Raves: August, 2010

"Fleabag" by Helen StephensMutt Ugly
Fleabag by Helen Stephens. Try to resist this bug-ridden mutt! Fleabag is a downtrodden street doggie looking for a good home — but who will take him in? A bittersweet spin on the loving-the-unlovable theme, complete with a happy ending, natch. Ages 4–8. Henry Holt & Co; $16.99.

"Potato Chip Science" by A. KurzweilChips, Ahoy
Potato Chip Science by A. Kurzweil. One downside to this super-cool collection of science experiments: They force you to go out and buy potato chips! Even if you don’t want to! Each of the 29 projects included in this clever pack uses either potatos, potato chips, chip bags and cans and more. Besides the classic potato clock, you’ll create a balloon-powered chipmobile, a potato mummy head, and more. Ages 8–12. Workman; $17.95. To be released Sept. 1.

"Paper, Scissors, Glue" by Catherine WoramCraftastic
Paper Scissors Glue by Catherine Woram. This lovely hardback underwent rigorous road testing in the form of a fantastically crafty 13-year-old babysitter. The verdict? “There are a lot of great projects in here!” From the simple (fortune tellers and pop-up cards) to the sublime (treasure maps and marbling paper), the appealing layout and simple step-by-step instructions make each project look nigh on irrestistible. Ages 3–10. Ryland Peters & Small; $19.95.

"Amazing Minds" by Jan FaullMind-blowing
Amazing Minds: The Science of Nurturing Your Child’s Developing Mind with Games, Activities and More by Jan Faull, M.Ed. with Jennifer McLean Oliver, Ph.D. The newest book from local parent-ed superstar Faull is for parents who want to go beyond a surface understanding of what’s going on behind those baby blues. Common brain-development themes (“Using Tools,” “Understanding Another’s Intentions”), are followed by current research and advice on how best to support that area of growth. Cutting-edge, and concise enough to keep even the exhausted parent of a newborn reading. For adults. Berkley; $15. To be released Aug. 3.

"My Life as a Book" by Janet TashjianPage turner
My Life as a Book by Janet Tashjian, illustrated by Jake Tashjian. Wimpy-kid fanatics, here’s your next fix: another doodly-cool book about an everykid facing the slings and arrows of life. But unlike the “Wimpy” books, this book plumbs some poignant emotional depths: When “reluctant reader” Derek is sent to summer learning camp, he stumbles onto a family secret. Ages 9–12. Henry Holt & Co.; $16.99.

Urine luck!
Now, there’s a special way to commemorate the very day you found out you’re expecting: EPT test pouchA special Keepsake Case for your pee test! The makers of e.p.t. pregnancy tests have created this special pouch for storing your used pregnancy test stick. The company decided to offer this option after conducting a poll which found that 67 percent of expectant mothers saved their at-home pregnancy test. Available with proof-of-purchase starting next month; testaccurately.com.

— Kristen Russell

"Cats & Dogs" video gameGIVEAWAYS

Pet-ty crimes
Cats & Dogs: Revenge of Kitty Galore (DS). Is there a secret war between cats and dogs? And if so, are they using high-tech gadgetry to wage that war, unbeknownst to us humans? Fo’ muzzle, my friend! Go behind the scenes of fuzzy espionage with this brand-new game for Nintendo DS. $29.99.

"Diary of a Wimpy Kid" DVDMiddle muddle
Diary of a Wimpy Kid (DVD). The live-action adaptation of the wildly popular reluctant-reader series brings all the struggles of junior high school to the little screen. Greg Heffley has friends that embarrass him, a brother that bullies him and a raft of other troubles to get through. Along the way, he makes — and learns from — some big mistakes. Graffeeti backpackRated PG. $29.98. To be released Aug. 3.

Feets don’t fail me!
Just in time for back-to-school comes this unique twist on a school staple. Graffeeti backpacks are large and sturdy, and packed with appealing features — especially the mini “dry erase” board built into the back and the pocketful of colorful pens. $29.99; graffeeti.com.

You can win one of these great prizes! To enter, visit parentmap.com/giveaways before Aug. 31.

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