Top Picks: Babar on DVD, pop-up version of The Odyssey, new website makes contemporary art easy, and more

'Babar and Father Christmas' released for first time on DVD, Sam Ita releases graphic novel with pop-up art illustrations of The Odyssey, new website makes collecting artwork accessible and affordable, and more top picks.

Contemporary art at the tap of a key

Just in time for the gifting season, a new website,, makes cool, inspiring, uplifting, and amusing artwork downright affordable. Artists whose works have hung in major museums such as the Guggenheim and MCA Chicago have come together to select works for sale on the site, with many under $250. Call it Collecting for Dummies – the site provides curatorial guidance, artist bios, certificates of authenticity – and a way to become art-smart from the comfort of your home.

A beloved elephant

Babar and Father Christmas, from the classic children's story by Jean de Brunhoff, is an animated tale from the award-winning series that ran on HBO two decades ago. Now available for the first time on DVD, this is a charming trip down memory lane for boomer parents raised on the family of royal French pachyderms. Come along on the king's journey to Paris and the North Pole to ensure that his children's holiday is both joy- and toy-filled.

Songs for the young

Oregon singer/songwriter Laura Veirs became a first-time mother recently. So she and her record-producer husband, Tucker Martine, decided to make her next album a children's record. The result is Tumble Bee, a wonderful collection of American folk songs for the little ones. The guileless sincerity of Veirs's voice, the simplicity and live feel of the backing musicians, and the well-chosen songs make this an instant hit.

Greek classic pops up

Author Sam Ita brings another classic work of literature to pop-up life in his new release, The Odyssey. Written like a graphic novel, with endlessly entertaining pop-up and moving elements (check out Odysseus' releasing the westerly winds via a pull tab and the man who magically transforms into a pig), the book is great for fans of Homer or readers who want a quick, entertaining version of this epic tale.

Art history with a twist

History and art come together in The Momentus Project (, created by designer Evan Stremke. Fifty-two artists and designers take important moments in US history – such as the Boston Massacre and the Battle of Antietam – and illustrate them. One striking example: An arm wrapped in barbed wire holding cherry blossoms represents the American internment camps for the Japanese during World War II.

Fantastic Cities

Who hasn't wanted to visit the magical village of Hogsmeade from the "Harry Potter" books and movies or get the better of the island featured on the TV show "Lost"? has compiled a list of the 50 Coolest Fictional Cities. A trip to one isn't any closer, but at least you'll know other people have also cherished the same dream of dropping by Shermer, Ill., the town where almost all of John Hughes's movie characters lived.

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