Thursday, July 31, 2008

Templeton Turtle Goes Exploring

Ron Pridmore's first book, Templeton Turtle Goes Exploring, is sure to be a hit.  The story is based on a dream and tells about a baby turtle as he journeys around his pond for the first time, meeting animals of every size and personalities.  Templeton experiences disappointment, friendship, fear and ultimately community.  My children, 7 and 4, both give the book a thumbs up.

The book is beautifully illustrated by Michele-lee Phelan and my daughter enjoyed quietly looking at the pictures afterwards, searching for fish and other details.

Ron Pridmore is a strong advocate of letting children experience wildlife and the outdoors, especially in this age of television and video games.  According to the Children and Nature Network, 8-year-old children can identify 25 percent more Pokemon characters than wildlife species.  "I hope that Templeton's story will inspire other children to spend more time outside," Pridmore says.  "With the green movement continually growing in prominence and the state of our environment in the balance, it's more important than ever for our kids to have an appreciation for nature."

Ron Pridmore answered some of my questions about his new book:

  1. Did the story of the book really come from a dream?  Yes, the story came from a dream I had. When I woke up the story was so real, it felt like I was there. In my dream Templeton didn't have a name, he was just a turtle that I dreamed about. I wrote the story just as I dreamed it.
  2. How would you suggest that children explore the outside world safely in this age of Lyme disease and West Nile cirus?  I would suggest, in the case of Lyme disease, to try and go to parks with nice walking trails that have been cleared of over-grown brush and trees. When you get home check one another to make sure you don't have any ticks on your body and take a warm shower. These steps should protect you from Lyme disease. Here in Napa we have several parks with nice walking trails, and I have never had a problem with ticks. For the West Nile virus I would suggest that before you go hiking spray yourself with Off Deep Woods mosquito repellent. It has long-lasting protection and also helps protect from ticks. Mosquitoes are stubborn, so take the can of spray with you in your back pack just in case you need to spray yourself again. If you follow these suggestions you will be fine and can enjoy the outdoors safely.

If you visit Eco-Libris by August 2nd, you can also enter to win their review copy of Templeton Turtle Goes Exploring.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Tees For Change Giveaway

Tees For Change carries a line of eco-friendly organic cotton and bamboo tees adorned with positive messages. They are available in women's and men's styles as well as a 100% organic cotton baby line.

To win this live fully tee in organic cotton jersey, visit Tees For Change and leave a comment with your favorite "mission", or t-shirt saying by August 8th, 2008 at 11pm.  The winner will be chosen randomly and must have a valid e-mail address.  Shipping to US and Canada.

You can also receive 15% off your order by using the code "mommybytes" until August 31, 2008.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Weekly Contest from Brighter Minds Media

Stop by the Brighter Minds Media Contest site every week to enter to win cool educational prizes from Brighter Minds Media.  I have been a fan of their site since their Halloween contest where they awarded every entry with a prize package.  We got a ton of books, and a game CD just for entering.  So stop by or subscribe to their contest page.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The LeapFrog Tag - Cool Reading System for Kids

The LeapFrog Tag is the latest offering from the award winning LeapFrog company. It consists of a pen which "reads" the LeapFrog Tag books.  Most parents are familiar with the original LeapPad Learning Center which uses a tethered stylus with special books and cartridges.  This system spawned copycats such as the Fisher Price PowerTouch Learning System, which allows kids to use their fingers to do the reading.  Both have disadvantages in that you need to keep track of a cartridge for each book and the systems themselves are rather bulky.  The LeapFrog Tag changes all that.  The Tag is easily held by any child and my four-year-old daughter took to it immediately.  There are no more cartridges and the Tag "reads" its books like magic. There are various reading modes as well as multi-leveled games.  It even knows when you change books.  You will need a computer with an internet connection to download new books to the Tag.  My first download went effortlessly.

Being an engineer, I had to figure out how this magic occurs (jump to the last paragraph if you don't want to spoil the fun).  I scoured the book for RFID chips, holding up the pages to the light.  I peered into the sensor on the Tag and determined that it was probably an optical sensor.  Then I finally noticed that the pages of the Tag books had tiny microprint consisting of uneven dots over the page.  The density of the dots differed between the two Tag books so it knew when the book changed.  My kids are so used to magical technology, that this amazing device didn't even phase them.  You can see my daughter using it here.

The LeapFrog Tag comes with the Ozzie and Mack book shown above and is available in two colors at Toys R Us and all major retail outlets for $49.99.  You can also purchase it online at LeapFrog with free shipping through July 31st.