Big Bear little chair – each tall and skinny page in this kids' books is as stunning as the next


The concept of Big Bear little chair is a common one: teaching kids to differentiate between large and small. We start off with “Big Bear, little chair,” move on to “Big Plant, little cocoon,” and carry on with this theme until the end, with “Big Snowstorm, little village, tiny bird,” and, “Big Bear, little bear.” What makes this simple book so compelling is the striking art by author and illustrator Lizi Boyd. The bold illustrations are dramatic yet whimsical, with a formal color scheme of black and white (and gray) that is playfully broken up with gumball red. Each tall and skinny page is as stunning as the next. Big Bear little chair makes me happy every time I open it up, and if my kids were still in their pre-school years this would definitely be a frequent read.

Big Bear little chair by Lizi Boyd Chronicle 2015, 32 pages, 6.3 x 12.3 x 0.3 inches $10 Buy one on Amazon Read the rest

Create 12 different action-packed comic books with The Superhero Comic Kit


See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Calling this book a “kit” might be an exaggeration, but The Superhero Comic Kit does pack a lot of fun into its inviting, oversized pages. The front section has instructions on how to draw various superheroes and villains, as well as how to draw sound effects (yes, there’s a way to draw the sounds that bring superhero comics to life!). Then comes the exciting part where you get to make your own 8-page comic books out of the characters you just learned how to draw, with some prompts to help get your creative fuel pumping. Once you’ve completed one of your stories (there are 12 in total), you can pull it out of the book, fold the pages along the fold lines, and assemble your unique comic book before showing it to the world. The back of the book has two pages of stickers – sound effects and superheroes/villains – to embellish your work. This is a great gift for any creative kid who likes to draw and make up stories.

The Superhero Comic Kit by Jason Ford Laurence King Publishing 2015, 60 pages, 11.5 x 16.8 x 0.5 inches (paperback) From $14 Buy one on Amazon Read the rest

Grids and Guides – An ideas book for makers, engineers, and creative types of all stripes


See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Grids & Guides is an ideas book as suitable for engineers and makers as it is for visual artists and other artsy types. Rather than the usual lined pages, this notebook – or self-described journal – offers eight different repeating patterns, such as a dotted point grid, a triangular isometric grid, and a diamond pattern grid. Very similar to the first Grids & Guides notebook we reviewed last summer, this latest edition is updated in several ways: 1) Red cover instead of black; 2) Mostly new patterns on the pages; and 3) New interspersed infographics pages, including a unit equivalents table, a knot tying chart, a world map, a lesson on perspective projection, and lots more. This notebook works as both a repository for new ideas as well as a springboard that inspires out-of-the-box thinking. And it makes a great gift for anybody with a creative thought at their fingertips.

Grids & Guides: A Notebook For Visual Thinkers Princeton Architectural Press 2015, 160 pages, 6 x 8.5 x 0.6 inches From $13 Buy one on Amazon Read the rest

Dust and Grooves: fantastic photo book about vinyl record collectors


“Contrary to what conventional wisdom would have you believe…record collecting isn’t about music. Not entirely, anyway,” says music writer Jeff “Chairman” Mao in Dust & Grooves. Rather, it’s about the passion of collecting, and that’s what this captivating book is about.

Photographer Eilon Paz spent six years traveling to forty cities in twelve countries to meet the world’s most enthusiastic vinyl collectors. The result is the seductive book, Dust & Grooves, originally published as a Kickstarter project but released today in this newer edition by Ten Speed Press. The book is split into two hefty sections. The first half is the “coffee table” section of glossy, sumptuous images of collectors with their records. The second half is the magazine-style section of interviews on wonderfully textured matte pages. In both sections Paz plops us into the rooms of these collectors, giving us a voyeuristic glimpse into their vinyl-obsessed lives. What we take away is that every collection is unique and is a reflection of its avid collector’s personal story. This book isn’t for music lovers as much as it is for anyone interested in seeing what makes a passionate collector – of any kind – tick.

Dust & Grooves: Adventures in Record Collecting by Eilon Paz Ten Speed Press 2015, 428 pages, 9.8 x 12.2 x 1.4 inches $34 Buy one on Amazon

See sample pages from this book at Wink. Read the rest

Dismantle the Pyramix one cube at a time in this three-sided strategy game


I’m loving Gamewright these days, the fun factory that churns out Sushi Go, which I reviewed last week, as well as the latest game in my house, Pyramix. The self-described “three-sided strategy game,” which takes about 15 minutes to play, starts off with 56 cubes stacked into the shape of a pyramid (okay, not a true four-sided pyramid, but what the hey). The cubes each sport a symbol of an ankh (1 pt), a crane (2 pts), an eye (3 pts), or a cobra (0 pts). The object is to take turns removing the cubes to earn the most points.

Sounds simple enough. In fact, I collected as many eyes and cranes (high point cubes) as I could during the first game I played, thinking the game a bit too simple. And then I lost by a landslide. What I hadn’t taken into account was the strategy level the game’s handful of rules create, such as: 1) you can only take a cube with two or three sides exposed, 2) you can’t take a cube that’s right against a Cobra cube, 3) although you can take a cube from the bottom of a stack (causing the rest to slide down), you can’t take the last cube standing in each stack, and 4) at the end of the game, whoever has the most ankhs in each color category takes whatever is left on the base board in that same color. The fourth rule gives the game an interesting twist, making 1-point Ankhs often more valuable than the others combined. Read the rest

Watch: Toddler and baby gorilla play peek-a-boo through glass at zoo


Every parent knows that baby humans love to play peek-a-boo. But in this adorable video taken at the Columbus Zoo in Ohio, a toddler finds an enthusiastic baby gorilla to play the game with him. It started when the 2 1/2-year-old boy, Isaiah, pounded his chest at the gorilla. According to the Columbus Dispatch:

That's when he caught the attention of the young gorilla Kamoli, who was born in 2013.

With Kamoli in his enclosure and Isaiah on the other side of the glass wall, the two played for the next five minutes. They stared at each other, ran back and forth and played peek-a-boo.

After five minutes, they were both pooped, and the boy waved goodbye as the two went their separate ways.

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Cute Wonder Woman lunchbox banned from school for being too violent


Not sure if it's the scary-looking lasso or the ass-kicking red boots, but a school on Mainstreet, USA banned this dangerous Wonder Woman lunchbox from campus. Said school sent a letter to the lunchbox-toting owner's home, telling her parents that their daughter can't bring "violent images" onto campus. Sheesh. Here is the letter, brought to us by

Good thing my daughter chose a solid color for her lunchbox this year!

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Sinkholes swallowing people in China this month

If you're heading to China, watch where you step. Last month it was escalators pulling people underground in China, with three separate accidents, including one that killed a mother after she managed to save her son. Now it's sinkholes, including one that swallowed five people yesterday at a bus stop. And this is just two weeks after an entire street collapsed in Dongguan China, pulling over 3,000 square feet down below street level and killing at least one person.

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Sushi Go - know which sushi to keep and which to hand off with this cute fast-moving card game


Something about the name Sushi Go had me hesitant to take the game seriously. It landed in my game closet over a year ago and remained untouched. Then last week my family wanted to play something new, so I finally ripped open the Sushi Go’s plastic wrap and broke out the super cute cards. And good thing I did!

Sushi Go is a fun, fast-moving card game that keeps you on your toes as you choose a card from your hand and then pass the rest to the player on your left (receiving a new hand from the player on your right). The goal is to score the most points by strategically collecting groups of sushi (or a piece of sushi and a spot of wasabi to dip it in) while working to block your opponents from collecting what they need. Each type of sushi has a different value, which is listed at the bottom of the card. For instance, egg nigiri is worth one point per card, while sashimi is worth ten points for every three you collect. Make sure to collect as much pudding as you can, since the person with the least amount of dessert at the end of a round will lose six points.

Although two people can play, it’s much better with three to five players. And you can play a game (which consists of three rounds) in around fifteen minutes, making it perfect for anyone on-the-go who needs a quick game fix.

Sushi Go by Gamewright Ages 7-100, 2-5 players $11 Buy a copy on Amazon

See more photos at Wink Fun. Read the rest

Blokus takes 2 seconds to learn, but many games to master

Apparently Blokus is a popular game that’s been around since 2000, introduced by the French company Sekkoia before being sold to Mattel in 2009. But it’s new to me. I just bought it a few weeks ago after my daughter came home from her friend’s house raving about the game, and we’ve had many a summer Blokus evenings since.

Blokus is a strategy game that takes two seconds to learn, but many games to master. In a nutshell, each player picks a color and starts with a pile of Tetrus-shaped plastic pieces made of 1-5 squares. For instance, one piece is only one square, another is a line of three squares, another a four-square block, another a five-square L-shape, and so on. No piece is alike. Players start off by placing a piece of their choice in a corner of the gridded board. They then take turns connecting pieces to one of their own pieces already on the board. But you can only connect pieces by their corners – not by the edges (although your edges can connect with an opponent’s edge). As the board gets filled, the turns get more difficult, and after a few games you’ll realize how much strategy can make or break a game. The game ends when no one can make another move. The player left with the least amount of squares wins. Addictive and challenging, yet simple enough for a child to learn, Blokus is a great family game.

Note: The version above is 10" x 10", which is smaller than the original 13" x 13". Read the rest

Spend a summer afternoon with a Fantastic Cities coloring book and Tutti Frutti rainbow-colored pencils


Last week on a particularly hot summer day my 12-year-old daughter and her friend decided to avoid the outdoors and spent the afternoon coloring the pages of Fantastic Cities. Not wanting to interrupt their chatter and flow as they filled in the intricate lines of artist Steve McDonald’s amazing urbanscapes, I waited until after dinner, then spent an hour coloring my own page. Fantastic Cities is a beautiful book of detailed pen-and-ink drawings of cities from around the world, including London, Paris, Toronto, Tokyo, San Francisco, New York, Istanbul and many others. And including some slivers of real places mixed with imaginative cityscape mandalas. With books like this, coloring is as much fun for adults as it is for kids!

The colored pencils I used come from Tutti Frutti, with a box design inspired by Italian packaging. The set comes with 12 double-sided pencils with a total of 6 colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple). I’m not sure why they repeat colors rather than give us 24 different shades, but the feel when pressing color to paper is wonderfully smooth and buttery. Unlike a jumbo box of Crayola crayons, Tutti Frutti doesn’t supply you with a pencil sharpener, so make sure you have your own (an automatic sharpener works best).

Fantastic Cities: A Coloring Book of Amazing Places Real and Imagined by Steve McDonald Chronicle Books 2015, 60 pages, 11.5 x 11.8 x 0.4 inches (paperback) $11 Buy one on Amazon

Tutti Frutti Pencils by Princeton Architectural Press 12 double-sided pencils, 6 colors $13 Buy one on Amazon

See more sample pages from this book at Wink. Read the rest

Wink Fun is looking for reviewers


Calling all writers! Wink Fun is looking for reviewers. Reviews should be 1-3 paragraphs, and need to include 5-9 photos of the Fun item. If you have something fun to review (board game, lawn game, toy, magic trick, puzzles (3D or traditional), craft or modeling kit, building set, cool electronic, sporty item, etc) email me at to let me know what you’re thinking of reviewing. If it’s a good fit for Wink I will give you more details on what we need. Please no unsolicited reviews, and please look at the site before contacting us. Reviews pay $25 on the day they run. Read the rest

Watch: Elephant taking swigs from a toilet

If you're using the loo at the Elephant Sand Lounge in Botswana, beware! Smart elephants in the area know where the clean water is, and you're sitting on it. Watch as a thirsty elephant uses the toilet as its water bowl rather than the nearby salty water hole outside. Read the rest

Gigantic 40-feet-tall spiderwebs found in Dallas


A strange phenomenon is happening in Dallas, TX. Drivers commuting through the neighborhood of Lakeside Park have spotted a massive canopy of webs that runs the length of a football field. The canopy is draped over trees and bushes and reaches 40-feet high. Any driver curious enough to step out of their car will see thousands of spiders working together to create this web. Of course this is highly unusual, since spiders are known to normally work alone.

Scientists suggest the webs are strung in cooperation in order to take advantage of rare influxes of insects, a hatch of midges or other water-borne insects from the nearby lake.

Although unusual, it's not the first time spiders have spun a communal web in Texas.

A similar web was found inside Lake Tawakoni State Park in 2007. The appearance of that web surprised many arachnologists, who had never seen or studied such a phenomenon.

The spiders are pretty harmless to humans and should be simply admired for their amazing handiwork. Read the rest

Watch: Robot customer pranks fast-food drive-thru employees

Watch as fast-food employees shriek with terror (and laughter) while running for cover when a glowing blue robot rolls up to their drive-thru window. "Hello! I am IO!" it shouts. Not all employees flee from the window. One fellow takes the robot's money, but yells, "This confuses me! I don't like change!" Not sure if he meant financial or reality change. The best is when IO does a "body scan" of a few employees and then states their name, shocking since they aren't wearing name tags. Apparently the prankster, Rahat, aka MagicofRahat, had a friend order food earlier to get their names on the receipt. This isn't the first drive-thru prank, but it's as good as all the rest.

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London pub owner jailed for 7 years after killing rich American who looked "homeless"


Rostam Notarki is being sentenced to seven years in prison for shoving a shabby-looking man out of his pub with an ironing board. The man was then hit and killed by an oncoming van. Apparently, Notarki, owner of The Cardinal Wolsey pub in south-west London, didn't take kindly to the man, who came into his pub carrying blue plastic bags and talking to his two toy mice. When the man, 53-year-old Charles Hickox, who happened to be a wealthy American gambler and drifter, ordered three bottles of expensive Italian wine, Notarki served him cheaper bottles. He then kicked Hickox out of the pub without returning his credit card.

Hickox became irate.

When the victim realised the Visa card he used to pay for the wine was missing, he went back with a tennis racquet in each hand to demand it back, having told his companions he might “have to crack some ribs to get it”.

The victim pushed the landlord using one of the racquets and then ran off, pursued by Notarki carrying an ironing board, and his son Kian wielding an iron bar.

Once outside, Hickox was "jabbed" with the ironing board, which pushed him into the traffic.

For more details click here.

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Disabled chicken will receive a 3D-printed prosthetic leg

In America, chicken has better health care than you.

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