The husband-and-wife musical team Katie O’Sullivan and Steve Borne, or as kindie rock fans know them, Princess Katie & Racer Steve, were already a hit in our household thanks to their live concert  DVD release, Revved Up & Ready to Rock! Initially, I was hesitant to bring this band into our house. Maybe it was the fact that I used to shy away from bands in costumes or with fictional personas. Or, it could have been the fact that I had enough Princess-mania in my house. But I soon realized, after a few video views on YouTube, that Princess Katie is, in fact, breaking the typical tiara mold. Unlike most royal role models, this princess cares more about rocking out than marrying off, and I could get behind that. As for the group’s costumes, as long as weren’t using them to hide a lack of talent – and they surely weren’t – I could get on board. Plus, let’s face it, kids love the costumes and isn’t that what it’s all about?Tiny Cool Cover Art

Princess Katie & Racer Steve have just released their third album, Tiny Cool, and it is already getting buzz from both mainstream magazines and family music fanatics alike. We were sent a review copy of their latest effort, and looked forward to experiencing PK &RS in an audio-only format.  The album started off strong right away with the Latin-flavored party jam “Clelia’s Party,” immediately squelching any fears that this band specialized in live performances only. A stylistically diverse album, Racer Steve gets to have his hard rock fun in “Kids Rock,” turning up the electric guitar for some kid-safe heavy metal. The band continues to keep it interesting with songs like the surf rock ditty “Sand in My Sandwich,” straight up funk tune “Tiny Cool” and electro-pop closing track “Japanese Robot.”  Katie and Steve also specialize in crafting songs that help kids deal with common emotions and feelings without being condescending or cheesy. The songs on Tiny Cool continue to touch on kid-relevant topics, covering themes like honesty, individuality, compassion, and goodwill.

Anyone who follows Katie O’Sullivan on Twitter or Facebook knows how much passion the band has behind this project and how much they care for their young audience. The duo’s dedication to their musical project, consistent output and interactive, high energy shows are what put them on the radar. With comedic skits both onstage and on albums, cleverly-crafted cartoon avatars on their website and DVD, a killer wardrobe and three albums of original songs, Princess Katie and Racer Steve are class A children’s entertainers.

Be sure to check out their new album Tiny Cool and, if you are near one of the lucky cities they are touring, come out and see them do their live show. Dress up is strongly encouraged!

Back in November, I reviewed Disney Interactive’s iPhone/iTouch app Disney Puzzle Slider. Essentially a digital version of a plastic scrambled tile puzzle, this app has remained a hit in our household. The key appeal of this app is the ability to collect points to unlock “hidden” images in categories like Villains, Simply Mickey, Disney Stylized, Cuties, Romance, Animal Friends, and Disney Friends. For my little one, it is all about  unlocking the images in hopes that it will reveal a Disney Princess. But for me, it has been about the realization that this app serves as more than a promotional Disney tool. It also serves as a bit of an artist playground.

Throughout the past months I have unlocked some images that are quite stylistic and experimental for the House of Mouse.  A few you would even assume were  fan interpretations if not for the fact they were on an official Disney-licensed app. Disney has really let their artists have fun with their IP, taking classic characters in unique directions. While I do not have a pulse on every piece of Disney merchandise out there, I have yet to see many of these takes floating around the Disney Store. Below, I have shared just a few of  the more interesting interpretations found on Disney Puzzle Slider.

Note: The images were not clearly credited to their original artist in the app. However, a whole category is credited to the  Bloc28 project.

Mickey Mouse Remixed – Mickey Mouse gets multiple, diverse art treatments including reworkings from Bloc28.

Mickey 1 Mickey 2
Mickey 3 Mickey 4
Mickey 5 Mickey 6
Mickey 7 Mickey 8

Tween Princesses – Disney Princesses get a makeover with a look that clearly hits the tween market sweetspot.

Belle Snow White
Jasmine Cinderella

Disney goes Kawaii- Take a Disney character and give it the Japanese touch, and you have these cutesy concepts that would fit nicely on the shelf next to the latest Sanrio creation.

Poo
Bambi

Mini-Makeovers – Various characters maintain their general look, but are re-framed with modern colors, fonts and shapes.

Cruella Snow White
Alice The Queen
Pooh Belle
Sleeping Beauty Evil Queen

What are your thoughts? Enjoy seeing Disney have a little fun with their I.P.? Or would you rather see them leave it alone? Comment below!

All images  Copyright Walt Disney Company

In a previous post, I made it pretty clear that we absolutely love Olivia in our house. And, based on my previous iTouch/iPhone app reviews, we also love our technology. So when the two combine, it is perfect multimedia enjoyment.

When I was given a promo code to download the new Olivia Paints app, I surprised Maia and loaded it up without telling her. She reacted with her trademark dramatic delight when seeing that her favorite pig had her very own app. Funny enough, Maia has also taken an interest in color creation lately – mixing different shade combinations to create new ones. Outside of promoting the Olivia brand, this is at the heart of this cute new app.

Olivia Paints hits the iTunes app store today and allows preschoolers to color virtual stickers with a brush and pallet and then place them on different backgrounds. The backgrounds will be familiar to those who watch Olivia on Nick Jr, as will the voice of the narrator used in the app. For $2.99, this app is worth it for Olivia fans, but also for any creative kid.

For us adults: To celebrate the launch of the Olivia app, developer Soma Creates is giving away an iPad with some Olivia goods. All the details on how to win are here.

Click here to download Olivia Paints.

Oliva the App
Olivia takes center stage in new app