Advice to Little Girls - Mark Twain author & Vladimir Radunsky illustrator
Possibly one for the Christmas list of mothers of little girls rather than little girls themselves. With lines like “Good little girls always show marked deference for the aged. You ought never to ‘sass’ old people unless they ‘sass’ you first” this illustrated version of Mark Twain’s 1865 short story is a wonderful incitement for little girls to think for themselves. Find out more about this inspired reissue from Maria Popova here.
Love this yoga poster designed to get little kids to try out a few poses. With names like Warrior, Sun Salute and Tree there is plenty of opportunity for story telling along the way as well. Available from Joyful Babies here.
Jerry's Day Out - A New York City Adventure - iPhone & iPad App by Ink Robin
We do seem to stick with the old favourites here but there’s always good reason. Ink Robin’s story book apps for iPhone and iPad are consistently well made with good illustrations, good stories and interactive features that complement the story rather than showcase the technology. Their latest release combines the illustration work of Swedish artist Gustav Dejert and their own photography of New York city. Jerry is a small bird who is lost in the big city who meets plenty of interesting and musical characters as he finds his way back to his friends and in the process brings us on a tour of New York from Soho to Harlem and everywhere in between. The story is simple but sweet and the illustration style works perfectly with the bright photographic backgrounds of New York (including the High Line, so want to visit someday soon!). Check out Jerry and the other titles from Ink Robin here.
FiLIP is the world’s first smart phone, watch and locator combined designed for kids. With five pre-programmed numbers for them to call you, one way texting, an app that allows parents to see their children’s locations and set safe zones and a panic button this colourful chunky watch allows kids to roam free with a watchful eye monitoring them from a distance. Part of me worries about this level of tracking by already over anxious parents (never mind the possibility of anyone hacking the system to track your kids too!) but most of me just loves the look of these chunky, colourful watches that I would gladly wear and the benefit of contactable kids without the access to internet and text message bullying and the myriad of other issues mobile devices bring seems an excellent option to me. Find out more and make your own mind up about them here.
Cal has fallen in pre-school love. With a brown eyed girl who sings the nursery rhyme “Wind the Bobbin Up” on Smories.com.
We came across Smories while trying to work out what was this new song Cal had started singing since summer camp. All we could make out was something like “wind the bubble up, pull pull, clap clap clap”. The wonderful world of Google brought us the actual nursery rhyme and Smories brought us the tune.
I’m not sure if Smories is still active, but either way it’s a wonderful resource of stories and nursery rhymes, as told by kids for kids. Simply click from image to image to discover new tales and songs. Simple and safe, and Cal for one is definitely smitten.
Last year Santa very kindly included a pack of AJ’s Toy Skate Boarders in Cal’s Christmas stocking and since then many adventures have been had. The little green men have travelled far and wide with us skating over cars, plants and fences and many have been left behind on the way (clearly no moral code exists for these plastic men). Now as their numbers are dwindling a new and exciting winter replacement has been created, Snow Boarders. With 8 different poses from and 24 boarders in the very reasonably priced pack I think we may be seeing these hand bag friendly toys very soon. Check them out here.
Sevenly is like the Kickstarter of charitable organisations. Each week they choose a new cause to support and sell products with each sale donating $7 to the weeks charities. The model is built on “leading a generation towards generosity” encouraging people to give with their social influence first then purchase a product and eventually get more involved with a charity of their choice. The weekly product sales include tshirts and vest tops with typography design supporting the specific charity, jewellery, home wares and even kids soft toys. The organisation is impressive. The turnaround time is quick, from week to week with new supporting videos, designs, model shots, campaign information and ongoing updates on how their goals for the week are progressing (this includes not only the financial target but interestingly also their Facebook shares and Pinterest pins).
This weeks cause is one close to every parents heart, supporting the Stand for the Silent program addressing bullying in schools. Find out more about Sevenly and their causes here and treat yourself to a giving gift here.
Recent hosts to the Groove Festival and the Enchanted Garden family arts festivals, tomorrow Kilruddery house and gardens opens their gates to folks of lore for Fairy Tale day. Little ones are encouraged to come dressed as their favourite knight, princess, troll or dragon (though I imagine a few spidermen will slip in too). Details of this and future events here.
Very happy to see that my favourite story book app developer, Ink Robin, has not only updated their Will & Kate - A Love Story app to include the forth coming heir to the throne but also have released the it as a printed book.
The original app saw Will and Kate meet, fall in love, marry and live happily ever after but the updated version, A Royal Fairytale, now includes a brand new baby.
See more from Ink Robin and buy A Royal Fairytale here, buy the print version here and join the royal watchers waiting for the real birth here.
The Enchanted Walk took place in Powerscourt in conjunction with Imaginosity children’s museum. Participants were armed with a map and clues and started by meeting Lady Powerscourt who gave them ribbons and paper to write a wish they could tie on the fairy tree at the end of the walk. Along the walk Rapunzel at her tower gave coins to make wishes in the pond and a Japanese princess gave information on the Japanese gardens. There were questions to answer on different parts of the gardens, each moving you towards the fairy tree in the walled garden. At the end of the walk when you handed in your answer sheet you received your prize! The walk was good fun but suited to an older child as Mina was only 2 and although fascinated by meeting the fairy tale characters, wasn’t able to write a wish or answer the questions. Keep an eye out for all the events the garden has to offer here.
As far as I’m concerned finding a fruit or veg for every letter of the alphabet is an impressive enough feat in itself (definitely a few towards the end of the alphabet that were new to me!) but also providing colourful illustrations, hand drawn lettering and a tap to play button to hear each letter and fruit or vegetable name goes above and beyond.
I generally prefer the app format for iPad alphabets rather than iBook however three year old Cal took to it easily and enjoyed the colourful illustrations and sounds. He had plenty of giggles along the way but particularly for the illustration of letter D, it took some work convincing him that this was a picture of a date and not some other brown item.
Check out Jennifer’s full range of work here and download the Fruit & Vegetables ABC iBook here.
Launched back in August 2012 (I know, I’ve meant to post about this for ages, thank you to Babyccino Kids for reminding me), Little Bird is Jools Oliver’s clothing range created exclusively for Mothercare. A seventies child like myself and wife of food revolutionary Jamie Oliver, Jools Oliver’s range takes inspiration from her childhood, her family life and a winceyette gown originally bought by her own mother in Mothercare and worn by her kids today. For me, it fits my main requirement for favourite style of clothes for my kids, does it look like it could have been worn by The Red Hand Gang, yes!
One for the older kiddos who have discovered the world of J K Rowling. Graphic designers Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima spent ten years creating every book cover, newspaper, product package and magical map for the Harry Potter movies and now have a limited edition collection of reproduction prints available to purchase online at The Printorium. Check out the full collection here.
From the Amy Ng, the creator of Pikaland, a blog about “living the illustrated life”, comes 1000 Things to Draw. A gift for those of us imaginatively challenged people who when faced with a blank page and a child’s request of ‘draw something!’ have no idea what to do. With inspirational items like ‘a mosquito tracking a ship’ and ‘a farmer morphing into a star’, your doodlers block is a thing of the past.
Purveyor of all things sweet, Sweet Paul magazine’s kids issue is out now. Featuring a plethora of cute and pretty things for kids from toys and room decor to mini meals they’ll love to eat and crafty crafts to keep them busy. Check it out online here.
With a comittment to bring you beautifully designed, cherishable, wonder filled books for children, Flying Eye Books is a very welcome addition to the Nobrow Press publishing platform. Their first book, Viviane Scwarz’ Welcome to Your Awesome Robot, shows you how to create your own robot from everyday bits and bobs. Including, of course, the classic cardboard box. Future releases include the beautifully illustrated Atak’s Topsy Turvy World and Emily Hughes’ Wild. Find out more and sign up for their newsletter updates here.
This is a beautiful collaboration between one of our favourite writers Julia Donaldson and illustrator Rebecca Cobb. It is a story of mothers and daughters and of the importance of memory and imagination. It tells of a mother making a set of paper dolls for her daughter, the rhythmically named Ticky and Tacky and Jackie the Backie, Jim with two noses and Jo with the bow. The little girl brings them on lots of imaginative adventures where they survive tigers and crocodiles. Their final adventure doesn’t end so well but we learn how everything lives on in our memories. It is a wonderful story which works as a fun adventure tale while subtly telling us about imagination and loss. It is perfectly illustrated with Rebecca Cobb’s childlike drawings which Edie really related to. Our copy had a set of paper dolls at the back so we could interact with the story too. Highly recommended.
Only one more day until World Book Day and your chance to take part in a free online festival featuring Charlie and Lola author Lauren Child, My Naughty Little Sister illustrator Shirley Hughes and many more. Get details of the full program and register here and find out about local events from World Book Day Ireland here.
Cat Doorman is Julianna Bright, and vice versa. She’s an Oregonian artist/mom/musician who’s collaborated with a bunch of American northwest indie rock heroes (including members of The Decemberists, Golden Bears, Black Prairie and Built to Spill) to make Songbook, a very charming folksy, old-timey album for children. Little Red Wagon is the first companion app to launch alongside the album, it’s developed by top toddler-catnip producers Night & Day Studios, and it’s very lovely indeed.
On launching the app, you’re dropped straight into Bright’s instantly appealing hand-painted world, where you choose whether you’d like a guitar, piano, or full band backing track. Then it’s right into the song adventure, where a girl in an orange dress gathers supplies – all dropped into the red wagon of the title – for a picnic in the forest. The dairy is run by a goat (the chèvre is recommended), the bakery by a cat: my weekly grocery shop now seems sadly mundane by comparison.
The song itself is great, a blessed relief from the brain-mulching music found in most apps aimed at children, and appears in full notation at the bottom of the screen in case you’d like to play along. All the interaction cues necessary to progress are well signposted, but there are plenty of mischievous hidden surprises for curious tappers too. Trust me when I tell you: those pooping cows are going to be tapped A LOT.
This is another great app from Night & Day, with lashings of their customary attention to detail, plenty of charm and a lot of heart.
To find out more of James Kelleher’s views on apps and the rest of the world follow him on twitter here.
Chris Judge has teamed up with Damn Fine Print to create a limited edition set of prints to launch his new picture book, The Brave Beast. Beastly fans can catch up with Chris and the Beast at the book launch in The Lighthouse Cinema, Dublin on Saturday 9th March between 11 and 3. But if you can’t wait till then you can buy the prints online here and download Beast freebies here.
When I read of the publication of Chu’s Day I was pretty sure we’d like it, after all it has a goggle wearing baby panda, sneezing (always hilarious in our house) and the wonderful Neil Gaiman. We went out and bought it on the day of release and we were not disappointed. As soon as it was out of the bag it was read three times in succession in a cafe to a snorting five year nephew and hysterical two a half year old daughter and we have read it every night since. As the book says, when Chu sneezes bad things happen, and it takes us through various nose tickling scenarios wondering which one will induce the dreaded giant sneeze. It is simply but perfectly worded and stunningly illustrated by Adam Rex whose work I had not encountered before but will definitely seek out again. We loved it and hope we might see some more of Chu and his weary parents in future!
Reading Pictures - A celebration of Irish children's books and illustration
Irish Design Shop in collaboration RHA are hosting a weekend of events this St Patrick’s weekend celebrating Irish children’s books and illustration. The weekend will include demonstrations on book binding, cartooning, presentations on vintage Irish book covers, the debut of Kevin Waldron’s picture book Mr Peek and the Misunderstanding at the Zoo and more. All events are free and full details are here.
Designed in Holland, made in Portugal, a percentage of the cost donated to homeless children and even without all these good things I would still want Snurk astronaut duvet covers for the boys. There are princess ones too if you really must but seriously, wouldn’t you prefer to be an astronaut when you dream. See the full range of Snurk bedding here.
Some time back we featured the very lovely Bold & Noble type maps as a learning edition to your newbie’s nursery. And although it doesn’t have the same soap opera familiarity as the London map the new Dublin print is a very welcome local edition. Available unframed in sea green or sheer slate here.
With the not fun-ness of moving house and at late notice requiring a rental house for three weeks weighing upon us, husband very kindly decided a lunch out for all was required to cheer up the cranky family. With the rain pouring down Jamie’s Italian in Dundrum Town Centre was a very welcome sight and did not disappoint. With the kids menu in view finder format, deliciously fun food for the kids and really excellent and friendly service we will definitely be back again. See the full menu here.
These have been around a while but if you are starting to plan out any city vacations for the year they might be a nice travel treat to invest in for the kiddos (and also for adults like myself who cannot fold maps). Like they sound, Crumpled City Maps are maps that can be mashed into a ball, shoved in the bottom of your bag and survive. 100% waterproof and designed to be light, the junior editions feature a bright design and “not to be missed junior locations”. Available for New York, Paris, London, Amsterdam and Berlin from Palomar.
Si+Lu - Childrenswear designed and made in Ireland
If you are still looking for the perfect Sunday best coat for your little one then look no further than Si+Lu’s absolutely beautiful Donegal Tweed Coat. Inspired by early twentieth century designs and with large practical hoods they are just stunning. Combined with their Alpaca scarf and mitten set they should see any child safely through even the draughtiest Christmas day mass. Check out their full collection here.
Cal's Third Birthday (nearly) - Pirates, Princesses and Amy's Cakes
As poor old Cal has his birthday so near Christmas (and even I find myself tempted to get him joint birthday and Christmas presents) we decided to throw his birthday party a little early this year to allow for more full on toddler carnage without the worry of a Christmas tree to knock over. With some serious encouragement from the fully costumed Dread Pirate Daddy we had a lot of rowdy pirate fun (and pirate dancing to the handy tunes of the Pirate Tavern from World of Warcraft) with many toddler pirates, mustachioed baby and even a pirate princess. In addition I completely cheated and got some serious party baking assistance from Edie’s mum with pirate buns, Cal’s dad who made the brilliant jelly boats and professional help from Amy’s Cakes who very kindly helped me out short notice with some scrumptious cup cakes and a super tasty chocolate cake. All of which combined made for a very fun birthday party and very happy toddler indeed. Many thanks to all who attended and for all the generous pressies!