Carlton Kids go backstage at The Royal Ballet!

In October, we published Ballet Spectacular, produced in association with The Royal Ballet. The book is a lavish guide to all things ballet, covering the history of the ballet, ballet school, famous ballets, ballet production and what it takes to become a professional ballet dancer.
Ballet Spectacular
Last month, the team at Carlton Kids were lucky enough to be invited to The Royal Opera House for a private backstage tour of The Royal Ballet and to say we were excited would be a huge understatement!
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For anyone that hasn’t been to see a ballet at The Royal Opera House – you really must! Everything about the building is so lavish and beautiful that it feels truly magical.
As we were shown around the Opera House we were told all about the history of the building. As it stands today, The Royal Opera House is the third theatre built on the Covent Garden site as both were previously destroyed by fire. In the days before electricity, the giant chandelier that hangs in the middle of the theatre would have been filled with candles that had to be individually lit in the evening.
As the Royal Opera House is a fully working theatre, we were lucky enough to witness some of the work that goes into The Royal Ballet productions. Ever wondered why you never see massive lorries in Covent Garden unloading props and set pieces on the street? That’s because there is a lift inside the Opera House that carries the lorry backstage!
The most amazing part of the day was being able to watch ballet dancers warming up in class. This is an experience I will never forget. Watching them perform so gracefully in unison was incredible soothing and relaxing – I wish I could start every morning this way.
We were also taken to the costume department where we saw the beautiful, intricately detailed dresses with the dancers names written on the inside. As a huge fan of Sarah Lamb, principal dancer of The Royal Ballet, it was lovely to be able to see one of her dresses in the flesh. What was interesting about the dresses was how heavy the costumes were making us realise just how strong the dancers are.
Ballet tour
It was an incredible opportunity to have a backstage tour of The Royal Ballet, I highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in ballet. It was a truly unique and amazing experience and by far the best working day I’ve ever had! If you want to find out more about the backstage tours, click here.
In fact we were so inspired that the minute we got back to the office, we all booked tickets to see Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in December and we cannot wait!

What a great day to be a Carlton Kid!

A couple of weeks ago, the Carlton Kids team went to the Science Museum and they kindly opened their doors early for us to visit their Who am I? exhibition.

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In September, we published The Ultimate Book About Me by Richard Platt, in partnership with the Science Museum to compliment the permanent exhibition Who am I?

The Ultimate Book About Me

This exhibition marks the 10th anniversary of the completion of the Human Genome Project, inviting us to explore the science of who we are through hands-on object displays. The exhibition helped us discover some of the characteristics that build our personality, intelligence and language.

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There are five distinct areas exploring what makes us unique:

  • My Genes
  • My Body
  • My Brain
  • My Face
  • My Memory.

A highlight for us was What Am I Afraid Of? as there was a projection of a gigantic walking spider, evoking a reaction to one of the most common phobias.

I learnt a lot about my phobias and realised that I have a fear of things that are usually harmless. Most people with phobias cope with them by avoiding everything that evokes them. When we are afraid, reactions are triggered in our body that allow for fight or flight.

My phobia of spiders came from my parents who taught me that spiders in South America are poisonous and that has stayed with me ever since, even though I have lived in the UK for years now. Did you know that about one person in every eight people in UK has a phobia, yet it is said we are only born with two fears: falling and loud noises, the rest we learn along the way, be it rational or less so!

Another highlight was the window display Why Do You Look Like That? which showcased different faces and expressions for us to analyze. It also explained how other people recognize us. Even if you can’t remember someone’s name, there’s a good chance that their face is familiar to you. That’s because our brains are ‘wired’ to deal with faces in a special way. I learned that a region of the brain called the fusiform face area works especially hard when we see a face and try to remember who we are looking at.

It was such a privilege visiting this amazing facility and learning about the science behind who we are. There is no question that it was a fantastic day to be a Carlton Kid!

We made a film about our trip too!

Who am I? is a permanent free exhibition at the Science Museum and we think you should definitely check it out. Click here to find out more.

The Ultimate Book About Me is out now, priced £9.99 and you can order it from our website here.

Books of the Future – iDinosaur and iSolar System

Jake DaCosta, editor of our stunning new Augmented Reality books iDinosaur and iSolar System, reveals his top picks for an incredible virtual learning experience….

A UNIQUE AUGMENTED REALITY EXPERIENCE

This week we’ve been busy launching the first of our exciting Augmented Reality books with free downloadable apps that work on both iOS and Android – iDinosaur and iSolar System.

Designed exclusively for mobile devices including iPad, iPhone, iPod and Android, the Augmented Reality apps work with trigger images in the pages of a book to animate the images and bring the books alive into your home or classroom. Ideal for teachers to enhance Key Stage 2 learning at school or for parents to entertain the kids at home, this interactive Augmented Reality experience makes learning immediately fun!

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BRING YOUR LEARNING ROARING TO LIFE! 

First up is iDinosaur! Pop the crate to unleash a terrific T. rex and have it stomp, roaring around your room and come face to face with friends and family.

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Take the funniest pics to save or to email to your friends!

Other Augmented Reality experiences include:

  • Hatch a cute baby Brachiosaurus (aww!)
  • Make a mischievous Velociraptor pack scurry about your floor (yikes!)
  • Fly a mighty Pteranodon around your room (Yippee!)

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BRING THE UNIVERSE TO LIFE LIKE NEVER BEFORE! 

Explore the solar system like never before with iSolar System, created in collaboration with the staff of the American Museum of Natural History.

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The Mars Rover has a new, more hospitable destination – your room! Modelled to the specifications of the actual Mars Rover, you can drive it around the floor and blast rocks with the camera mounted laser.

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Other Augmented Reality experiences include:

  • A full view of the Solar System, with the user able to highlight each planet in turn.
  • Investigate the Moon’s surface by spinning it on its axis.
  • See what a futuristic permanent moonbase will look like.
  • See the Lunar Elevator in action.

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 DRAW A DINOSAUR COMPETITION

If you’re a teacher or a parent you can win free copies of iDinosaur for every member of your school’s class plus the winner will receive a mini iPad. Interactive activity sheets and posters are provided to use in the classroom or at home to make learning fun and inform your kids about the competition! Visit our competition website to find our more: http://www.carltonbooks.co.uk/drawadinosaur

iDinosaur and iSolar System priced at £9.99 each are available to purchase online and in all good bookstores now. The free downloadable apps to use in conjunction with the books are available in the App Store and on Google Play now!