Monday, December 13, 2010

The Buzz on Peas and Bananas: Outside With Lil Boo.

For the lawyer's personal pleasure:  I received a copy of this book for review and there was no other compensation for this review.

The first book of the Peas and Bananas series. Peas and Bananas Outside with Lil Boo is an illustrated children’s book based on the creative events experienced through the eyes of Lil Boo. The events in the first story of a series are based on exploring an array of outdoor adventures from the eyes of a toddler. Follow Lil Boo and his imaginary friend Onote from the letters A to Z in a fascinating rhyming adventure outside.

The wonderful things you see from your room.
It's like riding on a broom!
So many wonderful things to do.
Let's go outside and see the view.

A cactus is awfully prickly.
Even so, a touch is fickly-tickly.
Have you ever seen a prickly, fickly, tickly cactus?
Lil Boo has, and its name is Magnus.

Cactus to dirt - without a squirt!
My take?
Truthfully, I was disappointed.  I have a pretty extensive collection of children's books, much of it collected before I even had kids of my own.  Therefore, when I was contacted by the author regarding a potential review of Peas and Bananas, I jumped on it.  The chance to review a book not mass marketed was very appealing to me - the thought of discovering something new.  But, sadly, I was not really taken with this book.

Interestingly, I loved, loved the illustrations - they were adorable and some of the renderings of the animals were simply beautiful (the owl was my favorite!)  However, I was confused with where the story was going and some of the wording/poetry had a rhythm that was hard for me to read out loud.  I understand the need to make up words to make things "work" and that children's literature grants a wide girth in that respect (hello, Dr. Seuss?!)  But this was a little much for me. 

Of course, like many parents there are books that WE love and then there are books that we suffer through to please our children. Sadly, I knew the review for Peas and Bananas was sunk when my kids did not stick around for the entire reading.

In fairness, I included two excerpts to give you a chance to see for yourself if this would be the type of book for you.  Obviously, I cannot purport to be the "end all/be all" when it comes to reviewing children's literature!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Buzz on Dinosaur Train: Dinosaurs in the Snow

For the lawyer's personal pleasure: I was given this DVD for FREE to review and you can bet your sweet bippy, I will be keeping it at the end of my review period.

The Jim Henson Company/PBS series Dinosaur Train is a fun, educational program that capitalizes on young children's love of dinosaurs and trains, as well as their insatiable curiosity about the world around them. The four young dinosaurs of the Pteranodon family--one of whom is actually a Tyrannosaurus rex--love to explore the world via a prehistoric-time-traveling dinosaur train. From seeing snow at the North Pole for the first time, to unearthing million-year-old fossils, pondering whether huge trees grow from tiny seeds, tracking down a famous dinosaur singer, or seeking out the perfect big red flower for their mom, Don, Tiny, Shiny, and Buddy can always be counted on to ask important questions and seek the answers scientifically. Lucky for them, their parents and the Troodon train conductor are always more than willing to help them find the answers. The series features bright, animated dinosaurs and country-meets-rock songs that are immensely appealing to kids ages 3 to 6. But the best thing about the show is that it teaches kids some of the basics of scientific inquiry and process, like good observation skills and how to compare and contrast what they see; there's also some general information about the different types of dinosaurs. Interestingly, the DVD does not contain any of the live-action segments with paleontologist Dr. Scott Sampson that are usually shown between episodes on the televised program. Bonus DVD-ROM features include an interactive game, coloring pages, a dinosaur reference guide, and information for parents about the program and its characters. 

My Take? 
My kids really enjoyed this DVD and have already watched it more times than I'd care to admit.  Ahem.  Quite frankly,  it was not really a shock, since they love, love Dinosaur Train.  I asked my son which was his favorite episode from this DVD and he said that he liked the King Cryolophosaurus.  While I am sure the Elvis impersonation was lost upon him, I got a chuckle out of it as well.

While I would not want to own the entire library of Dinosaur Train, it is really nice to have this "special" one since it includes several holidays on it (including Mother's Day, Winter's Solstice and Halloween.)  A few months back, I won a giveaway for Dinosaur Train: Dinosaurs Under the Sea and while I don't have to write a review of it, I would like to go ahead and mention it here as well.  The Under the Sea DVD totally rocked!  It is really difficult to find many videos or even books that include the swimming reptiles, so that DVD really stands out as another one worth owning. 

Also, can I confess to totally grooving during the theme song?  Am I the only one?

The Buzz on The Sound of Music, Blu-Ray Release

For the lawyer's personal pleasure: I received this copy of the Sound of Music for free.  For review. For mine to keep.  Other than the review copy of the movie, there was no compensation for this post.


Disc 1 Blu-ray:
  • Feature Film Remastered in 1080p Hi-Def with 7.1 DTS-HD Sound

  • Your Favorite Things: An Interactive Celebration — All-New Immersive Viewing Experience with Behind-the-Scenes Images, On-Screen Lyrics, Trivia Track and Location Quiz

  • Music Machine Sing-Along

  • Audio Commentaries with Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer and Director Robert Wise

  • BD-LIVE: Live Lookup™ Powered by IMDb®

    Disc 2 Blu-ray:
  • Musical Stages: Creating The Sound of Music — All-New Interactive “Backlot Tour” with In-Depth Featurettes on the Songs, the Stage Show & Movie, the Film and Sound Restoration and the Real-Life von Trapp Family

  • A City of Song — Virtual Map of Filming Locations in Salzburg, Austria

  • Vintage Rodgers & Hammerstein and The Sound of Music Programs

  • Screen Tests, Rare Treasures, Interviews, Photo Galleries & More!

  • Disc 3 DVD:
  • Feature Film In Standard Definition

  • Newly Remastered Picture and Sound

  • Optional Sing-Along Track

  • Music Machine Sing-Along

  • The Sound of Music Tour – A Living Story

  • My Take?
    Oh hubba hubba.  I have long been a rabid Sound of Music fan.  It was my first LP ever purchased, then later my first CD purchased, then my first DVD purchased.  I could not help but grin that it is now my first Blu-ray.  And holy cow, this version is packed with new features and behind-the-scenes vignettes. I cannot wait to have both of my sisters over for a viewing!

    If you have a Sound of Music fan on your shopping list this Christmas, this would make an excellent, thoughtful gift.  I particularly like that it includes both the Blu-ray and DVD discs in one convenient package!