Down-aging AG

WellieWishers is a new American Girl line of 14-inch dolls and accessories just launched by Mattel.

The target age is what’s making big news: the line is geared for 5 to 7 year olds.

The WellieWishers world will include illustrated early chapter books by American Girl author Valerie Tripp. The characters will also be featured in an animated series which starts this fall.

For the WellieWishers app, go to

Tiny toast

Have you seen the new cereal, Tiny Toast?

The cereal bits are toast-shaped and covered with sprinkles of real strawberry or blueberry flavoring. Cute.

General Mills is finally catching on to the better-for-you desires of the breakfast crowd, as this new brand has no high-fructose corn syrup and no artificial flavors or colors

Drowning in movie toys

With all the blockbuster releases – Captain America, Finding Dory, The Angry Birds Movie, plus Ice Age and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle sequels – walking down the toy aisle at Target is like drowning in movie mania.

But toys related to the films further the fun for kids and buy parents a little relief from trying to keep children happily occupied…and that’s definitely appreciated at this point in this summer.

Introducing Elmo, program host

If summer is starting to drag, there’s still time this month to catch the topic of “animals” on Sesame Street’s YouTube Channel.

Each month, Elmo, the program host, explores a specific topic: games and sports in August, ready for school in September; music and dancing in October; cooking in November and kindness in December.

It’s part of the Love to Learn campaign. Check out games on

Blue jeans and a beard

Have you seen (or painfully stepped on) the newest Lego figure?

The stay-at-home dad wears a red flannel shirt with blue jeans and dark facial hair. Included int the Lego City line, dad comes with a stroller, baby and woman dressed for work outside the home.

After the deluge of intergalactic figures in the past months, it appears Lego is stepping into the real world.

Families make an impact

Each Thanksgiving, increasing numbers of families volunteer at food pantries and shelters, but this summer, that mission-minded serving has expanded.

Before leaving on vacation, more families are looking to “make a difference.” Volunteering can take the form of landscaping at a local school or painting a church preschool.

This summer, the “feel good” spirit is not only alive and well, but growing.

In the shadow of HP

If your child is plodding through his summer reading list, look at the thickness of the books.

The “Potter Effect” is alive and well on middle grade and junior high reading lists.

The shortest book in the legendary series was 320 pages. the seventh and final title, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was a hefty 756 pages.

Research shows that books for students in grades 3-8 are getting longer each year. Hopefully, the stories are so engrossing for young readers, that time just flies.