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Tanya's Profile

Customer Reviews: 12
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Helpful Votes: 306

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Tanya RSS Feed (Thousand Oaks, CA, USA)

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Polar Express
Polar Express
Price: $9.99

2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Depressing, desolate and odd - Not for children, March 25, 2014
I remember seeing this movie when it came out. I had a 5 yr old at the time. It was very disappointing. I cannot understand how 1,000+ reviewers don't see how this is a HORRIBLE children's film. My husband purchased the Blue Ray 3-D DVD awhile back so I saw it again with my 9-year-old daughter recently. Even she agreed it was a lousy and weird Christmas movie. The settings are desolate. There are many instances of peril. (Peril in movies could be fun or have a purpose, there was no purpose for it here.) There is an abandoned North Pole that the children are walking through. Other than the conductor (Tom Hanks) who is mean to children, there is not one loving adult in sight. The children are completely abandoned. Wait, I forgot there is a creepy Hobo on the train who is actually a ghost. The Hot Chocolate song sung by Tom Hanks has to be one of the worst songs ever on film. The animation is atrocious in this particular scene because the waiters looks like robots. How is this a children's film? The original book was beautiful, but there was a lot of artistic license taken and the results are simply depressing. I'm throwing my copy in the trash. Why would I give this to another family?

LEGO Friends Olivia's House 3315
LEGO Friends Olivia's House 3315
Offered by Buy 4 Less Shop
Price: $104.95
124 used & new from $82.95

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Too expensive for what it is. Purchased for $20 less at Target., December 4, 2012
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Price: I paid about $60 for this at Target. After my 8-year-old daughter completed it, I felt misled because the actual house is so small. It is so tiny compared to the photo on the box. Other reviewers here have said the same thing, that they would not have spent the money on this particular set had they known it was so small (especially for the price being asked). This should have been a $40 set. I can't imagine spending $80+ on it.

My 8-year-old daughter loves the set. Over the past year she has discovered she loves LEGOs. She loves the CITY series and the FRIENDS series. She loves the process of building it. She puts most of it together on her own. The step-by-step, photo instruction booklet and separate, numbered bags make it easy for her to do this. My 12-year-old son was never a LEGO fanatic, so the world of LEGOs is new to me. The nice thing for my daughter is that she keeps the sets up and plays with them, creating different story lines, mixing up stories/characters. Some children just like to build it and leave it alone. I am glad she can continue to enjoy playing with them.

Gift: If you are giving this as a gift to a LEGO fan, whoever will receive it will probably love it. But you can find other LEGO sets that are a better value for the money. If you are shopping for a girl, my daughter also likes the CREATOR 7346 Seaside House and CREATOR Lighthouse Island 5770.

Price: Just compare Amazon to other stores. For Christmas, my daughter is getting the CITY Police Station 7498 ($104. at Amazon). Toys R Us has it listed for $148. and my local stores are sold out. Online Toys R Us has it now for a special $79.99. But only available to pick up in your local store. I'm not going to sweat it. I'm happy Amazon will deliver it to me within 2 days, so I don't have to drive all over creation to get it.

Coleman Issaquah King Size Sleeping Bag 25 degree farenheit - 3 Sleeping bags in 1 - 36"x80"
Coleman Issaquah King Size Sleeping Bag 25 degree farenheit - 3 Sleeping bags in 1 - 36"x80"

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best for car camping, as it weighs 8.5 lbs, not 3.5 lbs, June 1, 2007
I bought 2 of these from Costco. The fleece lining (which is removable) feels wonderful. I love how roomy it is. But it is BIG and BULKY so it's best for car camping. My 7-year-old son loves to sleep in it on the floor of his room. I know you can put 2 like bags (zip them together) to make one big bag. Haven't tried that yet, but I will on our next camping trip if it gets too cold.

Disney Cars McQueen Trike
Disney Cars McQueen Trike

5.0 out of 5 stars Lightweight and great! My 2.5-year-old daughter loves it., January 19, 2007
This review is from: Disney Cars McQueen Trike (Sports)
I bought this bike for my 2.5-year-old for Xmas. I needed a lightweight tricycle that was easy to carry to and from the park and one she could actually pedal. It is a joy to see her enjoying her trike at the park, pedaling for long distances. I'm close behind in case she topples over, since most trikes by nature are not stable. I have an older Kettler (built for stability), but I hate it because it's so heavy to lift and my daughter could never pedal it. So that's in the garage and she'll use it when she's older. We tried other tricycles at the toy store, but I didn't like any of them for a variety of reasons. Even the Dora counterpart (I did not want a darn Dora trike) was not as well designed as this one. This trike has thick, cushioned wheels and a comfortable, wide seat.

Graphics: I hate the Cars graphics. I hate that my daughter is a walking advertisement for a product. I don't care if the graphics are for Play-doh, Sesame St. or Dora. They should be paying me to advertise, not the other way around. Visit the Campaign for A Commercial Free-Childhood online for more information.

Assembly: Assembling bikes is such a headache. I took the unopened box to the bike shop and let the pros assemble it for $15-20.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 27, 2007 10:10 AM PDT

Where's Pup?
Where's Pup?
by Dayle Ann Dodds
Edition: Hardcover
23 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book!, November 29, 2006
This review is from: Where's Pup? (Hardcover)
My 2.5-year-old daughter loves this book and echos almost every single sentence after her father. It's the cutest thing to hear. She does not do this with any other book read to her. Another benefit is that my 6.5-year-old 1st grader (learning to read) can practice reading with this book also. The text is short enough to engage attention of the youngest listener and hooks them in by playing a fun game: searching for something or someone. And that balding clown is cute, he does look like Woody Allen.

Blankie (Leslie Patricelli board books)
Blankie (Leslie Patricelli board books)
by Leslie Patricelli
Edition: Board book
Price: $5.28
105 used & new from $0.01

10 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very good concept, except for one very disturbing part, November 11, 2006
My 2 year old daughter LOVES Yummy Yucky so we were eager to try the other books. There are two parts I always skip when I read this book (borrowed from the library, I won't buy it). They are: "Blankie does everything with me... watches the same shows I do (over and over and over), ... and has time outs." There is a drawing of the baby sitting on steps, clutching blankie while crying his eyes out. That is the part that distrubs me. I think toddlers identify with the baby and the scenarios in this book (which is what makes her series wonderful) but I would never put a toddler/baby in a time out, so I don't want her thinking this could happen to her. I know they are popular (especially on nanny TV shows) but they are outdated. They are used as a punishment more often than not (and not supposed to be). I do not encourage daily TV/DVD watching either, so that's why I skip that part. Reading "Endangered Minds: Why Children Don't Think and What We Can Do About It" by Jane Healy really opened my eyes on this subject. Otherwise, a cute book and her favorite part is "Super Blankie!"
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 16, 2007 6:38 PM PST

I Can Share: A Lift-the-Flap Book (Karen Katz Lift-the-Flap Books)
I Can Share: A Lift-the-Flap Book (Karen Katz Lift-the-Flap Books)
by Karen Katz
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $5.99
128 used & new from $0.01

76 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book, especially if you understand early childhood development, June 11, 2006
I believe it was Magda Gerber (author of Your Self-Confident Baby and infant educator in Los Angeles, who said that young children need to OWN before they can share. Often, well-meaning parents of toddlers, trying to teach good manners, expect/encourage/demand/force sharing because it's "polite" and they are afraid (in part) of being judged by other parents. They do not want to look like permissive wimps, so they cheerfully take the toy away from their child (who is not done with it) and hand it over to the child asking, and remind their child they need to share.

There is a reason preschools have 8 shovels, 6 baby dolls, etc. There would be fighting and tears going on all the time if they did not. Even in the Montessori classroom children use a mat to do their work on. The mat delineates * their * personal space and their right to it. Other children can ask if they can work with them (share) and the child has the right to say yes or (a polite) no, thank you. To take away the toy (work) from the first child, who is still busy exploring it, teaches what exactly? That we need to share? Yes we do, but there are ways to do it without causing problems.

It honors the child playing with the toy when you acknowledge her. "No, she is playing with that right now. What else would you like?" "When he is finished playing with it, it will be your turn."

The beauty of this book is that it illustrates conflict resolution techniques for children (and parents). When there is a conflict, you can ask children to think of three solutions. This is pretty impossible to ask of toddlers, but you can ask it of older children. It does help diffuse the situation. With practice, it also helps children see that they can solve problems for themselves (rather than continually be caught in a conflict with one winner and one loser.) In every scenario shown in Katz's book, a solution is suggested ("But maybe...") and all the children feel good and included in the play (an accomplishment in itself), rather than seething over a toy that was handed over unfairly. (If you are wondering why your child might be having unprovoked tantrums later in the day, for no obvious reason, look back in their day when they felt they were treated unfairly. Resentment and anger build up and eventually come out in inappropriate venues.)

New doll - have this one instead (that way, children play alongside peacefully.)

Only 1 bike - 2 children want it - child takes the one for a ride (again, children share the toy/experience.)

Only 1 shovel - instead, they build a castle together (OK, forget the shovel for now. What else can we do together? A-ha, build together! Problem solved!)

Only 1 box of raisins - another box is provided for the child asking (So yeah, they ARE sharing the raisins!) Problem solved.

My friend! You can't play with her! (How does one "share" a friend?) "But maybe... we can ALL play dress-up!" Brilliant!!!!! So now no one is left out and feeling hurt.

"Never taking turns is mentioned...." Does this book really need to mention the obvious? I encourage turn-taking at home all week long (it's one of many options in conflict resolution) and one of my daughter's first phrases was "my urn!" and "Ardu's urn!" She freely hands things over (not at first through, which is perfectly fine) because she trusts that her turn (her "no") is honored. Whenever her brother wanted something from her, I told him to ask her first, don't just take it. Whatever her answer was, he still had to respect it, even if it wasn't something he wanted to hear. "Ask again," and sure enough she would hand it over (almost immediately sometimes) when she was ready, hence, the cheerful and frequent exclamations "my urn! Ardu's urn!" By 22 months, she got the concept, but this was primarily because her feelings were not steamrolled. She does not hoard her toys, like some children who have learned not to trust that others (children and adults alike) will just yank them away.

My point is, when you honor the child's feelings, they WILL share, happily. But to force it down their throat is a huge mistake. While it horrifies the new parents that the first child does not hand over her doll when asked at first, it's the right thing to do. That child will eventually share. Ask again. The child first needs to feel safe. She needs to feel that it's "hers" and you aren't taking it away forever. Once she knows it's hers, she will hand it over and share.

My 6-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter love this book. My son loves it because the scenarios shown are still relevant in his age group. It's a great model for him on how to solve problems with friends. (I could not believe my luck when I found this book.) The beauty of this book is that is shows * many * ways to share (not just one = giving up the item, leaving one young child typically upset). This book is not about sharing items directly (again, impossible to ask that of young children) but is instead of sharing * experiences * such as playing or working peacefully along side a friend without conflict. So in the end the statement, "Now I know how to share... and I like it." is still accurate.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 23, 2009 10:16 AM PDT

Room on the Broom
Room on the Broom
by Julia Donaldson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $14.21
71 used & new from $9.45

117 of 120 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely wonderful, despite a publisher's error, August 9, 2003
This review is from: Room on the Broom (Hardcover)
My 3.5-year-old son loves this book. The illustrations are clever and charming and the simple, repetitive rhymes are perfect for young listeners. It is a joy to read aloud. It is one of my top 10 books to give as a gift. A witch and her cat are flying around and encounter three other animals that would like to know if there is room on the broom for an animal like them. The reply is always an enthusiastic "Yes!" (Now who wouldn't like a ride on a broom?) This book is generally not found on bookstore shelves because it is considered a Halloween book, but it is fun reading any time of year. After numerous renewals from the library, we purchased our own copy. (We also own and highly recommend "The Spiffiest Giant in Town" and "The Gruffalo.")

When our Amazon ordered book came in the mail, my husband read it and noticed that his favorite line said by the dragon, "witch without fries" is not in the book! We like the original verse, "The dragon drew near with a glint in his eyes, and said, "Just this once I'll have witch without fries." That has been replaced with "The dragon drew nearer and started to drool. He said, "I won't let you go- do you think I'm a fool?"

I believe the publisher has corrected the problem. Either way, you'll be happy to own it! Every time I am in the children's section of my local library, I look up Donaldson on the shelves and take out her books to put up on top for parents to see it and easily grab it. Children (and parents) get a beautifully illustrated story which highlight friendship, cooperation, politeness and generosity. (My son is 6 now and my daughter is 2. I love that I can still read this book to them and they love it!)
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 15, 2014 6:40 PM PST

Hello Ocean
Hello Ocean
by Pam Munoz Ryan
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $14.28
62 used & new from $2.68

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully illustrated - makes a great gift., November 9, 2002
This review is from: Hello Ocean (Hardcover)
This is the book (among others) I always give away at 1 and 2 year old birthday parties. I also gave it to my 4.5 year old nephew (who is developmentally delayed - he does not speak) and it turned out to be his favorite among the ones I gave him. My 2 year memorized the words and used to ask for it every night before bed. The illustrations are so realistic and beautiful. The pictures look like painted photographs and capture the beauty of a day at the beach. It's like visiting the ocean every time you open it. Whenever I am at the bookstore, I take it off the shelf and leave it out on display so people can see it. That is how I found it.

The Continuum Concept: In Search Of Happiness Lost (Classics in Human Development)
The Continuum Concept: In Search Of Happiness Lost (Classics in Human Development)
by Jean Liedloff
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.65
149 used & new from $0.34

38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I am eternally grateful to Ms. Liedloff., July 1, 2002
My son was born with what pediatrician William Sears calls a "high needs" personality. From birth, if I set him down for a second, he would cry and protest loudly. He could only tolerate his stroller for 15 minutes and he turned shades of red and purple while riding in the car seat. He needed to touch my body or be held in-arms to sleep soundly. I carried him in my tired, aching arms the first 4 months and refused to put him down, because it never felt right to me to let him fuss, become agitated and cry. Finally, a mother at a local La Leche League meeting showed me how to use my baby sling (OTSBH, then Maya Wrap) when he was 4.5 months old.
I read this book when my son was about 5 months old. While I never consciously worried about my son's fussy disposition, I was relieved to finally recognize that my baby was perfectly normal. I thought that "normal" was a baby lying in a crib most of the day staring at a mobile, or one that was carried around in a baby seat or "Moses basket" as I attended to other things. Read OUR BABIES, OURSELVES by MEREDITH SMALL to learn about how culture influences baby care and how human biology is at odds with Western expectations for baby care. My son was just expressing a very strong craving for vestibular movement and appropriate sensory stimulation. Being wheeled in strollers and carried in cars seats for the majority of the day in infancy (a trap I would have fallen into if my baby wasn't so fussy) is NOT good for human development. (Check out the Amazon reviews for SENSORY SECRETS by Catherine Chemin Schneider.) "High need" babies are simply born experts at getting their developmental and emotional needs met.
This book convinced me on the spot to stop trying to use the stroller completely. That in itself was freeing to me as I had no idea how much my expectation to use the darned thing was making me tense and frustrated. Once I let that go, and thanks to the baby sling, things became much easier. Basically, Liedloff argues that time spent "in-arms" in infancy is what helps make happy, well-adjusted, non-neurotic adults. A baby should be carried until he expresses a desire to go down.
She argues that the reason so many adults are unhappy is because they are endlessly searching for something outside themselves. People use excitement (i.e., bunging jumping, dangerous sports, dangerous treks, endless traveling, etc...) to fill a void, none of which are good enough and they keep trying to top their last exhilarating experience. Or they turn to shopping, or drinking, or drug use (anything in excess) for that something they missed in infancy... feeing whole and connected to something: ANOTHER PERSON. A mother, father, a caregiver... somebody who carried them around where they felt peaceful for the majority of the time. By being carried the baby experiences inner peace and there is no continuous anxiety, where the baby is begging or signaling with smiles and seemingly happy gestures to be held.
Essentially, Liedloff showed me that instead of the mother centering her life around the baby, the baby should be in the center of the mother's life/activity. So I went about my daily activities (which included social outtings with new mothers) where he was a happy and peaceful observer in the sling. He was always in the middle of my activity, taking in the sights, smells, real world sounds, feeling swaying gentle movement and generally at peace. My "high touch" in-arms parenting helped my son to feel loved, secure and calm and he settled down considerably. He never cried or fussed in restaurants. Car rides even became easier. Thanks to the baby sling, I never felt like a shut-in with a miserable baby. He learned that happiness (not want) was the normal state of being. My first year was so easy just because I carried him in the sling all the time. Yes, at times it felt exhausting, but I mostly I found it exhilarating to carry and hold my precious baby. It never felt like a burden to me because I knew I was doing right by him, largely thanks to Liedloff's book. In fact, my son's first year was one of the happiest times of my life, thanks to the wonderful bonding and sense of peace that resulted from "babywearing." I never had to deal with frustration, disappointment, feelings of resentment or guilt for having to choose between meeting my babies needs and my own. We were a traveling and peaceful unit.
In addition, I highly recommend THE VITAL TOUCH by SHARON HELLER and MAGICAL CHILD by CHILTON PEARCE. Heller presents an abundance of scientific research that explains the biology and importance of touch and the great influence it has on the babies growing brain, body and nervous system. I recommend Heller's book (which essentially validates Liedloff's theories) to any skeptic. Pearce's book expands further on Liedloff's concepts and is a wonderful companion.

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