New music for little ones that won’t set your teeth on edge
Time Out to Rock, The Not-Its
In the ’90s it was Nirvana, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. Now the Seattle sound is pitching itself to five-year-olds, led by The Not-Its. Fronted by vocalist Sarah Shannon (formerly the lead singer with indie-pop combo Velocity Girl), the band serves up danceable, slightly degrunged tunes about the ins and outs of starting school, bullies, falling out of trees and learning how to obey traffic lights. Their website also features a Karaoke page and printable colouring pages of the band members.
Available on iTunes and wearethenot-its.com.
Rock’n’Roll Playgro und, Jam Toast
Toronto’s Jam Toast (aka singer/songwriter Michael McKinnon) serves up high energy tunes designed to get kids “pogo-ing in the playroom.” McKinnon cites The Clash and Ramones as musical antecedents for songs that pay raunchy tribute to Dad’s cooking (“Shoelace Soup”), fave refreshments (“Lemonade”), and, my personal favourite, firetrucks (“Lucas Likes Firetrucks”), all delivered with a comical sneer that suggests Johnny Rotten in goofy dad mode.
Available on iTunes and at jamtoast.ca.
Around the House, Maggie G.
The first release in CMG’s Music for Creative Kids series, Maggie G.’s Around The House encourages helping Mom with songs like “Pizza Party,” “Let’s Bake Cookies,” and “The Hoover Manoeuvre.” For children ages 3–8.
Available at childrensgroup.com/musicforcreativekids.
Many Hands: Family Music for Haiti, Various Artists
Family entertainer Dean Jones has assembled this collection of popular songs performed by renowned children’s musicians in support of the ongoing relief effort in Haiti. Featured artists include Pete Seeger, They Might Be Giants, Dan Zanes and Recess Monkeys.
Available at Amazon.ca.
Back in Yellow, Splash’n’Boots
This award-winning Toronto duo’s fifth CD, available in December, will have parents rocking out with the kids. Catchy tunes like “Chantell the Chicken” and “The Love of Dance” demonstrate the couple’s love of old school rock’n’roll.
Available on iTunes and at splashnboots.com.
Flip’s Twisted World Launches this holiday season. Exclusively for Wii.
A way cool new game designed by Toronto’s Frozen North Productions, in which a mischievous apprentice named Flip is sucked into the mad and magical universe that lives inside a forbidden book belonging to Master Fulcrum. With help from a cube-shaped companion, he must navigate his way through six topsy-turvy worlds, jumping between islands that hang in space and collecting magic Chapter Stones to make good his escape. His magic cube gives him the unprecedented power to flip his universe on its side opening up new paths and possibilities.
EA Sports NHL Slapshot Now available. Exclusively for Wii.
Wayne Gretzky himself endorses this new hockey videogame that “puts a hockey stick in your hands.” Shooters use a stick-shaped controller to take shots, adjust skating speeding and throw body checks. Goalies use conventional controllers to make awesome saves.
Tron: Evolution – Battle Grids Launches December 7. For Xbox 360, Playstation3 and Nintendo Wii.
Just in time for the film release of Tron: Legacy, the sequel to the ’80s sci-fi classic, this game’s story is set between the two films. Theatregoers will get references to events that happen in the video game, making for a truly integrated experience. Players can enjoy thrilling Tron-inspired arcade games, explore a unique story mode and customize their own Tron program to become a legend on the game grid.
Disney Epic Mickey Launches November 30. Exclusively for Wii.
The mouse that started it all returns in this action-adventure game that sends him on a journey through Wasteland, where players wield paint and paint thinner to shape Mickey’s path to becoming an epic hero.
Babar and the Adventures of Badou, Premiered November 22, 11 a.m., YTV
Babar, King of the Elephants, returns for another televisual incarnation, this time as chief counsellor to his mischievous grandson Badou. The new computer-animated series follows Badou, the heir to throne of Celesteville, as he negotiates the trials and tribulations of growing up royal with help from friends Chiku the monkey and Zawadi the Zebra, and the advice of his granddad.
In The Night Garden Sleepover Party, November 20, 7–9 p.m. ET, Treehouse
There’s no better way to get toddlers comfortable with the idea of bedtime than four new back-to-back episodes of In The Night Garden. The series was created by the originators of Teletubbies and is designed to help preschoolers explore the boundaries between sleep and wakefulness.
Shake It Up, Premiered in November, Family
This new show bills itself as the first sitcom to be built around dance. Buddies CeCe Jones and Rocky Blue land jobs as background dancers on the hit teen dance