Don't Miss January 2013

Family-friendly movies and games everyone's talking about.

Donald McDermott

Tasty Treats

IHOP celebrates National Pancake Day on February 5. The annual fundraising event aims to raise $3 million in honor of the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital’s 30th anniversary. More than 1,500 IHOP restaurants across the country serve guests complimentary stacks of buttermilk pancakes from 7am-10pm. Diners are encouraged to make a donation.

Adventure Time

One of Cartoon Network’s popular animated series is now an awesome video game. Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why’d you steal our garbage?!! follows Finn and Jake as they discover that their nemesis the Ice King stole their trash in order to construct a Garbage Princess. Players embark on a heroic quest to teach the villain a lesson. Available for Nintendo DS and 3DS.

Monster Mash

Lovable creatures Mike Wazowski and Sully are back on the big screen in Monsters University (Pixar). A prequel to the 2001 animated feature Monsters, Inc., the movie follows two monsters, who started as college rivals and wound up best friends and co-workers. Featuring the voices of Billy Crystal, John Goodman and Steve Buscemi, the flick opens in theaters on January 18.

Tunes and Tales

Music Together, an international early childhood music education program, promotes its new Singalong Storybook division. Available for children ages 1-8, titles include Hello Everybody! and She Sells Sea Shells. Each book is designed to inspire singing, music appreciation and imaginative play. Order copies at www.musictogether.com/storybooks or at www.amazon.com.

The Write Stuff

PBS Kids announces the start of its annual PBS Kids Go! Writer’s Contest, which promotes literacy and creativity by encouraging entrants in grades k-3 to submit original stories and illustrations. In addition to receiving great prizes— tablets, e-readers and MP3 players— winners have their works published in print and online. Submit entries beginning January 1. For contest rules, log onto www.pbskids.com/writerscontest.

Record Breaking

GPR Records brings a beloved children’s story to life with a trio of pianos in Catherine Zeta-Jones: The Runaway Bunny. The CD also includes a rendition of The Story of Babar by Michael Douglas and Goodnight Moon by English Baritone Mark Stone. A large portion of the profits benefits the Windward School in White Plains, New York. To purchase the CD, go to www.gprrecords.com.

Movie Mania

Lionsgate Home Entertainment kicks off 2013 with brand-new DVD releases. The fun begins with YouTube sensation Fred Figglehorn in Fred 3: Camp Fred. And if you’re in the mood for fast-paced action, check out Power Rangers Super Samurai: The Complete Season. Perfect for belated holiday gifts or family movie night, titles are available on Blu-ray and DVD.

Digital Delight

Strawberry Shortcake and her berry best friends bring the merriment of playing dress up to the iPhone. The new Dress-Up Strawberry Shortcake app allows kids to upload pictures of themselves, explore exciting fashion packs and be transformed into amazing creations. If dressing up isn’t your child’s thing, try the interactive story application Team Umizoomi, which features more than 100 animations, artwork and games. Download both titles at www.apple.com/itunes.

Rock ‘Em to Sleep

Rockabye Baby! continues to transform rock bands into baby-friendly tunes with More Lullaby Renditions of U2. Guitars and drums are traded for soothing vibraphones and bells as the popular CD series introduces young listeners to the world of music. Find the series at www.babyrockrecords.com.

Family Entertainment

The holiday season may be over, but the memories can last forever thanks to four heartwarming DVD releases from Anchor Bay Entertainment. Families find a sleigh-full of fun in Icy Escapades, The Dog Who Saved Christmas Vacation, Elf-Man and Chilly Christmas.

This column appeared in the January 2013 issue.