Thursday, March 31, 2011

Review and Give Away: HOP Film / Easter books!

Update: this give away is now closed.  The winner has been notified by email.

On April 1 (this Friday!), the aptly-timed "HOPS" will hit theaters --
Blending state of the art animation with live action, Hop is a comedy about E.B. (voiced by Russell Brand), the teenage son of the Easter Bunny.  On the eve of taking over the family business, E.B. leaves for Hollywood in pursuit of his dream of becoming a drummer.  He encounters Fred (James Marsden), an out-of-work slacker with his own lofty goals, who accidentally hits E.B. with his car.  Feigning injury, E.B. manipulates Fred into providing him shelter, and Fred finds himself with the world’s worst houseguest.
You can see the HOP movie trailer here.

HOP has some great tie-in books that would make perfect Easter basket stuffers (I hope you'll be slipping some books into your kids Easter baskets this year!)  Here is a quick peek at all 5 of them (publisher descriptions in italics; our thoughts in normal type).  I have them arranged roughly from youngest to oldest audience.

Counting Chicks: A Hop Movie Tie-InHOP: Counting Chicks
Board Book
• 12 Pages
Easter chicks Carlos and Phil teach numbers as they put together an Easter basket just for you!

Cute - simple counting on the right, and a storyline about the two chicks charged with filling an Easter basket on the left.  "I'm Carlos, and this is Phil.  The Easter Bunny has given us a job to do!  Grab a basket, Phil, and let us get started."  I hope the Bibliophile doesn't catch on to how candy-centric these baskets are.  I think this one will go in our baby girl's basket.

Hoppy Bunnies: A Hop Movie Tie-InHOP: Hoppy Bunnies
Board Book with Finger Puppets
• 12 Pages
This adorable and interactive Easter board book features hoppy bunny finger-puppets for read aloud Easter fun.

Set to the rhythm of the Night Before Christmas, this board book instead explains the Easter Bunny's delivery of baskets in a giant Easter egg-shaped sleigh.  I think I better put this one in the Bibliophile's basket, because he'll instantly recognize the built in felt finger puppets like in Sleepy Kittens and covet it if it goes in his sister's basket.  She would love to get her mouth on those puppets.  (She's 4 1/2 months old).

Hop: Meet the Easter BunnyHOP: Meet the Easter Bunny 
• 32 Pages
Easter Island is home to the Easter Bunny’s magical workshop—where do you think Santa got all his good ideas? Chocolate bunny carving, jellybean polishing, and adorable chicks and bunnies are just a few of the fantastic sights to see on this lively tour of Easter in the making.

This one is sort of an early reader style.  The Easter Bunny shows his rock and roll loving son, E.B. around the family business (the candy factory under Easter Island, where Easter candy is made).  A fun addition is a page at the beginning of the book asking the reader to look for four items as they read the book.  This one will also be in the Bibliophile's basket this year.

Hop: Chicks Versus Bunnies

 HOP: Chicks vs. Bunnies
• 24 Pages
The Easter Bunny gets all the glory, but what about all the chicks who do all the work making Easter baskets? This is a bright, colorful and humorous look at Easter’s cute and rivaling icons includes punch-out Easter egg stands featuring characters from the movie!

This one has more of a good versus evil theme, and I don't think the Bibliophile would really understand what is going on (he is only 3 1/2).  But for older kids or those exposed to more of this type of storyline, it is a fun (and funny) story.  "'We're going to have to take matters into our own hands'," Carlos tells his friend Phil.  Phil lifts a wing into the air.  'We don't have hands,' he says."

Hop: The Chapter Book
HOP: The Chapter Book
• 64 Pages
Who will fill the Easter Bunny’s shoes? E.B. Jr.’s got big plans to be a big music star, and Fred, who never had plans to be anything, finds himself with more responsibility than he is used to in this chapter book.

I need to stop taking chapter books for review; I haven't had a chance to read this one all the way through.  I can see immediately that this is over the Bibliophile's age/interest level, but for an older child, this builds upon the books above in a chapter book format and is a great tie-in to the movie. 

Thanks to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers,  One (1) winner will receive a prize pack including all 5 book titles
  • HOP: Hoppy Bunnies
  • HOP: The Chapter Book
  • HOP: Meet the Easter Bunny
  • HOP: Counting Chicks
  • HOP: Chicks versus Bunnies
 To enter:
1) Leave a comment here.
2) Follow or subscribe in some way to Chronicle of an Infant Bibliophile and leave a comment letting me know.
3) Tweet, facebook, or blog about this give away and leave a comment letting me know.

That's three possible entries per person. The deadline is April 8, 2011, midnight EST. Prizes ship to U.S. addresses only.  Please remember to leave your email address in your comment if it is not accessible from your profile.

Looking for other book recommendations for your Easter basket? Last year I collected suggestions and published a list of 75 Easter-related books for children.

Disclosure: We were provided free copies of all 5 books to write this review.  If you click on any of the links in this post and purchase anything, we may earn a small commission through our affiliate relationship with

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A pack of straws saved my life

Because I would have perished if I heard "now what should we do?" one more time today. So when he grabbed a pack of straws from the cupboard and asked me to open them, I told him I had some ideas.

We finally tried straw painting (blowing air through the straw to swirl paint).

Then we pressed coffee filters onto it to make designs (that looked like our salad spinner art - the bibliophile's all time fav craft).

Then we attached straws together to make a long silly straw, and the bibliophile folded it into an M. (No photos).

Then the he insisted he create this mixed media masterpiece:

Then we tried weaving (which tied in nicely to his beginner sewing project this week with a plastic needle, yarn, and gridded rubber drawer liner).

Whew, that all occupied him for at least 20 minutes.

Now what should we do?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, March 28, 2011

What My Child is Reading (Better Late Than Never Edition)

Library books we are returning today -- I want to at least log them here in case I want them again!  I wanted to say so much about them, but the littlest one is crying for a nap, and the three year old just asked: "How do I play baseball, Mama?"  So, very quickly -- Captain Cat was in response to my son requesting a book about soldiers "like those in the Great Escape."  I sweat to come up with something age appropriate and was happy to find this.  I love Max for PresidentMr. Brown Can Moo makes the littlest smile and the Bibliophile giggle, and me happy to rea d it aloud.  What Happened to Humpty Dumpty is a great companion for writing prompt activities; some of the stories are a little grim, but I love the idea.  We should probably buy the Thumbprint book because we keep getting it from the library.  And the littlest is wailing, so that's all I can say! 

Captain Cat (I Can Read Book 1)Please Pick Me Up, Mama!Max for PresidentMr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? (Bright and Early Books for Beginning Beginners)Whatever Happened to Humpty Dumpty?: And Other Surprising Sequels to Mother Goose Rhymes

Ed Emberley's Great Thumbprint Drawing BookThis is San Francisco [A Children's Classic]Mother Goose Numbers on the Loose

Comment: Have you read any of these before?  (Sorry for the wacky formatting -- it looks fine in my editing window and goes strange when I publish).

I am linking this post up with What My Child is Reading - better late than never.

Disclosure: If you purchase any of these books by clicking on links in this post, we may earn a small commission through our affiliate relationship with

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Review and Give Away:

Last year, we won a trial 3-month membership to  The Bibliophile loved it, but he only really played in one area of it (Storyland), over and over (and over!) again.  We were recently provided the opportunity to renew his trial membership, and to give away one to our readers. 

From the Jumpstart website:
JumpStart is a magical online world packed with friends, games and adventures! From training dragons to exploring lost islands, includes thousands of games and activities for kids ages 3-12. But what really sets JumpStart apart is our commitment to education. We believe that learning should be an adventure, not a chore. That’s why the games at are specially designed to make math, reading and critical thinking fun! After all, there’s no stopping a kid with a JumpStart!
Here is what we thought of Jumpstart (keep reading to get to the give away).

First, a word about our reviewer...  The Bibliophile is 3, but he's extremely adept at using a computer and can read well.  He most enjoyed Storyland, but he finished the tasks within days, and then just kept visiting wishing there were more tasks.  When we ventured to new areas (Jumpstart has many), he'd get a bit frightened of things and want to return to Storyland.  To be clear, nothing in there is scary, but he's 3 and a bit quirky.  So, we based most of this review on Storyland and Marine Land.  He just discovered Marine Land this week, and loves it.

-- Educational.  Storyland covers topics like counting, phonic sounds, following instructions/tasks, colors, shapes, patterns, matching.  Areas outside of Storyland cover a wide range of topics including, for instance, geography and astronomy.
-- Fun!  The Bibliophile loves it.
-- Longevity.  The Bibliophile's interest in it hasn't waned, even as our trial membership draws to a close.
-- Age appropriate.  Nothing offensive or meant for much older kids or adults that I have to attempt to explain to him.
-- Games for a broad age range under one "roof," which is especially nice since you can have multiple children on an account for one fee.

--Monthly cost arrangements are pricey, though not as bad for multiple kids.
--Occasional frozen screens requiring restart, and recently an "unexplained fatal error" message
--Certain tasks can't be redone (unless, like us, you add fictional kids).
--Outside of Storyland, it was not always obvious to us what to do next (although finding Marineland this week has helped). I KNOW we are missing great areas because I can't really see the big picture in terms of how to navigate the site.  This is probably less of a problem for older children who are more inclined to explore on their own.

Update: this give away is now closed.  The winner has been notified by email.

Give Away!  Three Month Jumpstart Membership

Thanks to the generosity of the kind people at, you can win your own three month trial membership!  To enter:
1) Leave a comment here.
2) Follow or subscribe in some way to Chronicle of an Infant Bibliophile and leave a comment letting me know.
3) Tweet, facebook, or blog about this give away and leave a comment letting me know.

That's three possible entries per person. The deadline is April 5, midnight EST.  Please remember to leave your email address in your comment if it is not accessible from your profile.

Disclosure: We were provided with a 3 month extension of our trial membership at no cost in order to write this review.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Water wheel activity

We attended a museum-run day of learning activities around the topic of water (part of a monthly series) today. I'm really impressed with these events. This was just one of the stations - a water wheel project.

I took a photo of the instructions, in case any of you want to try making one - totally doable with dixie cups, paper plates, tape, and a dowel. (Can you actually read these?).


The Bibliophile's wheel:

In action!

You can do this in your yard with a hose sprayer or watering can. The water goes in the little cups and spins the wheel.


I will be linking this post up with Science Sunday.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone