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Andrew Kerr "Alabony" (Dunfermline, Scotland)

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Charlie and Lola's Favourite and Best Music Record
Charlie and Lola's Favourite and Best Music Record
Price: 4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, tuneful and imaginative music for kids that won't drive you mad, 23 Sep 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
What a joy this album is. My 3 year old daughter loves the music, and I do too. I love it because it's not the usual boring, derivative kids stuff with basic rhymes and plinky-plonky music that'll drive you round the bend as your child asks you for Humpty Dumpty for the ninth time in a row. It's musical, tuneful, catchy, original stuff that explores different styles and introduces your child to different genres without them even realising it's happening. The best tracks are Bestest In The Barn (brilliant, foot-tapping hoe-down type stuff and funny too), Sizzles (very musical) and Bat Cat (in the style of Henry Mancini, very cool 60's feel). But actually, you'll probably just enjoy the whole album and best of all, you won't mind playing the same tune again when your child asks for it! Great value for money.

Freddy the Frog Bath Book (Axel Scheffler's Noisy Bath Books)
Freddy the Frog Bath Book (Axel Scheffler's Noisy Bath Books)
by Axel Scheffler
Edition: Bath Book

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Scheffler illustrations in a simple story for bathtime, 22 Sep 2009
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This book is perfect for children from about 12 to 42 months. If you're not already familiar with Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's books, they're great for children from about a year old. Great stories, beautifully illustrated, and usually with a message that kids can begin to relate to when they grow up a little. Although this book is Axel Scheffler's own work, the style is very similar.

The story is a simple one about how Freddy the Frog loves to play in the pond with his friends. The novelty is that it's a well-put-together waterproof plastic book. Looks like it'll probably last fairly well, and it's very buoyant, so no danger of losing it under the bubbles! It also has a squeaker on the front cover, which, while a little incongruous, keeps little ones entertained too.

My nearly-3-year-old girl loves the Donaldson and Scheffler books, but is probably nearing the end of being entertained by this book. Think it'll be great for younger children though.

Doodle On!: Christmas Doodles
Doodle On!: Christmas Doodles
by Smriti Prasadam-Halls
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 9.66

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good quality, and lots to entertain children, 22 Sep 2009
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a well-thought-out product. It's got a nice thick spiral binding, so that it sits flat while children draw. There are LOTS of pictures for them to draw, add to, colour in, etc. Best of all, it's built to last. Good quality, crisp white paper, and a good hardback cover.

I like the variety of pictures - draw Santa in his sleigh, and add his reindeer, make this bedroom colourful with Christmas decorations, these cats and dogs are hungry - draw some food in their bowls, etc. Plenty to keep children entertained here, with 160 pages (some pictures are double-page spreads, so there'll be fewer than 160 pictures).

I'd recommend this book for kids of around 4 upwards - it'll work best for those who can read the 'instructions', but that won't stop younger children enjoying a scribble when they feel like it.

Only reason I haven't given it 5 stars is because I think it'll work best about a month or two either side of Christmas and probably be a little neglected for the rest of the year.

A Squash and A Squeeze
A Squash and A Squeeze
by Julia Donaldson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 3.50

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and educational - for now and later, 3 Feb 2008
This review is from: A Squash and A Squeeze (Paperback)
A Squash and a Squeeze is a great book, with a deeper meaning than most small-childrens' books. It's a good enough, simple story with rhyming verses and nice illustrations, that lilts along at just the right pace for my 16-month-old daughter to choose it again and again from her shelf of bedtime books.

But it also has a deeper, more philosophical message for her to pick up later. And that message is essentially 'be thankful for what you've got, because your life could be a lot worse'. This, of course, is not an easy message for small children to grasp, but one which I think most parents would be happy for them to understand at some later point in their childhood.

All in all, it's a cheerful, colourful and educational book with messages on different levels for children from toddler age to young school age, I'd suggest.

Jaws [VHS] [1976]
Jaws [VHS] [1976]
Offered by shannon-raven
Price: 9.99

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One word. Masterpiece., 3 Dec 2004
This review is from: Jaws [VHS] [1976] (VHS Tape)
What more can be said about this film? It just improves with every viewing - all the more reason to buy it on video.
For me, this was the film that brought Spielberg to my attention. Incredibly taut direction, cinematography and editing means there's hardly a wasted shot in the film - every sequence adds to the story. In this sense, the only other film I rate as highly is Heat - and that doesn't have as good a story, or such great characters as this.
Watch it once and be scared out of your wits. Then watch it again. And again. Every time you watch it, you'll notice another fantastic shot that hadn't caught your eye previously. There are so many simple, but beautifully-framed shots that set the scene perfectly. And every time you watch, you'll marvel at how a 30-year-old film with a notoriously-unreliable and patently unconvincing mechanical shark can have such an effect on you.
The central characters are sheer genius. The cantankerous and worryingly self-confident captain (Robert Shaw's greatest performance, in my view - a brilliant caricature), the Chief who's scared of the sea at the best of times (Roy Scheider plays this very well - always just a LITTLE too nervous for comfort!) and the diminutive but well-informed scientist (Richard Dreyfus in another great role - a hugely underrated actor).
Put these characters in a Hitchcockian 'trapped in a wide-open space' situation with a terrifying adversary, add the superb direction, and you have one of the greatest films of all time.
If you'd never thought of this in 'cinema greats' terms before, buy it. And after a couple more viewings, you'll see what I mean.

Big Fish [DVD] [2004]
Big Fish [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ Ewan McGregor
Offered by DVDBayFBA
Price: 3.98

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A charming and heartwarming piece of whimsy, 7 Nov 2004
This review is from: Big Fish [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
Tim Burton has often been, well, a little too weird for me. This film is one of his more accessible ones, and is very charming with it.
With a great cast (Billy Crudup of Almost Famous is particularly good, as are Ewan MacGregor and Albert Finney), the general impression is of a sort of Alice in Wonderland for the modern age.
A son and a father who haven't talked in 3 years are brought together when the father seems like he's about to die. The son has been embarrassed by his father's tall tales for years, and now he wants to REALLY know what his father did with his life. It appears the truth is at least as stange as the fiction, as we are taken through numerous flashbacks to see the incredible life he led.
There's no huge drama here, and nothing in the way of explosions or other obvious Hollywood tools for manipulating the audience. Just a darn good tale and some wonderful photography to set it off.
The extras on the DVD are excellent too, making this well worth buying for those kind of Saturday nights where you just want to relax and watch a NICE film.

Dogville [DVD] [2004]
Dogville [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ Nicole Kidman
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: 2.94

8 of 25 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sorry - I just don't get it., 7 Nov 2004
This review is from: Dogville [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
Like one or two other reviewers here, I was sorely disappointed with this. Nicole Kidman is of course a class act. And there are brief moments in this film where she has a chance to show that.
Otherwise, however, the stage-set stylisation and curiously flat script contrive to make this quite a dull film. There are numerous disturbing and sometimes harrowing scenes, but because of the dullness of the rest of the story, these almost come across as unnecessary sensationalisation.
I was left at the end thinking that I just didn't GET it! I'm a fairly literal thinker, so maybe I'm just being dumb, but several other friends think the same.
Ultimately, a dull, rather pointless film with a particularly violent and harrowing end. It's not often I say this, but these were 3 wasted hours.

The White Rabbit: Wing Commander F.F.E.Yeo-Thomas (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS)
The White Rabbit: Wing Commander F.F.E.Yeo-Thomas (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS)
by Bruce Marshall
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.83

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Non-stop adventure of a genuine hero, 7 Nov 2004
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This was the third book I read about F F Yeo-Thomas. He's mentioned a lot in Leo Mark's 'Between Silk & Cyanide', which is another outstanding book. The other book I read was 'The Bravest of the Brave', which added a lot of family background for him, but was written by an academic, I suspect. Much less flowing in its style.
It says in the introduction for The White Rabbit that Bruce Marshall was Yeo-Thomas's choice for writing his story. That made me wonder whether it might be told in a rather sycophantic way.
I needn't have bothered. The story is so incredible anyway (and well-documented in enough other sources for me to know it hasn't been embellished in this book) that there's no need for sycophancy.
It strikes me that it's an ideal book for mid-teenagers, so that they understand the real sacrifices that were made for us during WW II. Don't get me wrong - I wasn't even close to being born then, but I think I do have the beginnings of an appreciation, having read this book and others.
But the reason it'd be good for kids of that age is that they'll be swept along by the story like a cork in a fast stream, and never even think they're being 'taught' anything! The tale of the White Rabbit is absolutely incredible! From one hair-raisingly scary situation to the next, he's never less than dignified and honourable, and always incredibly resourceful - even in the face of terrible adversity.
I recently visited the VC room in the Imperial War Museum, and stood for a good 10-15 minutes at the small cabinet containing F F Y-T's memorabilia. You can't help but almost worship at this 'shrine'. I certainly believe we all owe him (and numerous others like him, of course) a great deal of respect and thanks.
Better than any Famous Five tales, and more exciting than just about any other book you'll find, this is a member of that rare club - a genuinely gripping, exciting AND educational book.

Shrek 2 [DVD] [2004]
Shrek 2 [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ Movie
Price: 3.00

3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They've done it again..., 6 Nov 2004
This review is from: Shrek 2 [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
Shrek was (at the time) the best of the entirely-animated films to date. It showed once again that Dreamworks could keep up with Disney/Pixar in making enjoyable family films without neglecting to entertain the adults in the audience.
I'm always sceptical of sequels these days. Too many of them seem to be written by committee. The 'That character went down really well in the first film, so we need to find a similar one for the sequel' kind of attitude.
Not so with Shrek 2. While it does stick to the same formula, there's enough originality in here to make it stand up as a film in its own right. If anything it shows that when a good story, good characters and good music come together, it doesn't matter too much if the basic premise is much the same.
Shrek, Fiona, Donkey and Dragon are all still here, with some entertaining new characters. Antonio Banderas as Puss in Boots is particularly good - by turns so cute you could cry, then so evil you could, well, cry!
If there's one tiny gripe, it's that the animators start off the film with a couple of scenes where it looks to me as if they're clearly showboating their improved animation and skin-texturing techniques. Not that this matters, it's just that it leaves you with thinking there was no need to do the scene the way they have, other than to allow them to show off.
Altogether, then, this is a hugely entertaining film, that'll have you and your kids laughing your heads off for just short of 2 hours.

Monsters, Inc. --Widescreen Two Disc Collector's Edition [DVD] [2002]
Monsters, Inc. --Widescreen Two Disc Collector's Edition [DVD] [2002]
Dvd ~ Billy Crystal
Price: 7.81

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Proof if proof were needed..., 6 Nov 2004
... that there IS an art to film-making, and that Disney and Pixar are masters of this art.
Toy Story broke new ground, Toy Story 2 took the ideas there into new territory, and Monsters Inc takes the game onto a whole new level again. If you haven't seen this, but enjoyed Finding Nemo, then you MUST see this! It's a much better film altogether.
Graphics, effects, lighting, sound, story, characters, voices - all are outstanding and all combine to make this a thoroughly enjoyable film. Want a challenge? Try to find any real flaws...
Also, unlike many 'suitable for all ages' films, this genuinely fits the bill. Like Shrek before it, there's plenty for adults to laugh at as well as the kids. This genre seems to have a monopoly just now on films that anybody can enjoy. Why's that so rare in live-action films these days...?
The extras on the disc are good, but not hugely entertaining. Leave that to the main feature.
Anyway, if you enjoyed Shrek, or Toy Story, you will absolutely love this. If you haven't seen any of them, jump in! You'll love 'em!

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