Archives for 2018

THE KID’S AWESOME ACTIVITY BOOK: Games! Puzzles! Mazes! And More!

The Kid’s Awesome Activity Book is a parent’s best friend, guaranteed to entertain your backseat travelers during those endless summer road trips. Readers can create their own comic strips, write a hit song for the hedgehog hoedown, decode pirate word scrambles, and help a little leprechaun find his pot of gold. All they need is a pencil and their imagination!

I really recommend this one for Summer reading fun! This one is a great book to have in the house when you hear those words…”I’m bored…..”

Brimming with bats, hungry unicorns, alien dance parties, monster finger puppets, and SO much more, THE KID’S AWESOME ACTIVITY BOOK: GAMES! PUZZLES! MAZES! AND MORE! (June 12, 2018; Workman; $14.95; By Mike Lowery) is perfect fuel for endless hours of creativity on and off the page. Created by Mike Lowery, the mastermind behind the wildly successful KID’S AWESOME ACTIVITY CALENDAR and DOODLE ADVENTURES® series, THE KID’S AWESOME ACTIVITY BOOK is the boredom-buster guaranteed to infuse those endless summer road trips with imaginative landscapes filled with monster hair salons, circus acts, enchanted forests, and more. With just a pencil and their imagination, readers can decode pirate word scrambles, create their own comic strips, write a hit song for the hedgehog hoedown, and help a little leprechaun find his pot of gold. With more than 400 stickers drawn in Lowery’s iconic style and a pullout poster just waiting to be colored, THE KID’S AWESOME ACTIVITY BOOK offers takeaway items that burgeoning artists can use to decorate their space outside the confines of the book. Featuring nearly 100 wacky prompts, games, and crafts, there’s only one cardinal rule that young artists have to follow: Have fun!

About the Author:

Mike Lowery is the creator of The Kid’s Awesome Activity Calendar and the Doodle Adventures® series. His latest book, Random Illustrated Facts, collects weird bits of news and knowledge. Mike draws in his sketchbooks and posts on Instagram daily at @mikelowerystudio. He lives with his wife and children in Atlanta, Georgia.

THE KID’S AWESOME ACTIVITY BOOK By Mike Lowery $14.95 | June 12, 2018 | 122 pages | Ages 8-12| ISBN 9780761187189

Self Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book to feature. I only feature books that I highly recommend! Images were also provided. 

Emerson, June 21st Pet of the Week

We wish we could have even a fraction of Emerson’s attitude! Despite a gimpy hind leg, this adorable 5-year-old Maltese mix loves life! The lame leg could be a result of an injury, and it needs to be either reset or amputated. Our shelter vet said that she’d reset his leg if someone would step up to foster him for a while or, better yet, adopt him. Wouldn’t you love an outcome like that! Meet Emerson on the shelter side of the Companion Animal Village at 7700 East Spring St., (562) 570-PETS. Ask for ID#A607649.

(The usual suspects contributed to this rescue)

Credit: Courtesy of the Companion Animal Village.

Independence Day Celebration with The Confounding Brothers Saturday June 30th 10:00 am-4:00 pm

“The Confounding Brothers”-John Adams (Peter Small), Thomas Jefferson (Robert Watsonl) and Benjamin Franklin (P.D. Soinski) will be guest appearing @The International Printing Museum’s  “Independence Day Celebration” Sat. June 30th in Carson, CA.

Kick off your July 4th festivities with Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson & John Adams aka “The Confounding Brothers.” Enjoy a fun fact-filled play on how these ingenious men created our country. In addition to the play, guests will enjoy all day activities like printing patriotic keepsakes, including their own Declaration of Independence on an authentic Colonial printing press, and tours of the Museums’ world-class collection of working antique printing machinery.
A delightful lunch of Freedom Dogs, All-American Apple Pie & Patriotic Punch is included with your admission as you dine in Madame Brillon’s French Garden de Liberte’ and serenaded by the18th Century musicians “The Colonial Roses”!
Admission $15/person  $50/ Group of 4
Reservations Highly Recommended (limited seating)
11:00 am, 1:00 pm & 3:00 pm
“The Confounding Brothers: A Meetin’ Of The Minds”” Performances 
 (Play is suitable for 4th grade & up)
The International Printing Museum
315 W. Torrance Blvd.
Carson, CA 90745 for tickets & information
New this Year at the Independence Day Celebration!
For Book Lovers and History Buffs we will be presenting Merle Bobzien’s Antiquarian Collection of Books and Documents. On display will be: Franklin’s Biography, Madison’s 1806 State of the Union Address, Franklin’s Experiments and Observations, 18th Century Almanacks, Washington’s Farewell Address, Early McGuffey Readers and other treasured pieces of Americana.
Credit: The International Printing Museum. Images were also provided.


Dana Point Harbor’s July 4th Fireworks Extravaganza

July 4th Fireworks Extravaganza

Experience south Orange County’s best aerial fireworks display during the July 4th Fireworks Extravaganza at Dana Point Harbor. Display begins at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, July 4 and will light up the harbor with fantastic views from Baby Beach, the Island, and the many waterfront eateries within the harbor. Visitors can listen to the City of Dana Point’s specially curated Spotify playlist and enjoy patriotic music accompanying the display.

Free shuttles will be available 10 a.m. – 11:30 p.m.; shuttle services will suspend from 9 p.m. until the end of display.

Dana Point Trolley will drop off and pick up at stops #5 and #6 on July 4th in the Harbor from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and the Harbor shuttle will pick up and drop off at the restaurants and retail area, Baby Beach, the Island, and Ocean Institute from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Streets within Dana Point Harbor will have restricted left hand turn lanes and cars will be detoured to go right only (Dana Point Harbor Drive, Puerto Place & Island Way). Cove Road will be closed during the fireworks and re-opened after the fireworks.

Celebrate summertime holidays at Dana Point Harbor and experience the ultimate seaside adventure all summer long. For more information visit

Credit: Dana Point Harbor.


The month-long Mainly Mozart Festival concludes for a final week of performances. The 30th Annual Mainly Mozart Festival, led by Music Director Michael Francis, continues its six-year exploration of Mozart’s life with Year Three – Brave New World: From Rebel to Entrepreneur. In his early 20s, and longer Europe’s “golden child”, financial need forced Mozart to become a musical entrepreneur, dedicating himself to the business of music. Some of Mozart’s greatest works of this period will be featured in Festival programming, along with boundary-breaking works by other composers.
FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA SERIES: Thursday, June 21 – 7:30 p.m. / 6:30 p.m. Overture presentation, free to ticket holders / Tickets $15-$88
THE BALBOA THEATRE 868 Fourth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
Michael Francis, conductor; James Ehnes, violin; James Ollarsaba, baritone
Sibelius                                  Suite for Violin & Strings, Op. 117
Prokofiev                             Violin Concerto NO. 2 in G minor, Op. 63
Mozart                                  Thamos, King of Egypt, Incidental Music, K. 345
Sibleius’s gem begins the concert deep in nature. Sibelius evokes spring and summer in this brief reverie for strings and violin.
Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2, debuted Madrid, Spain, December, 1, 1935, and is one of his most conventional pieces of music. Prokofiev wrote it while touring Europe yet this violin concerto is full of melodies indicative of Russian folk tunes.
Mozart composed the incidental music to Thamos, King of Egyptbetween 1773 and 1780. It’s Kochel number is K345/336a. The play premiered in 1774 but it appears as if only two of the choruses were completed at that time. The plot of the play is somewhat intriguing but the conclusion is laughable. We can only theorize about the status of this music had the play been moderately successful. This performance represents the West Coast Premiere of Thamos.
SPOTLIGHT CHAMBER MUSIC SERIES: Friday, June 22 – 7:30 p.m. / 6:30 p.m. Wine Reception / Post-concert Talk-Back with artists / Tickets $58
AUDITORIUM AT TSRI 10620 John J. Hopkins Dr. San Diego, CA 92121
Members of the Mainly Mozart Festival Orchestra:
Juliana Athayde, violin; Jun Iwasaki, violin; Mark Holloway, viola; Rainer Eudeikis, cello; JuFang Liu, bass; Boris Allakverdyan, clarinet; Whitney Crockett, bassoon; Andrew Bain, Horn.
Schubert Octet in F Major, D. 803
This is the largest of Schubert’s chamber music compositions. The instrumentation follows that of Beethoven’s Septet with the exception of an extra violin. The piece runs about 50 minutes.
CONCLUSION OF THE JOAN AND IRWIN JACOBS FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA SERIES: Saturday, June 23 – 7:30 p.m. / 6:30 p.m. Overture presentation, free to ticket holders / Tickets $15-$88
THE BALBOA THEATRE 868 Fourth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
Michael Francis, conductor; Dejan Lazić, piano
Mozart                                Symphony No. 32 in G Major, K. 318
Haydn                                 Piano Concerto in D Major, Hob. XVIII: 11
Mozart arr. Lazić                ENCORE: Rondo Concertante, WORLD PREMIERE
Mendelssohn                      Symphony No. 3 in A minor, Op. 56, Scottish
SPOTLIGHT CHAMBER MUSIC SERIES: Sunday, June 24 – 2:30 p.m. / Tickets $28
SCHULMAN AUDITORIUM, Carlsbad Dove Library
James Ehnes, violin; Orion Weiss, piano
Beethoven                          Violin Sonata No. 1 in D Major, Opus 12
Poulenc                               Sonata for Violin & Piano
Beethoven                          Violin Sonata in E flat Major, Op. 18
SPOTLIGHT CHAMBER MUSIC SERIES: Sunday, June 24 – 6:00 p.m. / 5:00 p.m. Wine Reception / Tickets $78
RANCHO SANTA FE GARDEN CLUB, 17025 Avenida de Acacias, Rancho Santa Fe, 92067
James Ehnes, violin; Orion Weiss, piano
Beethoven                          Violin Sonata No. 1 in D Major, Opus 12
Poulenc                               Sonata for Violin & Piano
Beethoven                          Violin Sonata in E flat Major, Op. 18
Our Mission: Invigorating the cultural life of the San Diego/Tijuana community by connecting to the truth and beauty of Mozart via world-class music-making.
Credit: Mainly Mozart.
Funding for Mainly Mozart is provided in part by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture; the County of San Diego; the National Endowment for the Arts; and contributions from local individuals, corporations, and foundations.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? – The Best Documentary I’ve Ever Seen! I Still Hear Its Catchy Theme Song In My Head.

Filmmaker Morgan Neville examines the life and legacy of Fred Rogers, the beloved host of the popular children’s TV show “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Dariana A. comments, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor? is the best documentary I’ve ever seen! I still hear its catchy theme song in my head.” See her full review below.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

By Dariana A., KIDS FIRST Film Critics, age 12

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? is the best documentary I’ve ever seen! I still hear its catchy theme song in my head. I usually don’t like documentaries because they are very slow paced. But this one has jokes throughout that makes it so much more interesting to watch. I not only learned a lot about Fred Rogers’ life and career, but also about how television shows were made and produced back in the 1960s.

This documentary is about Mr. Rogers and his television show for young children “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” Produced by  Academy Award-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville, we learn about Mr. Rogers’ ideas on how important it is to talk to children about every aspect of life and how television can be used as a positive influence. During his show, Mr. Rogers sings songs about specific topics so that kids, as young as pre-school age, can understand the topic of the day.

The film shows scenes from the actual show as well as behind the scenes. I really enjoyed the interviews with the crew from the show. Those parts made me belly laugh. The film brings back the original lessons of the show and re-promotes them. For adults, this film might make them remember watching the show as a child and they might find some episodes to share with their own kids. For children, this film might spark an interest in the show and make them want to watch it, just like I did. The film gives everybody something. One thing I love about the film is that it really goes in depth about Mr. Rogers’ sunny disposition and how he truly was like that in real life, even through all his struggles. It shows us that there are still kind people in the world. My favorite scene is when Mr. Rogers goes to Congress to try to get the funding to save PBS. That scene shows who Mr. Rogers really is, his personality and love for children. By the time he finishes his speech, I was tearing up and could hear the audience sniffing.

The message of this film is to love yourself as you are, just like Mr. Rogers says in his song. I recommend this film for ages 12 to 18 because it talks about topics such as divorce and war, in a serious way, which is not appropriate for very young children. I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars because of its amazing message and all the cool inside facts about Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. This film opens nationwide June 8, 2018 so check it out. Reviewed by Dariana A., KIDS FIRST Film Critic. For more reviews by youth, visit kidsfirst dot org.



Free Splash and Bubbles events coming up

John Tartaglia, creator of the hit PBS Kids TV show “Splash and Bubbles” will appear at two FREE Barnes and Noble events this summer. Perhaps you can share the good news with your readers soon? I am attaching a photo of the new album and a pic of John at a recent event. (Photos Courtesy of the Jim Henson Company).

June 23rd 11:00am-12: 30 pm – Barnes & Noble at The Grove. With an appearance, performance, and signing by John Tartaglia!

July 14th – 11:15am-12: 15 pm – Barnes & Noble Burbank Town Center and

Credit: Sugar Mountain PR.

Music & Arts Presents Family-Friendly Open House and Free Lesson Event June 22 – June 24, 2018

 Music & Arts invites you to a summer Lessons Open House weekend event at
locations nationwide, with a free guitar offer for new lessons students, an open mic
night, and lesson studio tours.
         Celebrating its 66th anniversary this year, Music & Arts is one of the nation’s largest
school music retailers and musical instrument lessons providers. They carry a wide
assortment of top name musical instruments, and most locations offer expert repairs and
university-trained, background checked lesson instructors, offering both private
and group lessons. The chain now has more than 500 retail and affiliate locations, 140
educational representatives, and teaches over 1.5 million lessons per year. 
WHEN:         Lesson Studio tours, instructor meet n’ greet – all weekend
Open Mic night – Friday, June 22 from 6-8pm
Free guitar lessons – Saturday, June 23 at 11am and 1pm
Press tours – all weekend
WHERE:       Music & Arts Locations across the U.S. that have lessons programs

CONTACT:   Online RSVP is encouraged to ensure proper guest accommodations:
For general information about Music & Arts: