In the new book Fleetwood Mac: The Complete Illustrated History (Voyageur Press, $40) music historian Richie Unterberger digs deep into the band’s entire career, highlighting details that will surprise even the most loyal fans. The scope of the book is as large and varied as Fleetwood Mac’s career, starting with their formation as a blues band in the ’60s to the pop superstardom of the ’70s and ’80s to their 2015 reunion. Each chapter features separate reviews of each of Mac’s 17 studio albums, authored by noted rock critics such as Barney Hoskyns, Tom Moon Martin Popoff and Gary Graff. In addition, there’s a myriad of photographs and images and memorabilia, including rare and little-seen items.

He is, without a doubt, one of the most popular and controversial artists of all time. Now, for the first time ever, author Daryl Easlea explores the life and history of Michael Jackson, in reverse, in Michael Jackson: Rewind (Race Point Publishing, $40). Starting with his tragic death and rewinding to his early hits with the Jackson 5 and life in Gary, Indiana, this is a complete illustrated history of the King of Pop: his genius, his life and his demons.

Life Amplified World Tour: Live at WVU (City Drive Films) is the new live concert DVD and CD from multi-platinum country superstar Brad Paisley. The concert was shot with 20 cameras in front of a hometown crowd of more than 15,000 people. Paisley played an electrifying two-hour show that included many of his 23 number one singles, such as “Mud on the Tires,” “Then,” and a surprise rendition of “I’m Still A Guy,” featuring Chris Young.  The show also includes a very special version of the John Denver song “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” which has become an anthem for WVU.
The early ’50s was a heyday for vocal groups, riding the wave of middle-of-the-road popular music in the Tin Pan Alley-dominated years before rock ‘n’ roll changed pop music for ever. The Ames Brothers were one of the most popular of those groups, making their US chart debut in 1948, and racking up a lengthy string of hits over the next few years.
Their following was such that despite the upheaval that rock ‘n roll occasioned in the pop landscape, they continued having chart entries right through to the start of the new decade. This 54-track two-CD collection from Acrobat comprises all of the Billboard Top 100 entries they achieved during their career. It’s an evocative and definitive souvenir of one of the most popular and successful groups of their era.

FOR THOSE WHO LIKE DEAD THINGS
The Driller Killer (Arrow Films) is the definitive look at NYC s underbelly a slasher that is as much at home in the arthouse as it is the grindhouse. None of Abel Ferrara’s films have quite managed to match the shock, extremity and downright notorious nature of the fright flick. Ferrara plays struggling artist Reno, a man pushed to the edge by the economic realities of New York living in the late seventies and the No Wave band practicing in the apartment below. His grip on reality soon begins to slip and he takes to stalking the streets with his power tool in search of prey . . . Remember, it’s only a movie. or is it?

The Walking Dead tells the story of Rick Grimes and his band of survivors living in the gruesome aftermath of a zombie apocalypse. This deluxe The Walking Dead Blood Globe (Running Press, $12.95) includes a one-of-a-kind blood globe, featuring a scene of walkers. When the globe is shaken, it fills with fake “blood.” The kit also includes a 32-page book with quotes and images from the show.

An Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead: The Papyrus of Sobekmose (Thames & Hudson, $40)is the first-ever  translation of the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead of Sobekmose―fully illustrated and explained by a leading Egyptologist. The Book of the Dead of Sobekmose, in the collection of the Brooklyn Museum, is one of the most important surviving examples of ancient Egyptian Books of the Dead. Such “books”―actually papyrus scrolls―were composed of traditional funerary texts, including magic spells, which were thought to assist the deceased on their journeys into the afterlife. The ancient Egyptians believed in an underworld fraught with dangers that needed to be carefully navigated, from the familiar, such as snakes and scorpions, to the extraordinary: lakes of fire to cross, animal-headed demons to pass, and the ritual Weighing of the Heart, whose outcome determined whether or not the deceased would be born again into the afterlife for eternity.

FOR THE YOUNG AND YOUNG-AT-HEART

In a quiet wood, a gray squirrel declares war on the machines that invade his wood, threatening his nest and tree. Taught words and how to use simple machines like the wheel by a young boy who names him Jack, the squirrel shares what he’s learned with the other animals. And so we enter the world of Evolution Revolution: Simple Machines (CreateSpace Independent Publishing, $5.99.)
This
 is a smart and charming book for younger readers that will have them wondering just what the animals in the yard are up to! Watch for the next book in this series coming

With Jumbo Stickers for Little Hands: Jungle Animals (MoonDance Press, $5.99), sticker fans of all ages can play with large vinyl, resusable stickers of colorful, jungle animals. From Siamese fighting fish to lions, 
tigers, monkeys, zebras, butterflies and panda bears-what’s your favorite animal? With 24 pages of jungle scenes, monkeys can hang from trees. And so  can elephants and lions!

The battle between cats and dogs goes galactic! Star Paws (MVD Entertainment Group) stars Adventure Cat and his evil kitty army, who hope to snatch a magical galactic bone that will give them the power to take over the entire galaxy. It’s up to an elite group of space dogs, headed by the intrepid General Ruff to beat Adventure Cat to the bone. Four paws up!