The Light Princess Defies Gravity

by Amy Kraft on March 4, 2015

If you’re looking for something delightful to do with the kids this weekend, treat them to The Light Princess at the New Victory Theater.

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The Light Princess, a creation of Harvard’s A.R.T. Institute, is a classic fairy tale about a cursed princess that must find love. Of course, if you know me, that’s not all it is or I wouldn’t be writing about it. In this fairy tale, a kind and queen cannot have a child so they turn to the queen’s sister, a witch. The witch warns them there would be consequences, but do they listen? To their surprise, the baby has no gravity. She floats in the air and has to be tethered to the ground. She also struggles to have any emotions that have any gravity to them: anger, sadness, love. If she doesn’t find love by her 16th birthday, she’ll be doomed to have no gravity forever and the witch will take the throne.

What I found compelling about the story is that the princess didn’t mind here gravity-less fate. She didn’t particularly feel like she needed to be saved, though everyone around her is fixated on fixing her. Enter a wayward prince, who is looking for inspiration for music he’s writing. We can immediately see that he needs her as much as she needs him, or more.

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Our princess loves being in the water, and water plays a huge role in the show. Like most of the shows we’ve seen at The New Victory, visual effects and metaphors are achieved in low-tech, artistic ways. Fabric makes the water, but its cut so that the actors can dive below it and spring back out of it. It’s raised above their heads for whole underwater scenes.

The athletic cast makes convincing work of the lack of gravity, too. The princess is constantly on the shoulders of other or up on ladders. Ashley J. ‘Monet’ who plays the princess does a lovely job being in constant floating movement.

I loved that this show spanned the ages of my kids, the almost 5-year-old to the almost 10-year-old.

The show runs through this Sunday, March 8.

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Toy Fair: Best of the Rest

by Amy Kraft on March 1, 2015

Let’s see… I’ve covered toys for makers, toys with girl power, cool tech toys, games, and what’s new from Lego. What about the rest of Toy Fair? There was so much other good stuff to see. Here are the rest of my Toy Fair favorites.

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Worry Eaters

I can’t think of a more adorable way to ease kids’ anxiety than with these super soft Worry Eaters. Put your worry in the Worry Eater’s mouth, zip it up, and stop worrying!

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Grow and Glow Groot

I adore Groot, and Uncle Milton made this amazing Groot that grows vines and glows. I wonder if playing a little Jackson 5 will help it grow?

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Tegu

In missing Toy Fair last year, I somehow missed the robot screen-printed Tegu blocks, clearly a must have for my Tegu- and robot-loving 4-year-old. Now there’s also Stunt Team cars and copters to add to their great pretend play collection of magnetic blocks.

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Blockitecture

No booth grabs my attention aesthetically like Areaware’s booth does. Their toys are always beautiful. One of my favorites this year was their Blockitecture set of balancing blocks, great for both the kids and their architect daddy.

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Whoa-Bots

Speaking of well-designed balancing blocks, I also liked these sets of robots and ninjas. Again, great for both kids and grown-ups.

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How often are your frustrated with the rigid right angles of your building sets? Joinks building sets offer much needed flexibility at the joints with pliable rubber connectors, terrific for building more organic structures.

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Funko

I think no booth brought joy to the grown-ups at Toy Fair the way that Funko’s booth did, where everyone could find their passion in vinyl form. Lebowski! Ghostbusters! Buffy! Game of Thrones! Young Frankenstein! You name it, Funko has made it.

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Snoozzoo Sleeping Bags

I showed Olive the complete set of pictures I took at Toy Fair, and what she wants most of all is one of these animal sleeping bags, where you climb completely inside as though being swallowed whole. That would make for an entertaining slumber party for sure.

Look for all of these toys as they roll out throughout the year. See you next year, Toy Fair!

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Toy Fair: Games

February 27, 2015
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It’s like I’m not even close to being done with telling you about all of the cool things I saw at Toy Fair. Now it’s time for some games. Laser Maze Jr.  We love the original Laser Maze in our house. At 4, Ozzie discovered it and loves to set up the pieces just like it […]

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Toy Fair: Cool Tech Toys

February 25, 2015
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It’s cool to walk the floor of Toy Fair and see how tech is added to toys for all different age groups, and with all different play purposes. I met some of our future robot overlords, too. Legendary Yoda Spin Master only teased this new Yoda toy at Toy Fair but I can tell you […]

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Toy Fair: Girl Power

February 21, 2015
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As I’ve already shown with Lego, toymakers are happily starting to move beyond the if-it’s-for-girls-it’s-girly way of thinking. There’s nothing wrong with girly girl toys, but girls should have choices beyond them. Here are some cool finds from Toy Fair. I Am Elemental I not only want these for the kids, I want these action […]

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Toy Fair: New from Lego

February 20, 2015
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After spending an hour in the Lego booth, it’s only logical that I’d need to devote a whole post to the new brick goodies. This is but a fraction of what you can expect this year. Now, I’ve been tough on Lego Friends in the past, but my view has softened a bit because the […]

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Toy Fair 2015: Year of the Maker

February 19, 2015
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Toy Fair New York tapped into the Maker movement big time this year. I could tell you about many, many more than the ones I’ve listed here, but I’d like to showcase the toys that address my criticisms of the Maker movement: Entry points are often too complicated and way too expensive. Oh, your kid wants […]

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Language Learning with Pacca Alpaca

February 14, 2015
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“Talk regular,” Ozzie says when we try to slip different languages into our day, like when my husband started counting in Japanese the other day. Occasionally Ozzie will lament that he doesn’t know Spanish, but so many of his friends do. We were given a copy of the new language-learning app adventure, Pacca Alpaca – […]

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The Adorable Anticipation of the Google Santa Tracker

December 24, 2014
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For years we’ve been a NORAD Santa Tracker family, but today we discovered Google’s Santa Tracker. It’s super cute, filled with funny little animations. Being Google, it also give you great data. As I write this sentence, Santa is 14,396 km away from New York City, and he has delivered more than 2.5 billion presents. […]

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A Sad Day on Birdwell Island

December 16, 2014
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With great sadness I’ve learned that Norman Bridwell passed away. I didn’t grow up with Clifford books, but Clifford has been a massive part of my professional life. In 1999, I got my first job in kids’ media working as an asset manager on a Clifford the Big Red Dog CD-ROM, Clifford Thinking Adventures. Incredibly, a sullen teenager […]

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