Book Review: Robot Zombie Frankenstein!

How many of the following does your preschooler find appealing: robots, zombies, monsters, pirates, superheroes, pie? The more of those you say “Yes” to, the more you should take a look at Robot Zombie Frankenstein! Watch the preview video, which shows you how the first few pages go:

Robot Zombie Frankenstein! is a very simple story of one-upmanship between two robots who have a great costume box. The pictures are made from basic shapes and colors, which give you a little bit more to talk about with a small child. What color is that robot’s eye patch? What shape is his body?

The entire book is a conversation between the robots, which means it can be a lot of fun for you and your pre-schooler (or two of your kids) to each be a robot and take turns reading lines. Because each robot’s line is additive and based on his costume change, after just a few reads, even a younger child who can’t read the words can look at the pictures and participate. Bedtime for my three- and six-year-old now sounds like this:

“Robot ZOMBIE!”
“Robot zombie FRANKENSTEIN!”

You get the idea. And I promise — the robot buddies work things out in the end.

At author Annette Simon’s website, you can download the Robot Zombie Frankenstein! Fun Kit, which includes 16 pages of activities to print. My favorite is the Bot Builder, which lets you cut out all the robot parts to build your own.


Strobotop LightPhase Animator Will Mesmerize Even Big Kids!

Photo: Eye Think, Inc.

It takes a lot to impress my four geek kids. They range in age from 9 to 18 and with all the birthdays and holidays we’ve seen, not many products surprise us anymore. So imagine my surprise when we received a box in the mail last week that contained a ‘toy’ that kept them occupied the rest of the afternoon.

Its name is as cool and intriguing as the product itself. Created by Eye Think Inc., it’s called the Strobotop LightPhase Animator and it’s very addicting. Two hours after tearing open the box, when my kids finally put it down, their dad walked through the door and everyone had to start over, showing him their favorite discs.

Its simplicity appeals to me. There are no loud noises. No difficult assembly. No confusing directions. You just place a paper disc on the plastic disc and give it a spin (be sure to watch this link up to the 50 second mark, when it shows a cool gear disc come to life). Holding a special strobe light over the top of the disc makes the subjects on the disc magically move. Adjusting the speed of the strobe light creates many different effects on each disc.

Photo: Judy Berna

My personal favorite is the ants. They seem to be scattering around the circle then magically begin to swarm towards the center of the disc. It’s enough to make my skin crawl, as they look like they could crawl right off that disc and onto my dining room table.

This product  comes with 18 Strobodisks, including a galloping pig, a running boy, and many colorful graphic designs that delight the eye. A few blank discs encourage kids to try their own designs and see what happens under the strobe light. An extra packet of 18 different discs is available separately. This is a fascinating toy that will keep most kids (even older ones) occupied for a very long time.

Note: The Strobotop Lightphase Animator was furnished by Eye Think Inc. for review purposes.