Archives for December 21, 2015

Award Winning Language Learning/ Rhythm / Music Game Launch

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Music/rhythm language learning game Lyriko has just launched! The game has been in development for a couple years now and has already received great reviews and awards too!

Lyriko Learning Philosophy
Learning a new language is one of the most important challenges many of us face. Lots of countries have immigrants who are trying to learn the local language and fit in. Progress through traditional educational challenges can open up with improved language skills. Business is becoming increasingly global, and knowing another language can unlock new opportunities. And studying another language and culture is one of the best ways the break down prejudice and build appreciation in its place.

I always loved music and games, so I thought if I could make a game out of it, I’d enjoy practicing, want to spend more time studying, and progress faster. Similarly, when I found a new favorite song, I would listen to it often until I knew all the words and could sing along. Also, if I learned a language through songs, all the words would be in context. Song lyrics are a memorable way to connect a word with the way it sounds, what it means, and the feelings it can evoke.

With those ideas in mind, I designed Lyriko. It has four modes, to help people with a range of learning preferences practice the foundational skills. If you’re already studying in a course or with another program, think of Lyriko as an extra tutor that can help you meet your goals even faster!

Game Modes
Picture It
Learning new words with both text and pictures creates multiple connections in the mind, making remembering easier. The mind has ways of thinking that are comfortable and familiar for it, like paths through the woods. Each time it thinks in the same way, that path gets stronger. Remembering a word is like finding a clearing in the woods – the more paths there are to that clearing, and the stronger each path is, the easier it is to find it. This is especially helpful for people who prefer visual learning.

Impostor 
When learning a new language, you’re overloaded with unfamiliar text and sounds. The brain responds to overload by ignoring information it thinks is not as important, like small differences in spelling or pronunciation, especially at the end of a word. Many words have multiple endings (learn/learns/learned/learning), and these differences can be hard to notice. Impostor changes the spelling of a word in each line of the song, and challenges you to listen and read carefully to find that mistake. This trains the brain about what kinds of information are important, so it doesn’t ignore it. Over time, these small mistakes become more obvious, helping learners find them in their own writing or speech, too.

Interlude
The first time you hear a new language, it’s hard to separate words from each other; all the sounds seem to run together! Even if you know the meaning and spelling of a word, you may not hear it when it’s used in a conversation. Interlude strengthens this text-sound connection, challenging you to match what you see and hear by removing one word in each line. Seeing and hearing a word at the same time also connects the spelling and pronunciation in your mind so you can read out loud without fear!

Reference
Sometimes, you just want to know what the song is about without the extra challenge of the game modes. In Reference mode, there’s no score, so you can calmly listen to the song and read translations. There are whole-line translations to help you understand the idea of the song quickly, and there are also translations of each word and phrase – touch anything to find out what it means in this context and see a picture. When you’re comfortable with the song, challenge yourself in one of the game modes!

Achievement
Learning a language takes time, and sometimes you might feel like you’re not progressing. Our achievements will help you measure your progress and stay motivated. Even better, as you complete achievements, you’ll get credits to unlock new songs for yourself or…

Friends
Another good way to stay motivated is to share the journey with friends! Connect with friends inside Lyriko to see each other’s progress. Also, you’ll earn credits from achievements that you can give as gifts to your friends to encourage them and help everyone stay motivated!

Lyriko comes with four free songs, and you can unlock a bunch more for free by completing the achievements and sharing free gifts with friends. If you want to get even more songs, check out the store inside the app.

 

Here’s the links
iOShttps://itunes.apple.com/app/lyriko-learn-languages-music/id997426505
Androidhttps://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=air.com.skylightgames.lyriko

Check it out!

Credit: Lyriko. No compensation was received.

 

Star Wars Returns! For The First Time In Over 20 Years!

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The wait is over! Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens this weekend and, the word is that you will NOT be disappointed! KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Gerry O. comments, “People have been waiting for a good Star Wars story ever since Episode VI came out 32 years ago. Fellow Star Wars fans, I am pleased to tell you, it has come.” The secrecy surrounding this release has been extraordinary. Even our KIDS FIRST! Film Critics who were scheduled to attend press screenings had to pledge to secrecy the time and location and weren’t allowed to even tell anyone they were going to it. You should know that the pace of this film is very fast and the action, quite intense. The original film’s iconic characters played by Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill  and Carrie Fisher, are back, older and even more incredible than ever. But, the new team, played by Daisy Ridley and John Boyega, definitely strike out on their own and command attention. The film is long at 135 minutes but then, so were the first ones – Episode IV (121 minutes); Episode VI (131 min.); Episode I (136 min.). Nathaniel B. (KIDS FIRST! Film Critic) adds, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a wonderful film that many people will love. Today’s technology really makes the fantasy of Star Wars seem like reality.” See our youth reporters’ full reviews below.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens
By Gerry O, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 13

It is surprising that only 10 to 12 hours of films created the giant franchise we know as Star Wars. People have been waiting for a good Star Wars story ever since Episode 6 came out 32 years ago. Fellow Star Wars fans, I am pleased to tell you, it has come.

Everyone knows Star Wars is a sci-fi, action franchise, but this film is very unique for the fact that it goes much deeper. With Evil getting more and more powerful, there is drama and fighting between the characters, but that doesn’t stop romance from sneaking in with a little bit of comedy. Granted, I was worried it would turn into a kid’s comedy, but quite a few times I found my self thinking that not only are the jokes perfect, they are also not over used!

Alright, let’s get to the part everyone wants to read, the plot of the most hyped, but hidden film of the decade. The events start out 20 years after what took place in Episode 6, (spoiler alert for people who didn’t see episode 6). The Empire has fallen, yes, but a new Evil has risen, known as The First Order. The rebellion needs new Jedi now more than ever, but Luke (Mark Hamill) is missing and they need to find (wait for it) a new hope!

Is the film worth the wait? Ever since almost a year ago, people have been talking about new Star Wars episode, and it is SO worth it. Famous directors have taken on some great challenges before, including Spielberg finishing Kubrick’s AI. But J.J. Abrams took on something completely out of the ball field trying to continue Star Wars. The cinematography is spectacular, the ending shot (no spoiler) is one of the greatest endings I have ever seen in a film, and the whole story itself is unexpected and very enjoyable. Although there are many aspects that are not in the original Star Wars films, I think it is actually very nice to see Star Wars not get ruined, but go through its own evolving evolution.

As for the acting, of course, the original A-Team – Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and more – are phenomenal and I think it was the perfect idea to bring these characters back for the pure enjoyment of long standing fans. However, it is really Daisy Ridley who steals the show. Her character, Rey, is so fresh and unique, full of emotion, and this character (still no spoilers, sorry) goes through so much drama in the film. It must have been a very hard role to play. Daisy gives it 110%. I predict she will be win an Oscar nomination for this role.

The special effects obviously got better since the last Star Wars film in the early 2000s, and I still want to mention how breathtaking they are. Even for 2015, with all the CGI aliens, ships and spectacular space scenes, it is quite literally “eye candy.” My only criticism of the film is that it is a bit too long. However, not one single scene is out of place or feels unneeded.

One of my favorite scenes is when we are reunited with Hollywood’s favorite space ship. Rey and Finn (John Boyega) are trying to escape The First Order. They have two options for space flight, a “piece of junk” or another space ship. Well, the space ship gets blown up and it turns out the “piece of junk” is the millennium falcon! Of course, everyone cheers, claps and whistles in the audience once the camera shows the breathtaking ship. It is not only enjoyable, and a bit funny, but the camera technique is perfect. If you want to know the rest of the story, go get your tickets and watch the film!

This film is actually pretty mature. It isn’t as kind as episodes 1, 2 and 3. It has its violence, so I recommend it for ages ten to eighteen. And, adults who saw previous Star Wars films and appreciate them will enjoy this film as well. I give it five out of five stars, because, even if it is a little bit boring in the middle, (it is 2 hours and 10 minutes long) J.J. Abrams, the cast and crew achieved the impossible and created a new masterpiece that can be proudly added to the Star Wars franchise. I am also glad to say that, for the first time in over 20 years, Star Wars returns! You can see Star Wars: The Force Awakens in theaters starting December 18th!

Star Wars: The Force Awakens
By Nathanial B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a wonderful film that many people will love. Today’s technology really makes the fantasy of Star Wars seem like reality. The scenery is great from the beginning to the end. The forests are vast and really fit the movie wonderfully. The beautiful stars, planets and, even the spaceships, are amazingly real looking.

The storyline It tells what happens after peace was established in the galaxy at the end of Episode 6, but now it’s more than 30 years later and there is no longer peace.

The actors lured me into believing everything is really happening. Daisy Ridley as Rey shows emotion and strength. John Boyega portrays Finn as a man who starts out being afraid but must overcome his fears. And Adam Driver is excellent playing Kylo Ren, the new bad guy who tries to live up to the evil of Darth Vader and does many foolish things in the process. Each characters enliven the new story. Also, Star Wars fans of all ages will love reconnecting with characters from the original films.

The costumes are great and fit the characters in many ways. Rey’s costume, a rugged suit for the desert planet Jakku, shows that she is resourceful and can take care of herself. The unusual and cool costumes fit in well with the previous films in the series.

Many strange creatures add the element of being on other worlds. I really enjoyed seeing all the extra characters in each scene like pirates, gangs and a variety of aliens. A fun new sidekick is BB-8, a feisty round astromech droid that belongs to the rebellion.

The buildings look real and at the same time like they belong in Star Wars. The props, such as blasters and space ships, are also realistic. They are grungy and look like they have seen some use. The only things I didn’t like were the Stormtrooper’s blasters and armor which looked plastic and fake.

The special effects are wonderful from lightsabers to explosions and lasers from the guns. They are a huge part in the film and bring the movie to life.

I do love this film but some parts of it are not quite the way I expected. There are not many breaks from battles and there’s so much action that it feels intense and rushed.

This film is best for ages 7 to 18 because of the intensity of the action. I give this movie 4 1/2 out of 5 stars. It will definitely awaken the Star Wars fan in everyone. Reviewed by Nathaniel B. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9.

Credit: KIDS FIRST!

ALEX’s Single, PLEASE COME HOME FOR CHRISTMAS, featured on A Classic Holiday…Presented by MBK/Sony Entertainment

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Other Featured Artists Include: ALICIA KEYS, TYRESE, BRANDY, ELLE VARNER, COKO, JUSTIN SKYE, GABI WILSON, AND MANY OTHERS!!!

ALEX’s soulful and invigorating rendition of Please Come Home for Christmas brings in the holidays with a body rocking, toe tapping, head bopping excitement! ALEX says, “Please Come Home for Christmas, is one of my favorite holiday tunes. This holiday, I am dedicating this song to the women and men who often leave their homes and families to serve our wonderful country. It is one of my ways of saying thank you!”

RADIO SUCCESSES:

  • #1 Hit “Love Line”   – America Blues Network Charts
  • #1 Hit “Love Line”   – Boogie Report Charts
  • #1 Hit  “Hope for Us”- America Blues Network Charts
  • # 20 “Don’t Walk Away” – Billboard Charts

NOTABLES:

  • Performance for President Barack Obama’s 2nd Presidential Inaugural Red Carpet Ball at Sphinx Club, Washington, D.C.
  • Performance for President George W. Busch’s 2nd Presidential Inaugural Ball at Regan Memorial, Washington, D.C.
  • Performance for Prime Minister of Ireland
  • Performance for Premier of Bermuda
Self Disclosure: No compensation was received to post. Information was provided to SoCal City Kids to post.

Model Molecular – Durable Organic Chemistry Student Set for Easy Visual Learning A Great Homeschool tool too!

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I was pretty thrilled to receive this product to review and am impressed with it really sows what molecules look like. It is durable and a great homeschool tool. My son seemed interested in this and I do recommend. It contains 54 atoms and is a great visual manipulative. I like that this is great for beginning and advanced learners.

More info:

  • Instructions are included on the inside cover to easily identify all of the atoms and connectors included in the set
  • Box contains four compartments for simple storage and organization
  • Molecular tool included to quickly disassemble molecules and atom connectors

You can purchase on Amazon.com.

Self Disclosure: I received a free product in exchange for an unbiased review and this product exceeded my expectations.

Holiday gift ideas from Whole Foods Market for $5 or less Still available for the holidays!

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Need some last minute hostess gifts, treats for the office holiday party or your next seasonal soiree? Look no further. This weekend, Friday, December 18 – Sunday, December 20, Whole Foods Market stores in the Southern Pacific region (Southern CA, Southern Nevada and Arizona) offer sweet deals on favorite holiday treats.  The deals have been extended a few days so don’t miss out!!

Whole Foods Market™ Organic Truffles (8.8 ounces, $4.99*) — Chocolate imported from France, rich, creamy chocolate truffles are a decadent mélange of simple organic ingredients. Flavors include organic chocolate, cappuccino, caramel and hazelnut.

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Whole Foods Market™ Chocolate Little Bites, Milk or Dark chocolate(4.4 ounces, 2 for $6*) – Imported from Belgium, these individually wrapped, irresistibly velvety bites are elegant and satisfying. Made with premium cocoa butter and pure vanilla, they have a sweet consistency sure to please any milk chocolate lover.

 

365 Everyday Value® Holiday Popcorn – Every batch of popcorn is produced in small kettles for freshness, flavor and satisfying texture. Available in Chocolatey Drizzle Kettle Corn (6 ounces, 2/$4*) and Dark Chocolate Popcorn Crunch (10 ounces, 2/$7*).

 

365 Everyday Value® Candy Cane Pretzels Dark Chocolate Peppermint or Yogurt (4 ounces, 2/$5*)

Break out the hot cocoa! Everyone will want to dunk these candy-cane-crusted pretzels.

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Bonus: Easy DIY gift idea! Pour into popcorn or pretzels into cute decorative boxes or jars, add some dried cranberries for color and tie with a pretty ribbon for a thoughtful handmade gift.

 

Whole Foods Market™  Caramel Fleur De Sel (5.3 ounces, 2 for $6*) – Made with natural creamery butter and blended with a sprinkle of Fleur de Sel, an exquisite sea salt that hand-harvested in Guerande, France and adds a hint of mellow saltiness to the dense sweetness of the caramel. A real treat with after-dinner coffee.

 

 Whole Foods Market™ Traditional Panettone – Serve this traditional Italian sweetbread with coffee, use it in a recipe like Baked Panettone French Toast with Apples and Cranberries or bring it to a holiday dinner as a hostess gift. Available in original and Limoncello.

  • Panettone Limoncello 16 oz., $5.99*, Panettone Original 16 oz., 2/$10*, Panettone Original 3.5 oz., 2/$6*

 

Like all products in Whole Foods Market stores, the items featured here are free of artificial preservatives, colors, flavors, sweeteners, and hydrogenated fats.

Check out your local Whole Foods Market store for the holidays!

Self Disclosure: I received an egift card to facilitate this holiday post. 

 

PlayKids app is great for the Holidays! Giveaway Opportunity!

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Certainly, one of the most pressing questions for today’s parents is how much “screen time” to allow and the reality is that mobile devices are everywhere.

 

Over 75% of kids have access to a “smart” mobile device at home — causing an untold amount of parental worry about what constitutes the “right” amount of screentime.

 

There is no “right” amount of screen time, nor is the answer the same for every family.

 

With PlayKids, the hybrid of eBooks, audiobooks, episodes, educational games, nursery rhymes and lullabies, they believe screens should never become a replacer (or displacer) of those priceless moments spent climbing trees, throwing a ball, finger painting, or setting up a lemonade stand and they’ve teamed up with renowned professionals to:

  • Create a curriculum named ‘childhood rails’ – which is an innovative program focused on children who were born digital based on four main pillars:

    I am; I think; I create and express myself; and I interact.

 

This is a really fun and cool app! We have teamed up for a Holiday Giveaway!

Two winners will win a free 3-month coupon code for the holidays!

To enter, leave a comment below with a tip on how you limit screen time of let us know your favorite app! Deadline to enter is December 28th, 2015 at noon PST. Two winners will randomly be selected via Random.org.

Self Disclosure: No compensation was received to post.

 

Holiday Gift Suggestions! Books, CDs and Apps!

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Wax on Crafts Holiday Projects
By Miriam Joy

Create bright and cheerful designs for the holidays, using a box of crayons and a few simple tools! With step-by-step instructions and over 400 images, you can turn inexpensive and everyday items into family treasures. Start with the basics using simple shapes, free-hand designs, leaves, and flowers. Decorate tile magnets, ornaments, and other mediums. Find out how to use wax with paper, wood, glass, metals, boxes, eggs, and felt. Discover twice-melted wax and add color to your designs. Learn the methods to use color washes, base coating, and floating color to create a stunning, eye-catching project. From colorful Christmas ornaments, jewelry, and snowflakes to Easter eggs, necklaces, and pumpkins, Miriam Joy will show you how to add a little color to a basket sitting in the corner, make a wonderful Christmas heirloom out of an antique sled, and turn that old saw into a harvest piece to set above the fireplace.

 

ize: 8 1/2″ x 11″ | 410 color images | 96 pp

ISBN13: 9780764349553 | Binding: soft cover

Schiffer Publishing, Ltd. is a family-owned, independent publisher of high-quality, nonfiction books. Since 1974, Schiffer has published thousands of titles on the diverse subjects that fuel our readers’ passions. From our traditional subjects of antiques and collectibles, arts and crafts, and military history, Schiffer has expanded its catalog to publish books on contemporary art and artists; architecture and design; food and entertaining; the metaphysical, paranormal and folklore; and pop and fringe culture, as well as books for children.

 

Visit www.schifferbooks.com to explore our backlist of 5,000+ titles and learn about Schiffer’s exciting new releases. Whatever your passions are, Schiffer Publishing welcomes you to find your niche and scratch it with books from our catalog of specialized titles.

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The Official ScratchJr Book
New book from the creators of ScratchJr makes
programming fun for kids ages 5-7

It may seem hard to believe but even 5-year-olds can learn to program—even before they learn to read and write—and many want to. Fortunately, No Starch Press, publisher of the best-selling introductory programming books for kids, has teamed up with the creators of ScratchJr to release a new book designed to make that promise a reality—The Official ScratchJr Book (No Starch Press, $19.95, 160pp., Nov. 2015).

Scratch, the older sibling of ScratchJr, is the de facto standard for introducing kids to programming, with more than 8 million users registered on their website. Designed by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab, Scratch is a block-based programming language—kids connect blocks of code to program interactive stories, games, and animations. The process is fun and makes programming immediately accessible to any beginner.

But Scratch wasn’t designed for the youngest of kids, and that’s where ScratchJr comes in. The result of a partnership between MIT and Tufts University, ScratchJr is a simplified version of Scratch aimed at introducing computer science concepts to pre-readers. Released in July of last year, ScratchJr is available as a free mobile app for any Apple or Android tablet and already has 1 million users.

The Official ScratchJr Book extends the ScratchJr app with hands-on coding activities and patient step-by-step instructions that make it easy for anyone (even those with no programming experience) to teach young brainiacs to program. Each activity in the book includes core math and literacy concepts, tips for grown-ups, and suggestions for creative challenges to take the learning further.

I love how this book makes it so easy for kids to learn how to code! The tips for grown-ups is very helpful too!

The Official ScratchJr Book is now available online and in fine bookstores everywhere.

Tales For Your Monkey's Mind

Hey Little Monkey – Come Down From That Tree
Steve Reedy writes short stories that will take readers on a fascinating journey in new book

In the spirit of Shel Silverstein, Roald Dahl, and Dr. Seuss, new book “Tales For Your Monkey’s Mind” is one that will spark the imagination of readers old and young.

As an emerging author from Dallas, TX, Steve Reedy has spent over 20 years studying the human body and the psychology of the human mind. During these years he became fascinated with the side effects of our social structure, how it affects children, and continues to affect them as they grow into adults.

“I decided to write my observations in the form of a children’s book. I did this for two reasons. First, I believed that the information would be more interesting if written with witches, toy factories, and rhyme. Second, it would be more fun to write,” Reedy said.

“Tales For Your Monkey’s Mind” will take you on a whimsical journey through the puzzling world of humans with hypnotic prose and fairytale fantasies. Unusual and odd, its quirky style and vibrant illustrations wrap its underlying themes in tales of wonder.

“Though I wrote ‘Tales For Your Monkey’s Mind’ as a children’s book, its themes are universal. It is my hope that it will enliven the minds of its readers, and be used as a proactive and healthy discussion tool,” Reedy said.

Each of the six stories in “Tales For Your Monkey’s Mind” will lead its readers through different perspectives of life and return them changed from the journey. So leave the safety of your tree and set your inner child free. With all the wonders you will see, it’s worth the trip; you will agree.

For more information, visit monkeymindtales.com.

This is a fun read!

Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Balboa Press.

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A fun CD for younger kids!

Award-winning children’s entertainers and Colorado family favorites Jeff & Page are poised to take center stage on the national scene with their fifth kid-friendly exploration of science and nature, Mighty Wolf, set for release on November 20.

Winner of the prestigious Parents’ Choice® and Creative Child Magazine Awards, Jeff & Paige have perfected a playful performance style that combines the duo’s vivid storytelling and first-rate musical abilities to capture their love of the outdoors and respect for ecology.

Wrote one enthusiastic parent, “They are also wildly creative, funny, and goofy, with a wholesome goodness that brings kids, families, and communities together through their music and shows.”

Within the setting of a family hiking expedition, Mighty Wolf features songs that touch upon such topics as insect migration, Arctic adaptations, keystone species, ladybug ecology, spider anatomy, lightning safety, scavengers, nature appreciation, ungulates, and the Appalachian Trail, interspersed with colorful, informative narrative.

From Mighty Wolf’s title track, which doubles as an a cappella tribute to Jeff & Paige’s son Wolf and is structured like a Renaissance canzonetta, to “The Great Monarch Migration,” a graceful acoustic song about a butterfly’s life cycle, Mighty Wolf is fully committed to its message, yet consistently maintains top-notch musical standards.  Album highlights include a big vocal number with a great dance beat, “Black Widow,” which provides plenty of opportunities for kids to get dizzy by spinning in circles, “Triple Rainbow,” which just might become the latest and most ridiculous kids’ dance craze, “Grandma Gatewood,” an ode to the first woman ever to hike the Appalachian Trail, and “Dead and Delicious,” a real showstopper about roadkill, sung by a hungry raven!  Listeners will note influences ranging from Primus, Ween, and Pink Floyd to The Beatles and Boards of Canada.

The husband-and-wife team of Jeff & Paige met in graduate school at the Audubon Expedition Institute, where both were studying Environmental Education.  After receiving their Master of Science degrees, Jeff Kagan and Paige Doughty decided to make the stage their science classroom and music-loving families their students.  Based in Boulder, Colorado, they’ve released four albums and played well over 600 eco-friendly shows since hitting the boards with their first performance in 2007.

Previous Jeff & Paige albums include Get Outdoors (2013), 21st Century Energy Superheroes (2011), Songs from the Trail (2009), and Rocky Mountain Tunes for Rocky Mountain Kids (2007).

Visit Jeff & Paige’s website HERE.

 

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Once you open the pages of this book, we are certain you will be reaching out to touch the images that nearly jump off of the pages. Open the gates of the Wonder Garden to explore five of Earth’s most extraordinary habitats, each filled with incredible creatures and epic scenery. Trek through the Amazon Rainforest, travel to the Chihuahuan Desert, dive in the Great Barrier Reef, delve deep into the Black Forest and stand on the roof of the world – the Himalayan Mountains – to see nature at its wildest. Breathtaking, engraved illustrations bring to life Earth’s spectacular Wonder Garden.

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This oversized format is perfectly kid-sized in its ability to inspire a sense of adventure in little world explorers. The full page illustrations include the types of details that make kids want to make pretend passports and pack their bags for an imaginary trip on a plane. Tip: kitchen chairs are great for setting up pretend airplane seating and Atlas of Adventures is fantastic airplane reading material.

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Animals have always been a source of excitment for kids. Their names are fun to say (“elephant!” “hippopotamus!”), their sounds are fun to imitate (“roar!” “ribbit!”), and they come in all shapes and sizes. Creaturepedia is setup perfectly for a daily bedtime story and learning adventure all in one. Meet ‘the architects’, the ‘noisy neighbors’, the ‘homebodies’, the ‘forever faithfuls’, the ‘champions of forgetfulness’ and more in this alphabetically ordered encyclopedia.

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Casey’s Bright Red Christmas
Written by Holly Dufek, Illustrated by Paul E. Nunn | Octane Press | Ages 4-8 | 32 pages | Hardcover | $14.99
It’s Christmas time at Happy Skies Farm! Tillus the worm, Big Red, Sammy and the rest of the team are excited to celebrate the season. But Casey the farmer is busy working: feeding animals, repairing fences and planning for the year ahead. With so much to do, Casey wonders if she’ll have time to prepare for the holidays. That’s when Tillus and the team unite to make this Christmas extra special for their busy friend.

Published by Octane Press, known for their award-winning tractor books, “Casey & Friends” uses photos of CASE IH equipment in real farming situations with cartoon characters to explain how modern farm equipment works in a factual and fun way. Author Holly Dufek, a seasoned educator and national curriculum writer, joins Paul Nunn, Licensed Artist for Disney and Lucas Film, to help kids make the connection with the farm equipment they see in the countryside and the food on their table.

More about “Casey & Friends” books at www.prbythebook.com/holly-dufe

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Country Store takes children on epic and fun-filled adventure

 

Tim Noah, who has received 9 Emmy awards for his work as a composer and producer, has written, illustrated and produced a new, children’s story, song, and picture book titled Country Store.

 

This delightfully told story is a musical frolic in nature – a whimsical adventure that shares the joy of friendship, the thrill of real and imagined adventures and a deep appreciation for the natural world.

 

Singing a happy refrain, a boy with a nickel and his faithful dog set off for the Country Store. They are soon joined by two more pals and a simple trek turns into an epic adventure.

 

Through twists, turns and hair-raising surprises, the boy reaches his final destination. Surrounded by his friends, he discovers it was all about the journey.

Goin’ to the Country Store

Written by and Illustrated by Tim Noah

 

List $12.95

64 pages Paperback  8 1/2″ X 11″ full color, is available on Amazon

Link to download song in the book

Also available in Kindle in E-book format (Book and Audio Track)

A book/CD combination can be ordered through the web site: www.timnoah.com

Publisher: CreateSpace September 15, 2015

ISBN-10: 1517305357  ISBN-13: 978-1517305352

 

Music MP3 of Tim Noah playing Country Store  http://timnoah.com/private/CountryStore.mp3

 

For more information visit www.TimNoah.com

And the one to keep a look out for in 2016!

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Ben Rudnick and Friends
A Frog Named Sam: A Musical for Children (Soundtrack)
Bartlett Ave. Records
22 January 2016

The award-winning music of Ben Rudnick and Friends, pioneers of the kindie music scene, has delighted families for more than fifteen years.  Now Ben Rudnick and Friends’ most requested song, the beloved “A Frog Named Sam,” leaps onto the stage with the January 22 release of the band’s eleventh album, A Frog Named Sam: A Musical for Children (Soundtrack).

The song “A Frog Named Sam” has stood the test of time since 2009, and it’s easy to see why.  It captures a pond full of frog essence, and its musical sophistication and tongue-in-cheek humor, amphibian and otherwise, are completely irrepressible.

A Frog Named Sam: A Musical for Children includes other favoriteBen Rudnick and Friends songs (“Race Car,” “I Got a New Friend”), introduces new, sure-to-be-classic tunes (“The Adventure Song,” “When Something’s Got You Terribly Blue”), and features a reimagined, more fun than ever disco version of “Macaroni and Cheese.”  A bonus track, “Coney Island Crazy,” showcases Ben Rudnick and Friends saluting a classic American vintage amusement park with some classic American rock ‘n’ roll.

All of these Ben Rudnick and Friends songs are drawn from A Frog Named Sam: A Musical for Children, which spins a yarn of adventure while exploring the joys of achieving sustainability, both in friendships and in the natural environment.  Sam is a frog, of the rock star variety, who has just returned from an exhausting round-the-world tour.  The play begins with Sam coming home to his pond, feeling tired and grumpy.  Anticipating a nice rest, Sam is distraught to find the pond in disrepair, overgrown, and practically waterless.

As if that weren’t enough, an alien, Tripp, crash lands into the pond, making Sam even grumpier.  Tripp, however, turns out to be a blessing in disguise and offers to take Sam on a galactic peregrination with the purpose of learning how to repair the damaged pond.  With songs that celebrate Sam and Tripp’s new friendship, the musical describes their interstellar efforts to save the pond.

Winners of seven Parents’ Choice® Awards and affectionately nicknamed “the Grateful Dead for kids,” Ben Rudnick and Friendscreate a jam band dynamic that takes their concerts and recordings to a stratospheric level.  The band’s instantly identifiable brand of adventurous musicianship soars spectacularly across a spectrum of bluegrass, western swing, disco, reggae, country, folk, and the many flavors of rock.  According to Dave Loftin (The Saturday Morning Cereal Bowl), “[Rudnick] and the band are so musically gifted that they almost create their own style of music.”  Kids’ music authority Stefan Shepherd (Zooglobble) enthused, “The band just sounds GOOD.”

Since 2000, Ben Rudnick and Friends have been joyfully laying down the soundtrack of families having fun together.  The band’s previous albums include Love is a Superpower (2012), Live in Lexington: Under the Copper Beech (2011), It’s Santa Claus! (2010), A Frog Named Sam(2009), The Challenger Baseball Song and Other Hits (2007), Grace’s Bell (2007), Live at The Playground: WERS 88.9 FM Boston (2005),Blast Off! (2004), Fun and Games (2002), and Emily Songs (2000).

A Frog Named Sam: A Musical for Children (Soundtrack) will be available at benrudnick.com, amazon.com, cdbaby.com, bandcamp, and iTunes.
Self Disclosure: I received free copies of the above to facilitate this post.