Category: Entertainment + Media

Remembering Shirley Temple: Her best 3 films to watch with your kids.

We were so, so sad to hear that Shirley Temple Black passed away Monday night. She was one of our (and probably your) most very favorite child stars ever—those dimples! Those curls! Not to mention the respected diplomatic path she took as an adult. If your children are asking Shirley who? allow us to offer you three of Shirley Temple’s best  films that they definitely have to watch. Get that Netflix log-in or that Amazon account ready. Quickly, before all the prices triple.   Bright Eyes This is the movie Shirley Temple first became famous for, and most of us...

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The Lego Movie Review – A real block buster.

As the cultural discussion continues about building toys for girls and gender specific toy aisles, let me start by saying that my girls have been talking non-stop about The Lego Movie since they first saw a preview for it months ago. They are fans of everything Lego from the classic sets to the movie themed sets to Lego Friends, which means that sitting in the theater watching an early screening of the movie, they thought they died and went to block heaven. Now this movie could have been terrible. Really. In less adept hands it might be a pat, cheaply produced, plot-light franchise to...

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The best Super Bowl ads portraying parents this year. Because it’s 2014, not 1914.

We’ve come a long way, baby, from the days when Super Bowl ads necessarily meant the Swedish Bikini Team and disconcerting depictions of women with anthropomorphic animals (RIP Spuds McKenzie). Now, some of the best Super Bowl ads in 2014 portray parents in a progressive, positive way. That said, we haven’t come as far as we’d like. But in between a creepy candy bar threesome and Uncle Joey’s ploy to get a date to lick yogurt off his pants (or something) we found  a few bright spots.  Here, shout-outs to our favorite portrayals of parents among the 2014 assortment...

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4 of the best of the latest kids’ music album releases: Recess Monkey, Charlie Hope, Mister G, and Lucky Diaz

If Santa is bringing a new MP3 player or you’d love to wrap up a few new cool kids’ music CDs to give your little listeners, here are four cool new releases, by some of our very-favorite kindie artists: Recess Monkey, Charlie Hope, Mister G, and Latin Grammy-award winner Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band.   If you’re tired of winter already, Recess Monkey’s latest Desert Island Disc will feel like a breath of fresh, warm, summer air. Kicking off with the ukulele notes in Coconut Radio, Desert Island Disc gently blows through 14 songs that are, as...

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The Sound of Music Live. Tonight. Without spending $450 on tickets.

As an avowed musical geek, I’m so thrilled about tonight’s daring production of the The Sound of Music Live on NBC.  Yes, live. I’ve got the inner track and the word is that Carrie Underwood is simply brilliant as Maria, if you can forgive her for not being Julie Andrews; Steven Moyer makes a big leap from True Blood’s Bill Compton to the decidedly un-bloodthirsty Captain Von Trapp; and the kids are all simply wonderful. Plus? Audra McDonald as Mother Abbess is an inspired choice. What I’m most excited about is the attempt to capture the same thrill of live theater–no do-overs, no...

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Free Birds movie review: Thanksgiving is not for turkeys.

Let me start out this review with a spoiler alert: although Free Birds is a buddy film and the buddies are dudes, the strongest and most intelligent character by far is a girl. And a turkey. And she has a lazy eye. And let me go on to say that I’ll definitely be taking my kids to see this movie in the theater. And that after hearing Amy Poehler, Owen Wilson, and Woody Harrelson dish on their kids, I think we need to have a playdate. Keep reading if you want to know more about why turkeys can be...

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You’ll have the coolest Halloween bash on the block with these new tunes

I’m not going to knock Thriller, but if you want to grab some fresh new tunes to liven up your Halloween gathering, we’ve got a collection that will have your ghosts and goblins dancing (or lurching) all over the place.  Not too scary and not too sweet, Mondo Zombie Boogaloo is a CD for almost all- age monsters. Featuring three indie greats, Southern Culture on the Skids, The Fleshtones, and Los Straitjackets, this may not be specifically a “kids’ CD” but rest assured that you won’t need to turn down the volume for any questionable lyrics or anything too...

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Just announced: Fids and Kamily’s Top Kids & Family CDs for 2013!

It’s never easy to go through all of the great family music picks we have covered over the past twelve months and rank our top ten favorites for the annual Fids and Kamily Awards. But it’s also so great to get together virtually with all the other journalists, bloggers, publicists, and radio show hosts to pull together the top picks of the year. This year’s winner? It’s a name you’ll probably recognize, as he and his band have been making great family music for more than 16 years: It’s one of our all-time favorites (and four-time Fids and Kamily...

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Great music for tween girls: somewhere between The Wiggles and Katy Perry

Now that my oldest is hitting that early tween phase (eek) she’s becoming more interested in the lyrics to Call Me Maybe than I’d like. I don’t blame her entirely, but I need some great tween music for her to love that I can feel good about too, And I don’t mean YouTube sensation Friday.    We’ve loved kindie albums like The Jimmies’ Practically Ridiculous for a long time for hitting this sweet spot for our growing girls, but we’re thrilled to see our friend Jeff at Out With the Kids go even further, with a roundup of 9 bands that tweens will...

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PEG + CAT adds up to a fun, smart math-based series for preschoolers

If you’re waking up this Monday morning with a busy preschooler to entertain, we’ve got some good news for you: PBS Kids has added a smart new show to their roster that isn’t just adorable to watch, but also will feed those growing brains with some fun math concepts that you can then incorporate into the rest of their day. Perhaps as in, You need to take one nap today, but you have so far taken zero naps. How many naps are left to take? Starring one precocious little girl named Peg and her sidekick Cat, each 11-minute episode...

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The Verve Pipe’s Are We There Yet? has indeed arrived

After listening to indie-rockers The Verve Pipe’s debut kids’ CD, A Family Album, a while back, I remember hoping they’d be back soon with more of their rockin’ charm. Fortunately, The Verve Pipe has decided to splash around in the kindie pool again, and their second release is full of even more cool tunes with clever, funny lyrics for your elementary-school aged kids. And you won’t have to worry about them sharing these lyrics on the playground. The Verve Pipe’s Are We There Yet? is filled with fast-paced, multi-layered songs, peppered with a latin, country, and blues beats. They really...

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Heading to NY? Free author events for kids at MoMA Design Store NYC!

If you are going to pick the perfect time to visit New York City, you could do a lot worse than fall. The family-friendly options here seem endless this time of year. So whether you live in town or you are building an itinerary for your special Saturday visiting the Big Apple, we’d like to suggest adding the MoMA Design Store to your schedule. Yes, for kids. Set on the charming Spring Street in Soho, the MoMA store has been a long time shopping favorite of ours. We were extra pleasantly surprised to discover that in addition to the killer...

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Help Laurie Berkner put your kids to sleep

For years, my kids and I turned to Laurie Berkner’s upbeat and catchy tunes like Victor Vito and I’m Gonna to Catch You to give our day a little pick-me-up and a reason to sing and dance around the living room. But we’re also really excited to hear that she has a lullaby CD in the works, and you can help get it produced! Plus get some awesome perks that won’t be available for long. Because we know her pretty voice would make the nicest sound to hear at naptime, bedtime, or just mommy’s “quiet time”.  [We’re the first...

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Go on. Pick some Boogers for your kids’ music collection.

I’ve been seeing many bleary-eyed kids and parents as we get used to the back-to-school routine of early mornings, marathon homework sessions, and after-school activities. Fortunately, one of our favorite kindie punk rock bands, Boogers, has released another fast-paced, pump-up-the-volume CD that will get the adrenaline flowing and give you all a second wind.  At only 23 minutes in length, Extractum Victoris is the perfect length when you’re all ready to take a break from math homework, or embark on another cross-town drive to soccer practice. And if you will forever carry a torch for bands like The Ramones and...

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Dan Zanes and Elizabeth Mitchell make beautiful music together

I’ve always loved Dan Zanes and Elizabeth Mitchell for making such special music that families can enjoy together. And now they’ve joined musical forces to produce a collection of songs that is joyful, upbeat, and so very lovely. You won’t want to miss this one. [Keep reading for your chance to win your very own autographed copy for your kids, from Dan Zanes and Elizabeth Mitchell. Whoo!] In their first collaborative CD Turn Turn Turn, Dan Zanes and Elizabeth Mitchell have put together a collection of original and deserve-to-be-heard-again folk songs. It’s sure to be a new classic, a...

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Got back to school questions? Ask us live today on Kids Place Live!

With summer almost over, our Editor Kristen and her daughter Quinlan are headed back to the SiriusXM Kids Place Live studios this afternoon to talk all things back to school! Tune in live today at 4pm ET to Channel 78. You’ll catch cool apps and websites for parents, healthy snacks and lunchbox tricks, plus lots of fun shopping tips and picks from our new 2013 Back to School Shopping Guide launching today. And even more fun, you can call in to The Absolutely Mindy Show and ask Kristen and Quinlan a question live! So set your alarm and make...

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Frances England’s Blink of an Eye: One of the best kids albums of the year

Summer brings out serious nostalgia in me–maybe because it doesn’t seem so long ago that I was the one learning how to dive off the dock into the pond. And as I watch another summer unfolding before my eyes, I’ve also had the pleasure of hearing a brand-new release from beloved kindie-folk artist Frances England, which gorgeously captures these little moments in time. It’s just spectacular listening. And I think you’re going to love it too. [We’re giving away a copy of this new CD! Details after the jump.] With her pretty, lilting voice which reminds me a bit...

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It’s finally time for Recess with Justin Roberts

We have waited three long years to hear Justin Roberts’ newest kindie-pop album. Oh, sure, he gave us an awesome Lullaby CD last year, but we’ve been eagerly awaiting another rollicking CD full of his imaginative lyrics and stick-in-your-head choruses. Today? The wait is over, everybody. {Keep reading for how TWO readers can win a copy of this new release! And you can hear THREE songs from this release for free!} On Recess, Justin Roberts has once again crafted a collection of songs that seems fresh out of the mind of a child. Or a dog, as in the...

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You’ll be pleased to meet Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke’s new CD

These hot and humid days of summer have my posse looking pretty sad and sluggish. It’s time to kick things up a notch around here, and we’ve got the perfect CD from fab fellows Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke. So get your groove on and break a sweat to their seriously fun sound.    {Keep reading after the jump for a chance to win a copy!} As they’ve done on both Rise and Shine and Hey Pepito!, Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke have compiled a totally entertaining group of songs on Pleased to Meet You, a must-have addition to...

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Songs for the World’s Bravest Kids: Thanks, Alastair Moock.

Though there are already many wonderful charities and benefits to help support kids with cancer, we are so touched by one effort by dad and musician Alastair Moock who is using his musical talents to speak directly to these special kids, one of whom includes his own young daughter. [After the jump: Learn how you can win a copy of this CD for your own family, or to donate to your local children’s hospital] Alastair’s own daughter’s leukemia diganosis influenced the creation of a most-excellent collection of songs for the family: Singing Our Way Through: Songs for the World’s...

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Shine and the Moonbeams’ debut CD: The one our kids have been waiting for for 2 years. Really.

Ever since Shine and the Moonbeams turned an entire room of kindie-music industry folks into speechless putty at Kindiefest 2011, I’ve been anxiously waiting the release of their first full-length CD. When you consider that lead singer Shawana Kemp’s voice is featured on three of my top five kindie songs of 2012, well, that should give you an idea how ridiculously happy I am that the wait is over. And if Shine and the Moonbeams is new to you, keep reading to find out what makes their sound so special. [Win a free copy of this amazing CD: details after the...

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Classically cool American tunes for your Fourth of July celebration

Whether you’re planning a July 4th BBQ or just want to share some classic American music with your family, I’m pleased to introduce a brand new Putumayo Kids Presents CD that will get your toes tapping as you get into the spirit of red, white, and blue. {Keep reading for your chance to win a copy of this new CD!} Beginning with Johnny Bregar’s harmonica-accompanying She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain and ending with a spirited This Land is Your Land by folk-and-bluegrass musician Phil Rosenthal, Putumayo Kids Presents American Playground breathes new life into tried-and-true tunes, many of which...

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Monsters University Review: You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll say, wait…was that a Carrie reference?

It’s an interesting thing, settling into a seat in a theater filled with squirmy, popcorn butter-fingered children for a G-rated movie, knowing that half the references will be to movies like Animal House,  Revenge of the Nerds and Back to School. And yet that’s exactly what Monsters U is: a witty, irreverent, sweet and frequently hilarious take on the classic college comedy. Only, you know. Animated. By Pixar. With monsters. But is it right for your kids? To be sure, my children, 6 and 8, adored Monsters University. And they’re not even super familiar with the original Monsters Inc.,...

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4 “fantastico” children’s CDs in Spanish

Whether you’re fluent in Spanish or can’t even count past ten (er, diez), hearing songs sung en español is such a great way for kids to become more familiar with the language while they are playing, dancing, or nodding off at naptime. And I’ve found four great CDs sung in Spanish that will make a great addition to your kids’ music collection. So, iÁndale!  –Christina [Keep reading for your chance to win all four of these CD’s] From CMP favorites Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band, Fantastico is one collection of songs that will have you sweaty dancing to...

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Take the plunge with Recess Monkey’s Deep Sea Diver CD

On their last two CDs, The Final Funktier and In Tents, Seattle’s Recess Monkey cleverly pulled together songs that either overtly or subtly referred to life in outer space — or under the big top. And now, in their ninth release, and just in time for the hot days of summer, they’ve released an ocean-themed CD packed with 15 tunes. Jump right in, the water’s fine. {Keep reading to find out how you can win a copy of this new CD!} Deep Sea Diver covers sand and sea with catchy rockin’ pop songs, from Beach Ball to Making Waves. But,...

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Baby Buggy Bedtime Bash 2013: The stars were out, and so were we!

Once again, Cool Mom Picks was so happy to support our friends at Baby Buggy on June 4 at the annual Baby Buggy Bedtime Bash in Central Park, and helping them to raise close to $500,000 for at-risk families with young children in need. Wow, did the celebs come out this year, all with their adorable kids. [see lots of fun pics after the jump!] Garcelle Beauvais, Organizers Jessica + Jerry Seinfeld and family, Mariska Hargitay + Debra Messing Clockwise from top left: Nigel Barker; Ali Wentworth + Garcelle Beauvais; Rebecca Minkoff + Gavin Bellour; Molly Sims; Liz Gumbinner...

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Epic Movie Review: Is it really epic?

On a whim, my children and I wandered into the local theater and plonked down an absurd sum to watch Epic in 3-D, a movie I knew very little of at the time. All I had heard was that there was a strong female lead, a great voice over cast, and something about fairies, and all that seemed good enough for us on a hot afternoon. As it turns out, that was just scratching the surface. I’m not sure this is one that will stand the test of time the way The Secret World of Arrietty does (after a...

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Lisa Loeb’s kids’ music gets you ready to move and shake. (Yes, you too.)

I’ve been a fan of Lisa Loeb’s voice ever since her days singing 90s hit Stay, but I really fell in love with her when she crooned the lovely, mellow Catch the Moon album for babes with Elizabeth Mitchell. Now Lisa’s back with a bunch of kids’ songs that aren’t made for napping, but for getting up and moving. And shaking. And yes, dancing. Get those smartphone video cams ready. Lisa Loeb’s Songs for Movin’ & Shakin’ includes ten tunes for doing just that. Half of the songs are originals like Turn it Down (The Air Band Song) that’ll...

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Rock this summer on the radio with Sirius XM’s Kids Place Live

I am a pretty big fan of SiriusXM’s Kids Place Live for many reasons, but mostly because it is hands-down the best media outlet providing today’s family music makers the national exposure they deserve. The station brings the best in kindie rock and all-ages entertainment into the cars and living rooms across the country and save plenty of us parents from a backseat full of bored kids. The summer’s programming on KPL will feature three exclusive new series that are totally worth tuning into. Kids Place Live, if you haven’t yet discovered, is much more than a typical radio...

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If you like the Okee Dokee Brothers, meet their friend Paul Spring

If you’ve read Cool Mom Picks for any length of time, you probably know how much we adore the music of the Okee Dokee Brothers. So, when our favorite Grammy-winning kids’ music duo asked me to check out the new release from their friend, Paul Spring, I decided to give it a spin. And it’s been in our family’s music rotation ever since. Hailing from Minneapolis, singer-songwriter Paul Spring’s first family-music release, Home of Song, is so easy on the ears, this is definitely not one just for the kids. With catchy vocals, plenty of peppy banjo, and cheerful...

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