Posted in Media

Attention! Dorktales Storytime Tour!

I’ve been a podcast fan for a while, but I normally listen to grownup stuff (I KNOW, right?) like spooky stuff (Lore), history stuff (Noble Blood), and other library land stuff (The Librarian is In). But Becky Flansburg of Multicultural Book Day got in my inbox a few weeks ago and told me I had to give Dorktales Storytime a listen, and I fell in love! It’s hilarious, it’s smart, and it’s just great for kids and adults alike to listen to and enjoy together.

Here’s the full scoop:

Dorktales Storytime Podcast is not only a breath of fresh air, but it is also a super-fun way to keep young learners engaged, entertained, and learning during challenging times.

Dorktales Storytime Podcast

Jonathan Cormur is the host (and storyteller) of this fun podcast for kids that features:

1) Dorktales–geeky retellings of classic fairy tales with pop culture easter eggs in every story.

2) Hidden Heroes of History–real stories about people you probably never learned about in school but who have changed history in ways we could have never imagined.

Think Fractured Fairy Tales meets Big Bang Theory and the History Detectives!

In Dorktales Storytime Podcast, Jonathan is joined by his plucky puppet sidekick, Mr. Reginald T. Hedgehog (or “Mr. Redge,” if you prefer) to tell goofier versions of tales that have delighted kids for generations. The shows are suitable for preschool and early elementary school ages and are an excellent way to keep kids engaged and learning while having loads of giggles and entertainment.

Dorktales Storytime PODCAST is AVAILABLE ON:

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/3kSUJZQ

Overcast: https://bit.ly/dorktales-overcast

Amazon Music: https://bit.ly/dorktales-amazon-music

Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3iNgKHA

Stitcher: https://bit.ly/Dorktales-stitcher

Google Podcasts: https://bit.ly/dorktales-google

Find more on Podcast website: https://jonincharacter.com/dorktales/

You may recognize Jonathan from his work with his mom, Jodi, from Geek Club Books and Zoom Autism Magazine. His new podcast for kids, Dorktales Storytime Podcast, showcases his career as a successful voice actor who also happens to be on the spectrum.

Jonathan Cormur

Here’s How You Can Support Dorktales Storytime Podcast

I am exceptionally proud of Jonathan because he is a young man who has not let being on the spectrum define him…or hold him back!

Help us help Jonathan excel even more in his flourishing career path as a voice actor and storyteller. Here’s how YOU can support him!

SUBSCRIBE AND REVIEW IN APPLE PODCASTS

1. Mr. Redge thinks it would be “utterly absurd” if you miss even one episode. So, CLICK on over to Apple Podcasts and subscribe today.

2. Listen to several (or all!) of the Dorktales Storytime Podcast episodes and leave a review! Reviews are like applause to a voice actor!

3. Share this link with another family who might be looking for fun and educational ways to share fairy tales and teach about some of the unsung Hidden Heroes in History.

4. Connect with Jonathan on social media!

CURRENT EPISODES:

Dorktales Storytime Podcast EP1: What are Dorktales?

Jonathan Cormur introduces himself as the host and storyteller of the Dorktales Storytime Podcast and answers the question you may be pondering, “What ARE Dorktales?”

Episode webpage: https://jonincharacter.com/dorktales-podcast-introduction/

Dorktales Storytime Podcast EP2: Three Little Hogs?!
By Karen Simpson Gardiner

Dorktales Storytime Podcast

The Three Little…HOGS? Who’s heard of that? According to Mr. Redge, our Dorktales sidekick, it’s a classic tale from the fairy tale cannon! Come hear our storyteller recount the story of hedgehogs Porky, Percy, and Peregrin, and their ultimate triumph over the dastardly wolf using a glue pot, rapier, and a wheelbarrow. According to Percy, “It’s epic, man!”

Episode webpage: https://jonincharacter.com/dorktales-three-little-hogs/

Dorktales Storytime Podcast EP3: Little Red
By Karen Simpson Gardiner

Dorktales Storytime Podcast

La, la, la, la-la! Have you heard the tale of Little Red Riding Hood? You know, the one about the sweet, innocent little girl in the beautiful red cloak who outfoxes the big bad wolf? Well forget that one and think ninja granny with a stealthy rescue plan and fierce tranquilizer dart skills.

Episode webpage: https://jonincharacter.com/dorktales-little-red/

Dorktales Storytime Podcast EP4: RumpleTaleSpin
By Amy Thompson

Dorktales Storytime Podcast

“Rump, who?” asks Mr. Redge as Jonathan spins the tall tale of Daphne, the Miller’s daughter, who must spin thread into gold for a greedy king. It’s an epic yarn involving a magical lawn gnome, a clever guessing game, and a Wizard of Oz ending!

Episode webpage: https://jonincharacter.com/dorktales-rumpletalespin/

Dorktales Storytime Podcast EP5: Mary Golda Ross
Hidden Heroes of History
By Molly Murphy

Mary Golda Ross

The true tale of a woman who reached for the stars! Mary Golda Ross was one of the first women to rise in the ranks of engineering and one of the first Native Americans in the field. Her work in the early days of spaceflight was very important and is still to this day.

Episode webpage: https://jonincharacter.com/mary-golda-ross/

Dorktales Storytime Podcast EP6: The Prickly Duckling
By Amy Thompson

Dorktales Storytime Podcast

After the quacks and croaks of laughter from his siblings and bullying bullfrog, the poor little duckling waddles off through the marshes to find someone who will accept and love him. What about the gaggle of goslings? Or the brood of chicks? “No one understands me! I’ll never fit in,” he cries until he bumps into the best version of himself.

Episode webpage: https://jonincharacter.com/prickly-duckling/

Dorktales Storytime Podcast EP7: The Emperor’s New Quills
By Amy Thompson

Dorktales Storytime Podcast

Is the fancy fabric for the emperor’s new clothes really invisible to those who are not worthy? Or is this a case of double-dealing dupery by two wily weavers? As the emperor struts his stylish self through the streets of his kingdom, it will take one forthright boy to blurt out the naked truth.

Episode webpage https://jonincharacter.com/the-emperors-new-quills/

Dorktales Storytime Podcast EP8: Louis Armstrong
Hidden Heroes of History
By Molly Murphy

A tale of Mississippi riverboats, parasol parades, and breaking racial barriers! A man that built a music legacy and a legacy beyond music—Louis Armstrong transformed jazz music and became the beloved “Ambassador Satch” who performed all over the world! So much of his life was about a deep passion for music and using it to bring people together.

Episode Webpage: https://jonincharacter.com/louis-armstrong/

Coming Soon!

  • Dorktales Storytime Podcast EP9: The Boy Who Cried Hedgewolf
  • Dorktales Storytime Podcast EP10: Ready, Set, Slow!
  • Dorktales Storytime Podcast EP11: Tenzing Norgay Hidden Heroes of History

Dorktales Storytime Podcast

Be sure and CLICK on over to Apple Podcasts and subscribe today.

Now, go be the hero of your own story and we’ll see you next once-upon-a-time!

Posted in Early Reader, Fiction, Media, picture books, Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads, TV Shows

Nick Jr’s Rainbow Rangers come to bookshelves

Since my kids have gotten bigger, I find myself woefully out of the loop on what’s popular on Nick Jr. these days. Apparently, Wallykazam is not a thing anymore? Thank goodness for Paw Patrol, or I’d really feel out of touch. Anyway. I was invited to check out the new line of books from Nick Jr’s newest show, Rainbow Rangers, so I did my research and consulted my 4-year-old niece, who assured me that this was a good show, because they girls are all rainbow colors and there is a unicorn. This, if you don’t realize it, is pretty big praise, so I dove in.

The Rainbow Rangers are “Earth’s first responders”. Basically, they’re the Avengers meets Captain Planet, and wow, I’ve just aged myself in one sentence. They live in Kaleidoscopia, a magical land on the other side of the rainbow, and there are six of them, each representing a different color of the rainbow: Rosie Redd; Mandarin Orange; Anna Banana; Pepper Mintz; Bonnie Blueberry; Indy Allfruit, and Lavender LaViolette all have different superpowers that they use to work together and keep Earth’s natural resources safe. Their leader, Kalia, sends them out on missions, and their pet unicorn, Floof, is there to help out. ImprintReads, from publisher Macmillan, has a Rainbow Rangers book for every reader in their new line of releases.

Rainbow Rangers: Rockin’ Rainbow Colors, by Summer Greene,
(Sept. 2019, Imprint/Macmillan), $9.99, ISBN: 9781250190345
Ages 3-6

This tabbed, oversized board book introduces each Rainbow Ranger, their talent, and also works with color recognition. Each of the Rainbow Rangers is named for a color in the spectrum, after all. It’s chunky, will hold up to multiple reads and exploring little hands, and the artwork is full of bright colors and large-eyed, expressive superheroines. Way too cute, preschoolers and toddlers will love this book.

 

Rainbow Rangers: The Quest for the Confetti Crystal, by Summer Greene/Illustrated by Joshua Heinsz and Maxime Lebrun,
(Sept. 2019, Imprint/Macmillan), $17.99, ISBN: 9781250190338
Ages 3-6

This picture book is great for preschoolers and early elementary school readers, and it’s an original Rainbow Rangers story. The Rainbow Rangers have plans to celebrate Bonnie Blueberry’s 100th mission with a party, and unicorn Floof is put in charge of protecting their Confetti Crystal for the celebration, while the Rangers head off on their mission. Floof tries to contribute to the party planning using the crystal, but the crystal rolls away, and Floof is off on his own mission to retrieve it. The artwork is adorable; the characters from the show are instantly recognizable, and for those of us who aren’t quite familiar with the Rainbow Rangers, it’s a fun fantasy adventure starring a unicorn, magic, and adventure.

 

Rainbow Rangers: Meet the Team, by Summer Greene,
(Sept. 2019, Imprint/Macmillan), $4.99, ISBN: 9781250190314
Ages 3-7

The team’s origin story comes together in Easy Reader format in Meet the Team, which introduces the characters and their powers, using a little more vocabulary than the Rockin’ Rainbow Colors board book. The story also emphasizes the importance of teamwork and respecting one another, even if you don’t always agree. Sentences are longer, with a little more meat to the information; emerging readers will love sitting down with this one and digging right in.

 

Rainbow Rangers: To the Rescue!, by Summer Greene,
(Sept. 2019, Imprint/Macmillan), $4.99, ISBN: 9781250190253
Ages 3-7

To the Rescue! is the 8×8 media tie-in, recreating the first Rainbow Rangers adventure: rescuing a polar bear cub when a melting ice floe separates him from his mother. The girls fly into action, discovering how to work together and addressing climate change on an age-appropriate level: “When temperatures get hotter, ice shelves break apart”. There’s a punch-out, wearable Kaleidocom that kids can wear just like the character Rosie Redd (librarians: keep this one in your desk until you can make copies or hold a giveaway). Fonts are bright and bold, with some words getting rainbow bubble font treatment for extra emphasis.

There’s a little something for everyone here, and kids will gobble this series up. The Rainbow Rangers website also has video clips, profiles on each character, and free, downloadable activity and coloring sheets. Have them on hand!

Posted in Media, picture books

A Crazy-Much Love video, read by the girls who inspired the story

Almost two weeks ago, I was thrilled to bring you a writeup about A Crazy-Much Love, a love story about international adoption, by Joy Jordan-Lake and illustrated by Sonia Sánchez. If you thought the book was pure love and joy wrapped in pages and a cover, wait until you see this video, read by the girls who inspired this book. Here’s the backstory:

Fifteen years ago, nine separate families each flew to China to adopt a baby. A bond was formed among them that transcends culture and distance. Today, those nine girls—their parents and siblings—are extended family to one another. A Crazy-Much Love by author Joy Jordan Lake, illustrated by Sonia Sanchez, is a celebration of their love. Here, the girls read from their shared story.

I can’t wait to let these girls read this story at my next storytime.

Posted in Media

Broadway HD, Puffs, and Playlists

A couple of my friends and I went to see the off-Broadway Harry Potter/Hufflepuffs tribute, Puffs, a couple of years ago and it is hilarious. I mentioned it the other day, saying we should really try to see it again, only to be told that the show has closed in NYC. ARGH.

That said, I just found out that there’s a Broadway show subscription service: BroadwayHD is a thing! BroadwayHD is a for-pay streaming service for live theatre, and from what I’ve seen so far, there are some really great shows on here. Including Puffs, The Sound of Music, The Wind in the Willows, and Peter Pan. In fact, there’s a back-to-school, family-friendly playlist available. Here’s a rundown of some of the performances.

  • Wind in the Willows – Join Ratty, Badger, Mole and the impulsive Toad as they embark on a series of riotous adventures spiraling from Toad’s insatiable need for speed!  Featuring eye-poppingly beautiful design, exuberant choreography and a gloriously British score, The Wind in the Willows recently brought comedy, heart and thrills to the world-famous London Palladium for a strictly limited summer season.

 

  • The Sound of Music – In this exciting production of the universally beloved musical which made its broadcast debut in the UK on ITV, the enchanting Kara Tointon (Mr Selfridge, EastEnders) delivers a “mesmerizing performance and incredible vocal talents” (Daily Mail) as Maria, an apprentice nun who is tasked with caring for the children of a retired naval officer (Julian Ovenden, Downton Abbey).  With Maria’s love for music and unwavering confidence, she brings a new zest for life back into the household.  The performance is supported by Katherine Kelly (Mr Selfridge, Coronation Street) as Baroness Elsa Schraeder and Alexander Armstrong (The Armstrong and Miller Show, Danger Mouse) as Max Detweiler, and also features two songs not in the original movie but part of the stage show since 1959, “How Can Love Survive,” and “No Way to Stop It.”  THE SOUND OF MUSIC LIVE also features showtune favorites like “The Sound of Music,” “Edelweiss,” “Sixteen Going on Seventeen,” “My Favorite Things” and many others.
  • The Woodsman – Based on the beloved writings of L. Frank Baum, The Woodsman, an imaginative retelling of the origins of Oz’s Tin Woodsman, is the story of the Tin Man, the woman he loved, and the witch that would stop at nothing to keep them apart. Through spectacular life-size puppetry and original music, the ensemble of Strangemen & Co. presents an inventive take on one of America’s original fairy tales.
  • Railway Children – The Railway Children tells the story of Bobbie, Peter and Phyllis, three children whose lives change dramatically when their father is mysteriously taken away. They move from London to a cottage in rural Yorkshire with their mother, where they befriend the local railway porter, Perks, and embark on a magical journey of discovery, friendship and adventure. But the mystery remains – where is Father, and is he ever coming back?
  • Puffs – For seven years a certain boy wizard went to a certain Wizard School and conquered evil. This, however, is not his story. This is the story of the Puffs… who just happened to be there too. A tale for anyone who has never been destined to save the world.  The New York Times proclaims PUFFS, “A FAST-PACED ROMP through the ‘Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic.’
  • Prince and the Pauper – From BBC and based on the Mark Twain classic, Prince and the Pauper is a classic trope. The show captures a classic trope of two individuals switching places. You’ll feel the chill in the castle air and smell the foetid London streets in this richly atmospheric tale of Tudor England. Mark Twain’s story of mistaken identities stars Keith Michell, who re-creates the role that made him famous (King Henry in the classic BBC series The Six Wives of Henry VIII). Street urchin Tom Canty could be Prince Edward’s identical twin brother. When they get mixed up, no-one will believe their stories.
  • Peter Pan – A smash hit when it debuted in 1991, this production of Peter Pan starring Cathy Rigby toured the globe and continues to be beloved by theater goers.  The show was filmed in 2000 and features spectacular flying sequences as well as the tunes that everyone loves such as “I’m Flying” and “I Won’t Grow Up.”
  • Hetty Feather – A BroadwayHD original production debuting for the first time exclusively on BroadwayHD. From the best-selling author Jacqueline Wilson, the tale of plucky Hetty Feather is brought thrillingly to life on stage by award-winning scriptwriter Emma Reeves (CBBC’s The Story of Tracy Beaker) and by Olivier Award-nominated director Sally Cookson, whose many five star productions include Peter Pan, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, and Stick Man.  With an original musical score by Benji Bower, circus skills and a huge heart, Hetty Feather is a terrific adventure story! Starring BAFTA-nominated actress Phoebe Thomas in the title role, this production of Hetty Feather was filmed from the 2015 Olivier nominated production on the West End in London.
  • Cirque du Soleil: Toruk – The First Flight – Toruk – The First Flight is a live immersive multimedia spectacle that brings to the stage the breathtaking world of James Cameron’s Avatar like you have never seen it before. Through a riveting fusion of cutting edge visuals, puppetry and stagecraft buoyed by a soaring cinematic score, Cirque du Soleil applies its unique signature style to James Cameron’s imaginary world and “makes the bond” between two kindred artistic visions that capture the imagination. It is a living ode to the Na’vi’s symbiotic coexistence with nature and their belief in the basic interconnectedness of all living things. Narrated by a “Na’vi Storyteller” and populated by unforgettable characters, Toruk – The First Flight is a mythical tale set thousands of years before the events depicted in the film Avatar, and before any humans ever set foot on Pandora.

BroadwayHD introduces award-winning theater from all across the globe with both classic and modern productions. It’s a great way to introduce your family to  live theater.   In addition to the shows highlighted above, fans can expect to see the full works of Shakespeare, awe-inspiring performances from Cirque du Soleil and a selection of the world’s greatest musical including Kinky Boots,  42nd Street, The King and I, Sound of Music, An American in Paris, and Peter Pan.  All performances are adapted specifically for streaming audiences to maximize the entertainment experience.   To learn more, visit www.broadwayhd.com. There’s a 7-day free trial available; afterwards, it’s $8.99 a month, or $99.99 a year.

 

 

Posted in Media

Halloween Playlists from YouTube Kids!

It’s Halloween season! Who’s going to a party over the next week? Need a playlist or two? YouTube has put a bunch of adorable kiddie playlists together – just get your phone, laptop, or tablet fired up and let the kids dance! These playlists are up from now through November 1st.

Get Ready For Halloween With Nickelodeon!

Are you ready for Halloween? Create your spookiest Halloween costume with the Merrell Twins, make Halloween slime with JoJo, trick-or-treat taste test with some of your favorite stars on Nickelodeon, and so much more! Introduced by Nickelodeon star Jace Norman.  Check out the exciting playlist on the YouTube Kids App by clicking here, or if you are not viewing it on a phone or tablet, click here! This is a great playlist for your school-age kids: prank challenges, mystery slime challenges, and gross Halloween treats are just a few of the videos in store!

 

Giggle and Hoot: Halloween Favorites on Youtube Kids! The Big Boo!

Jimmy Giggle and Hoot have put together a bootastic playlist of their Halloween favorites for the YouTube Kids App!  Get a peek at what they are up to by clicking here, or, if you are not viewing from a phone or tablet, you can watch here.  This playlist is great fun for your toddlers, pre-K, and Kindergarten kiddos, with videos from Giggle and Hoot, Sesame Street, Peppa Pig, The Wiggles, Octonauts, and more!

 

Art for Kids Hub’s October Month of Making

Art for Kids Hub has compiled a super fun playlist of art projects especially for Halloween featuring painting, origami, drawing, and paper cutouts! You can check it out on the YouTube Kids App here, or, if you are not viewing from a phone or tablet, you can watch here.  This is a great video for a Halloween art time program or party, with crafts for kids ages 4 and up: draw a cute candy corn or bat, DIY your own trick-or-treat bag, or make a paper plate witch with the Art for Kids gang!

 

Oddbods Halloween Special

My first grader discovered The Oddbods a couple of months ago and loves it. This exclusive series, created specifically for YouTube Kids viewers, features the characters young viewers know and love from the hit animated series. The show stars seven furry, colorful friends who live in the small town of Oddsville and like to get into all sorts of mischief.  Check out what they have up their sleeves for Halloween on YouTube Kids here, or, if you are not viewing on a phone or tablet, you can check it out here.  Let the kids watch this while they make Halloween crafts and enjoy some snacks!

 

Zombie Hotel Halloween Special

Pass the Fawlty Towers, turn right after the Addams Family’s house, and you’ll find the ZOMBIE HOTEL! Wide-eyed twins Fungus and Maggot will welcome you, along with their Mom and Dad Zombies, Rictus and Funerella, and a team of wacky employees who never run short of oddities.  But don’t worry, the twins and their human school pal Sam will come to the rescue whenever you’re served pig’s eye soup for lunch or if your room is next to a couple of loud vampires.  A different kind of resort, where there’s never a dull day! This is a Halloween special created especially for YouTube Kids. Check it out on YouTube Kids here, or if you are not viewing from a  phone or tablet you can view it here.  This is a new one for me, so I’ll be tuning in with my kiddo this weekend.

 

Happy Halloween viewing!

 

The YouTube Kids app is the first Google product built from the ground up with kids in mind. The app makes it easier for children to find videos on topics they want to explore and is available for free on Google Play and the App store. YouTube Kids continues to put parents in the driver’s seat with additional parental controls that allow parents to choose what is right for their family.

 

Posted in Fiction, Horror, Media, Middle Grade, Non-Fiction, Realistic Fiction, TV Shows, Tween Reads, Uncategorized

Part Lois Lane, Part Nancy Drew… Introducing Cici!

Cici’s Journal: The Adventures of a Writer in Training, by Joris Chamblain/Illustrated by Aurelie Neyret, Translated by Carol Burrell, (Nov. 2017, :01FirstSecond), $16.99, ISBN: 9781626722484

Recommended for readers 8-12

Cici’s dream is to become a novelist. She journals her thoughts and ideas, and constantly people watches, much to the chagrin of her mother and friends. Cici doesn’t see it as being nosy; she figures that you need to understand what’s inside of people in order to write about them. But when she starts digging further into people’s lives and expecting her friends to lie to her mother to cover up her “investigations”, they let her know that they’ve had enough. Can Cici learn to be a good friend and an attentive writer?

Originally published in France under the French title Les carnets de Cerise (2012), this is Cici’s first English translation and includes two stories. In the first story (title), Cici discovers an older man walking through the forest every Sunday, covered in paint and lugging cans of paint back and forth. In Hector’s Journal, she tries to get to the bottom of a mystery involving an older woman who takes the same library book out every week. Both times, Cici goes after her subject with gusto, but is often insensitive to her friends and mother. It isn’t until her mentor, a local author, steps in to have a heart to heart with Cici that she finally understands that she’s been using people, and starts taking others into consideration. Kids will recognize themselves and their friends in Cici, especially as she goes through the frustration of disagreeing with Mom and falling out with friends.

The graphic novel is a mix of graphic storytelling and journaling, with doodles, scrapbook pieces, comments, and notes throughout the book. The art is realistic with a soft touch, and Cici has a very fun and eclectic style that will appeal to middle graders. She complains about her friends throughout the book, and with seeming good reason: one girl is in a perpetually bad mood, and Cici herself can be exasperating (mind you, I say this as a 46 year -old mother of three, not a tween). In short, kids will identify with or see their friends in these characters, and dive into Cici’s adventures – and maybe start journaling on their own.

In my neverending quest to create programs that I can booktalk with, Cici’s Journal is a nice fit with a writer’s program I want to test out. Put this one with your Dork Diaries, Amelia’s Notebooks, Wimpy Kid books, My Dumb Diaries, Kate the Great, Origami Yodas, and Popularity Papers.

Posted in gaming, geek, geek culture, Guide, Humor, Intermediate, Middle Grade, Tween Reads, Video Games

Yogscast: The Book!

yogscastYogscast: The Diggy Diggy Book, by The Yogscast, (Feb. 2016, Scholastic), $8.99, ISBN: 9780545956635

Recommended for ages 8-13

Yogscast is an insanely popular YouTube channel by gamers, for gamers. They have skits, animations, videos, songs – it’s like SNL on crack for gamers, and it’s pretty kid-friendly (otherwise, Scholastic wouldn’t be putting this book out). If you have Warcraft and/or Minecrafters in your household, library, or classroom, you’ve likely heard of Yogscast, or the kids in your life have.

My gamer boy was a faithful Yogscast fan when he was 7 or 8; I’d see him curled up with his iPad and headset in, cackling and snorting, and wondering what in the world he was listening to. So I asked him, and he told me, and then he showed me.

Yogscast is HUGE. The channel has over 4 BILLION views. If they were a movie, they’d be Deadpool PLUS Avengers, and that is just something that warps my fragile little mind. When I saw that they had a book out, I knew I’d need to check this out.

The Diggy Diggy Book is for people who know this channel and know it well. You will meet the creators and explore different areas. There are tons of in-jokes, a tour of YogTowers, a the tourist’s guide to Datlof, and the chance to become a JaffaQuest cadet. I was pretty clueless reading this book, because it is such an inclusive community (yes, I know calling a community of millions and billions inclusive is hilarious), but if you’re a fan, you’ll love the book. Carry it in your library at your own risk, though – there are workbook-type pages in here and they’ll most likely get written on. This book will do gangbusters at the Scholastic Book Fairs, bet on it.

 

Posted in Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Science Fiction, Video Games, Young Adult/New Adult

Minecraft Novels at New York Comic Con!

I just got the greatest press release in my inbox – there are Minecraft novels for tweens! Not only that, but Skyhorse Publishing, who publishes the books by GAMEKNIGHT999, aka Mark Cheverton’s, has a whole roster of authors that will be at Skyhorse’s booth 2129, signing all weekend at New York Comic Con, all from Skyhorse’s sci fi/fantasy/horror imprint, Night Shade Books.

That’s not enough? How about FREE BOOKS? How about entering a raffle to be selected s the inspiration for a new character in Mark Cheverton’s next Minecraft novel? Drawings will be at 3:00PM on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

More? Okay, there’s also going to be a LEGO diorama of Comic Con itself, created by Jeff Friesen, author of United States of LEGO. And on Sunday – KIDS’ DAY! – Skyhorse will host a LEGO play center for kids.

Here’s the schedule. Plan accordingly!

Thursday, 3:00 PM and Friday, 11:30 AM

Meet Mike Martinez

Buy The Daedalus Incident for $10 and receive a FREE copy of The Enceladus Crisis

*****

Friday, 3:30 PM

Meet Ellen Datlow!

Buy Best Horror of the Year, Vol. 6 for $10 and receive a FREE copy of Vol. 5!

Winner of Six Hugo Awards ● Ten World Fantasy Awards ● Three Bram Stoker Awards ● Eight Locus Awards ● Two International Horror Guild Awards ● Two Shirley Jackson Awards ● The Karl Edward Wagner Special Award

*****

Friday, 5:00 PM

Meet Laird Barron!

Buy The Beautiful Thing the Awaits Us All for $10 and receive a FREE copy of Occultation or The Croning

Three Time Winner of the Shirley Jackson Award ● Winner of the Bram Stoker Award ● Nominated for Three World Fantasy Awards ● Nominated for Seven International Horror Guild Awards ● Nominated for 14 Locus Awards

*****

Saturday, 2:00 PM and 5:00 PM AND Sunday, 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM

Meet Mark Cheverton!

Bestselling Author of the GAMEKNIGHT999 Minecraft Series

Mark Will be Signing Invasion of the OverworldBattle for the Nether, and Confronting the Dragon

Kids Take Home One Free Book! (only one copy per day allowed)

I’ll be reviewing Invasion of the Overworld very soon, so watch this space!

Posted in Animal Fiction, Media, Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

In Which I Explore an An Animated Book: Hondro & Fabian

Hondo & Fabian. Written and Illustrated by Peter McCarty. 6 minutes. DVD. Weston Woods. 2006. $ 59.95 ISBN 0-439-84909-8

Suggested for ages 3-6

When I saw the animated books at my local library, I have to admit I wasn’t sure what to expect. Was I just going to be staring at a static series of pictures with a voiceover laid over the whole business? I decided to give it a shot with Peter McCarty’s Caldecott Honored-story, Hondo & Fabian. I am very happy to say I was delighted by what I watched.

hondo & fabian

Hondo & Fabian is the 2003 Caldecott Award-winning story of Hondo & Fabian, a dog and cat who live in the same household and have very different experiences one day, when one goes to the beach and one stays home with the family baby. Who has the better day?

Weston Woods produced this animated version of the book for schools and libraries, and author Peter McCarty’s soft, grey pencil on watercolor paper illustrations come to life as narrator Jeff Brooks tells the tale of the two friends who spend their day in two different ways. The illustrations are animated, allowing viewers to see Hondo’s ears blowing in the breeze as he hangs out a window, and Fabian putting his claws to work, shredding toilet paper. The story is brief, and Joel Goodman and David Bramfitt’s music adds to the beauty of the artwork, bringing with it a relaxing feeling as the story’s events unfold. Readers will enjoy viewing this story about pet friends; the option to use English subtitles will allow for new readers to read along with the narration. A study guide comes with the DVD that provides pre- and post-viewing activity ideas that can be incorporated into a storytime session, such as a discussion about pets and which animals are pets versus which are not.

This would be an interesting addition to a pet-related storytime. The DVD could break up the routine of a traditional read-aloud and attract renewed attention from attendees. The Perry Public Library’s Parade of Pets storytime theme has pet-related songs and fingerplays, and having a sing-along to an animal song-related CD, like Raffi’s Animal Songs, would make for an interactive and fun time.

The Hondo & Fabian animated book has received numerous accolades, including designation as an ALA Notable Video; Honorable Mention from the Columbus International Film & Video Festival; and was an Official Selection at the Kids First Film Festival.

The Hondo & Fabian series of books by Peter McCarty also includes Fabian Escapes.

Posted in Media, TV Shows

Media Review: Jake and the Neverland Pirates (Episodes: The Golden Egg/Huddle Up) (Walt Disney Studios, 2011)

Directed by Kelly Ward. Disney Junior, 22 minutes. Walt Disney Studios. 2011

Recommended for ages 2-5

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Jake and the Neverland Pirates is Disney Junior’s answer to Dora the Explorer. Jake (voiced by Colin Ford) and his friends, Izzy (voiced by Madison Pettis) and Cubby (voiced by Jonathan Morgan Heit), are a multicultural group of children playing pirate games along with their parrot friend, Skully (voiced by David Arquette). Disney favorites Captain Hook and his mate, Smee, always seem to find a way to show up and meddle in their fun. Each 11-minute episode involves a quest of some sort, and Jake and his friends interact with the viewer by asking them to help out and solve problems and cheer them on. Each episode’s close rewards the team – and the viewer – for their teamwork by providing them with “pirate doubloons” that goes in the group treasure chest, which the viewers help Jake count. In The Golden Egg, Jake and his friends find a gold-colored egg, and set off to find who it belongs to. Captain Hook (voiced by longtime Captain Hook voice actor Corey Burton) and Smee (voiced by Jeff Bennett) are hot on the team’s trail, thinking the egg is an actual gold egg. Huddle Up finds Jake, Izzy and Cubby playing a game of “pirate football” until Captain Hook steals the ball, believing it has special powers. Jake and his friends set off on a quest to get the ball back from Hook.

 

The series is highly interactive, and children familiar with Dora will enjoy the familiarity. Like Dora, each episode resembles a video game, with tasks to complete; the team collects gold doubloons that float in the air to put in their treasure chest at the end of each episode. Members of the pirate rock band, Captain Bogg and Salty, end each episode with a pirate song.

 

Captain Hook and Smee are similar to Dora’s Swiper, the wily fox who tries to swipe Dora’s objects. Jake and his friends go on quests and provide the viewers with prompts to help them along; there are musical interludes throughout each episode, and a celebration at the end. It’s a good introduction to mainstay Disney characters – Peter Pan has appeared in at least one episode – for younger viewers, and Captain Hook and Smee are goofy here, less threatening than they are in the movie Peter Pan. Each episode emphasizes the importance of teamwork. With the Disney name on the cartoon, caregivers know the production values will be high. The animation is computer-generated, with bright colors and fluent action to keep viewers’ attention. The main characters have expressive, happy faces while the antagonists have exaggerated features that make them less menacing, more caricature-like.

 

Each episode runs roughly 11 minutes, which makes this a good addition to a pirate story time or a teamwork story time. The show is a pleasant way to keep children entertained while reinforcing lessons on preschool basics and teamwork, and the musical ending provides an opportunity to get the kids up and dancing. Learning a pirate jig would be a fun way to conclude a library program showing a Jake and the Neverland Pirates episode. The Jake and the Neverland Pirates section of the Disney website offers free printables that attendees can color and take home, and the Oriental Trading catalog and website has a wealth of pirate supplies that can be bought in bulk for relatively low cost, including fun pirate eye patches to hand out.