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Wonder CrewEarlier today, I took my girls to McDonald's for a "sometimes treat" - a Happy Meal, but only because it's St. Patrick's Day and I promised them their once-a-year Shamrock Shakes if they'd been good. I was surprised when the guy asked me if I wanted "a boy toy or a girl toy," because I thought I'd read that McDonald's was ending that practice ages ago. With no sign on the board indicating what the choices were, I stopped him and asked what the options were. He specifically stated, "for the boys it's Hot Wheels, and the girls is Barbie." Ok, so the Mattel promotion is back, but I have two girls that love both of those things. I deferred to the back seat for an answer, and with no surprise, Adalyn said "Barbie," while her little sister Finley answered "Hot Wheels." You'd think by now all the gender discussion with toys would be a non-issue, but it's not - and while I've often spoken of letting my girls play with whatever they want regardless of what "aisle" it comes from, I've heard that for parents of boys (an experience I will never know), there's issues even more challenging. Bottom line: the b.s. double-standard that some adults still push - cool for girls to play with cars and action figures/not cool for boys to play dolls and kitchen. WRONG. Kids can, and should be able to play with whatever toy they desire, but still, one mom is making strides toward making dolls "inspired by boys but truly meant for any child" under the name WONDER CREW - and it's because she has to. While the initial hook is "dolls for boys" (a phrase that does lead the press release), these really are dolls for everyone...

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.

Published in Books, Mags, Comics

For today's entry into 31 Days of Halloween 2014, we have something different - something not intended to be today's entry. In fact, TOTE-EMS MONSTER PLUSH came from out of the shadows and onto my radar via one of the darkest, most sinister places on the internet: Kickstarter. Now, I don't cover a lot of crowdfunding projects anymore (please, read this before submitting), but once in a rare while, something strikes me... or in this case, sinks its fangs in like a vampire's bite. It's a project perfectly-launched in time for Halloween, and one with a ton of potential. Toy designer David Murphy (a 15-year pro who's worked on a ton of Disney licenses including a little property called FROZEN) has created over 100 characters for his Tote-ems line, complete with full backstories for each. These little creatures have stretchy arms, a snapping function, and are ready to go wherever kids are. Watch the video below and let David give you the full scoop...

There's a lot of legit rockers making great music for the whole family these days, and that makes for some exciting options for listeners young and old. You've got members of Harvey Danger and Velocity Girl in THE NOT-ITS!; CASPAR BABYPANTS is really just Chris Ballew from The Presidents of The United States of America; Kay Hanley from Letters to Cleo writes music for DOC McSTUFFINS; fun. guitarist Jack Antonoff wrote music for SUPER WHY!; and the list goes on. Now comes THE SQUEEGEES, a Los Angeles-based band with a couple of high-profile members in Pierre de Reeder (RILO KILEY) and Chris Phillips (SQUIRREL NUT ZIPPERS), who together with Samantha Tobey (a former "Mommy & Me" music teacher) and crew are gearing-up for the release of their second album of kindie jams, VEGGIE SOUP. Check out their new video, "I Can I Can" below...

Published in Family Music

On May 4, Brooklyn-based artist Suzi Shelton will release her first full-length family music album in six years. Produced by Marc Bazerman, and featuring guest vocals by Mike Messer from The Dirty Sock Funtime Band and Chicago's own Little Miss Ann, SMILE IN MY HEART is a twelve-track collection of original and traditional songs. Later this week, Suzi will debut the first of several planned music videos from the album, when "Cinnamon Bear" hits the 'net.

Published in Family Music

AMELIA ROBINSON, founder of the Mil's Trill's Children's Music Series in NYC, has just announced plans for a special double-album project. This news comes into Rock Father HQ alongside word that her song, "Mother May I," was recently selected to appear on SONGS FOR A HEALTHIER AMERICA - a new compilation album being put together by Hip-Hop Public Health and Michelle Obama's Partnership for a Healthier America. The Double Album Project is a massive undertaking that involves Amelia's debut records: one for kids - one for grownups. It also involves a special quilt that will be created by those who help crowdfund the project's creation. Curious how this will all unfold? Watch Robinson's pitch video below...

Published in Family Music
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