Movie Review: LeapFrog Math Adventure to the Moon

Hi there!

Back in May, I had a chance to review LeapFrog Letter Factory with my youngest daughter who will be starting kindergarten in the Fall. We enjoyed exploring the alphabet with Tad on his musical journey. And we were on the lookout for more fun educational videos to help give her a head start and the LeapFrog brand has always provided.

Now we have seen the LeapFrog Math Adventure to the Moon, which focuses on counting, sorting, patterns, and simple addition. This time we have Tad and Lilly learning about counting for a school project. They have to come up with a collection of ten things, but they are having a hard time counting that high or figuring out what to collect.

For the next 30 minutes, the viewer, Tad, and Lilly are led on a long trip by their good friend Edison, the firefly. Edison has a few tricks up his sleeve to help the kids learn how to count by 1s, 2s, 5s, 10s, and so on as well as other math-related skills. Where does Edison take the pair? To the moon of course! What would be more cool than to show a collection of ten moon rocks in class?

The LeapFrog team has once again put together a great lesson integrating fun songs, activities, and comic elements as well as a bit of suspense. The suspense part surprised me a bit, as it seemed a bit dark and destructive for a kindergarten-age audience. In this case, it was a space storm threatening to either suck everything in or blow everything away. Everything worked out alright in the end and the trio managed to save the day for some space aliens along the way.

I was impressed with the seamless integration of patterns into the story. The characters had to unlock the launch code to take off in their spaceship. And to do that they needed to figure out the pattern of shapes and colors and enter the right pattern to start the ship. It was a great way to introduce the pattern concept while also introducing the idea of a password or “launch code” to start something up.

My only complaint with this adventure was that it seemed too short. That however may have been because we were enjoying ourselves and didn’t want it to end. At 36 minutes long, it’s about the same length as LeapFrog Letter Factory so I shouldn’t have been surprised.

In addition to the main adventure, the DVD includes a few special features including a Sorting Game you can play with the DVD remote, a few sing-along songs, and the Alphabet Song from Let’s Go to School (another LeapFrog adventure).

If you’re looking for a good math-based educational adventure for your kindergarten-aged youngsters, LeapFrog Math Adventure to the Moon should be a great fit. I know we’re looking forward to finding other LeapFrog adventures to enjoy!

–Fitz

p.s. Click below to find this and other LeapFrog adventures at Amazon!

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Book Review: The Mudhogs by Dalton James

Hi there!

When I heard about a bright 8-year old boy who had written and illustrated not one book, but three – I was intrigued. My own daughter has similar aspirations, so I decided to check out Dalton James’ imaginative fiction. And I have to say that I was impressed by what I read!

The Mudhogs tells the story about a clubhouse for a group of three little pigs. Told from the point of view of Fangs, a tick on Piggy’s leg, we hear the tale of how the three pigs deal with a mud shortage. Piggy, Piggles, and Piglet try everything they can think of to make it rain, so that they might make even a little mud. But no rain came.

They tried a rain dance. That didn’t work. They tried to cast a spell. That didn’t work. They even tried putting on a play, complete with thunder and lightning, but that didn’t work either.

Finally they decided they’d go on an adventure in search of mud. None of the towns had any mud. None of the states had any mud. Even the countries they visited were without any mud. But when they got home… they discovered it had been raining while they’d been away and there was plenty of mud for everybody!

Though the artwork was childlike, I was fascinated by the story and the imagination used to create it. My favorite part of the book is when the pigs are traveling and go to the towns of Piggsburg, Hogsbreath, Swineville, and Slopton. As if those weren’t good enough, they then visit the states of Pighoma, Snortesee, New Hog, and Piggselvania. And while you’re still giggling at the first two waves of names, they then go to the countries of Pig of Mud States, Pigsia, Hogico, and Barnia.

It’s obvious that 8-year-old Dalton James has quite a career ahead of him in publishing if he keeps up the great work. He should be an inspiration to kids and parents everywhere to go out on a limb and be creative. You never know who you’ll meet or where you’ll end up. Personally, I’d like to travel to Slopton, Piggselvania, and Barnia. They sound like fun places to visit!

–Fitz

p.s. Check out these other books by Dalton James at Amazon!

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Music Review: Baby Guitars – Nancy Wilson

Hi all!

Nancy Wilson is one of the two goddesses of the rock group Heart. So why may you ask is she creating an album of tunes specifically meant to help lull babies to sleep? Well, why not? She’s a mom too!

Evidently, the idea of composing guitar lullabies didn’t occur to her originally. “It never occurred to me to actually try and put people to sleep with my music,” she says. “But then the idea came up when a friend had a new baby.” She tested these tunes on several unsuspecting “test babies” and many have been lulled to sleep by them. So they must work, right?

Let me put your fears to rest. These are beautiful, acoustic instrumentals, that adults or children might listen to on a lazy Sunday morning or before bed to settle down after a long day. Each of the ten songs on the CD was composed by Wilson and bandmates Craig Bartock and Debbie Shair and played by the trio as well. Wilson and Bartock played guitars and Shair helped on a concert harp. And if the music isn’t enough to get you to buy the CD, the cover and CD art were done by Ms. Wilson’s kids – Curtis and Billy.

Some of these tunes came dangerously close to putting me to sleep – including the repetitive, nearly meditative “Cozy Rain” and the slow glide of “Silky.” “Sun on the Rug” was even heard recently in the soundtrack for the Hilary Swank movie P.S. I Love You.

It’s hard to believe that Heart has been rocking the world with music since the 1970s, but they’re gearing up to mark the 30th anniversary of Dog & Butterfly, a classic multi-platinum album. And if that’s not enough, they’re also going to start work on their 14th studio album soon. With such classic songs as “Crazy On You,” “Barracuda,” “Magic Man,” and many, many others, it’s great to know that Nancy, her sister, and the rest of the band are still committed to creating great music for fans big and small.

If you, like me, are a big fan of Heart and have kids or know people with young children, you can’t miss by picking up this great collection of original acoustic guitar songs. Even if you don’t have kids, Baby Guitars might be just the thing for a lazy day. The album is only available on Amazon.com as a CD and digital download, so go order yours today!

–Fitz

p.s. Pick up this and other great CDs from Heart below!

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