Between the Lines: A Coloring Book of Drawings by Contemporary Artists shows coloring books are not all licensed cash-ins. (Kid Crave)

Toddler-friendly virtual world Pocoyó World reaches 150,000 registered users. (Pocoyo Blog)

Did you watch The Little Prince film as a kid? It is now set to be adapted again as a 3-D CGI film. Hopefully equally as strange! (Animation Magazine)

Irish crime writer John Connolly has an excellent new YA novel out. Read his interview with the Montreal Gazette.

According to Forbes, Betsy Bird is the most powerful blogger in kids’ books.

Move over MTV, here comes Jitterbug.tv: the first online video channel for children’s music. (About.com Children’s Music)

Bella Sara announces “Mom & Baby” line. (ICV2)

YesKidzCan! sells “Act of Kindness” kits that contain whatever you need to bring charity to life with themes that matter most to you. (Cool Mom Picks)

FableVision’s new “Big Screen Books” brings your favorite books by Peter H. Reynolds to your computer or interactive whiteboard. (Fablevision Official Site)

Meet the inhabitants of Poppets Town, a new Japanese animated TV series based on a book by illustrator Jun Ichihara. The animation is done by Sony Creative Products Inc and plans are in the works to release the series in more than 100 countries. (Kids Web Japan)

Just-launched Readeo.com lets family members in different cities see live video of each other sharing digital picture books. (Publishers Weekly)

Off I go to clean a flooded basement.

As any visitor to this blog knows, I am a huge fan of independent children’s music and enjoy following the ever-changing world of social media. It is rare these come together, outside of the typical Twitter and Facebook Pages. However, earlier this month saw the launch of a new vertical social network, WiggleNation.com, dedicated solely to discovering and promoting children’s music.

WiggleNation.com is the creation of entertainment marketing professional Jesse Atwell. Previously an employee of Razor & Tie Entertainment (Kidz Bop), Atwell used his experience with children’s music brands to bring this new project to fruition. According to the official press release, Atwell is hoping to offer one of the most comprehensive catalogues of indie kid’s music on the web while creating a niche online community that serves a growing genre.

The site has two audiences, both independent children’s musicians looking to get their music heard and listeners looking for cool, new family-friendly sounds. The platform is built on Ning, a white label social network system sure to be familiar to many users. Musicians build a custom WiggleNation “artist” profile page where they post streaming audio, share music videos and utilize social networking tools. Listeners create their own profile, connect with other members and take advantage of Ning’s social networking and app tools. As another perk for members, WiggleNation distributes a free weekly MP3 download from selected artist members.

WiggleNation is set up to be a great discovery tool for parents and another way for artists, who may not have the A&R of a major-label artist, to get their music out to receptive fans. I look forward to tracking its growth in the upcoming year at a time when both social networking and kid’s music are continuing to grow.

Zev, Gustafer and Debbie Welcome Users

While the attention given to children’s music typically focuses on the newer artists, I think it is important to remember some of the pioneers of this genre. And no one represents a “founding father” of the genre better than Barry Louis Polisar.

Polisar started writing and recording for children in 1975, and has since gone on to an accomplished career creating books, poems and music for kids. He has toured elementary schools and libraries for 3 decades, written songs for Sesame Street, won 4 Parents’ Choice Awards, scored reoccurring gigs on The Learning Channel and even performed at The White House. Most recently, Polisar found a career resurgence after his 30-year-old song “All I Want is You” was used in the opening credits of indie film breakout hit “Juno.”

The success of this song led to many of his old fans being reunited with a musician they remembered fondly from their youth. Aaron Cohen, lead singer of indie group The Radioactive Chicken Heads, was so influenced by Polisar as a kid he decided to pitch the idea of a tribute album to other artists. What resulted was the 60 song, 2-disc set, We’re Not Kidding! A Tribute to Barry Louis Polisar.

Artists attached to the project interpret his songs using their own styles. Hip-hop, electronica, folk, jazz, Klezmer, and bluegrass are just a few of the genres touched upon by the international group of participating musicians. Any listener approaching this album, each with his own distinct musical pallet and preference, is sure to find handfuls of gems to add to his iPod.

An instant favorite in our house was Nashville trio Vesper’s version of “All I Want Is You,” the aforementioned song that brought Polisar back into the spotlight. We also enjoyed DeLeon’s take on “My Brother Thinks He’s a Banana” with goofy-good lyrics on top of a sophisticated indie-rock sound that mixes in Sephardic music. NYC-based Ham and Burger‘s delightfully nonsensical “Don’t Put Your Finger Up Your Nose” had the type of funky electronica beat that is always a hit with Maia. There was even a rockabilly-style version of “Never Cook Your Sister in a Frying Pan” from Robbins In A Tree-O that had us appreciating a genre we usually don’t give much thought to. And, of course, what would a tribute album to a kid’s musician be without some family music talent on board to honor the artist? Grammy-nominee and Kidzapalooza /Austin Kiddie Limits creator Tor Hyams contributes to the album as does punk rock kindie act The Boogers and acoustic-rock duo Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke.

This album is truly a delight for older indie-rock lovers and their music-loving offspring. My wife and I get to explore and discover new bands and their different sounds while my daughter enjoys the genre-jumping, comical lyrics and non-stop fun. Best of all, a long overdue tribute is paid to an artist who inspired many of the modern-day musicians we love – both in and out of the family music genre.

We’re Not Kidding! A Tribute to Barry Louis Polisar is for sale on iTunes, Amazon.com and CDbaby.com. Check out some free samples now on Barry Louis Polisar’s website.

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