Thursday, November 5, 2009

a modern classic: little red hoodie

We all know and love the classic tale of Little Red Riding Hood. Writer Adrianna Kruse and illustrator Patricia Kruse give the famous tale a 21st century twist. Little Red Hoodie is a tech-savvy young girl and the Big Bad Wolf is a not-so-ordinary granny who rides motorcycles and takes karate. You can imagine where the story goes from there. My kids are 3.5 and 2 and a bit young for the message but their interactive internet days are fast approaching--and it totally makes me nervous.

"I, like many other people, have been continually horrified by stories of tragedies caused by social networking sites," says Adrianna Kruse. "One day while watching a talk show that focused on a young girl who was kidnapped by a person who she met online, I thought of the parallel between online predators and the Big Bad Wolf in the Little Red Riding Hood story. I have always been a collector and lover of children's literature, and it felt like a natural fit to turn my idea into a book. The biggest challenge in writing Little Red Hoodie was getting the serious message of the story across while maintaining a light-hearted and humorous feeling that would appeal to kids."

While it makes a great read, Little Red Hoodie is also a catalyst for parents to discuss safe internet practices with their kids. "I hope that this book can initiate a conversation about Internet safety among families, and that it will inspire kids to think twice about how much they really know about the person on the other end of the computer."

Kruse even adds some important safety rules at the end of the story, including the priceless, "When in doubt, log out!" Listed at $13.99, Little Red Hoodie is now available on for $10.07, which means there's no excuse not to buy it.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

picture perfect: ABC Art for Kids

Some people count sheep when they can't sleep. Annette Back comes up with innovative new business ideas.

"One night when we were staying with friends at the Jersey Shore, I couldn't sleep," she says. "I had a son Aaron--he was two at the time. And I just saw it in my head: Some sort of artwork featuring Aaron's picture along with other objects that start with the same letter as his name (ie: apple, alligator, airplane). It would work for other names, letters and objects in the same manner. When we got home from the shore, I got to work. That's how ABC Art for Kids got started."

"Since I am a graphic designer, I knew where to look for the art. I found just the right illustration style, had the perfect photo and designed my first piece.
Finding the right output for this took a lot of research. I settled on producing the idea on canvas. When it arrived at my house, Aaron and I thought it was gorgeous! I created a few more as gifts for my friends' kids. Everyone loved it. I was encouraged to start selling so I went to work designing a website."

Annette's creations aren't gimmicky and don't try to hard to be classy. They're beautiful, fun and engaging--definitely a labor of love. I hope to get one for each of my kids soon. They will definitely be an improvement from all the homemade "art" on their walls!

"I started this business to get the art out. I did not like any personalized art out there (with a few exceptions) everything else was so cutesy and soft, monotone and predictable. I thought this was fun and alive."

Her kids Aaron (4.5 years) and twins Joshua and Sara (age 1.5) don't leave her much time to work on the business but they are a sure source of inspiration. Says Annette, "Their faces are so super yummy; as I imagine every parent feels that way about their kids."

Annette is currently working on a new concept for parents and grandparents that features headshots of their kids on a themed background (ie: "beach" for a summer house or "food" for the kitchen, etc.) as well as more sophisticated options for older kids. She also creates customized canvases to suit each individual's style and taste. Email her at with your ideas or go to to start your personalized art collection now. Enter code "2010" and take advantage of a special holiday promotion.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

november giveaway: win a braininsights packet with cool activity ideas to do with your kids

Exciting announcement for you and your baby!

You have the chance to win the easiest and real way to support your baby's brain development! Do you want to win a free gift set of the beautiful and unique braininsights packets for newborn to three-year-olds? All you do is, sign up to be a follower of kidandcaboodle and add a comment to the braininsights post about a fun, interactive activity you do with your child! (include your email address so I can contact you). Then post the link to your kidandcaboodle comment on another social networking site. You will get a chance to win the set and you will be contributing to creating greater awareness of real brain development! A winner will be chosen at random at the end of the may be you! By signing up for the kidandcaboodle site, you will get updates on the giveaway, lots of ongoing parenting information and you'll also get to see all the shared ideas from other parents!

So sign up now....and enter as many times as you'd like. Just make sure you post the link on a social networking site each time! Also, watch for the three- to five-year-old gift set contest coming soon!