Thinking Pink

Victoria Kann is an award winning author and illustrator of the recently popular children’s book, Pinkalicious. She has also written the books Goldilicious and Purplicious as well as Pinkalicious The Musical.

Victoria usually likes to work on her story first, and then her illustrations are added later.  Other times, it is the reverse, and the story is inspired by the drawings.

She’s inspired by everyday items in her life, including items that lie around the house.  She used wallpaper, pictures, fabric, or anything else that comes to mind.  Other times she’s scavenging around the streets of New York, looking for items to place into her collage collection.  Her artwork, which includes collages, mixed media, and computer illustrations, have been featured and even commissioned for greeting cards, magazines, newspapers, book covers, and the internet.  Victoria is considered a master of collage work, and actually teaches Collage Illustration at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.  She is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design.

Victoria’s style has changed over the years.  She started out as an editorial illustrator and produced artwork for magazine covers like BusinessWeek, Harper’s Magazine, and Newsweek, and often only had a few hours to come up with a concept, design, and finish.  When she had children, she started to think more about illustrating children’s books.

I find Victoria very inspiring.  Although it may seem like a simple task to create designs and collages from objects lying around your house, it is rewarding and stirs the creativity within you.  Who knows what story or illustration lies within you, waiting to be exposed to the world?

What’s in Your WordWorld?

WordWorld

In WordWorld, kids can see the letters in every object! The creators of WordWorld, Don and Jacqueline Moody, created the show in response to a study that discovered that if there are both pictures and words simultaneously on a screen, children will pay more attention to the pictures than they do to the words. Don’s response was to build letters into the objects shown in the show.  If the characters are discussing something, they will spell out the word.  Once they spell out this word, the letters actually change into the object that it spells, with the letters still visible. It’s a really unique show that I think your kids will enjoy!

The show is geared towards 3- to 7-year-olds.  It premiered on September 3, 2007 on Disney Junior and CBeebies.  WordWorld has won an Emmy three times. It currently airs in over 90 countries around the world, and has been translated into more than 12 languages.  The show’s writers continue to base its curriculum on recommendations from the National Reading Panel and create episodes based upon the needs of children in the age range the show targets.  For instance, an episode called “Runaway O” helps children learn the letter “O.” Once the children in the show catch the “O,” they are able to use it to build the word “BOX.”

As many parents can already attest, this is a fun and exciting way for kids to learn letters and words.  For even more fun at home, draw a picture of a shoe with your child. Spell the letters S-H-O-E inside of the shoe. Color it, and then hang it on the wall. Just like the WordFriends, you too can help your child build words to save the day!

A New Diet with Fizzy’s Lunch Lab

Fizzy's Lunch Lab

Fizzy’s Lunch Lab was created to address the problem of obesity in America, especially with young children. The series is currently only offered online, but provides valuable information on how to cook simple meals, choose healthy snacks, and also gives nutrition tips.

 Fizzy’s goals are as follows:

1) To create a positive change in the current state of childhood nutrition.

2) To encourage daily physical activity and exercise.

3) To promote basic nutrition and proper portion-size, the importance of eating three meals a day (especially a good breakfast), and the value of family meal-time interactions.

You know that the show is on track because the advisory board consists of quality people, including someone who specializes in diabetes and metabolic diseases, food writers, and a health education professor.  The board has established and set scientific and educational goals, and relies on standards which are set by the USDA.

Sounds pretty good, right? Now if only they could make a cartoon that airs on PBS every day, they might have more reach. If all goes well with the popularity online, perhaps that can be the advisory board’s next goal.

The LeapFrog LeapPad Explorer

Leapfrog Leappad Explorer
The LeapFrog LeapPad Explorer, also known as “The Tot Tablet,” is hard to compete with, especially because it has educational games, e-books, a video recorder and camera all built into it. It has won several awards, including the 2012 Preschool Toy of the Year. It was the number one requested gift on the list for young children this past Christmas. LeapFrog Enterprises continues to grow while other toy companies, such as Mattel and Hasbro, are experiencing declining sales.
This toy is very similar to the iPad. However, the LeapFrog tablet is specifically designed for 4-9 year olds–and therefore is much less dangerous to drop!   TheLeapFrog LeapPad Explorer comes with a few apps pre-installed. Others, like Thomas the Train apps, can be purchased separately. Although the LeapFrog apps may be more expensive to download than apps for the iPad, they are of high quality and educational, just like all of LeapFrog’s products.

The recent trends that we are seeing beg the question, are young children beginning to ditch their Barbies and Mr. Potato Heads for more technological toys? It would definitely appear that way.

The White House

Yo Gabba Gabba

I remember when I went to the White House as a little girl when the first President Bush was in office. I received a little wooden Easter Egg that was signed by President Bush himself. We stood in line for what seemed an eternity. It was very exciting but a little bewildering for a girl my age. What could all the fuss be about?

Perhaps you’re new to the tradition, or perhaps you’ve never even heard of it. But every year, the White House hosts an Easter Egg Roll for the masses. This is one of the oldest traditions of the White House that started with Rutherford B. Hayes in 1878 and continues on to this day. The tradition came to a halt during the World Wars I & II and during the White House renovations, however, it was later revived under President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

No event would be complete without help from the First Ladies. It was Pat Nixon who brought the Easter Bunny to the annual festivities. In 1981 Nancy Reagan hosted an Easter Egg Hunt that included wooden eggs. This soon became the official keepsake item to collect for this event. I still have the egg and it is somewhere in my home unto this day. I could never throw it away-how could I?

The theme for this year’s Easter Egg Roll was “Let’s go, let’s play, let’s move” to keep in line with the First Lady’s “Let’s Move” Initiative, in order to fight childhood obesity.

The Easter Egg Roll attracts the latest and greatest in children’s writers, education, and entertainment every year. J.K. Rowling as well as many others have come to perform and talk to children. And guess what? Our very own Yo Gabba Gabba came to perform this year! Not bad for an event that draws more than 35,000 people, right?