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A noble effort presented with flawed execution, UNPLUG & PLAY! 50 GAMES THAT DON'T NEED CHARGING is author Brad Berger's attempt at bringing friends and family together for some old-fashioned fun that's devoid of "screens." Released last year by Keller International Publishing (of which Berger is President), we've had a review copy floating around here for months, and my hesitation to write about it can be pointed toward the fact that it's just not that exciting or fun.

On January 14, 2015, the first new STAR WARS comic books to bear the MARVEL imprint since the 80s will begin arriving at comic shops (new comics day is Wednesday), expanding the STAR WARS world into exciting new directions with stories that will become official pieces of STAR WARS canon. As these new tales take their places in a timeline that includes the motion pictures and select animated series' (like STAR WARS REBELS), these new books will be an excellent starting point to get new readers into comics, while bringing fresh tales with familiar characters to longtime fans like me. If you're curious what the future of STAR WARS comics holds, take a look at my rundown below - a cheat-sheet of what to look for in the months ahead (release dates subject to change)...

Portland-based illustrator and author Chris Routly has been putting his "questionable wisdom" (his words) as a stay-at-home parent online at The Daddy Doctrines for quite some time, and now he's going full-steam ahead in the publication of his new children's book, SOMETIMES YOU NEED A JELLYFISH. With his previous works now available on Amazon, Routly is taking to Kickstarter* to take pre-orders for 'JELLYFISH, a book inspired by his oldest son, Tucker. Check out Chris' pitch video below.

mayalogo"¡Feliz cumpleaños!" In celebration of it's 10th anniversary, Scholastic Media'a award-winning TV series, MAYA & MIGUEL, just made it's way onto iTunes during the just-wrapped National Hispanic Heritage Month. All 65 episodes of the energetic animated adventures of 10-year-old twins Maya and Miguel Santos are now available for download on iTunes in a collection featuring six volumes for hours of entertainment and multicultural learning. To celebrate the release, Scholastic and THE ROCK FATHER have teamed-up for a giveaway in which one lucky family will receive a MAYA & MIGUEL Prize Pack containing a Spanish First Words book, an additional MAYA & MIGUEL title, and some cool temporary tattoos! Enter below...

Like many of the original STAR WARS generation, I grew up on the occasional STAR WARS Comic Book, then-published by MARVEL comics. Fast-forward about three decades, and the comics are back at MARVEL, it being a corporate sibling to Lucasfilm under the Disney umbrella, and with STAR WARS REBELS out on Disney XD and J.J. Abrams' STAR WARS: EPISODE VII filming now, a few new series' of comics are coming. Thanks to the new alignment, everything will fit into place nicely, with these stories being part of the official timeline, and today comes the first look - just a small tease - of what's coming...

We just caught what I believe is the second Halloween episode of Disney Junior's SOFIA THE FIRST this past Friday, and if your little ones want to keep that pumpkin-y adventure going like mine do, there's a book available to do just that. SOFIA THE FIRST: THE HALLOWEEN BALL is a 24-page paperback from Disney Press that includes a set of sparkly stickers and can be found for under five bucks at retailers everywhere. I picked up a copy for my little Princesses, and there's a good chance that you might want to, too!

PBS KIDS VIP (Very Involved Parent)Our love of DANIEL TIGER'S NEIGHBORHOOD has been well-documented here on THE ROCK FATHER, pre-dating my work with the PBS KIDS VIP (Very Involved Parent) program. From the fantastic show from The Fred Rogers Company, to the wonderful toys by JAKKS Pacific and the infectiously-good soundtracks, the adventures of Daniel and his friends have been a daily part of our lives for a few years now. For 31 Days of Halloween comes a new book from Simon & Schuster's Simon Spotlight collection - HAPPY HALLOWEEN, DANIEL TIGER! Written by series creator Angela C. Santomero, this 14-page "Lift the Flap" Board Book is perfect for youngsters preschool to second grade, bringing some pumpkin-spiced charm to the Neighborhood of Make Believe...

bootoyouAs a wise man (Ron Swanson/Nick Offerman) once said, "There is only Doc McStuffins." True, that as a parent, I view and cover the excellent Disney Junior series often, and I wouldn't do so if it wasn't good. The show has infiltrated all aspects of our lives at this point, and as such, it finds it's way into this year's 31 Days of Halloween with DOC McSTUFFINS: BOO TO YOU!, a touch and feel board book from Disney Press.

Check out the details...

PenelopeThis Friday, September 19th, is the Annual TALK LIKE A PIRATE DAY, and for 2014 you can actually talk WITH a pirate. At 5:30pm PST, join my friend Melissa Northway (part of the PBS KIDS VIP Crew) and her creation, PENELOPE THE PURPLE PIRATE for a very special Facebook Party. There will be prizes (a full-on pirate's booty, you could say) and fun, all worked around the adventures of Penelope - whose book will be available on iTunes for FREE (in regular or HD), but just for one day.

51FXc2r3QbLEarlier this summer, Silver Dolphin Books and Skyreader Media teamed-up to launch a new series of Apps based on the popular TOTALLY MONSTER and PRETEND AND PLAY series' of board books for children under 5. While the Apps are available now as e-Books for the Apple iPad, we haven't experienced those since I've been maintaining my Apple-less stance and use none of their products aside from iTunes. But, news of their existence made a prime time for my little ones and I to take a peek at a couple of the books (TOTALLY MONSTER: BEST FRIENDS, and PRETEND AND PLAY: ON THE FARM), sent to Rock Father HQ by the folks at Silver Dolphin. They were well-received by my girls (particularly TOTALLY MONSTER), and make for some fun reading...

PBS KIDS VIP (Very Involved Parent)Last month, while I was attending the PBS Annual Meeting in San Francisco, I, along with the rest of the PBS KIDS crew, took a little "field trip" across the Golden Gate Bridge and up to Corte Madera for a stop at Pottery Barn Kids. Now through July 17, Pottery Barn Kids in partnership with PBS KIDS are holding a Summer Reading Challenge that's designed to "inspire a love of learning and literacy for kids and families throughout the summer months." Children are invited to "take the challenge" by reading 8 books from a specially selected list of 20 children’s books - each chosen based on favorites identified by Pottery Barn Kids customers. To celebrate the Summer Reading Challenge, PBS KIDS, Pottery Barn Kids and THE ROCK FATHER are getting one (1) lucky reader hooked-up with a $25 Pottery Barn Gift Card! Details below...

Saturday, March 22 2014 10:13

Happy... HELLBOY Day? Yes, #HellboyDay

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Twenty years ago today, Dark Horse Comics released Mike Mignola's HELLBOY: SEED OF DESTRUCTION #1. The character, which first appeared in an eight-page story as part of a Dark Horse Comic-Con Special, would go on to become a true pop-culture icon celebrated by children and parents alike [Ed - perhaps a little stretch there!] spawning feature films, animation and toys. If you can make it out to a local comic shop today, you'll find that HELLBOY DAY is being celebrated with special merchandise and events (participating store list) and the release of the hardcover book, HELLBOY: THE FIRST 20 YEARS. Additionally, Sideshow Collectibles is releasing a HELLBOY Premium Format Figure this August, limited to just 1,500 pieces.

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