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July 16, 2007

The Dark Dreamweaver

DarkDreamweaver.jpgThe Parent Bloggers Network kindly arranged for my family to receive a copy of The Dark Dreamweaver, which is the first book in a new series, The Remin Chronicles, by Nick Ruth. I'm a huge fan of young-adult literature, so I leaped at the chance to review this book. I'm happy to say that The Dark Dreamweaver doesn't disappoint.

Eleven-year-old David is suffering from nightmares. Over and over again, he dreams about a strange, bear-like man with black eyes. He's not the only one; an epidemic of nightmares seems to have infected the Earth. David takes matters into his own hands and embarks on an adventure to Remin, a land powered by dreams. Aided by a caterpillar wizard, a jellyfish-man, two wise-cracking water serpents, and several other unusual characters, he sets out to find and confront the evil wizard who is causing the nightmares. The challenges that he encounters will require all of his intelligence, his courage, and most of all, his imagination.

Nick Ruth has a great writing style, action packed and descriptive. David's questions and choices really resonated with my kids, who sat rapt by my side as we read through this book. David is a believable hero, and his tenacity and grit in the face of challenges will inspire readers to reach down deep inside themselves and find a way. Blending science, fantasy and magic with memorable characters and inventive adventures, The Dark Dreamweaver is a great launching point for what promises to be a fantastic series.

For more information on The Remin Chronicles, visit the official site. To order your own copy of The Dark Dreamweaver, click here.. To see what other Parent Bloggers Network reviewers thought, check out the roundup.


July 13, 2007

Noah's Pals™

Today is Three Kid Circus Auditions' stop on the Parent Bloggers Network tour for Caboodle! Toys' wonderful new collection: Noah's Pals™. The kind folks over at Caboodle! Toys sent over not one, not two, but SIX pairs of animals, plus Noah, for my children to test out. The second I opened the box, I was impressed.

Now, we're pretty much connoisseurs when it comes to the plastic animal market. We have entire herds of animals over here, allowing my kids to create reenactments of massive migrations from one end of the living room to the other. So all of us were taken with the beautiful and detailed work on these animals.

giraffe
These hand-painted pairs of animals (Sold together! More on that in a minute!) are apparently built to a 1:24 scale. The eyelashes on the giraffes are just wonderful. Little details really make this a magical collection. Each pair is also packaged with a cool trackable ID card, that gives facts about the animal, and allows the collector to register his pairs. Caboodle! offers a special reward to loyal collectors - register all 40 pairs of Pals in the collection, and they will send a box full of exclusive rewards.

Noah.jpg
We're not a religious family, so it cracked me up when Noah came out of his box, and my kids all said "Evan Almighty!" Heh. We watch too much TV, methinks.

The little doves are tiny - small enough to be popped into a mouth. The larger animals would be fine for very young children. My kids think these are the coolest animals...we've been big fans of the Schleiss animals for years, but at a cost of $10 or more for their large animals, most of whom lack the detail and clever modeling of Noah's Pals, these wonderful pairs are a great deal, especially for moms like me whose kids want to have "a family" of every variety. I will say that Noah's Pals seem a bit more fragile, because they are constructed in pieces instead a solid mold, but if my children haven't managed to behead any of them, I think it is safe to say that they are perfectly durable.

The whole collection is available over at Amazon.com - you can get the entire collection for a specially discounted price of $269 (a savings of $30) through July 20th. Amazon also allows you to purchase individual pairs.

For more information on the collection, and the company behind it, visit www.noahspals.com. If you'd like to see what other play-testers had to say, check out the reviews over at the Parent Bloggers Network.


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