Category: Entertainment + Media

The Croods movie review. Think of it as The Flintstones 3.0 in the hands of Dreamworks

Nose picking, blatant scratching, a thrilling chase, slipping on banana peels — all things my almost seven-year-old currently thinks are the most awesome and hilarious acts on earth, especially if there’s a fart joke in there somewhere. Cue The Croods. I will admit I’m less than thrilled by my son’s current choices in comedic relief, so when the two of us were ushered into an advanced screening of The Croods 3D I handed him his snacks with a stern warning to not get carried away by any caveman hijinks at home. And, sure, while the film delivers on a...

Read More

¡Hola Mis Amigos! Hilarious Dora the Explorer miniseries begins today

When I saw College Humor’s “fake” trailer for a live-action Dora the Explorer movie, I joined the chorus of voices across the internet begging that this hilarious two-minute trailer be made into a real movie. And that wish has come true. Now along with no more diapers, teething, and 3am feedings, one of the best things about my kids hitting grade-school age is that they no longer subject me to nonstop episodes of Dora the Explorer. There’s only so much Swiper, No Swiping! a mama can take. However, this is different. College Humor will offer up a three-part miniseries,...

Read More

Let’s Skateboard! with the completely rad The Not-Its and a free MP3

If you’ve got little skaters like me, then you know that that skateboarding is no longer a fringe sport. It’s everywhere in pop culture. And skateboarding plus music equals sheer awesome, which is exactly how we feel about CMP-fave kindie rock band The Not-Its premiering their new skateboarding music video right here on Cool Mom Picks today. (Just for you!) {Don’t miss the exclusive premiere of The Not Its’ new music video PLUS a free download of their new skater tune and awesome giveaway just for Cool Mom Picks readers}   If you’re not familiar with The Not-Its, they’re...

Read More

The best new movies for kids? The NY International Children’s Film Festival lets you find them all in one place.

Watching The Academy Awards always gets me excited to watch more movies, but maybe not the best movies for kids. In fact I’m sure that 99% of them are way too much for little ones (and, often, me) to handle. But for you lucky New Yorkers–or those of you planning a trip to the city over Spring Break–set aside the month of March for “Extreme Movie Watching” because you’re about to get a whole bunch of reasons to hit the theaters with the kids. Or hey, even if you’re not NY bound, you can browse the site and start...

Read More

Congrats to the Oscars 2013 best animated short: Paperman

Watching the 2013 Academy Awards last night, I was feeling bad about seeing a big fat zero of the nine Best Picture Oscar-nominated films, though I admit that after reading Liz’s amazing Les Miserables review, it was almost like seeing it myself. But hey, I did see the Best Animated Feature winner Brave and now also the Best Animated Short winner Paperman, which you can catch for free on Hulu. It’s a such a sweet film and certainly worth sparing seven minutes to watch. Congrats to them, and all the Oscar winners! -Kristen Looking for more of our movie...

Read More

Shake things up with great new music from The Not-Its!

If there’s a month when I need to shake things up around here, it is February. Summer seems so far away, the fun of the holidays is over, and we’ve got a serious case of the blahs. As if arriving on cue, the crazy cats who make incredibly authentic indie music for families have just released their fourth CD…and it’s my favorite one yet. [Keep reading for a chance to win a copy of this great new CD!] What I have loved about Seattle’s The Not-Its! from the first time I heard their debut CD, We are the Not-Its!,...

Read More

Congratulations to Grammy winners, The Okee Dokee Brothers!

We are so thrilled to learn that last night’s Grammy for best children’s album went to a longtime favorite of ours, the Okee Dokee Brothers’  Can You Canoe? In fact, our own kids’ music expert, Christina Refford, called it the best kids CD of 2012, so we’re glad to see the (clearly brilliant) Grammy judges agreed. I still remember when Christina first shared the Minneapolis duo’s 2008 release, Kids With Beards, and told me, “these guys are great! Really different…but I think they could be really big.” She included them in her favorite kids’ albums of 2008, and again in 2010. And now…the big time! Can you tell we’re just thrilled for them? (Plus, they’re so nice!) Justin Lancing and Joe Mailander with Christina and Liz’s kids at Kindiefest, 2010 As our regular readers know, our heart has always been with the small artist, the little guy, the moms and pops on their way up the ladder. And the same goes for our ongoing coverage of amazing Kindie Rock musicians who make listening fun for everyone in the family, even if they’re not all household names. Yet. Be sure to check out our review of Can You Canoe?, download, and see for yourself why this bluegrass and American roots band is just so captivating. You don’t even have to be a...

Read More

The Sesame Street Downton Abbey video. Hilarious!

Considering how addicted we are to Downton Abbey, we just couldn’t wait to tell you about the new Sesame Street Downton Abbey parody called “Upside Downton Abbey” that will air next week. The parody, which stars the Dowager Countess of Grantham and Carson the Butler at tea, is almost exactly like the real thing, complete with English accents and the drama that we all love, except with a hilarious Sesame Street twist. Enjoy the sneak peek. –Pilar Watch the full Sesame Street Downton Abbey when it airs Monday, Feb. 4. on...

Read More

A musical playdate you indie-music parents won’t want to skip

Still have your kids’ attention? Lucky you! That means there’s still time to fill their ears with music that will make your own indie-music-loving soul happy–before the siren song of Call Me Maybe has imprinted on their poor susceptible souls for life. So you’ll want to check out a new CD that is full of indie cred from the new label by Skankin’ Pickle’s Mike Park, but with lyrics for those who can’t stay up past 8pm.  Fronted by Greg Attonito, singer in punk band Bouncing Souls, Play Date has him joining up with his wife Shanti Wintergate in their first release, Imagination.  And while...

Read More

Vered makes music for babies that you can love too. In other words, not too babyish.

I have no doubt of the power of music to soothe the savage beast–or the overtired 6 month old child. If you too are looking for something lovely, lyrical, and fun-to-hear to play for your little one, here’s a wonderful CD by a kindie artist and music therapist who writes songs that are designed to help you bond with your baby. Especially useful on those days when they’ve had you up since before dawn. Singer, songwriter, and mama, Vered Benhorin, has created Good Morning My Love, a CD of 18 gentle songs specifically for those first two years of...

Read More

The best Schoolhouse Rock videos on YouTube – Happy Birthday Schoolhouse Rock!

Schoolhouse Rock for me, is more than just a part of my childhood, it’s a part of my family. As a kid, my dad worked at the ad agency with creator David McCall, and the other writers and art directors who brought us this genius educational series. In fact, one of my favorite memories as a kid was sitting in the agency screening room with my brother, watching them on the reel-to-reel (yes, I’m dating myself!) without waiting for Saturday morning TV. I love so much that now my own kids are fans of the series, and in fact...

Read More

The Board of Education makes smart music the kids want to hear in Binary

They Might Be Giants makes it sound so easy to put together educational music that is fun and doesn’t sound like a lesson plan, but–take it from this homeschooling mama–it isn’t so easy to do. In fact, I’ve found that there isn’t a lot out there that the kids want to hear in the realm of educational tunes. But thanks to this band from Seattle that has the touch, we’ve found a CD full of smart songs the kids choose to listen to at any time of the day. {Keep reading for a chance to win a copy of...

Read More

Elizabeth Mitchell’s latest kindie CD takes on Bowie, Hendrix and your kid’s playlist

Smithsonian Folkways artist Elizabeth Mitchell has one of those crystal clear, beautiful voices that can take any song and turn it into the musical equivalent of spun gold. And while she has already released the much-loved, Grammy-nominated collection of Woody Guthrie covers earlier this year, she has more songs to give us. In fact, her latest release mixes traditional American folk with original tunes and covers from everyone from David Bowie to Van Morrison to Jimi Hendrix. Yes, really. Besides her gorgeous voice, what unifies all of her songs on Blue Clouds are the lyrics that reflect qualities I...

Read More

Les Miserables movie review: Quite easily the movie of the year

Let me start by saying I am not some Les Mis groupie. I have never seen the play or even read Victor Hugo’s book, so it’s not like I have childhood memories to stir up. That said, I cannot think of the last time I walked out of a movie saying, I can’t wait to see that again. And that’s exactly what you’d have heard me say immediately following a preview screening of Les Miserables. At least you might have heard it, if could understand me through the sniffles and the tears still running down my face. [Read on for...

Read More

Little Golden Records brings back a tune of nostalgia

The world of children’s music has come a long way, baby. I definitely grew up in simpler times, lying on my bedroom floor listening to record-album recordings of my favorite stories. While it’s incredible to have such diverse offerings for our kids today, there is something about that timeless, pure, old-school style of storytelling that I still have a soft spot for deep down. Naturally I was thrilled when I discovered the new re-imagined Golden Records collection. Golden Records has revived the series which began way back in 1948 by music producer Arthur Shimkin, and is bringing it back to life with...

Read More

Spruce up your holiday CD collection with the new releases from some of kindie’s favorites

As much as I love the holidays, hearing Christmas music in stores and on the car radio since Halloween has squashed my desire for another spin of Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer. Luckily, like a surprise from Santa’s elves, three of kindie’s biggest and best names have released collections of holiday tunes that have rekindled my Christmas spirit. –Christina With a peppy, kid-pop sound, A Laurie Berkner Christmas is full of Christmas cheer, jingly bells, and songs of which you’ll know at least the first verse. Play this during your kids’ school party, while decorating the tree,...

Read More

A wonderful new lullaby CD for moms tired of Brahms…or just plain tired

Stocking-stuffer alert for the sleep-deprived: I’m used to listening to Justin Roberts‘ songs with the kids in the car, with the volume turned up more than halfway. In my opinion, he is one of the best at sing-along choruses, clever wordplay, and high-energy kid-pop. Turns out he’s also pretty darned good at taking the tempo down–way down–and putting us all to sleep.  {Keep reading for a way to win a copy of this CD!} In his 10-song CD Lullaby, Justin Roberts soothes kiddos (and weary parents) to sleep with some peaceful sheep-counting imagery, gentle love songs, and short storytelling. And while...

Read More

Pixar’s animated shorts collections will make your little movie lovers smile

I still remember the very first Pixar short film I ever saw, way back in 1986. It was called Luxo Jr. and told the story of two lamps playing with a ball. Such a simple story, from the little start-up animation company that grew big. Fast forward a whole bunch of years, and Disney PIXAR feature films are now among every kid’s favorites, but the short films are no less compelling. Which is why this new collection makes a fabulous holiday gift. Pixar Short Films Collection 2 pulls together a dozen animated shorts for your family to enjoy in one...

Read More

This just in: The top kids’ CD’s of 2012 as announced by Fids and Kamily

Just in time for holiday shopping, Fids and Kamily has released their Top 15 Kids CD’s of 2012 this morning. Which means that you now have a bunch of great gift ideas for every kid on your list that you won’t mind listening to either. You’re welcome. This list isn’t created by any one person, but by combining the votes from journalists, bloggers, publicists, radio show hosts. . .and yours truly. So it truly is the top collective picks of a whole big group of us who listen to an awful lot of kids’ music. Who won? Well, the...

Read More

Wishing for a great kids’ CD? Throw a Penny in the Wishing Well

My singing voice is best kept in the shower. But that didn’t stop me from singing to my kids when they were younger, though I’d usually do it along with the lovelier voices of Laurie Berkner, Frances England, and Charlie Hope. (I think my kids appreciated this.) Here’s another wonderful voice I can’t help but sing along with. I think you will too. Canada’s Jennifer Gasoi recently released her second kids’ CD, Throw a Penny in the Wishing Well, and it is packed with 18 oh-so-pretty original tunes. And though the lyrics speak directly to kids who might wonder...

Read More

Annie the Musical is back on Broadway! The sun is out, people.

I am old enough to remember the original Annie on Broadway, starring Andrea McArdle. That show had me and a zillion other little girls dreaming of living in a mansion with a swimming pool and a cute dog–although maybe keeping our own parents. So when I heard Annie was coming back to Broadway this year, I jumped at the chance to bring my daughters to a preview. I can’t say that the Annie revival quite lives up to the original 70s debut, although there are some very good performances indeed. Katie Finneran absolutely shines (like the top of the Chrysler Building?)...

Read More

We’re grooving on Ozomatli’s rockin’ new album for kids

Eighteen years of rocking out plus a Grammy win thrown in for good measure, makes Ozomatli a band for the ages. Yet as big as they’ve become, the band still rocks a happy home-grown vibe. And their latest venture is a kids’ album every bit as awesome as fans like me might expect. The sound of Ozomatli is infectiously fun, especially in the new album, OzoKidz. It’s a great way to introduce kids to songs that don’t fit into a conventional genre. The Skateboard song, one of my favorite tracks, feels like a punk rock anthem in the style of...

Read More

Hotel Transylvania Review: Velcome to Fun

The second my girls saw the very first ad for Hotel Transylvania, they were begging to see it. At 5 and 7, I wasn’t quite sure if I should get their hopes up or not–after all, stories about monsters not of the Sesame Street variety generally don’t suit their age group. Remarkably, even my 5-year-old wasn’t scared a bit. Okay, so there were a couple of tense moments in which she gripped my hand a little tighter, and it’s possible that she’s a tougher little girl than most. But when I asked them at the end if it was...

Read More

Rabbit Days and Dumplings serves up deliciously different family music

Thanks to an Austrian grandmother and a healthy selection of Putumayo Kids music, my kids have been exposed to a fairly diverse tapestry of children’s music…although I will admit that our knowledge of any music from East Asia is almost nonexistent. But now that versatile musician Elena Moon Park from Dan Zanes and Friends has released a collection of songs from her homeland, that’s all about to change. {Keep reading for a chance to win a copy of this CD!} Rabbit Days and Dumplings is especially exciting if you’re like me and have a preconceived notion in your head of what an...

Read More

Volcom, Yo Gabba Gabba and Jack Black = skate culture awesomesauce

Volcom is my kids’ absolute obsession around these parts. They’re hardcore skateboarders, and Volcom represents everything that is awesome about skater culture. One of my sons insists on only wearing shirts emblazoned with their logo. He has two, and if they’re dirty? No worries. He will gladly dig them out of the laundry basket. Talk about brand loyalty at six years old!  And now Volcom’s newest collaboration is the raddest thing since sliced bread, because they have figured out a way to raise the roof on cool. Intrigued? Oh, you should be. Volcom and Yo Gabba Gabba have joined...

Read More

Raise a Ruckus with Hullabaloo’s latest CD for kids

Steve Denyes of Hullabaloo has the kind of cool Johnny Cash-esque voice that would be right at home in a honky-tonk country bar. Fortunately for our kids, he and his childhood friend Brendan Kremer have decided to make great kids’ music instead of crooning to boring old grownups. And their latest release is a real barn-burner. The dozen songs on Raise a Ruckus mix swing-your-partner country with story-telling folk and good ol’ rock-and-roll for a toe-tapping, upbeat sound. The fiddle-and-banjo-filled title song alone begs for dancing (and could exhaust even the most energetic five-year-old).  I love that Hullabaloo has such a...

Read More

Before Rowling there was Tolkien

This week, at their father’s insistence, we introduced the kids to Lord of the Rings–he wanted to get a head start before The Hobbit finally comes out. Well, my older daughter is now officially obsessed, roleplaying Frodo at every turn. (She didn’t want to be Arwyn, surprisingly. Kind of cool.) If you’ve got a kid who’s smitten with Tolkien, but you’re not ready to fill their room with giant full-color posters of Orcs, this minimalist design option is awesome. Designer Jamesy has created this lovely Minimalist Lord of the Rings series of posters. I think the Fellowship of the...

Read More

One apple worth picking this fall

When I was pregnant with my first child, my neighbor gave me a cassette tape full of traditional kids’ songs, and I thought, This is what I’ll have to listen to when I have a baby? Interesting. And then I sobbed. Maybe a little. This could be one reason why I get so excited when I hear bands like The Harmonica Pocket, who create the kind of unique music I want my children to surround themselves with as they get started in this world. And their new CD is one you’ll want to pick. {keep reading for your chance to win a copy!}...

Read More

Gustafer Yellowgold’s musical tour through the holidays is a trip worth taking

Yes, the years are going by so fast, though I’ve never had one whiz by in 28.4 minutes, thank goodness. But if anyone can make that happen in a way that will put a smile on your face, it’s the musical, yellow-hued cartoon Gustafer Yellowgold, whose latest release takes us through a year of holidays, seen from the point of view of an outer-space creature who came here from the sun in 2005. Yeah, it’s a bit weird, but a whole lot of awesome. As with Gustafer Yellowgold’s previous releases, Year in the Day is a combo DVD/CD. I love the combo concept...

Read More

Celebrating Woody Guthrie with 2 perfect CDs

This would have been folk-music legend Woody Guthrie’s centennial year. And so we celebrate the truly amazing legacy he left behind. Within the 3,000 song lyrics (wow!) that he wrote, there lies a powerful children’s music catalog that speaks directly to the energy and creativity of those ever-expanding minds. There’s a whole lot more to Woody Guthrie than This Land Is Your Land, is what we’re saying. Here, two important new albums that offer families a new twist on some familiar tunes. We know that you will dig these CDs as much as we do. First up is the...

Read More

Pin It on Pinterest