Hello Kitty Clock Radio and CD Player - My Daughter’s Review


My seven year-old daughter was needing an alarm clock for her bedside - not because she needs to set an alarm yet, but mostly so she could play CDs and listen to the radio on something that wasn’t a hand-me-down. The Hello Kitty clock radio had all the things we wanted (alarm, CD player and radio) so we decided to try it out and review it for Modern Day Dad.

This is what she thought of it:

The clock radio looks really cool in my bedroom because it’s pink and has Hello Kitty on it. I like that it has a radio and a CD player. The best thing about this alarm clock is that they put all of those things together. The clock is very easy to read (because it’s digital) and sometimes in the middle of the night I think to myself “What time is it?” so I look at the clock. It has an alarm too, but I don’t use it.

I do not like how you change the radio stations. It only has a little dial on the side and it’s hard to use. The CD player is easy to use - you just open it and then press the power button. The sound of the clock radio is good.

I think the people who should buy this are girls who don’t have a radio or an alarm clock and like Hello Kitty.

When given the choice between something that will function reliably and something branded with a cartoon character, most kids will usually pick the thing with the cartoon character on it. (And my kids are certainly no exception.) While the Hello Kitty “am/fm stereo dual alarm clock radio with top loading cd player” is certainly something you buy because it has Hello Kitty on it; for a kid’s clock radio it seems well built and more than reliable.

Hello Kitty Stereo CD Alarm Clock Radio, $69.99 at (this version isn't up on yet)

The Smurfs Dance Party for Wii - My Kid's Review



Currently my children have Smurf fever. In the early part of the summer they went through a mild obsession with the Smurfs iPad game and spent weeks trying to farm enough fruit and flowers to earn Sumurfette. The iPad game also did a pretty good job of introducing them to all the characters as well as hyping the movie (which releases today - 7/29). They even used their Build-A-Bear gift cards from their birthdays to get the “exclusive” Smurfette and Clumsy Smurf. Trust me, I’m pretty Smurfed-out these days.

Their favorite video game on the Wii however is “Just Dance 2”  - a dancing game where you dance along to pop songs (either by yourself or with friends) and the Wii manages to give you points based on how well you are following along. It’s a great game -  fun to play and probably funnier to watch someone else playing. And the fact that they are up ad moving around kind of assuages the parent’s guilt that they are letting their kids play a video game when they could be outside doing something. Kind of.

So when I got the opportunity to review the new Smurf video game for the Wii - “The Smurfs Dance Party” it seemed like a perfect fit.

The game is basically a Smurf version of the “Just Dance” video games. There is a Smurf on the screen (all characters from the movie of course - including Gargamel) and you follow along and dance with them to songs from the movie. There are a couple of other modes - a story mode that basically tells the whole story of the movie (apparently my kids have no problem with spoilers) and a mode where you can dance to all the songs in one giant loop.

My girls (ages 5 and 7) have been playing it for a few days now and they are far more qualified to review the game than I. Here’s what they had to say about it.

My 7 year old:

This video game is almost like Just Dance 2. It has different Smurfs that dance, and there are also lyrics that you can read along with the music. The music is cool because it has songs that people know, but with Smurf words in it. Also, each Smurf has their own special song.

The only thing I didn’t like about the game was in some of the songs Gargamel dances instead of the Smurfs, and I thought that Gargamel looked kind of creepy. I’m not going to blame the actor though.
I liked the game a lot, and I think it’s just as good as Just Dance 2.

My 5 year old:

I liked the game because it was fun. There was a lot of dancing in it, and it was kind of like exercise - kind of like a Zumba thing. There aren’t many songs with Smurfette by herself, and I wish there were more. I also didn’t like Gargamel because he was kind of creepy. I liked the songs because if you’re doing one player, the person who is waiting can sing along to the songs with the person who is dancing.

This game would be good for people who like Smurfs and Wii. But if you don’t like to dance you should not get this game.

So there you have it. I sure didn’t think they would like it as much as Just Dance 2, mostly because the songs are (to me at least) way more annoying. There are only a few songs that people would recognize and a lot of filler - songs that seem written for the game. But my Smurf-crazy kids didn’t seem to mind at all. And when I had them load in the Alvin and the Chipmunks game for a comparison, it’s obvious that a lot more effort went into The Smurfs Dance Party.

Now I can only hope the movie is also better than the Squeakquel.

The Smurfs Dance Party, $33.24 (and almost sold out??) from

The Big Book of How - Facts and Experiments for Summer Vacation


[This review is the first post co-written with my six (almost seven) year-old daughter. This summer we're doing all sorts of new things, not the least of which is helping Dad with some blogging...]

The Big Book of HOW from Time Magazine's series "Time for Kids" is not only about how things work, but also about how to do things yourself. Imagine a book full of questions that a young adult might ask, like "How were the pyramids built?" or "How do you prepare for an earthquake?" Except in addition to the answers, there are experiments (or "crafts" as my daughter called them) to illustrate how the things work in real-life. Here's what she had to say:

This book would be good for kids six to twelve years old. Adults can read the book with them also, and they can do experiments with their children. The book is very colorful, with all different kinds of pictures. It is also big with 181 pages and lots of facts. My favorite part of the book is all the crafts and experiments that look like fun. One of the things I learned from the book is to make sure you have plenty of food and water when a hurricane is about to strike. I do not live near the ocean, so I don't have to worry about hurricanes!

I have to say, I don't have anything bad to say about this book. I think this book would be fun in school and on summer vacation because it has lots of fun things to do. If you're curious about how things work in the world, you might like to buy this book. It might not be a good library book however, because once you start reading it you might not want to give it back.

Time for Kids Big Book of HOW, $12.21 from