In Stein’s book debut, her self-deprecating humor will make you laugh out loud and inspire you to take the heart-stopping, forehead-slapping, blush-inducing moments of parenting a little more lightly. A television writer, comedian, and Parents contributor, she brings her blunt honesty to the forefront of her relatable parental anecdotes, like watching her own birth video and connecting with a pregnant stranger (who ended up not being pregnant).
In one memorable scene (excerpted in full here), Stein and her husband are abruptly snapped out of sexy time and into damage control mode when their four-year-old walks in on the action — on more than one occasion:
“I heard a slow click, looked up, and saw my kid standing in the doorway. This time she was holding an armful of dolls and giggling in a high creepy voice that, in movies, usually signals the arrival of the Antichrist.
It was even more shocking the second time around. It was as though she had developed some sort of pervy sixth sense that, combined with her 4-year-old fighting weight (which meant she was not quite heavy enough to make the floors creak), allowed her to simply materialize like the sex-murdering specter that she was.
One week later, we installed a lock on the door. It seemed a perfect solution — and it was, in that it kept her out of eyeball’s reach. But it also prompted her to sit outside our door and wail — and FYI, it is darn near impossible to achieve any sense of ‘closure’ when someone is pounding her tiny fists on your bedroom door and yelling, ‘No bounce! No bounce!’”
How Not to Calm a Child on a Plane is packed with brutally honest stories that will comfort any parents who sometimes feel inadequate (i.e. all parents) and will have even non-parents cracking up. And the fun isn’t just for moms: Stein recorded a book trailer called “Dad, You’re My Hero” just in time for Father’s Day.
As she writes in the book, “Parenthood is a minefield of unpredictability: sometimes the mines are made of tears; sometimes they’re made of undigested food.” While Stein may not be able to offer concrete, expert-approved solutions for either of those scenarios, her voice is an ally for parents who just might learn to laugh at themselves too.
As a big fan of Suzanne Collins’s book series, I love how Sesame Street transformed Cookie Monster into Cookieness Evereat, whose goal is to survive the jungle by eating his way through the “Hungry Games.” His companions include parodies of Peeta (now an animated piece of pita), Finnick (wielding a fork instead of a trident), and Wiress (who keeps staying tick tock while holding an alarm clock). For more on the names of popular characters, check out Lisa Milbrand’s “In Name Only” blog post on why names from the Hunger Games haven’t taken off.
Even though your kids might be too young to understand the inspiration behind the latest video, they can still help Cookieness as he faces challenges related to food. Kids will learn basic pattern and shape recognition by guessing which food type comes next in an apple-banana sequence and which food shape comes next after a circle-square sequence. Parents can just laugh along at the funny antics and jokes.
Plus: Sesame Street characters Elmo and Murray recently visited our offices! Below, watch a video where they give tips on tackling picky eating. And watch Elmo and Murray give more advice on bedtime routines and getting along with siblings!
Do your kids love Nick Jr.’s show Tickety Toc? My daughter does, and she added a Tallulah doll to her 2013 Christmas list right after opening all of her presents last year. The only problem is that there are no Tickety Toc products available in stores. Really. They don’t exist.
According to Ticktey Toc’s website, lots of parents have been requesting Tommy and Tallulah toys and our wishes are finally being answered. Tickety Toc products will become available in stores this September, which leaves Santa enough time to do his job.
What news could be better than that? This week we’re giving away a whole Tickety Toc product bundle to two lucky winners!
Leave a comment below, up to one a day, between now and September 4th for your chance to win a Tickety Toc prize pack that includes a Clockhouse Train Set, Talking Tommy Doll, Talking Tallulah Doll, Tickety Toc “Chime Time Adventures” DVD, Tickety Toc Floor Puzzle, Tickety Toc Matching Game, and a “Welcome to Tickety Town” Book. Each bundle is worth $118!
Lego Duplo’s “Read! Build! Play!” initiative strives to develop early literacy and strengthen learning through their Read and Build series of simple story books paired with easy construction activities.
Last year, Lego Duplo and the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) partnered to create resources that combined reading and play. “Through play, young children learn about their world. With this knowledge, they can understand books and stories once they begin to read,” says Starr Latronica, Vice President/President-Elect of the Association for Library Service to Children.
This summer, Lego and ALSC have created the first Summer Reading Lists/Activity Guides for toddlers and preschoolers. Two free guides (one for Ages 1-3, one for Ages 3-5) pairs 10 already-published books with Lego projects designed specifically for each one. The books, easily available at local libraries, were chosen by ALSC’s Early Childhood Programs and Services committee. A Parent Activity Guide is also available for free, to explain the importance of play and to offer advice on how to interact with kids.
Parents can preview a list of the chosen books below and click on the jump to see a photo of the suggested activity for Meeow and the Pots and Pans by Sebastian Braun. Visit ReadBuildPlay.com to download the entire activity guides (which includes the full lists of Lego projects with instructions, plus coloring pages).
March may be National Reading Month, but it’s important to focus on reading every month of the year. In addition to setting aside time to read regularly during the day (or night) or visiting your local library and bookstore, consider subscribing to the Book of the Month service offered by GiftLit.com.
Founded by two moms, GiftLit allows parents to choose age-appropriate books (all curated by librarians, editors, and other book experts) to be mailed on a monthly basis. Each book arrives with a personalized card and bookplates, and GiftLit also donates 10% of their profits to schools, libraries, and literary organizations.
Back in April, I blogged about the deliciously funny and clever “Book People Unite” video from Reading Is Fundamental (RIF). The video showcased various literary characters (Pinocchio, Curious George, Humpty Dumpty) along with media and music celebrities (Jack Black, Regina Spektor, LeVar Burton).
Reading Is Fundamental sent me the follow-up video below, an equally fun behind-the-scenes look at the making of the original. Several cast members are interviewed, including Raggedy Andrew and a very funny Big Bad Wolf, and there are snapshots of how the magical elements came together.
It’s Children’s Book Week, which means this week is another special reason to encourage your kids to read! This celebration of books (sponsored by the Children’s Book Council and Every Child a Reader) officially began in 1919, though the idea was originally formulated in 1913 by Franklin K. Matthiews, the librarian of the Boy Scouts of America. To date, this week is considered the longest-running literacy program in the U.S. (Read more about the history at bookweekonline.com)
Since spring and rain are on my mind (it’s been endless wet weather in New York), here are some new and old spring-related books that are perfect for the season:
Gem by Holly Hobbie – The author/illustrator of the “Toot and Puddle” series showcases her superb watercolors in this (mostly) wordless book about a frog and a young girl’s discovery of the world.
And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano – Spare and poetic as a haiku, this first-time author focuses on a boy waiting for his garden to bloom. Subdued illustrations by Erin E. Stead, who won the 2011 Caldecott Medal for “A Sick Day for Amos McGee,” are a perfect accompaniment.
Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger – A tribute to nature and the environment, Seeger shares the different shades of green that exist in the world, along with scenes of what a world would be like without green. Strategic cut-outs on each page also give a hint of what will come next.
The Curious Garden by Peter Brown – Inspired by the High Line in New York City, this story follows a little boy as he plants a rooftop garden with the hope of transforming a dark and dreary world into something bright and bold. (Brown’s signature drawings are detailed, lush, and vibrant.)
This cute and catchy music video came across my inbox yesterday and I’ve watched it at least three times. If you love books and reading as much as I do, you will also love this video from Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), the largest non-profit children’s literacy organization. RIF just launched the national ”Book People Unite” campaign to encourage book lovers to band together, and this Public Service Announcement features an original song produced by The Roots.
A montage of assorted puppets (by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop) and animations (by Curious Pictures) of beloved book characters (Pinocchio, Curious George, Babar, Humpty Dumpty, Clifford, Raggedy Ann and Andy, and Madeline) are all seen or heard singing ”Book People Unite.” Famous musicians and celebrities such as Chris Martin from “Coldplay,” John Legend, Regina Spektor, and Jack Black also contribute vocals for the characters or make appearances alongside them. LeVar Burton, who hosted “Reading Rainbow,” also makes a cameo. (NYTimes.com also has a feature-length piece about the video.)
Last year, RIF provided 14 million books to 4 million children, and the non-profit hopes to give more books to the 16 million children living in poverty in our country. To show your support for literacy, sign the “Book People Unite” reading pledge and receive a free download of the song.
Can you spot all the book characters or match them to the celeb voices?