LTD fancies himself many things and one of those things is a mad scientist. He couldn’t wait to don his white lab coat and goggles to play Dr. Beaker. BB couldn’t wait to knock everything over and annoy LTD after being told he had to play on my team. To play the game you must imagine yourself in the laboratory of Dr. Beaker (Not to be confused with 70’s Saturday morning TV icon Dr. Shinker). You take a challenge card and it becomes a race against time as LTD and I pretend we are making toxic gas. Using the stirring rod you have to shift and arrange the molecules into the design depicted on the challenge card. However, the beaker is made in such a way to only allow one molecule to be moved a time. While the game play is pretty quick it can be a little challenging especially if you have inpatient children playing. I try to stress the art of planning ahead since the game requires strategy instead of speed.
LTD has always had a hard time with accents. Upon learning that Arnold Schwarzenegger using his real Austrian accent says, Get to the Chopper (in Predator which he has NOT seen) LTD repeats the line in what can best be described as a Jamaican accent. So it was time for a trial by fire. We recently played Utter Nonsense: Family Edition. The game features 50 accent cards and over 400 phrase cards. First you pick one player to be the accent judge. Then, as you can imagine, you pick cards and then have to say one of your phrases in the required accent. Of course some make sense and work with the accent but most do not. Here is where it gets a little tricky, the accent judge has to pick the person who did the funniest accent. Once chosen they win the round. This party game also has a naughty edition so make sure you play the family one lest you get a call from the school the next day. BB has to play on my team since all his accents sound the same. Also when we play at home we really don’t keep score since the judging is difficult with so few people. The good news is that now LTD is slightly better at his Arnold accent, slightly.
With Summer reading upon us and LTD looking for source material so he can fill out his online library form. As long time Beyond the Car Seat readers know all to well LTD digs robots. In that regard, R. McGeddon series Disaster Diaries features a tale devoted to the subject. As a side note, I feel like a pen name is being used by the author. The tale focuses on friends Sam, Emmie and Arty and the creation of a science fair robot. A subject that LTD is always thinking about with me always explaining we would need serious help to make that dream come true. The robot, Charles turns out not to be so good at his chore helping (the reason he was created) but instead malfunctions. With the series highlighting the word disaster it is not surprise that the robot tries to destroy the whole town. One thing leads to another and soon enough a whole robot army is in play. I won’t spoil the ending but I think you can guess it doesn’t become a dystopian cautionary tale. The book also features a few illustrations to help BB keep up as I felt it was important for him to also use this survival guide.
Never one ignore a book with a dad related central theme, BB has been enjoying Chana Stiefel new book, Daddy Depot with illustrations by Andy Snair. The tale focuses on Lizze who despite loving her dad feels he has a few negative qualities that warrant at least a search for a new and improved model. When it comes to her attention that the new store, Daddy Depot may offer the perfect answer she investigates. BB is particular found of the book because one of Lizzie’s complaints is that her father tells the same lame dad jokes over and over something BB has accused me of. Of course while the dad’s for sale at the store seemed cool there was always an issue. Rocker Dad had bodyguards keeping loved ones at arms length etc. As usual, I won’t spoil the ending but I’m guessing you can figure out which dad Lizzie ends up with (can you even imagine how dark the book would be if she didn’t). As we read the book right before bed and he is sleepy, thankfully, BB has never asked if he can go to the store to get my replacement.
Sadly or not depending on how you look at it, both my boys have recently discovered the joys of potty humor. I guess maybe separately they always enjoyed it, but now they wind each other up. Bigmouth has a line of mugs that the kids have been digging. Yes, the mugs are huge and bigger than their heads, but that, I can only assume, is why they are enjoying them so much. The product line also includes mugs that hold cookies or donuts but the boys aren’t ready for that yet (or to be more specific, the Mommy won’t allow). The Ninja mug is of particular interest to BB while the shark bite version is a hit with LTD. All of this doesn’t change the fact that both kids spill constantly when drinking from any mug ever.
A perfect storm occurred over the new book, Beauty and the Beak. LTD just finished watching A Dolphin Tale, BB received a bald eagle stuffed animal as a prize, we recently saw Beauty and the Beast in the theatre and we saw the Makers Guild 3-D print different objects at the library. What am I talking about? Deborah Lee Rose and Jane Veltkamp’s book tells the story of Beauty, a bald eagle that lost most of her beak to a bullet. Found starving, she was nursed back to health, but could not eat or drink on her own. As usual I won’t spoil the ending, but thanks to the kindest of a group of dedicated people Beauty became bionic. Okay, not quite, but she did receive a plastic, 3D printed beak to allow her to truly soar. In addition to the tale, the story also features an update on how Beauty is doing now and cool facts about Bald Eagles including ways to help them. BB went nuts to see the mission patch for Apollo 11.
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For the most part the age difference between the boys isn’t such a big deal but when it comes to bed time stories there are not a lot they can agree on. Jason Chin’s book about the Grand Canyon (Grand Canyon) has something that appeals to all age levels. The tale features big colorful splash pages depicting all manor of wildlife but the story telling structure is geared to a slightly advanced reader. Using a time traveling theme the book shows what the massive canyon looked liked all throughout the last few millions of years. Told via a surrogate hiker character we journey up the layers learning geology and biology. The Grand Canyon is one of those places that everyone says you have to experience because you can’t process the massive scale unless you are standing there. Mr. Chin has created the next best thing to an actual visit especially since the end features a fold out four page spread of the whole canyon (I can only assume the real thing is only slightly more impressive).
LTD is always up for a good project, but I am not always up for spending a lot of time being his slave. However, both boys are like most humans alive on the planet big Star Wars fans and so projects marrying those worlds are welcome. The Star Wars Builders series of books offers a choice to build some models and avoid the glue. These paper models come in sheets that you punch out and slot the pieces together. The boys have been digging the Droids but there are also Star Fighters and the Millennium Falcon. Additionally, the sets come with an accompanying book offering details and facts about R2 and X- Wings. I will caution that you either need The Mommy or a lot of patience as some of the pieces, especially the ones that need to be bent, can be challenging to assemble. You also need to supervise the pieces as they are taken off the sheet, since the slots will tear if not treated with respect.
Thanks to The Mommy’s artistic and creative talents the boys are always up for a good craft project. And I am up for anything that doesn’t involve glue or my sons using the tape dispenser. Since the Spring weather has been unseasonable chilly we have been experiencing screen overload while they are stuck inside. One project that LTD has been doing really well is Marvel Universe Felt. The kit comes with 10 cool characters, the felt sheets, needle, floss and stuffing. BB has been waiting not so patiently for the Hulk and Iron Man to be finished. He hasn’t quite masted the fine motor skills needed for the needle work but LTD isn’t half bad. Thankfully, The Mommy is supervising or I’m sure we only have mutant version of these popular heroes with some being wicked fat with stuffing while others would be pancake flat. So far the family favorite is Captain America as he seems the most cheerful.