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Media Review – Toopy and Binoo

unnamedNow that LTD’s face is glued to any screen he can get his hands on the concept of three network and Love Boat reruns are foreign to him. For instance, a Canadian TV hit is now something he can actually watch here on Youtube. Toopy and Binoo is an animated show featuring Toopy, the mouse and best friend Binoo, a cat. It‘s no Tom & Jerry, that’s right only in friendly Canada could these to opposites be friends. The show is about 5 minutes long but a marathon would take over 8 hours as there are 100 episodes online. The preschool set can enjoy LTD’s favorite episode Worm Circus (can you guess why?), but all the episodes deal with positive issues like comradeship, proper manners, creative thinking, all with a dose of humor.

Disclosure: I received Toopy and Binoo products in exchange for a post about the show. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Media Review – Play Town App

screen568x568Lately, at bedtime, I have started to tell LTD made up stories if he requests one instead of a book. However, at 6am if he wants a story he can do it himself. The PlayTown: My Story Maker App is designed to let little ones create and narrate original stories using a tablet or phone plus their imagination. The app is free and comes with three play sets included. If you wish to buy additional sets they are $1.99 each. Once you pick your play set, which include space, travel and sports, you build your own adventure. Next, you choose props, stages, and wardrobe. The playable cast features monsters and princesses among others. One cool feature allows you to upload your own picture or drawing. You then narrate the story, but the app doesn’t use AI so it can’t shorten the rambling nonlinear nature of young storytelling by adding a beginning, middle and end. Finally, you choose the music; set the sequence and playback your story. LTD still needs a little adult assistance to use the app, so my plan to sleep in still needs more work. playtown_img_features_create

Media Review – Donkey Kong Country

625828620966_usa_donkeykong_flat_{7ce9718c-bac3-e211-838a-d4ae527c3b65}If you want to take a youngster down memory lane it is fun to show them what life was like back in the good old days. Now on DVD you can find Donkey Kong Country. First introduced in 1981, Donkey Kong is a prime example of what pop culture was all about during the golden age of video games. Donkey Kong Country features four episodes from the 1996 series. When your little one questions the classic look CGI you can explain to them that life was different back then and go on to explain there was a time before the phrase CGI existed. The episodes also feature DK’s best friend Diddy Kong as the gang tries to stop King K. Rool and his Kremlins. As always I don’t want to give away the ending but trust me when I say it involves the Crystal Coconut.

Media Review – Dear Mr. Watterson

Just a little sad that the boys won’t grow up reading Calvin & Hobbes the way I did in real time, but psyched they can read the complete collections of Mr. Watterson’s masterpiece about childhood and the power of imagination. Here.

The Lego Movie

hr_The_LEGO_Movie_2I just saw this trailer and had to show LTD. Now on the one hand The Lego Movie is a child’s imagination come to life in the way the best comic book movies do. However, it is really just a very long commercial for Lego. The trailer is awesome and very fun and LTD said he wanted to see it and keep in mind that he has only ever seen The Mommy’s movies in the theater meaning he only goes once a year. Praise from Cesar. I would be happy to take him especially since he will be five. In terms of justifying the commercial nature of the film, I guess we already have a ton of Legos and I fully understand the business side of show business so why not. Also I love Legos and since I have banned Thomas and Dora from the house, I’ll throw the kid a bone.

Media Review – Donald in Mathmagic Land

A few weeks ago the family went to the The Discovery Museum and Planetarium in Bridgeport, CT as they were having a free visitors day to launch a weather balloon. Of course thanks to a certain boy’s nap we arrived at the museum in time to miss everything. However, I turned tragedy into triumph when I found a small theater. They were showing the 1959 classic Donald in Mathmagic Land. This 27- minute masterpiece features cranky Donald Duck as he learns about geometry and other mathematical practices. I loved the short film when I saw it in school and was psyched to watch it, the little guy cared not. I will chaulk it up to his three year old attention span and take solace in the fact that when he sees it when he is more sit stilly he will love it as well. Click here.

I Heard it on the “Pandora” Radio

A while ago I featured the iphone in a media review and talked mostly about how it has made my life easier. Well since that review LTD has only broken it once and only been iphone banned for life once. However, he indirectly benefits from one of the iphone’s greatest apps. I give you Pandora Internet Radio. While Pandora has basically an infinitely selection of musical tastes the channel that I use almost exclusively is Lullabye Radio. The station plays contemporary lullabies for today’s hip parent, in other words it is Raffi free. Pandora does play ads but I must say they are infrequent and a small price to pay to not have to pay a price.

I first discovered Pandora while on vacation with the little guy who thought the purpose of the vacation was to see if he could go 36 hours without sleeping. I searched Pandora and found the Lullaby channel and was soon enjoying some sweet mellow tunes. At the end of the day I’m not sure just how much the lullabies helped LTD sleep but I will say this, once those tunes started I was out like a light.

Media Review – Really Rosie

album-really-rosieMy quest to have LTD relive my childhood continues as we have been listening to perhaps the greatest children’s album of all time, Really Rosie as of late. This 1975 masterpiece not only features lyrics by rosie.headerchildren’s author and legend Maurice Sendak, but Carole King wrote the music and performs the songs as well. The album is based on books from Sendak’s The Nutshell Library. We are talking about Chicken Soup with Rice and One Was Johnny. I can’t stress enough that even though the album pre-dates Raffi and Barney, it stands the test of time and makes those “artists” pretenders to the throne. For my money, Pierre is the best track on Really Rosie. You can’t dance to it the way you can to the other songs, but the message runs deep. Pierre doesn’t care about anything and it gets him into mucho trouble. The lyrics still hold true to me today every time I ask someone where they want to eat dinner and they say they don’t care. It’s like they never listened to the song growing up and for that I feel less anger towards them and more sadness instead.

Media Review – iPhone

Like the apple ad featuring Justin Long and John Hodgman, The Mommy and I represent mac and PC with her taking the role of “mac guy” and I the PC. It’s not like we are zealots or slaves to the brands, it’s just that she prefers apple for the usual reasons and I only prefer PCs for their price. This is a long introduction to get to my point, which is, I now have an iPhone and I’m digging it. When my cell phone contract was finally up after two long years, I was finally able to join The Mommy at AT&T to enjoy the family plan. We went into the store to the sounds of me singing a chorus of ‘I’m not getting an iPhone.’ My reasons were basically that I didn’t need anything that fancy and I hate talking on bricks, I need something that feels like a phone. So what the hell happened? Well, in the span of five minutes the guy at the store talked me into getting an iPhone.

iphone_homeI have to tell the truth, he didn’t give me the hard sell, no pressure, he was very logical and mellow. I knew I was going to be stuck with a new phone for two years and wanted something more than a basic phone, but I didn’t have a need for something fancy. He explained that for 50 bucks I could get a very simple flip phone with a camera and nothing else or for 300 bucks I could get a crackberry. He added, that the smart play would be to get an iPhone for 100 bucks, cause it would do everything I didn’t know I needed but now can’t live without. And I am here to tell you he was right.

The iPhone is like a little computer, we are talking about email, the web and a ton of apps. I still hate to talk on the thing because I hate the feel of it, but I love the fact that I can get some work done while dealing with the baby or waiting to pick The Mommy up at the carpool lot. Now the only real problem is that since The Mommy and I both have iPhones no one is watching the baby while we stare at them. (Just kidding in case anyone for Family Services is reading.)

Media Review – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

snowwhite_blurayNow I have never been a Disney fan, they seem too big a corporation to be something one can love, but they have a few good properties that I don’t think anyone can find fault with. On October 6th, they will release Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on Blu-ray and while I don’t really like their ‘limited time only’ policy I think we can all agree that Snow White is the best-animated movie of all time, take that Veggie Tales: The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything. I have been thinking whether or not the 1939 masterpiece holds up after all these years and if a boy would enjoy it. I think the answer is yes on both counts.

I’m sure LTD will like the movie if for no other reason than I tell him too. I have only been a parent for six months, but it is my understanding that kids do everything they are told. For me, I could take or leave the singing and the dwarfs, what I really enjoy is just how beautiful the film looks and the classic animation style that I wish they still used today. My only fear is that the witch may give him nightmares just as the ,Witch in the Wizard of Oz did to me.