Archives for December 12, 2020

Books of the week!

Creative Haven Christmas Cats Coloring Book is a must-buy if you love Cats! Have yourself a meowy Christmas with 31 purrfectly playful holiday illustrations. From felines frolicking on a stack of gifts and riding a toboggan to kittens cuddling a teddy bear friend and decorating cookies, it’s a book filled with festive images for everyone who loves this very special season — and cats! Pages are perforated and printed on one side only for easy removal and display. Specially designed for experienced colorists, Christmas Cats and other Creative Haven® adult coloring books offer an escape to a world of inspiration and artistic fulfillment. Each title is also an effective and fun-filled way to relax and reduce stress.
 Price: $5.99
ISBN: 9780486841281

Making Christmas Bright with Papercrafts: More Than 40 Festive Projects!

I love all the projects in this holiday book!

Christmas is an ideal time to get in the spirit of the season by creating festive decorations and gifts with a personal touch. This delightful collection of 43 unique papercraft projects will get everyone in a festive mood with its decorative suggestions for the home and the holiday table, Christmas tree ornaments, handmade gifts, and much more.
The book abounds in photos, templates, and easy-to-follow instructions for everything from a beautiful origami wreath to cut-out snowflakes, place-setting accessories, gift-wrapping accents, and an Advent candle holder. Each project is accompanied by helpful tips as well as a list of materials and measurements. The splendid variety of options make this the perfect guide and resource for papercrafters at every level of experience. 
Price: $16.95
ISBN: 9780486842400

A lively, interactive bedtime story that is sure to delight children and their parents. Join in a party with the knights next door, bake a cake with the castle cooks in the kitchen, sing a silly birthday song, but whatever you do…


This one is really a fun bedtime book and can be found on

Self Disclosure: I received free copies of the above books to facilitate this post. Images and information was also provided.

Team Marco * Family-Friendly Comedy That Will Bring You Joy And Inspire You To Seize The Day

Marco, 12, is obsessed with his iPad and hardly leaves the house. But when his grandmother dies and his grandfather moves in, Marco’s life is turned upside-down and he’s forced…to go play outside. “Nonno” (Grandpa) introduces him to bocce ball and to the neighborhood crew of old Italian men who play daily at the local court. With sport, laughter and love, Marco finds connection to other people and rounds up a team of neighborhood kids to take on Marco’s grandfather and his pals. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Katherine S. comments, “Team Marco is a wonderful, heartwarming and sweet movie. This family-friendly fun comedy will have you laughing, bring you joy and inspire you to seize each day.” See her full review below.

Team Marco
By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Team Marco is a wonderful, heartwarming and sweet movie. This family-friendly fun comedy will have you laughing, bring you joy and inspire you to seize each day.  

This movie is about a boy named Marco (Owen Vaccaro) who is insanely addicted to video games. When his grandmother dies and his house nearly burns down, his grandpa, Nonno (Anthony Patellis), moves in. Nonno is extremely bothered with his grandson’s obsession with video games. Nonno will not stand for this and takes measures into his own hands. He decides to take away all of Marco’s electronics and forces him to play outside. Nonno teaches Marco his favorite sport – bocce ball. Can Marco and his team of friends beat Nonno and his gang of neighborhood Italian bocce ballers in a bocce ball tournament?

This movie was written, directed and produced by Julio Vincent Gambuto, and it is his first feature film. This story is inspired by a real-life experience. About four years ago, when Julio was visiting his nieces and nephews, he noticed that his nephew, Marco, didn’t even greet him when he arrived at their house because his head was buried in his electronics. This sparked the idea for his movie. The film takes place in Julio’s beloved hometown, Staten Island, NY. It was filmed on location, which was very important to Julio. He loves his hometown community and was passionate about it being filmed on Staten Island.

My favorite characters are Nonno and Marco. I really like the performances of Anthony Patellis because of his dry sense of humor and his love of family, which shines through. He is very entertaining while playing the cranky grandpa battling technology. Owen Vaccaro convincingly plays the “pre-teen techie” Marco. I can relate to his love of electronics and his struggles trying to balance Nonno’s desire for conversation, friendship and connecting through Nonno’s favorite sport, bocce ball. My favorite part of the movie is when Nonno is trying to figure out the Google Assistant.

The main message of the movie is to be present when around your family. This film shows technology is not always bad, and in fact connects us. It also reminds everyone that, while technology will be around forever, your family will not be. Cherish the time you have with your family.  

I give Team Marco 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 14, plus adults. Team Marco will be released on most streaming platforms on November 20, 2020. Look for it. 

Godmothered * A Fun Look At The World Of Step Motherers!

A young and unskilled fairy godmother ventures out on her own to prove her worth by tracking down a young girl whose request for help was ignored. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Lindalee R. comments, “If you haven’t heard by now, there’s a new Disney film that’s sure to become a favorite holiday classic—it’s the magical movie called Godmothered. This filmis a fun look at the world of Fairy Stepmothers yet also a sad realization that not enough people nowadays believe in magic or that magical things can happen if you wish for them with all your heart.” See her full review below.

By Lindalee R., KIDS First! Film Critic, Age 12

Like nearly all Disney movies, Godmothered has that look and feel of something magical on and off-screen. From the sets decorated for the holidays, the snow on the ground, to the big Christmas parade, visually, this movie keeps you in the holiday mood the whole time. Eleanor’s Fairy-Godmother dress will remind you of those worn in past Disney movies, and the holiday music mixed with wand-waving special effects all add to the fun. You can tell from the on-camera performances of the actors that not only were they having a lot of fun making this movie, but when the cameras stopped, it feels like the fun continued as well. I love how Eleanor keeps as cheery and sugary sweet as you a storybook fantasy character might and it was fun to see her react to people, places, things, and events in the “real world” that she was not accustomed to experiencing in her own world. 

The message of this film is to never give up. That believing you can achieve your goals and staying determined to make them a reality is the one true way to make them happen. In Godmothered, Eleanor realizes her original plans weren’t going to happen as she anticipated, but she found a way to work around them and still create a “happily ever after” in the end.

I give Godmothered 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. It’s hilarious, heartwarming and a magical holiday film for all ages. Godmothered premieres exclusively on Disney+ on December 4, 2020. Don’t miss it. 

More Christmas Gift Suggestions! Kids will love these games!

If you have a child that loves Minecraft, they will love the Minecraft Magnetic Travel Puzzle from Thinkfun. This one is perfect for ages 8+. It includes:

  • 9 Magnetic Minecraft Items
  • Instruction Manual
  • Challenge Booklet containing 40 Beginner to Expert Challenges & Solutions

It can be found on

If you have a child who loves Dogs, this one is sure to be a hit! Dog Crimes is a great logic game for children 8+. It’s currently a bestseller on

This next one is for kids a little older. I recommend it for ages 13+. Escape the Room: The Cursed Dollhouse is a fun mystery type of game that would also be great for more than one player. The Objective: Build and explore a mysterious three-dimensional dollhouse complete with 3D furniture, solving puzzles in search of a way to escape. Five rooms, each containing objects to investigate and multiple puzzles to solve, will keep players engaged through two hours of play. It is also available on

Looking for a Twisty Brainteaser for children 8 and older? Moon Spinner is sure to be a hit! I like that this one really is quite unique and a lot of fun! Find it on

All of the above games are by ThinkFun.

Self Disclosure: I received the above games to facilitate this holiday feature. Images were also provided.