Today is World UFO Day and what better way to celebrate than with a bunch of friends and an alien named Zar.
Dino O’ Dell, a Kansas City-based musician, educator and storyteller has a deep and abiding interest in anything to do with space, UFOs, and life on other planets. He is also the author of the book Zar and the Broken Spaceship, which tells the story of a hip, three-eyed alien named Zar who finds himself on Earth after his spaceship crashed down and went kaput. This book is colorful and interactive. The sequence of actions that lead to the success of Zar’s journey back home are wildly fun and reminiscent of popular reads such as Press Here and Lovable Furry Old Grover’s Resting Places (a classic), all of which encourage literacy, eye-hand coordination and body awareness. Plus, talking like an alien is just naturally entertaining. O’ Dell even goes ahead and includes an alien-speak glossary at the end. Fizzle Moo!
Kids at home can play along with the book (guided along with colorful illustrations by Uruguayan artist SantiagoGermano), and afterwards they can treat themselves to this fine video in which Zar moves from speaking his native tongue to groovin’ and rhymin’ in English.
Zar and the Broken Spaceship is the first in a planned series of “Zar” books and is available today through Dino O’ Dell’s site, Book Baby, Reading Reptile.
The single is available for purchase and download through iTunes and CD Baby.
Ben Rudnick and Friends revive a classic from their album Blast Off with a fresh new video featuring the beloved Sam the Frog and his new alien friend named Tripp. The two go on an excellent adventure that Pre-Kers and school-aged kids will enjoy as they imagine blowing balloons and eating snacks on the moon with their own extraterrestrial buddy.
What you will love about it: Outer Space is cool. Rockstar Aliens are cool, and Sam the Frog is cool. Grown-ups fond of The Grateful Dead will appreciate the musical similarities.
What you should know: “I Got a New Friend” was inspired by Ben Rudnick’s daughter and her experiences in the early years of preschool. Rudnick explains, “Before my daughter got into preschool she was shy and wouldn’t gravitate to other kids in the playground. After a week in this really great preschool, everyone was a potential friend. I also took off on that a little bit with what I think is as subtle as can be commentary on anyone can be a friend. Black, white, green, blue, aliens… we can all be friends regardless of color and all the rest. I grew up in NYC and had all kinds of friends. I genuinely WANT everyone to be friends. Why not!?!”
Behind the Scenes: The video for “I Got a New Friend” was created by Max Litvinov (aka kClogg), a Russian animation artist and illustrator who is actually based in Russia.” Thanks to the Internet, Rudnick and kClogg met through a serendipitous encounter which turned out to be a great success as kClogg’s work very much reflects the concept Rudnick was going for in this video.
Want to learn more? “I Got a New Friend” originally appeared on the 2004 release Blast Off and this video serves as a digital “grand reopening” in honor of the the fact that the single is now up on iTunes. The same “single” can be found in a bundle on CD Baby with two additional songs, including the studio version of “I Got A New Friend,” a version of “Rocket Ship Man,” and a live version of “I Got a New Friend” from Rudnick and Friends’ Live in Lexington disc. More information about both of those CDs is on the storefront page of the band’s official site.
Note: If you purchase from CD Baby you get 2 Bonus Songs: the live versions of “Rocket Ship Man” and “I Got a New Friend” from the Live in Lexington CD.
Boston-area residents can also check out Rudnick’s Family Works Initiative which provides opportunities for families to support specific charitable organizations in the Boston area.