Archive for September, 2010

Major Fisher-Price Recall

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Today Fisher-Price recalled nearly eleven million products ranging from trikes to high chairs. Visit the company’s website to be sure that no products in your home have been included in this recall.

Parents’ Choice 2010 Fall Audio Awards

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

We are happy to announce the Fall 2010 Parents’ Choice Audio Awards.

From iconic folk singers to Haitian folk tales, this season’s list is packed with diverse picks for everyone. Polar bears share space with bumbling pirates while still managing to make room for timely lessons set to infectious music.

If nothing has caught your eye yet, then there’s plenty more to discover amongst this season’s winners. Go check them out!

Game On!

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Reality game shows like Survivor, The Bachelor or Big Brother draw the most public attention,

An all-new season of Fetch! With Ruff Ruffman

but one of the best of the genre debuts its 5th season under the radar this October on PBS. It’s not as well known as those spouse swapping, bug eating ratings grabbers—but it should be. Fetch! With Ruff Ruffman is a hybrid show geared for kids but appealing to all. A veritable kitchen sink of a program, it’s a send up of game and reality shows, with an educational twist and some mystery, action and animation thrown in as well.  Ruff Ruffman is an animated canine host who pits six tween contestants on tasks and challenges for points and prizes but the real fun is in the journey to acquire the goodies.  You’ve heard of the three Rs. This season of Fetch is all about the three As– art, animals, and adventure. The challenges this season include saving baby seas turtles, exploring a gold mine in Colorado and learning magic from Penn & Teller. For the first time ever, viewers also get to see how Fetch, along with his animated sidekicks Blossom the cat and Chet the mouse, select contestants.  They also help fend off the viewer stealing imitation show Go Get It as well as locate the new contestants (as soon as Fetch selects  them, he promptly loses Marc, Jay, Emmie Rubye, Marco and Shreya). The search for group also promises to  turn up clues to the whereabouts of Fetch’s long-lost parents. Best of all, the fun continues even after the TV is off with great outreach material including online games, experiments and adventures to try at home from Past episodes and clips are also available for free online.

Toy Makers Fight for Exemption From Rules

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

In today’s New York Times, Andrew Martin writes:

“Is a football mainly for children? What about a Halloween costume or a model train?

None of the above, manufacturers say, as a new federal crackdown on dangerous toys has left some in the industry crying foul and not wanting to play.”  Read the full article here

Reading Differently After September 11

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

If I can speak on behalf of others, the events of September 11, 2001, have increased Americans’ sense of vulnerability. In the words of a song by Sting now associated with these events, we have come to learn “How fragile we are.”

Since 9/11, our lives have been different at the university: we read and teach differently. Now, for example, students seem genuinely moved when they read Homer’s description of Hector’s farewell to his family before he leaves to fight the Greeks at the gates of Troy, more sympathetic for the Irish when they learn of English atrocities in the Seventeenth Century.

I teach Children’s Literature to university students in San Diego; and just as much as September 11, tragedies in this city in Spring 2002 have made even more poignant our investigations of children’s lives. In March, seven-year-old Michelle van Dam was abducted; and in April, two-year-old Jahi Turner disappeared from a city park. The body of Michelle was found weeks later; as of this writing, Jahi has not been found.

Along with September 11, these abductions have been very real-world reminders to my students that issues of vulnerability and fragility are particularly acute in children’s lives. It may be bullies in the schoolyard. It may be the terror of going to bed alone in the dark. Or it may be the situations our newspapers routinely tell of children who have been abused by civil or religious guardians. Children’s lives, in other words, also have their anxieties and fears–some big, some small, only children do not know which are “big” and which are “small.” As Randall Jarrell says in his poem “Children Selecting Books in a Library”: “Their tales are full of sorcerers and ogres / Because their lives are.”