Saturday, October 22, 2011

Vignette: Things That Ain't Books: Here Comes EeBoo!

Besides books, we love discovering quality toys and games that contain both lovely and thoughtful illustrations and good content.  When I find a company that does both I simply have to share.  So...here comes the company EeBoo!

If you haven't anything from this fabulous company, scoot on over to Amazon or your EeBoo.com and start adding these to your cart.  You won't be sorry! I'm one of those crazy Christmas shoppers who shop all year round.  I'm from a large family and to even have a chance we shop all the time.  Actually, I log away comments from family all year and start shopping in the fall.  Here are a few of my favorite EeBoo products.  There's plenty more out there so check 'em out!
The Go Fish! card game is our favorite and our best.  A gift from amazing grandparents, we play with these cards all the time.  Look how cute they are! And look at they're simply perfect colors--chartreuse, indigo, hot pink, warm red, eggplant, cafe au lait--incidentally, a small child repeating the words cafe au lait is one of the cutest things ever.  Trust me.  This set is made of heavy coated cardstock and all the colors are great.  They come in a neat little box with a slide out drawer. Get it here on Amazon.com

These sweet alphabet cards above hang on the kids walls of my good friend and amazing blogger Miss Mommy's.  Check out her blog for delicious recipes, fun stories, and tips on teaching your kiddos Spanish.  She's pretty amazing all around.  Click on the picture above to go to EeBoo's site or HERE  to get it on Amazon.com

Counting One Through Ten with a Train cards!

The Picnic Game: a board game for kids
Wall art with counting birds...very sweet


 Advent calendars! Click the picture to see more of them on EeBoo.

 EeBoo Castle and horses diary (I mean, really? I want this)

Okay, so I could go on and on because there are plenty of other games, wall art hangings, growth charts, diaries, puzzles, art supplies and generally lovely art pieces that you can pick up very reasonably and play with your child!  If you're looking for an inspiration for eager Grandparents wanting to give gifts, these are a great line to choose from.  They are both timeless and useful and (wait for it) NOT GIGANTIC TOYS that fill your living room, bedrooms, and beyond...and did I mention they're affordable?  So, happy hunting and I hope you get a chance to own something from this super sweet company!  Check out more at EeBoo HERE or get them on Amazon.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Children's Book Review: Richard Scarry's Great Big Mystery Book


Name of Book: Richard Scarry's Great Big Mystery Book
Author / Illustrator: Written and illustrated by Richard Scarry
What's It All About: There are two tales in this book.  The first is called The Supermarket Mystery and the second is The Great Pie Robbery Both stories feature heros Sam Cat and Dudley Pig.  They are detectives.
In The Supermarket Mystery Sam and Dudley drive to Grocer Dog's supermarket to help him find a thief.  Dudley and Sam change into disguises.  Dudley always keeps disguises in his umbrella.  Sam dresses up as a sack of potatoes and Dudley dresses up as a woman shopper.  They hunt for the thief and make a few mistakes on the way.  Poor Dudley! He's always getting into trouble.  But when the thief is found, Dudley can't find Sam.  He's been stolen as a bag of potatoes! Will Dudley catch the thief? Will Sam ever be found? Read on dear friends.
In The Great Pie Robbery some thieves have stolen pies from Ma Dog's Bakery.  Dudley Pig and Sam Cat look for clues.  They see the robbers escaping with cherry pie all over their faces.  Dudley has also discovered that one of them has torn their pants on a rose bush.  Dudley and Sam chase the robbers through a restaurant and back to their den where they won't come out.  Dudley pulls out another nifty disguise that he and Sam put on.  What do you think they dressed up as? A lady hippopotamus with a surprise for the thieves.  Oh those detectives are clever!
My Favorite Bit:
From The Supermarket Mystery I really loved the scenes of the supermarket in general.  I loved when Dudley ate a stuffed piece of fruit off a lady's hat and I love when he makes the alligator babies cry on accident.  The page where Dudley rolls after Blackfinger Wolf through the dangerous side of town is quite spooky.
From The Great Pie Robbery there is a line that has survived in our family.  We love to say, "No, we are sitting on our own hats." To find this page you'll have to get the book and read it.
As I side note I must mention that Richard Scarry is in the highest class of children's book authors and illustrators and one of my absolute favorites.  You can always tell when someone writes for children without "writing for children". 
Suitable Age For Reading It To: This book is like all Scarry books.  You can look at it with any age and start reading the stories around three-ish.  Sometimes they are a bit long but these two are a great length for even that age.  And my son and I being respectively nine and thirty-two still love this book so there you go--there isn't a stopping point (as I've said before and will say again) with all good childrens books.
Go Get It: Richard Scarry's Great Big Mystery Book on Amazon US
A Little About The Author / Illustrator:
Read my earlier spot here for a very short blurb: BLURB. 
Otherwise, here's a little more about Mr. Scarry:
Born June 5, 1919 and passed away April 30, 1994 of a heart attack after surgery for esophageal cancer in Gstaad at age 74. Born in Boston, Massachusetts to shop owners, Richard disliked school and received poor grades.  After trying business school at his father's request, Richard went to the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston until he was drafted during WWII.  Using his talents even in the army, Scarry served as an art director, editor, and writer of Army information publications for North Africa and Italy.  When the war ended he worked in art departments at various magazines in NYC and later signed a contract to produce books for The Artists and Writers Guild to produce books for their Little Golden Books line.  He married Patricia Murphy in 1948 and in 1972 they purchased a chalet in Gstaad, where Scarry spent most of his time in his studio.


Friday, October 7, 2011

Movie/Show Vignette: The Iron Giant

As I waded through our library and the library of my parents, I was struck by a thought and will now bring it to you.  Do we love the same movies? As I started this blog, I wanted to say something about the books I love, share something important about them, bring them to the giant void of the web, and somehow connect with others who love to read.  It's like a treasure hunt.  But, as I'm realizing, there are many kinds of treasure that I'd love to share.  If I find it and it stays in our library as a permanent guest, does it become more or less to anyone else? I always hope that amazing movies and shows don't disappear before they get their due appreciation and now I realize I have a great platform to talk about those too.  My first film in this series will be an easy one:  The Iron Giant.
Name: The Iron Giant
Written and directed by: Brad Bird (You know this man from his movies The Incredibles, Toy Story 3, and UP).
Plot: Way back in the fifties, a boy named Hogarth Hughes finds a giant gentle robot and they become friends.  It's a time when everyone was worried about "the bomb" and when they find out about the robot they send Kent Mansley (works for the government) to investigate.  He's pompous, inconsiderate, but pretty sharp.  If he finds the iron giant, he'll get the army to blow it up.  Hogarth won't stop until his friend is saved.
My favorite Bit: Here's the deal.  This movie is awesome.  The characters are well done, the dialogue is sharp, funny, and endearing.  The voice actors are awesome (excepting the very voice of the iron giant whom I just can't believe they'd use not only someone so silly, but feature him as a main draw for the movie when the giant says maybe four lines total).  Oh, by the way, the voice of the giant is Vin Diesel.  I know, I know.  BUT, there are some other great voices.  My favorite is, of course, Kent Mansley, who is voiced by the brilliant Christopher McDonald, otherwise known as Shooter McGavin from Happy Gilmore.  I mean, he's in a lot of things but he's always going to be Shooter.  Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Aniston, Cloris Leachman, and the easily voice-recognizable John Mahoney round out a good cast.  Brad Bird has brilliant timing, story, and heart.  I enjoy this little film immensely.  Here's Kent Mansley below:
Suitable Age For Watching:
Almost any age can enjoy this.  I'd start letting them watch it around four as there are some worrying things like the fact that a rocket is going to blow up the town, the giant robot eats part of a power station, and there's a few scenes of terrified townspeople that might not be understood by younger kids.  Also, it's not really written for little ones and they'd probably be bored before they were scared.  As I am an adult who still loves this movie, I wouldn't say there was a cap for it but it's really well suited to seven to ten year olds who still love cartoons.  I added that last bit because sometimes I'm sad at how quickly children are told or think they have to grow up.  When we decide we're too old for something as fun as this is when we're really being childish.

I love this scene.  Dean (Harry Connick Jr.) has a squirrel going up the inside of his pant leg and Hogarth doesn't want his mother (Jennifer Aniston) to know that he brought a squirrel into the diner.
Go Get It: Please rent this at the very least.   You won't be disappointed. If you're still an old-fashioned hoarder and want it on your shelf, it's only $4.99 with free prime shipping at Amazon HERE.
A quote from Brad Bird:
"I reject that whole point of view - that animation is a children's medium. The way people talk about it is, well, hey, it's a good thing I have kids, because now I get to see this. Well, hey, no, man! You can just go and see it. There's no other art form that is defined in such a narrow way. It's narrowminded, and I can't wait for it to die."
Look up more about him on IMDB right HERE!