Solicited reviews

I’ve got a backlog of solicited reviews, so here’s a bunch of bullets about various things that I’ve been sent recently:

  • The good folks at PBS Kids sent me a DVD of their new educational show, coming this fall, Word World.  The learning gimmick is that key words are spelled out, and then the letters transform into the thing itself.  The site says it’s aimed at 3-5 year olds; I think my 3 1/2 year old has already mastered the idea that letters make words that represent things.  But both N and D watched it eagerly, and thought it was very funny.  I asked them whether they liked it more or less than Between the Lions (which is aimed at 4-7 year olds), and they said they liked it more.  N said "it wasn’t scary."
  • Yamaha sent me the Konga drum from their new "real rhythm" line.  I rolled my eyes a little at the literature they sent me about how important drumming is to brain development, but it’s a nice drum.  (I do think music is important to kids, but they can make it with a jar full of beans as well as with a fancy drum.) I know my parents spent quite a while looking for a solid kid’s drum when D was a toddler (without a stick, so he couldn’t put anyone’s eye out) and this one is nicer than anything that was available at the time.  And it’s got a shoulder strap, so you can march around the house with it.
  • I got a CD of a new release — Lullaby Appetite, by Alexa Wilkinson.  If you’re wondering what the title means, so did I.  And having listened to the title track a couple of times, I still don’t know.  So, I’ll send the disk to the reader with the best (as judged by me) explanation.  Overall, I found the lyrics on this album evocative but not quite meaningful.  But the music is catchy and Wilkinson’s voice is fine.
  • Usually publishers email me and ask if I want a review copy, but Friends and Mothers, by Louise Limerick, just showed up on my doorstep.  It’s mommy-lit, Australian style.  I read the first few chapters, and thought they were ok, but put it down in the middle and felt no compulsion to pick it up again.  But Flea read it, and she’s pretty positive about it, so I might give it another try.

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