Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Cartooning for Kids

When kids write... they read.

Adventures in Cartooning is a great book that teaches kids how to do their own cartoons.
And they don't have to be great at drawing, either.

The book uses an engaging story line to take the reader through the process of building their own cartoon.

Before they even realize it, they've learned how to create a logical story line, use panels, and add thought bubbles, movement lines and all those other useful cartoon gimmicks.

My son got drawn into the story, which is about an elf who teaches a knight about cartooning, as the knight searches for a dragon to slay. Before long, he ran downstairs to show us his own cartoon.

Learning and he didn't even realize he was learning. Ya gotta love it.

Here's an online preview of the book to get you hooked. Hey, that rhymes. Thanks, Boingboing.net for the heads-up on this one.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

How to get your boy reading

Get him this book. I'm not kidding.

This is the "perfect storm" of a book for boys.

It's got what boys love - facts.
Short facts - fact bites, actually.
And those facts are about video games.
And there are cool pictures of people doing crazy things.
And the cover has metallic words.

You get your boy this book, and he will read it.

Unless he's not into video games, of course, in which case - get him this book.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

"Project Bookmark" in Toronto

And to think, I was going to stop following Mayor Miller's tweets.

I'm glad I didn't, because today he was tweeting about an amazing enterprise called Project Bookmark Canada.

The project takes advantage of the incredible array of books set in Canadian locations. As the Project Bookmark website says, "when you walk through this country’s villages, towns and cities and explore the buildings and neighbourhoods, you are walking on fabled ground."

The organization is placing permanent markers, bearing fragments of text from Canadian literature, in the exact spots the text refers to.

Today they launched the first marker, Michael Ondaatje’s In the Skin of a Lion. The text is about a nun who falls from an unfinished bridge into the arms of a man, suspended below. The marker is located on the north-east corner of Toronto's Bloor Viaduct (near Broadview subway station).

OK, that's one for adults. The one they're doing after that (within the year, they're hoping) is Dennis Lee's children's poem, The Cat and the Wizard, at Casa Loma.
This will be an incredible way to view the city - and eventually the country - from a literary perspective, especially with your kids.
Now seriously, mayor. I love ya, but either you do too much in a day (entirely likely) or you're just over-tweeting. So maybe slow down, take a breather... knock it down to say, oh, just five tweets a day? Unless they're about literature, in which case go nuts.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Great game: Tick Tock Boom

Tick… Tock… Boom is an awesome game my son discovered.

You flip over a card that has two or three letters on it: for instance, OU or IRD or REW. Then, each person has to say a word that includes those letters. The catch is, after you say your word, you pass the next person a “ticking time bomb.” Whoever’s holding it when it makes its hissing sound, loses.

It’s a fast-paced game (a whole game takes about 15 minutes) and even more fun than you’d think, because inevitably someone accidentally comes up with some crazy word like “glarg” and then everyone starts laughing as the person madly tries to think of a real word.

I wasn’t too sure about the ticking time bomb. But it’s quite quiet, and it just ends up being more like a round, black timer. There’s also a “junior” version of the game that involves pictures rather than words.

In a pinch, you could make a version of this game yourself, using flip cards and an egg timer. But this game is quite well made and worth the money.

I went to the manufacturer’s website, Piatnik, but I couldn’t find the exact version of this game. But I did find it for sale here, at the Cyberboutique of the Canadian Museum of Civilization. I’ll contact Piatnik and see if I can find out more because I’m wondering if they have more word games. Stay tuned.