Monday, November 25, 2013

My Snowman And Me and The Magic Christmas Key

One of my fondest memories of when I was a child around Christmas time was when my mother would tell me Christmas stories:  Rudolf The Red Nose Reindeer, Frosty The Snowman, the birth of Jesus and all the other stories associated with that time of year.  They were classics.
Christmas is fast approaching and my wish is that today’s children may have their own tales of Christmas that they will remember when they reach my age.  

Author Leann Smith and Pine Tree Publishing just might have the answer to that wish.
Leann has written two new tales of Christmas that are destined to become yuletide classics.  They are ‘My Snowman And Me’ illustrated by Kacey Schwartz and ‘The Magic Christmas Key’ illustrated by Kip Richmond.

My Snowman And Me is a small hardbound book boxed in a see-thru panel box accompanied by a plush white snowman with a carrot nose, black top hat and green button eyes.  Three black spots make up the buttons of his midsection and two black shoes poke out from underneath the snowman.  He sits snuggled in a snowflake-decorated cubbyhole. 

Written for young children, the book tells the tale of the snowman that can be anyone a child wants him to be.  Although the snowman melts away as summer approaches he returns to thrill children when the next snow falls.  Bright colorful illustrations decorate each page and large type make the story easy for youngsters to read and understand.

Written for slightly older children The Magic Christmas Tree is a larger hardbound book that is much flatter than the Snowman book.  It too has a see-thru panel that displays a large ornate silver key with a red ribbon.  Santa’s Magic Key is etched into its handle.

Illustrated in a lush realistic style the book’s story centers on young Andy who is given Santa’s Magic Key for safekeeping.  Unfortunately the key gets into mischievous hands and chaos ensues!

Children will get excited by the magic the key manifests and will learn valuable lessons about friendship, good intentions and the holiday spirit.

Both books are beautifully bound and packaged and will make treasured gifts this holiday season.

Kaili Unicorno and Mozzarella “I Love Milk” Moofia

What better time to purchase cute little plush critters than for Christmas!?  Tokidoki has just released two delightful creatures that kids are sure to love: Kaili Unicorno and Mozzarella “I Love Milk” Moofia.

Kaili is all rainbows and flowers with her pink stepped mane and orange unicorn.  A flower decorates her right ear and her pink wings contrast to her aqua blue fuzzy tail.  White and orange stitched flowers decorate her right side and white and pink flowers her left.

Each hoof is a different color: pink, orange, purple and yellow and complement her soft light brown fur.  Large black eyes with a single eyelash make Kaili as cute as a button.

I Love Milk is the small companion to Mozzarella Moofia.  With its cat face (pink nose and large black eyes and two triple whiskers) twin horns, gold ring pierced ears and brown color with tag, I Love Milk has a black tipped tail, a pink underbelly and four black hooves along with black spots on its white body.

Both plush critters are cute and cuddly and you can purchase them at boutiques nationwide, the Tokidoki flagship store in Melrose and at  

Red Sox 2013 World Series Champions

Three World Series in 10 years!  Major League Baseball fans were delighted and stunned when the Boston Red Sox won their third World Series title!  

It was down to the wire but the Sox pulled it off.  Now baseball fans can relive the magic with Liongate’s new Boston Red Sox 2013 World Series Champions DVD filled with game highlights, players’ spotlights and interviews.

Watch the Red Sox versus the St. Louis Cardinals in one of the most heart-throbbing, catch-your-breath playoff in the history of the game.

Bonus features include highlights, game celebrations, the World Series parade, player features and a special National Hall of Fame and Museum: 21013 World Series exhibition and more!

Friday, November 22, 2013

LEGO-DC Universe Super Heroes Phonics

Super Heroes are popular and none more popular than the DC Comics Universe heroes.  LEGO has launched a line of LEGO figures fashioned after the DC characters along with animated features and games.
Scholastic has taken he LEGO DC versions of their super heroes and villains and used them to teach youngsters how to understand vowels on their first step in their journey on how to read and write.  Welcome to LEGO-DC Universe Super Heroes Phonics.

Come along with LEGO's DC characters as they guide you through the complexities of the written word and language.  Join Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and other DC Comics heroes and villains as they teach vowels in Phonics in a series of short mini-books.

Who says learning short and long vowels isn't fun!? 

Iron Man Hulk Heroes United

The two characters who stood out to me most in The Avengers movie were Iron Man and the Hulk.  So, it only stands to reason that Ol' Shellhead and the Green Goliath would team up for a brand new computer animated TV show from Disney and Marvel.
The Hulk and Iron Man joins forces against the ultimate villain: Zzzax-the energy monster.
Together they fight to save the Earth from Zzzax's campaign of conquest.  Singly they are no match for his power.  Together they are an unstoppable force.

Join Marvel' most unlikely duo as they pummel, pound, power ray and punch their way through an incredible adventure fraught with danger with mankind's fate in the balance.

Computer animation never looked so good.  you can almost feel the pounding the Hulk's fist and firing of Iron Man's boot rockets!

The Disney/Marvel Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Combo packs as much punch as Hulk's fists and Iron Man's Repulsor Rays.

Extras include three featurettes.  Plus, send away for free Iron Man MiniMate figurine.

Confessions Of A So-called Middle Child

I was (and am) the baby of the family.  I have three older half-brothers (one now deceased).  All of them were grown, married and gone by the time I was five which left my mother and I.  I never had to suffer the slings and arrows of being the “middle child”.  My best friend did.  
I used to hear horror stories how my friend’s older sibling lauded over the two younger children.  The youngest was (“Mommy and Daddy’s) favorite and my friend (the middle child) somehow managed to get blamed for almost everything.  It seemed he was always trying to prove himself and as a result he sometimes drew too much attention to himself-to his detriment.

Confessions Of a So-called Middle Child, by author Maria T. Lennon and published by Harper, takes a more light-hearted look at being the middle child.

“Charlie” is a typical pre-teen girl: gawky, all arms and legs and a little too smart for her own good.  So smart in fact that she landed herself in trouble-big trouble-and has to pay the price along with her family.

Her trouble making winds up seeing her family move away because of her unwise choice.  Now’s she’s in a new school, seeing a shrink and stuck between her “oh-so-perfect” older sister and “cute-as-a-button” younger brother. Life stinks!

To make amends her shrink gives her an assignment of sorts.  She is to search and befriend the most unpopular kid in her new school and do it in public!

She winds up with Marta the Farta and Marta and her life are about to change-forever!

Confessions Of A So-called Middle Child is a fun romp through the life of a young girl transitioning into a woman.  It’s about friendship, discovering meaning in life and the chance to start over.  I recommend the book to any pre-teen (middle child or not) to read and I guarantee they will see a little bit of themselves in both Charlie and Marta.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Dave Berg

Occasionally I pick up a copy of MAD magazine and look through its pages.  To tell the truth I’m not a big fan of MAD magazine ever since it shifted to full color.  
I devoured each page of MAD magazine back in the 1960s and 1970s and sporadically during the 1980s and 1990s.

I have my favorite artists: Mort Drucker, Jack Davis, Don Martin, Sergio Aragones and Dave Berg.

Drucker was the king of caricatures, Davis visual gags, Martin the bizarre, Aragones physical humor and Dave Berg quiet observant humor.

Running Press presents, as part of its MAD Greatest Artists series, Dave Berg Five Decades of “The Lighter Side of…”, with a Foreword by Drew Friedman.

The consummate artist, Dave Berg was the master of situational humor.  His unique observations on day-to-day events and popular culture phenomenon always generated a few chuckles.

While not as flashy or stylized as other MAD artists’ work, Berg’s characters looked like ordinary people caught in unusual situations.  

By following his career over 50 years the large hardbound book offers the perfect opportunity to observe the maturation of an artist.

As with most young artists Dave’s style started out a bit cluttered and packed with details.  As his style progressed and matured, his art, while not spare, became more finely honed and to the point.  Facial expressions and body language overshadowed backgrounds and settings
Represented in the book are Dave’s “The Lighter Side of…” strips and paperback compilations and material specifically drawn for paperbacks.

Unfortunately the world lost Dave back in 2002, but his humor lives on in this delightful new collection.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Very Klingon Khristmas

The Klingons created Khristmas.  Who would argue with them?  Certainly not I!  I have no wish to face down a Disruptor or Mek’leth in the hands of a Klingon warrior!
Author Paul Ruditus retells the story of Christmas as told by the Klingons.  Celebrate the birth of Kahless and the Khristmas festivities that surround the event.

Sing some Khristmas Karols and set out some hot mulled blood wine for good ‘ol retractable claws Santa.  Behave yourself or Santa will bring you a bag of Tribbles if you're naughty!

A Very Klingon Khristmas is a hilarious parody of the Christmas story illustrated in a Norman Rockwell fashion by painter Patrick Faricy.

You’ll never look at mistletoe, a holiday dinner, decorative lights, caroling, snowmen, present opening or Santa’s sleigh and ‘reindeer’ the same way again.

A Very Klingon Khristmas comes to Star Trek fans courtesy of Gallery Books.

Movie Icons

They are the faces of the film industry.  They are the actors, actresses and creatures that populate the movies we love to watch.  They are the images we most associate with classic Silver Screen stories.
They personify films; they are what make a great film great.  Not the special effects.  Not the costumes. Not the elaborate sets or choreographed dance routines fight scenes, love scene or situations.

Taschen has gathered together 365 days of photos chronicling a year in pictures day by day.  Black and white and color the photos feature iconic moments in films as personified by the actors, actresses and creatures we’ve all come to love, hate, fear and cherish.

Who can forget such classics as jaws, Aliens, Psycho, Platoon and Goldfinger-just to name a few in this impressive collection of movie stills?

From small, poignant and relevant films to huge spectacles the world’s most famous films are showcased.  Photos and movie posters fill the massive compilation of cinematic magic encased in a hardback book measuring nearly two inches thick.

If you love films and the characters that populate them then be sure to pick up a copy of Movie icons from Taschen.