Read Joanne’s article on the best new books of the season. All Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Book Award winners!
My mother is giving a speech today at the University of Maryland for her new book, Stanley Hayami: Nisei Son…go mom. Apart from writing 50 plus children’s books and parenting books, my amazing mother has written this book–based on the diary of a young man who was sent ( along with 120,000 other Americans of Japanese descent ) to internment camps during World War II. Stanley then served in the Army–and died serving his country. My mother has taken this primary source and brought his story to life with such clarity and emotion, that people are moved to tears when they “meet” Stanley. I recently heard her speak at NYU–and again I marveled at how my mother is such a gifted story teller. I also highly recommend Dear Miss Breed–the story of a dedicated librarian who became an incredible and consistent source of support to so many children and their families sent to camps during WWII.
All of this is by way of my saying that my mother and I usually play with window markers and crayons together. So I’m proud that she’s off giving another speech–but I miss that she’s not here. I have just tried out Crayola’s new Window Crayons. At first I felt a little awkward coloring on our office windows by myself–but I’ve loosened up…and have created a garden of flowers and grass. Try it, it’s liberating.
If you’re ok with kids drawing on windows/sliding doors–this is a REALLY FUN activity. At only $4.99–it’s a great buy. Comes with five colors.
Legos, Playmobil, Alex, Mary Meyer, Crayola…they’re all arriving!
While most of the attention this week has been about Barbie’s 50th–you may not know that the classic storybook character Madeline is celebrating her 70th birthday! Happily she is also coming back to toy land this year–the new 13 1/2″ doll will be available from Kids Preferred. Not yet reviewed–but looks promising.
One of our testers sent this in…
Take a look at this HUGE Barbie cake.
I love cupcakes. I like the kind we make for school events — usually more than the high end cupcakes. (Although the cupcakes in the William Sonoma catalog always look pretty good!) So that’s my starting point–which is why I’m a little puzzled why I’m being bombarded with fake cupcake kits. Cupcakes made of fabric or plastic… I don’t know about you, but it makes me want a REAL cupcake…chocolate frosting please.
Ok, so if a new sportscar isn’t in your future any time soon — this desk-size version from Automoblox may make you feel a bit better. This particular car is their C9R model. We’ve been big fans of these beautifully designed wooden cars that also can be taken apart. Designed for kids-but will also be enjoyed as a great office toy!
A new adventure website for kids, jacabeecode.com has free registration until May 31st. We haven’t tried it yet, but would love feedback from your kids. The site takes players through historically-themed adventures. If your kids want their own personalized storybook–there is a fee. I’m intrigued by the historical aspect. Once your child signs in and creates her own avatar, the journey begins. Let us know…
If you’re fans of the I SPY series, you’ll want to take a look at Briarpatch’s new I SPY Flip 5. The idea is to match similar images that appear on the play pieces (disks that have images on both sides). The picture can be a photo or a silhouette of that image (a star fish, a horse, a panda, a ballerina, etc.)…At each turn, players take turns saying “1, 2, 3, 4, flip 5″—that player then flips five disks. Players then look for matches –call them and collect them. The player with the greatest number of matches wins that round. The player to win five rounds wins. Our game players liked looking for the matching images–and the pace of the game. This is one you won’t mind playing again and again. It’s a step above straight matching games–calling for a more developed sense of visual discrimination. You can introduce the game to a younger child by using fewer disks–making it a bit less overwhelming. At $12.95, it’s a good price for a game that you can easily take along if you’re traveling–all of the pieces will fit easily in a big zip lock bag. There’s also a Dino Flip 5 that we’ve sent out for additional testing–we think dino-fans will love it…same idea but with images of dinosaurs. Both games are marked 4 & up and will work with 2-4 players.
If you know someone fascinated by Crocodiles–check out this new book by Jim Arnosky. The illustrations are lovely but what I really enjoyed was the DVD showing the artist on safari and best yet showing him how to draw crocodiles–I’ve logged a lot of time watching children’s dvds–this is one of the best we’ve seen in a long time.