Last week, I was back in New York City for the unveiling of The Toy Insider's 2016 Holiday Gift Guide - a collection of 2016's hottest toys, as chosen by the editors of The Toy Insider. What's different this year is that there's a "Rock Father Pick" in the mix - one that I've chosen as a newly-minted member of The Toy Insider Parent Panel. Of the nearly 200 toys featured this year, each member of the panel was tasked with choosing their "Top Pick" (see them all here), and for me the decision was an easy one: The PJ MASKS Headquarters Playset by Just Play. Hitting stores this Fall as part of a Toys "R" Us Exclusive collection of PJ MASKS toys, I'll be going in-depth on the Headquarters right here in the virtual pages of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine very soon, but for now here's a sneak-preview of the PJ MASKS line as the Holiday Shopping Season officially gets underway!
Last Fall, one of the most from-out-of-nowhere phenomenons in children's entertainment hit the scene - the story of a trio of friends, who by day are just kids, but transform into costumed heroes that swoop into action by night, solving the mysteries of the daytime, and keeping their city safe. Premiering on Disney Junior in the U.S. in September, PJ MASKS was an immediate hit, prompting the 'web to ignite with parents seeking PJ MASKS costumes by Halloween, and by the Holidays, toys. Unfortunately, much like STAR WARS back in 1977, the infrastructure wasn't there to meet the demand right away - but for the Fall of 2016, that's changed. Catboy, Owlette and Gekko have a new ally in their quest to reach families and spread the fun - to put on the pajamas and hit the streets at night "filled with curiosity and a sense of justice." Well, maybe not the streets, but through imagination, big adventure can happen at home, and that new ally is yours truly: THE ROCK FATHER is now an Official PJ MASKS Ambassador! For the next year, THE ROCK FATHER Magazine will be your source for all the latest from the world of PJ MASKS, with episode previews, news and features - including special events and the long-awaited action figures, vehicles and playsets from the folks at Just Play Toys!
There's so many great shows for kids out there right now, and another in the regular rotation here at Rock Father HQ is KATE & MIM-MIM. Airing on Disney Junior with new episodes beginning TONIGHT, Monday, August 1, at 8:30pm, the show is inspired on the adventures of a real-life girl and her beloved stuffed toy bunny, following the adventures of 5-year-old Kate and her stuffed friend Mim-Mim. "Thanks to Kate’s outsized imagination, in each episode the friends are transported to the fun-filled world of Mimiloo, where Kate’s little plush toy magically transforms into a larger-than-life playmate, and together they embark on exciting adventures with their colorful cast of friends." Each Monday this month will bring a brand-new episode, while a full assortment of fantastic new toys from the folks at Just Play are hitting retailers right now! Having seen them first-hand at the recent Sweet Suite portion of Blogger Bash in New York City, I know a lot of kids will be wishing for them this Fall and Holiday season. Check out details on all the new episodes below!
There's a lot of different ways we could go with this, the royally regal National Princess Week being officially upon us. With two girls, my wife and I are well-versed in the ways and needs of young Royals in 2016. As a King of sorts myself, I can throw-down plenty of knowledge when it comes to the trade partners of Arendelle or the allies of Enchancia. Having just visited Walt Disney World as a family for the first time this month, The Rock Daughters met many a Princess first-hand, and while the traditional likes of Cinderella and Rapunzel are certainly prevalent both there and at home, it's a much younger Princess - one whose mother married into Royalty - that maintains the top spot here at Rock Father HQ: Sofia the First. Indeed, the title character from the Disney Junior hit his held in high regard - a highlight of our visit to Disney's Hollywood Studios, and a character that both of our girls played in a Broadway Beginners production of SOFIA & JAKE: A PRINCESS & PIRATE ADVENTURE. All that said, for National Princess Week I'm featuring the new Sofia the First Mermaid Magic Princess Doll by Just Play Products.
When audiences finally witness Jon Favreau's big-screen reimagining of Disney's THE JUNGLE BOOK when it opens this Friday, those who stay through the credits will notice an interesting line for a film set deep in the heart of India... "Filmed in Downtown Los Angeles." That line is a testament to just how good THE JUNGLE BOOK is, a film that beautifully captures the spirit of such exotic locales, while being a completely digital creation aside from the work of its young star, newcomer Neel Sethi. Last week, I sat down with Sethi and Favreau at the Beverly Hilton to discuss the new film, all in an informal setting alongside 24 friends and fellow writers. For me, the meeting was particularly exciting, if only because I've been such a fan of Jon Favreau dating back more than two decades - a creative talent whom I've always viewed as being sort of a kindred spirit, and one who my wife and I have sort of watched "grow up" from an actor, to one of our generation's top filmmakers. From the very 90's performances in PCU and SWINGERS, to his 2001 theatrical directorial debut, MADE (which my wife and I saw on opening night at an art house theater in Highland Park, Illinois), his career behind the camera has been has been impressive - with the ability to balance cinematic spectacles like ZATHURA, IRON MAN (and IRON MAN 2), with smaller fare like CHEF, and TV projects like REVOLUTION (a short-lived series which I loved). And then, of course, there's his perennial holiday classic, ELF. With THE JUNGLE BOOK, Favreau's storytelling has reached a whole new level, a marvel of technological toys that has spawned a few plastic ones, too.
It's a great time to be a kid... or a parent... with the wealth of fantastic transmedia entertainment properties available for families to experience and enjoy on-screen-and-off. One newer example is Disney Junior's THE LION GUARD, the continuation of the story started in THE LION KING back in 1994. In this new animated series, young Kion, the second cub of Simba and Nala, finds himself tasked with leading The Lion Guard - an elite team of animals that function as a team to protect The Pride Lands from all manner of threat. This week, the pilot film, THE LION GUARD: RETURN OF THE ROAR has come home on DVD (get it on Amazon), complete with a music video for Beau Black's "Here Comes The Lion Guard" from the series' original soundtrack...