The Ages 2-5 category has 2195 KIDS FIRST! endorsed titles

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ABC MONSTERS: STARRING ABCD

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ABC MONSTERS: STARRING ABCD       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
N CIRCLE ENTERTAINMENT
Series: SERIES, AGES 2-5
Topic - Family
Description - Meet the ABC Monsters! They are big, hairy and not very scary. The ABC Monsters are on the loose and only Alice, Brian and Cherry Berry can catch them. Twenty Six cuddly ABC Monsters live within the walls of Capital Castle. Each monster represents a letter of the alphabet, but should any of the monsters go missing for longer than a day, all the letters will be wiped clean from every book in Capital Town, so it's very important to make sure that all the ABC Monsters are safely back in Alphabet Gardens before the sun goes down. However, this isn't as easy as it sounds. The ABC Monsters are always curious and happy creatures so they tend to wander off from Alphabet Gardens and get lost in the process. In each adventure Alice and her good friends Brian and Cherry Berry, must search high and low for one of the missing monsters. Get set for a spellbinding series of magical adventures that engages preschool children's imaginations, while making learning exciting and entertaining.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - What a great DVD! This title offers singing, dancing, puzzles and lots of character/viewer interactions throughout the DVD. This did supports inquiry and problem solving. The viewer is prompted to participate in phonic skills and word building via puzzles, games and songs. The animation is clear and colorful and fun to watch. This title is all about learning the alphabet. Each episode is centered around a specific letter. Within that episode, there are fill in the blank word games, songs and repetition of phonics. Any child learning the alphabet would enjoy this DVD. This title is visually very appealing! The animation is great and the songs are original and fun. The DVD cover and box are colorful and have a raised image that makes it stand out.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The kids really loved it. They sat there forever and were completely entertained. "ABC Monsters is about some kids who try to find Monster letters like one that looks like a G. They find all the letters so that they don't disappear. The monsters do things that start with their letter, like practicing arrows for A and looking for a bell for B. They sing songs when it's the end, and they ask questions. Actually the kids ask the questions in it. The monsters were nice. Kids would learn the ABC song and a little bit of reading and spelling from watching this. The monsters were funny, and I think kids will like that." "We liked that they were trying to find stuff. It was like a mystery treasure hunt. It was exciting, and we liked all the colors. The people in it were nice, and we thought the dancing and singing was fun! We really, really liked it!

Reviewed by 4- and 6-year-old KIDS FIRST! reviewers.

ABC Monsters helps young children learn the difference between all the letters in the alphabet through a fun adventure similar to Dora the Explorer. It captures their small attention span in an exciting way that children can easily relate to. There are four fun episodes on this DVD for kids to learn from.

This DVD stars letters A, B, C and D with 20-minute episodes about each one of these letters. The ABC Monsters live in Capital Castle along with King Wordy, Queen Scribble, their daughter Alice and friend Brian. There is also Cherry Berry who looks like a fairy that assists in finding the letters when they go missing. The hairy ABC Monsters spend all their time happily in Alphabet Garden except when one goes missing. During the adventures of trying to find the missing Monster, kids learn different words that begin with the letter of the episode. There is also an ABC book that gives clues to the direction of the missing ABC Monster. While looking for the missing Monster, the child will also have to fill in the blanks for the clues as a part of the adventure.

My favorite part is when Cherry Berry lines up all the ABC Monsters to see who is missing by singing the Alphabet song. It reminds me of how much fun I used to have singing that song in preschool. The name "Queen Scribble" made me laugh so she is my favorite character. The graphics are extremely colorful which will captures the attention of a child and in each adventure kids learn new words along the way.

This DVD is made specifically for preschoolers and helps with the learning process of the alphabet. Even younger toddlers can benefit from this learning tool. It is a great fit for ages 1 through 5 and both boys and girls will enjoy it because its fun to watch and they can sing along too. I rate this DVD a four out of five "dazzling" stars! ABC Monsters: Starring ABCD is in stores now.

Reviewed by Haley P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 12
Runtime: 90 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 4-6
Suggested Retail Price: $ 9.99
Media: DVD
      Buy Here (Amazon.com)


SEVENTH DWARF, THE

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
SEVENTH DWARF, THE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
SHOUT! FACTORY
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - When Bubi, the youngest of the seven dwarves, accidentally pricks Princess Rose, he triggers the curse of an evil ice queen and sends an entire kingdom into a century-long slumber. Bubi and the other six dwarves must travel into the future with a charming prince and a suicidal dragon in order to save their fairy tale kingdom.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The Seventh Dwarf is a movie focused around Princess Rose and her curse. This story is very loosely based on Sleeping Beauty. In this story, you have all of the characters from all of the standard Disney fairytales. Princess Rose's rescue team consists of Jack, her Prince Charming, the seven dwarves and a "Suicidal Dragon."

Right away when watching this film you can tell by its animation and the loose story that it's for children in the age range of 5 to 10. I didn't like the animation style used in this film. I believe that a child in this age range would probably enjoy this film. The dwarves sing and dance constantly, which is very charming most of the time. It's nice to pick out subtle yet obvious differences and similarities between the characters. It feels as though the story is trying to teach us a lesson and gers carried away. The story is generally enjoyable and full of cute little lessons, however, I think the "Suicidal Dragon" is a bit inappropriate. The Dragon actually puts a rope around its neck and ties the other end to a boulder. Admittedly the Dragon does not end up killing itself but, of course, that's not until after the dwarves sing a song about friendship.

Had this movie not had the suicidal bit in it, it would have earned a higher rating from me but, because of the Dragon, I am giving this film 3 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Rachel V., KIDS FIRST! reviewer.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Seventh Dwarf is a family film adventure in which cute little dwarves Bobo, Tschakko, Cloudy, Sunny, Cookie, Speedy and Ralfie embark on a journey to save the beautiful and fabulous Snow White. It's the night before Princess Rose's 18th birthday and everyone in the kingdom goes to the Fantabularasa Castle to celebrate including Snow White, the Seven Dwarves, Cinderella and Red Riding Hood.

Everything is going swell until, just before the clock strikes midnight, Bobo, the youngest dwarf, accidentally pricks Princess Rose's (a.k.a. Sleeping Beauty) finger with a cursed needle and sends the entire kingdom into a slumber that is a century long. Yikes! The dwarves fall into a huge complication where they must find Rose's true love, Jack, to save her with a kiss! In this tricky and insane journey, they face a fierce and blazing dragon and even defeat the evil, ugly witch, Dellamorta.

I watched this movie along with my little sister and she loved it! It's a pretty basic story but the way it is presented makes it interesting and funny. I feel like they combined all of our favorite kid tales into one and do a great job at it! The only cons that are evident throughout the movie are the songs that they sing. You'll find it nearly impossible to get them out of your head afterwards! Pretty tedious if you ask me. What makes The Seventh Dwarf so enjoyable is the quality of it all. All of the colorful characters create a fascinating adventure and writing that entertain both children and parents effortlessly.

The Seventh Dwarf is rated PG for its thematic elements and some suggestive material. I rate this film four out of five stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18.

It is playing in select theaters in July and will be released on DVD on August 18, 2015.

Reviewed by Michelle C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

There are cute and funny dwarfs in this all new adventure. This new story line is adorable and fun for the whole family.

BoBo, the smallest Dwarf, is played Joshua Graham and he is my favorite character. His clumsiness leads the story line through its many adventures. The message is "Hero's come in all sizes" - which is a great message.

Peyton List voices the famous Sleeping Beauty and she has been updated. Although there are many plans in place to protect her, she still cannot escape pricking her finger and falling into a dead sleep.

Norman MacDonald portrays Burner, the dragon. He is fierce and quirky. His voice matches perfectly with his character. Then, of course, there is the dancing. This is one of my favorite scenes and we learn that Burner is great dancer.

The music is catchy and I found myself still singing the songs the next day. They are original songs with great uplifting lyrics. There are many belly laughing moments.

The graphics are classic animation style done in German 3D computer animation. It is bright and colorful. The backgrounds and castle scenes are very detailed. Each character is well thought out with each matching its own unique personalities. Every fairy tale needs a villain and her name is Dellamorta (Nina Hagen). The movie all flows beautifully but this charter is done in a completely different style which makes her seem oddly out of place.

The story line is easy to follow and full of surprises. Many different characters show up from various fairy tales. The story is based loosely on Sleeping Beauty with many twists and turns. The characters are much different from the original versions we all know and love. There are several new ones you will be adding to your favorites list.

The Dwarfs have all new names with different traits and personalities. Their differences help them as they try to rescue Princess Rose and everyone in the castle from the evil sleeping spell. They must go on a quest in search of her true love.

This movie has many messages including 1) Don't be afraid to be who you are, 2) Believe in yourself and 3) Don't judge people before you really get to know them.

I recommend this movie to ages 5 to 8. It is definitely most suitable for a younger audience.

This movie gets 4 � toe tapping stars. It is sure to put a smile on your face and many new songs in your heart. It has a limited release in local theaters beginning July 31, 2015 and will be available on DVD August 18.

Reviewed by Morgan B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

The Seventh Dwarf is an animated film directed by Boris Alijinovic and Harald Siepermann. I really enjoyed the movie. It is hysterical. The movie is about Princess Rose (Peyton List), who has an 18th birthday celebration and accidentally pricks her finger on a needle that is held by Bobo and cursed by the evil queen, Dellamorta. The needle puts her immediately into a deep sleep. After Princess Rose falls asleep, Bobo then accidentally puts the rest of the castle into a slumber. The only way to get Princess Rose to awaken is by a "true love's kiss".

The film takes place at a castle. There is a party thrown for Princess Rose and all of her fairytale friends attend: Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, The Wolf, Cinderella, The Seven Dwarfs and others. The main characters are the Seven Dwarfs but, they have different names than we are used to. There is Cookie, Sunny, Cloudy, Ralphy, Speedy, Tschakko and Bobo. Bobo is the clumsy one of the group. Every time his shoelaces come undone, something bad happens. Even though the evil witch, Dellamorta and her dragon, Burner are not invited to the celebration, she makes a grand appearance anyway. The dwarfs are taken on an adventure when they set out to find Jack who is the only one who can wake up princess Rose with a "true love's kiss". The dwarfs get into so many sticky situations along their journey to find Jack. Finally, they find Jack and they hurry back to see if the "true love's kiss" will save Princess Rose. You'll have to watch the movie to find out.

The Seventh Dwarf is an outstanding movie. It is full of comedy, adventure, music and dancing. The actors have great comedic timing. The actors amazed me with their singing performances. I have to commend the directors for bringing these characters to life.

My favorite part of this movie is when the dragon, Burner shows Bobo one of his favorite things he likes to do. He asks Bobo to promise not to laugh. After he shows Bobo his secret, their new friendship takes a bad turn. Soon afterwards, Bobo and the Dwarfs make Burner feel better and they end up being best friends. My favorite character is Bobo because he is always happy and is hilarious.

The message of the film is: As long as you have friends by your side, you can accomplish anything.

I rate this movie four out of five stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 18 as well as adults. This film is playing in select theaters in July and will be released on DVD/Blu-ray on August 18, 2015

Reviewed by Brooke S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9
Runtime: 88 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-18
Suggested Retail Price: $ 24.97
Media: DVD
      Buy Here (Amazon.com)


LEGO BRICKUMENTARY, THE

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
LEGO BRICKUMENTARY, THE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
XXX
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - A look at the global culture and appeal of the LEGO building-block toys.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - If you ever wanted to know everything there is to know about the wonderful brick building toy, LEGOs, this is your film, with not only insight of the full history of LEGOs but also about how large and diverse the LEGO community is! A LEGO Brickumentary will be loved by the millions of LEGO fans, and really anybody who wants to know how LEGO became a worldwide known phenomenal.

This of course is a documentary with many educational aspects, but they did it in a style which almost told an adventure of the LEGO history, and showing how the community was created. The narrator, Jason Bateman, did a wonderful job putting life into the narration of the whole film.

The movie is about LEGO's history from its humble beginning in the 1950's to today, almost 70 years later! From the idea, to the challenges, the actual reason it became the brick company we know today, of course with some changes on the way, including the design that allows them to stick together. This movie also takes a look into the massive community of LEGO, from the conventions, to the people who work in LEGO, to even the medical treatment LEGO offers! If you wanted to know about LEGO, this movie certainly does the job.

I love a lot of things about this movie did to make it educational but yet still entertaining. However, this film was a bit all over the place. For example, it started off talking about the largest LEGO set ever built, then it talked about something else for 10 minutes, and went back to it. I thought that was a bit confusing, and could have been edited better. I did however like what they did with the narration, Jason was shown as an animated LEGO character, the way they animated in the LEGO Movie. Also, at times they showed him, "legalized" while for example, a LEGO convention was happening behind him. Combined with his wonderful narration, I thought it came together very nicely.

My favorite scene is about the huge LEGO set I talked about earlier, a branch of LEGO designers, called Master builders, who are responsible for the massive LEGO statues in amusement parks and conventions, are tasked to build a life size replica of their X-Wing set which will be displayed in time square, to see the outcome of the set, and the adventure they had to make it, including placing over 3,000,000 pieces! I loved this scene for the sole reason it showed you how extreme LEGO creations can get.

I believe this is film is good for all ages, of course older kids would get more of the terms and enjoy it more, I also give it 5 out of 5 stars because despite the thing about it being a bit random, they did a wonderful job making it educational and entertaining.

Reviewed by Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


CRAYOLA DJ

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
CRAYOLA DJ       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
LEGACY GAMES
Series: APP, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Create the perfect music and play with tracks in different genres, including dance, pop, and hip hop. Layer your loops and add fun sound effects, then take your beats to the dance party. Your color-coded music creates an exciting color and light show. Perform for an audience and earn points for mixing and scratching your music! You can then save your music and share with friends and family!
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Young kids gain enjoyment from the simplest of games, whether it be tag or crab racing. Crayola DJ is another one of those easy, fun games that lets children create their own music in the palm of their smart phone device. Perhaps the most enjoyable part is listening to the music change genres so quickly from funk to pop to hip hop just from pressing the devices on the game.

Crayola DJ opens up and the player is immediately faced with two turntables. The player is helped by a woman's voice giving basic instructions on how to create music. There are buttons that provide different rhythms, basses, melodies and sound effects to create the player's desired tune. These beats all come from different genres such as dance and holiday. This sort of "practice mode" provides a chance to creatively experiment with balance of the music, tempo and more. There is a two player mode where two kids can compete with one another and show off their mixing skills and also a performance mode where the player gets to feel like he or she is performing for a show.

Available on both Android and iOS, Crayola DJ is a very inventive game that many will enjoy. One aspect of the game that I really enjoyed was the interactive aspect. Lots of games out there that kids play are very singularly noted and simply require button pressing or aiming at a target. This game is much more intricate than that and provides children an opportunity to actually learn while playing on a device.

One criticism I have of the game is the lack of clarity. Yes, it is good to have kids learn for themselves and creatively experiment with a game. However, I had trouble understanding how exactly to make music and how to get from the "practice" area to the "performance" area. The woman's voice who helps guide you through the game is pleasant enough, but she lacks information on how to make the game really easy to comprehend in the beginning.

All in all, I would give the game a 3 out of 5 stars due to the confusion and lack of clarity in instructions. Still, it is a very enjoyable game and I recommend it for kids ages 4 to 8. This is a creative new game for kids to learn more about music and, most of all, enjoy themselves. Reviewed by Carissa P. KIDS FIRST! juror, age 16
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Crayola DJ app is very fun, especially if you love music and creating music. This app helps you to make a song then spin your track at a party like a real DJ. The app is easy to learn, do and is fun to create with your friends. There is not a super wide selection of music beats to make your song but you can make a lot of tunes. I enjoyed the bright visuals, easy to follow instructions, the creativity of the app and the idea of being able to be a DJ on your tablet. I recommend this app for 6- to 12-year-olds because it's fun to create songs and it is a blast to listen to what you create. I'd rate this app 4 out of 5 stars. Crayola DJ is for kids to have fun and be creative.

Reviewed by Mia A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11.

The app Crayola DJ is neat and fun to play with. This is a kid's app where you can learn basic beats. There are so many combinations of music beats that you can make. The music areas covered are pop, hip-hop, dance, fusion and holiday. I thought the holiday beats would be weird to use, but it sounds real interesting. There are some loop buttons that you can add to the sound. Crayola DJ is about complete creativity. The Crayola DJ app does not disappoint. I downloaded this app under Google Play. The screen for this looks very simple. There is a voice tutorial which walks you through the app. I like that is has two turntables that you can actually spin backwards or frontwards. There is also a tempo slide and turntable slide. Crayola DJ has a one and two-player game. This game is based on creating and mixing up beats to earn the most points. It is interesting to play, but I didn't like that the screen was completely different from the main one. It has a voice tutorial also. I read online that you can add your own music. I have not seen anywhere on this app that shows where to do this. That would really bring this app straight to the top. Crayola DJ is fun for all ages. I recommend downloading this app especially for kids who has an interest in mixing. I give this 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 8 to 18.

Reviewed by Kamren W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 8

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 4-8
Suggested Retail Price: $ 4.99
Media: App


HOT AIR

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
HOT AIR       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
RECESS MONKEY
Series: AUDIO CD FOR AGES 5-8
Topic - Family
Description - Flight, adventure and unexplored territory are all part of the concept behind Hot Air, a CD with DVD. Recess Monkey is known for expressing what kids adore most, and in this case, everyday experiences like meeting the new kid in school, wearing hand-me-downs, flying a paper airplane and watching a balloon drift up in the sky, are all related through smart lyrics and layered musicality. Band site: www.recessmonkey.com
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - 'Hot Air' rises to the occasion and delivers a potent punch of fun, danceable and delightfully listenable tunes that will lift your spirits and take you on flights of fancy that are frown resistant. Recess Monkey is a tried and true band of experienced and educated musicians who have inhaled the wonderful songwriting and production values of top groups from the late 60's and 70's and have exhaled a new, original and pleasing paradigm of songs that are kid-friendly but more importantly, kid-conscious. Up up and away, the sky is the limit, or is it?

As far as the DVD portion of this goes: The DVD is rolled into the same CD package which is clever and visually stimulating. The colors and sets are vibrant and stimulating and appealing to a child's' artistic sense and sensibility. Hot Air rises to the occasion and is chock full of fanciful characters and situations animating a fun and engaging narrated story of a boy to man, Andrew, who makes a colorful balloon out of hand me down male and female sibling clothing. When he joins an air race contest and helps a penguin in trouble when his magic carpet is hit by lightning, the excitement and thrills build. Vintage newsreel footage of early flight vehicles and pilots of the time, adds credence to the contest. Through perseverance and dogged determination Andrew finishes the race dead last but due to a technicality actuality wins. Terrific songs, creative artwork and humorous storytelling make Hot Air a winning package.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - See adult comments, youth comments coming soon.
Runtime: 40 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $ 17
Media: AUDIO


This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
LOTTE AND THE MOONSTONE SECRET
KIDFLIX GLOBAL
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Topic - Family
Description - Lotte and Uncle Klaus are going on a treasure hunt to unlock the secrets of the three magical stones Klaus and his friends took from a secret temple. But they don't realize they are being followed!
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This cute animated film follows a little girl named Lotte and her Uncle. They embark on a journey to find the mystical moonstones. The film's colorful animation and harmless characters will please small children ages 3 to 10. It tosses you into a child-like world that inspires imagination and the laws of reality do not bind it, much like a child's mind. Adults will spend time looking at their watches because of the simplistic story but it's not meant for them. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend this film for our festival.

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $ 17.95
Media: FeatureFilm

Buy Here (from KIDFLIX GLOBAL)


NATURE: ANIMAL HOMES
PBS DISTRIBUTION
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - The series features a blend of CGI, animation, CT scans and signature blueprint graphics to highlight engineering principles inside the structures. A variety of cameras, including tiny HD versions, capture unprecedented views inside animal homes without disturbing natural behavior. When appropriate, filmmakers shoot behaviors in slow motion and use infrared and time lapse to reveal how animals create their structures over time and through the seasons. Over the course of three episodes, the series delves into the amazing flexibility animal architects display, the clever choices they make and the ingenious ways they deal with troublesome habitats. Contains the following episodes: The Nest; Location, Location, Location; Animal Cities, Animal Homes. Nature pioneered a television genre that is now widely emulated in the broadcast industry. Throughout its history, Nature has brought the natural world to millions of viewers. The series has been consistently among the most-watched primetime series on public television. Nature has won over 700 honors from the television industry, the international wildlife film communities and environmental organizations, including 12 Emmys and three Peabody's. The series received two of wildlife film industry's highest honors: the Christopher Parsons Outstanding Achievement Award given by the Wildscreen Festival and the Grand Teton Award given by the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival. Recently, the International Wildlife Film Festival honored Nature executive producer Fred Kaufman with its Lifetime Achievement Award for Media.

Nature pioneered a television genre that is now widely emulated in the broadcast industry. Throughout its history, Nature has brought the natural world to millions of viewers. The series has been consistently among the most-watched primetime series on public television.

Nature has won over 700 honors from the television industry, the international wildlife film communities and environmental organizations, including 12 Emmys and three Peabody's. The series received two of wildlife film industry's highest honors: the Christopher Parsons Outstanding Achievement Award given by the Wildscreen Festival and the Grand Teton Award given by the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival. Recently, the International Wildlife Film Festival honored Nature executive producer Fred Kaufman with its Lifetime Achievement Award for Media.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This DVD series is both educational and interesting. I really like how this three-part series not only shows how animals build their homes but also teaches about the animals social interactions and behaviors. Even adults will learn something new! This definitely is not just for the kids but I recommend for ages 6 to 18.

I personally found Location, Location, Location the most intriguing. It shows how crucial and important location is for when certain animals build their homes such as the beaver. When animals build their homes it is not always such a simple procedure and I found it so interesting to see that it can be complex. The narration and scenery adds so much to this series.

I recommend it for classrooms and also for family viewing. It is such a wonderful way to learn more about animals such as different varieties of birds, beavers and black bears. This DVD series will definitely give children a better perspective on how animals make their homes. It is quite an intriguing process!

Animal Homes was filmed both in the U.S. and abroad. The U.S. locations include the Connecticut coast (ospreys and saltmarsh sparrows), North Carolina (ducks), Hawaii (albatross), outside Burlington, Vermont (ravens), Maryland (black bears) and Jackson Hole, Wyoming (beavers).

Available June 16th and will also be available for digital download.

Reviewed by Denise B., KIDS FIRST! Senior Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments.
Runtime: 180 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-18
Suggested Retail Price: $ 24.99
Media: DVD


DESCENDANTS

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
DESCENDANTS       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
DISNEY CHANNEL
Series: FEATURE 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - A present-day idyllic kingdom where the benevolent teenage son of King Adam and Queen Belle offers a chance of redemption for the trouble making offspring of Disney's classic villains: Cruella De Vil (Carlos), Maleficent (Mal), the Evil Queen (Evie) and Jafar (Jay). Directed by Kenny Ortega. Starring Sarah Jeffery, Dove Cameron, Kristin Chenoweth and Cameron Boyce.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - See youth review.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Descendants is a Disney Film, Directed Kenny Ortega. It is a musical film about four descendants of Disney's most infamous villains: Mal (Dove Cameron), the daughter of Maleficent (Kristin Chenoweth), Carlos (Cameron Boyce), son of Cruella De Vil (Wendy Raquel Robinson), Evie (Sophia Carson), daughter of Evil Queen (Kathy Najimy) and Jay (Booboo Stewart), son of Jafar (Maz Jobrani). Ben (Mitchell Hope), the son of Belle (Keegan Connor Tracy) and Beast (Dan Payne), wants to give the children of the villains an opportunity to live a different life than their parents. He wants them to work at being good versus evil. However, Ben's parents do not feel the same way. They do not think it is possible for the kids to change, since they were raised by evil parents. Maleficent appears to be the leader of the villains and she sees this as an opportunity for their kids to go to the Kingdom to steal something that will give them more power.

The film takes place at the Kingdom where the good Disney heroes live and the Isle of the Lost where the villains live. The kids of the Kingdom attend a prep school. This is where the descendants will stay while working on their character flaws. Once the kids are at the Kingdom, they find it difficult to fit in. Mal, is not too happy there. She wants to make her mom proud and will do anything to do so. The longer the Descendants stay, the more they change. In the end, you will see if they change for better or worse.

Descendants is an incredible film. It is filled with action, comedy, drama, music and dancing. I laughed at some parts and even cried at others. The singing is outstanding! I love every song and will purchase the soundtrack. The choreography is filled with tons of energy. The cinematography is excellent as well. The film is bright, fun and very colorful. Mr. Kenny Ortega directs the film and also choreographs the dances. He is one of the most talented people in the world. Mr. Ortega does an amazing job making sure the actors stayed true to their characters.

I do not have a favorite part of the film. The entire film is spectacular! My favorite character is Mal. I like her because she is not afraid to express herself and she doesn't care what other people think of her. She is fearless, strong and beautiful. Dove Cameron is superb in the film. She makes her character seem so real and relatable. I think the entire cast did an awesome job in their roles.

The message in the film is: Do what your heart says and not what others say.

I recommend this movie for ages 6 - 18 and also adults. I rate the movie 5 out of 5 sparkling gold stars!

Reviewed by Brooke S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9.

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


INSIDE OUT

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
INSIDE OUT       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WALT DISNEY STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Growing up can be a bumpy road, and it's no exception for Riley, who is uprooted from her Midwest life when her father starts a new job in San Francisco. Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions - Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness. The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley's mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. As Riley and her emotions struggle to adjust to a new life in San Francisco, turmoil ensues in Headquarters. Although Joy, Riley's main and most important emotion, tries to keep things positive, the emotions conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house and school. Directed by Pete Docter and Ronaldo del Carmen. Starring Diane Lane, Rashida Jones and Amy Poehler.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Ladies and gentlemen, we have a masterpiece on our hands. Pixar has done it again. They already lay claim to two of the top 100 movies of all-time with Up and Wall-E and they have now added Inside Out to their mantelpiece. I will gladly go on record by calling this one of the finest animated features to ever be created. Why? Because it's THE most innovative, imaginative and creative film to be made since 2008s Synecdoche, New York.

The beautiful thing about this movie is that both adults and children can enjoy it. As a matter of fact, I'd say that adults may enjoy it more, because they can have a more fundamental understanding of what this film is. It is 100 minutes of analogous brilliance, that changes our idea of what goes on in our heads. Is this idea fathomable or true? No. But the analogy provides the very product film was invented to produce: a stimulation of the imagination.

Children will enjoy the beautiful colors and the basic plot. What the children can understand is what they can relate to: growing up and adjusting to life as they enter puberty. They will laugh at things that SEEM funny or the more, for lack of better word, simple pieces of humor. But the true jokes, the pieces of humor that have the most intellect are the ones children won't understand. I appreciate those the most because they're fathomable. It's the moment when you laugh, not because the joke is ridiculous, but because you can actually imagine that happening.

Amidst the hilarity there is also a certain depth of emotion. There is a tear-jerking moment, yes, but I mean more along the lines of nostalgia. The way the movie portrays the effects of the emotions and the rationalization that go along with them, conjure a desire to reflect on oneself in their pre-teen days. This film may literally get into the mind of a pre-teen, but the metaphorical representation is what seals the reflection. "I was like that?", "Is that how I thought then...I that how I think now?" may be questions you find yourself asking yourself. These are the effects of a brilliant screenplay.

On a final and personal note, I'll tell this short story. There is a scene in the film, where two officers are questioning a cloud in Imagination Land about her dead husband. Then, in the middle of the interrogation the cloud herself is killed as she is run through by our main character. One cop goes, "Hey wait...", but as he says that, the other cop grabs him and says, "Forget it Jake, it's Cloud Town."...get it? It's a parody of the famous final words from the classic 1974 noir, Chinatown. I'll tell you, it wasn't very comfortable being the only person in the theater laughing at that joke.

It's just one joke amongst many. Beyond the hilarity and, mainly due to the aforementioned reasons I explained, I happily give this instant classic 5 out of 5 stars. I recommend it for ages 7 to 18. It can be seen at a local theater near you. Enjoy.

By Willie Jones, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Pixar's New Inside Out is a Brilliant Creative Masterpiece!

Inside Out is one of the most creative movies that I have ever seen. Created and directed by Pete Doctor, Inside Out features the voices of Amy Poehler, Phillis Smith, Bill Hader, Lewis Black and Mindy Kaling. The film was produced by the wonderful animation house, Pixar and is being distributed by Disney.

Inside Out is about the mind of a young girl, Riley and the emotions that rule her day to day existence. The emotions are characters: Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust and Fear--and they live in her brain, at headquarters. When Riley and her family move to San Francisco from Minnesota, this presents a huge emotional challenge for Riley. Joy tries to keep Riley thinking positively about her new home, but the other emotions have other ideas and make the transition to San Francisco more complicated.

My favorite part of Inside Out is when Riley and her parents are at the dinner table and all their emotions are battling for center stage. "Anger" in Riley is fighting against "Anger" in the father. Meanwhile, the Mother's emotions are frustrated by the Father and they are remembering some hot Brazilian guy that the Mother knew and wishing she had married him! This sequence is hysterical!

The writing of Inside Out is rich and complex. The script takes the audience and their emotions on a rollercoaster ride as well. At one point I saw my mother and many other people in the audience crying!

The directing of Inside Out is terrific. Like Pete Doctor's previous films, Monster's Inc. and Up, Inside Out is not only entertaining but also reveals something brilliant about what it means to be human. There's a great sense of invention to how the film lays out the mind with different areas like the subconscious, long, short and core memories and train of thought. The animation in these sequences is really surreal.

Inside Out has a wonderful, simple message. We need all our emotions to be an actual human being. It's not enough to just have Joy--you need Sadness to offset the Joy and to be compassionate. You need Fear to help you to make good decisions and to not be too risky. You need Anger to stick up for yourself. And, you need Disgust to make the right fashion choices!!

Inside Out is appropriate for ages 6 to18. It can be appreciated on lots of levels. Kids will enjoy all the slapstick humor and teens will enjoy the sophisticated writing and inside jokes about the brain. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars.

Reviewed by Clayton P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


MAX

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
MAX       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Series: FEATURES, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - A dog that helped US Marines in Afghanistan returns to the U.S. and is adopted by his handler's family after suffering a traumatic experience. Directed by Boaz Yakin. Starring Robbie Amell, Lauren Graham, Thomas Haden Church, Mia Xitiali.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This movie is about a marine who faces challenges on and off the battlefield. However, this marine is not a human. This marine is a dog, a dog that inspires many. Max is truly an inspirational adventure many will love and enjoy.

This movie is truly a thriller with a pinch of mystery, however in the form of an adventure that is full of dramatic scenes. There is action with a sparkle of romance spicing up the story as well. At the end, and at its core, it is an inspirational and heartwarming story.

Max starts off when a soldier named Kyle, his squad and his search dog Max are heading to a town in Afghanistan to do their mission. On the way there, they get ambushed and Kyle passes away. Max is traumatized and develops post dramatic stress disorder. The only person who seems to have a positive affect on Max different is Kyle's younger brother. Soon the two bond and start an epic adventure that holds a answer to a mysterious question. If you want to know what it is you have to watch the film!

This film tells an original story and very nicely too. Actors of all species are wonderful in portraying their parts and showing all the varied emotions of those characters. The director makes the story unfold smoothly. I think that some parts of the film are a little bit stretched out. However, Max will make you laugh, cry, gasp and awe. It is a joy to watch.

My favorite scene is when Max and Kyle's little brother, Justin are just starting to get to know each other. Justin brings Max to his group of friends and they race down the hill together. Justin quickly picks up speed and not only does Max easily follow but, he also guides Justin down a safe path. I like the scene because it's really the first time that Max and Justin work as one and it shows the full range of skills that Max has.

This film is rather violent and also has some very mature scenes. The story itself is sad at times and it does contain a bit of gore and intense violence, so I recommend it for ages 11 to 18. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars. For even with its minor imperfections, the creators did a wonderful job showing a heartwarming and original story that generation after generation can be inspired by.

Reviewed by KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Gerry O., age 13

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


BLANKET QUITE RARE, A

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
BLANKET QUITE RARE, A
NEPTUNE PRESS LLC/ D.G. STERN
Series: BOOK, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - There once was a boy with a blanket quite rare that his mother had told him was made with great care. It came on his birthday with colors so bright It made him feel happy all day and all night.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - A Blanket Quite Rare, written and illustrated by Lisa Geotis Ikegami is a rare gem of a book for children ages 4 to 10. A young boy receives a special hand-knit blanket for his birthday. That evening he is frightened during a thunderstorm and takes refuge in bed under the safety of his birthday blanket. Not only does the blanket calm him, but it takes him on a magical journey.

Both boys and girls will find A Blanket Quite Rare to be appealing and engaging. The story is written solely using rhymes, but there are several pages with only artwork which keeps the flow of narration from becoming trite. Using watercolors, the illustrations are attractive and children can depict the emotions of a frightening thunderstorm and the resulting joy in the peace and calm of a sunny day. Some of the drawings are very detailed and might encourage a child to linger on the page and enjoy looking to see what all has been included.

This book meets the KIDS FIRST!. Overall content of the book is good. The story is easy to follow with a clear beginning, middle and end. The production quality and the visual appeal of the book are very appealing. I recommend this book for any child who might ever be fearful during a thunderstorm.

Reviewed by Ruth A.

This title is very whimsical with beautiful watercolor illustrations throughout. The pictures are unique and very colorful. The book mainly takes place in a boy's room while he is under his favorite blanket weathering a storm.This ebook may give children a new perspective on nature and how it is why it is. It may also help them cope with fear or insecurity. The main character's challenge will encourage a child to imagine and inquire in ways that maybe they wouldn't have before. Reviewed by Elizabeth B.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This book by Lisa Ikegami is a very loving story. In the story, a kid gets a beautiful blanket and loves it up. He goes through a problem and the blanket fixes it. Reading this book would help kids not be afraid of thunderstorms. The pictures are not just fantastic, the author painted them too. I love all the water colors and how she blends the colors together. The book is not a long book so it's a good length for a short story. The language rhymes sometimes and sometimes not, it can be a tad confusing but it does not make too big a difference. This is a book for little kids but also may be a good bedtime story for some older kids. I rate this book 4 out of 5 rainbow blankets because of the pictures and tale of a sweet boy and his blanket. My age recommendation is 3 to 10-years-old because it's not a scary picture book and it is a very cute, sweet story. Reviewed by Mia A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11.

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 4-10
Suggested Retail Price: $ 12
Media: Book


WILD KRATTS: SHARK-TASTIC

WILD KRATTS: SHARK-TASTIC       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
PBS DISTRIBUTION
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Martin Kratt and Chris Kratt are studying the secrets of great white sharks while their nemesis, Chef Gaston Gourmand, is looking for ingredients for his shark fin soup recipe. Later, when Martin knocks the Creature Power Suits into a deep Arctic trench, the brothers search for them in the brand-new Octopod submarine where they witness a Pacific octopus' defense against an attacking shark. Then Aviva takes the lead when she wants to upgrade the Tortuga with swimming capabilities, so the Kratt brothers seek out a sea turtle for inspiration. Finally, the Wild Kratts team is on a mission to decode the secret language of dolphins using one of Aviva's new inventions, but a hungry great white shark puts their animal friends in harm's way.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Please see our youth review. This has not been reviewed by adults.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Animation, learning and fun is what Wild Kratts Shark-Tastic is about. The brothers, Martin and Chris Kratt, better known for their PBS kids show Zoboomafu, is back again. This learning adventure takes them to different parts of the world and the special sea creatures that live there.

This DVD includes four episodes:

1. Octopus Wildkratticus- Saving a special octopus.

2. Tortuga Tune Up- How some sea turtles defend themselves.

3. Speaking Dolphinese- Learning about the dolphin language.

4. Stuck on Sharks-Learning about the great white shark

The main characters of Shark-Tastic are the Kratt brothers. Aviva is the leader and engineer, Koki the computer expert and Jimmy Z the operator. Kids will enjoy Jimmy Z. He is the funniest one on the show. This show sure to get young kids excited about these sea creatures. The DVD contains episodes that have already aired on PBS Kids so, they are not anything new. The episodes all have the same theme: How to defend yourself from getting eaten by sharks. Even though the title is "Shark-Tastic," the show is not all about sharks. Sharks are included in all episodes though. Each episode starts with the Kratt brother visiting a place where the sea creature the talk about lives. The dolphin episode is one of my favorites as I am a huge fan of dolphins.

The Kratt brothers are great communicating with each other. I like when Aviva builds a dolphin decoder. In each of the episodes, Aviva makes a Creature Power Suit that is like the animal being talked about in that episode. In real life, scientists are trying to find ways to communicate with dolphins.

The animation for this show is 2D with bright colors. You also see the actual sea creatures in their natural bright colors. That is was makes this DVD and the other Wild Kratts episodes more fun. You can really get into them.

I recommend Wild Kratts Shark-Tastic DVD for ages 4 to 8. This is definitely for kids who love animals or want to learn about them. The Kratts brothers and their friends explain the sea creatures in an easy way. This DVD is a good way to begin learning about them. I think older kids will want to learn more. I give this DVD 4 out of 5 stars. It also comes with DVD Rom which has printable PDF's with activities and a link to PBS kids. This DVD is available now wherever DVDs are sold.

Reviewed by Kamren W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 8
Runtime: 60 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $ 12.99
Media: DVD


SI

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
SI
SAMANTHA SMITH
Series: SHORT FILM, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Si, a temperamental 6-year-old, gets a goldfish from her parents after begging for a puppy.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Si is a bit temperamental but, fortunately, only in her imagination. Her resolution to her disappointment is charming and unusual. You'll have to watch it to find out.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Si is a very interesting film. The use of color is exceptional. Pacing such a vibrant young girl in a completely white, void-like room makes an impact. The few objects that have color have it for a reason;. There isn't anything that serves to clutter your view and distract from the message of the piece, only to enhance it. Except for a small audio issue around 3:17, the production is nearly flawless. It's an extremely well executed piece of art.

The message itself is surprisingly complex considering how short of a film it is. My interpretation follows along the lines of making the best out of the situation you are given. The girl Si is given a goldfish after asking for a dog and, at first, is visibly discontent with it after it refuses to eat the fish food. But, through a revelation of her own she then decides to add all sorts of colorful crafts to the bowl in an attempt to make the best out of what she has. And, by doing so, she finds herself transported into the fish's world where she has what can only be an amazing experience swimming along as a mermaid.

I highly suggest watching Si and getting your own interpretation of the short film. I rate this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18. Even if some younger audiences don't realize the deeper message behind the video, the visuals are still very aesthetically pleasing and they're sure to enjoy it.

Reviewed by Kyle B., KIDS FIRST! Reviewer, age 17
Runtime: 5 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: DVD


CLASSIC SONGS & TRADITIONAL TUNES

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
CLASSIC SONGS & TRADITIONAL TUNES       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
ANDYLAND MUSIC
Series: AUDIO CD FOR AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Fifteen beloved folk and classic children's tunes capture the heart of the songs. Authentic instrumentation, thoughtful arrangements, restored lyrics, and Andy Z's friendly vocals complete this rousing CD that will entertain and engage for years.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - From 'This Land is Your Land' to 'Happy Trails,' Andy Z brings a freshness and excitement to familiar songs that we think we may know but after a few extra verses that were part of the original songs and some well-played musical surprises our ears are buzzing with a renewed acquaintance with old friends. The vocals are engaging and the toe-tapping arrangements will have you dancing with a 'Turkey in the Straw' or breaking out a 'Hokey Pokey' or singing along with 'You Are My Sunshine'. 'Oh Susanna' you've got to listen to this CD and don't you cry for me now, girl!

The songs are performed as close to their original intent with all of the original lyrics and instrumentation approximated. This absolutely keeps the tradition of American folk songs alive and well. It is positive and uplifting and the interpretation of songs that a lot of us have heard for years is fresh and engaging.

The quality is excellent. The music mirror the birth of our nation which was an exciting time for America in terms of exploration and strong families along with adventurous and brave people immigrating from all over the world. These songs offer insight into American history from a musical point of view. The artist starts with the premise "maybe you're familiar with this song, but did you know there are other verses?" Particularly enlightening is "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" with the wraparound lyrics.

The musicianship, choice of traditional instruments and vocal performances are well-done and engaging. The production value (recording) is very professional.

Reviewed by John Wood.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The kids enjoyed listening to this CD. They clapped and moved along. Overall, they seemed to have fun. All around the Kitchen and You are My Sunshine were two of their favorites. The songs are upbeat and energetic and it was nice to see the kids enjoying some of the old classics, some of which they apparently had never heard before. The performance is entertaining and the songs are fun.

One little boy said his favorite was the first one. Another child was excited about the kitchen song. An older boy said he liked the middle songs best. One girl liked the sunshine song best.

"It is good music." "We like all the music." "It is singing."
Runtime: 38 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $ 14.98
Media: AUDIO


CALLING ALL THE ELEPHANTS

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
CALLING ALL THE ELEPHANTS       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
SONG WIZARDS RECORDS
Series: AUDIO CD FOR AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Twelve cheeky, laugh-out-loud funny songs. Combining country and children's pop music with a wacky, seesaw feel, moving from a country stroll where the wit sneaks up on you to a rock 'n' roll sprint where an outrageous lyric slams into you.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Put on the headsets and buckle up because 'Calling All the Elephants' is one of the best albums in a long while to make you laugh out loud and snort milk out of your nose! The word-play, songwriting and musicianship are exemplary. Randy Sharp and Dave Kinnoin, two-seasoned performers, flex their musical chops and in the process push the creative boundaries of children's music in a profoundly wondrous way.

These crafty clutch of tunes hatch from basic concepts and happenings into mini-operas of mirth and merriment. Be yourself. Be resourceful. Be different. Be inventive. Be creative. Have FUN! Who could ask for anything more. Love this album!

Lyrics are stellar, brilliant and quite appealing. The music and production are terrific. Plus, there are many wonderful surprises. Very clever!

Everything clicks like an expensive watch. It's rare to discover an album that appeals to older children, doesn't talk down and takes conceptional chances. This is a breath of musical fresh air.

In ways, it is purposely disrespectful of what is considered appropriate in children's music. Therefore, kids will love it!

I love an album that invites frequent listening because you flat-out love it and / or continue to discover new elements and surprises that you missed before. This is one of those albums. Never gets old. Solid vocals and character voices, musicianship rocks and the recording quality is state-of-the-art.

Reviewed by John Wood.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This is fun and original and many of the songs have a really good beat and rhythm to them. I like that this CD has songs with funny lyrics. My favorite songs are Last Word and Puzzle. I like how the lyrics in Last Word throw in words such as "foot" and then there is a pause and "ball" is added or "cow" and then "boy." Puzzle is just catchy and is fun to dance to it. Most of the songs are pretty cool and make you want to dance. Some of the lyrics are repetitive but I still think they are pretty good. There is only one song I really didn't like as much and that is Acting Like A Baby. I think it is just the topic that I don't really enjoy. The song is still catchy. But, how often do you really like every song on a CD? Over all, this is a CD with fun songs, catchy lyrics and I give it a thumbs up. Best for kids ages 5 to 10. Some older children may not like it as much. I would give this one 4 out of 5 stars.
Runtime: 38 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $ 14.98
Media: AUDIO


LONELIEST TREE, THE

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
LONELIEST TREE, THE
NEPTUNE PRESS LLC/ D.G. STERN
Series: E-BOOK, AGES 5-8
Topic - Family
Description - Not very far from the big city is a very special farm. It's special because it grows special trees...Christmas trees! The trees are able to stretch their graceful branches

covered with needles and pine cones toward the sun as they grow taller and taller--all but one.

"The Loneliest Tree celebrates themes of continuity, enduring faith and vision, and surviving loss and rejection at a special holiday season of love and peace." Midwest Book Review
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The Loneliest Tree by D.G. Stern is an attractive picture book for children ages 4 to 7. The story follows a sapling in a Christmas tree farm and explores the tree's emotions as it makes its ultimate journey to its forever home. The illustrations by Deborah Allison are colorful, child-oriented and follow the storyline. She includes racially diverse community members among the many drawings of trees and heavy machinery. Young boys in particular might be drawn to the descriptions and illustrations of the trucks and snowplows.

The Loneliest Tree feels like a labor of love that unfortunately might have missed the mark of making the reader care about the tree. Character development is lacking, so it was hard for me to become emotionally attached to the tree or its outcome. One particular line in the beginning of the story, "Loneliness can sometimes be good" led me to think readers would be shown a depth or array of emotions which do not materialize.

This book meets the KIDS FIRST! . Overall content of the book is very good. The story is easy to follow with a beginning, middle and end, although the passing of time gets confusing. The production quality and the visual appeal of the book are very good. The story is suitable for young children. I rate this 3 out of 5 Christmas trees.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This is an excellent, fictional book. The story is about a special farm that grows Christmas trees. When Christmas comes, people leave their cities and arrive to the farm to buy a unique tree. All the beautiful trees were being brought except the smallest tree. Everybody neglected that tree. When the tree grows, guess who brought it? I can't reveal anymore you have to read it.

My favorite part is when the tree relocated to his new home. It is such an outstanding place and the tree is very happy and never feels lonely again. The tree shines with glitter and glam like a diamond, so pretty. I like this book because it is meaningful and the storyline is great. I can remember being a young child and sometimes feeling lonely myself.

The author, D.G. tells a great story about expectation and anticipation. The illustrator Deborah Allison, has created wonderful pictures with bright colors.

The message of this book is "when you think you are lonely, you are never alone. You always have a remarkable place in someone's heart."

I recommend this book for ages 3 to 6 and I give it 4 out of 5 stars because it is an easy book to read and it has great pictures to look at that are bright in color.

By Tre'ana Hickson, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic. Age 11

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-8
Suggested Retail Price: $ 9.95
Media: Book


MONKEY KINGDOM

MONKEY KINGDOM       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WALT DISNEY STUDIOS
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - In South Asia, Maya the monkey and her son Kip struggle to survive within the competitive social hierarchy of the troop at Castle Rock. When neighboring monkeys take over their home, Maya's whole troop is forced to relocate. She uses her ingenuity to lead the members of her extended family to untapped resources amid strange new creatures and unfamiliar surroundings. Ultimately, the entire troop must work together to reclaim Castle Rock, where Maya hopes her son will have a bright future. Narrated by Tina Fey. Directed and produced by Mark Linfield and Alastair Fothergill.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Monkey Kingdom opened my mind to learning about animals in the wild! This is a great nature documentary, especially if you like monkeys and, contributions from ticket sales of this movie will help save the monkeys in south Asia.

Monkey Kingdom begins with an explanation of how a certain group of monkeys live. Specifically, it focuses on Maya and her baby, who are considered the lowest of the group. It discusses their lifestyle, their routines and how they have to deal with the different seasons and the weather. They also talk about their struggle for survival. Finding food, especially for the ones at the bottom of the tree, is a challenge. These monkeys have a king and three queens. It is amazing that even though they are monkeys, they still have a social hierarchy.

My favorite part of this movie is when all the monkeys are playing with each other and swinging from their homemade "original" jungle gym. I also like the part when the lower class runs out of food and have to find a way to survive. They locate the humans' house and raid their kitchen. They even confiscate all the eggs from the hen house!! It is hysterical to see a monkey running off with a sub sandwich.

My favorite character is Kip, Maya's son! He is a cute baby monkey that is so innocent and, most of the time, has no idea what is going one. He depends on his mom for protection. Maya is on the low end of the social hierarchy. She is a female monkey with a nice personality unlike the three sister queens who act as if they own everything. I love how Maya protects her baby at all costs. Tina Fey is a wonderful narrator for this, giving a clear understanding of what is taking place.

The thrust of this documentary is to raise money to help maintain the habitat of monkeys that live in the jungles of South Asia. I recommend this film for kids age 6 through 18. Both boys and girls will enjoy it because, who can resist watching monkeys play. I rate this movie a five out of five dazzling stars! Be sure to check it out when it comes out in theaters on April 17, 2015.

Reviewed by Haley Powell, KIDS FIRST! Critic, age 12

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 4-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


PADDINGTON (2014)

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
PADDINGTON (2014)       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WEINSTEIN CO, THE
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 4-18
Topic - Family
Description - A young Peruvian bear with a passion for all things British travels to London in search of a home. Finding himself lost and alone at Paddington Station, he begins to realize that city life is not all he had imagined - until he meets the kindly Brown family, who read the label around his neck ('Please look after this bear. Thank you.') and offer him a temporary haven. It looks as though his luck has changed until this rarest of bears catches the eye of a museum taxidermist. Starring Nicole Kidman, Ben Whishaw, Imelda Staunton, Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Paddington is a great adventure, with lots of twists and turns. This film is playful, comedic, enjoyable and definitely a great film for friends and family.

Paddington (Ben Whishaw, voice) is a rare breed of bear that travels all alone to London. He wants to find a home after his is destroyed. While there, he discovers that it's not what he expects, but finds a family that's willing to take him in and look after him for just a little while. This is when everyone's adventure begins.

Paddington is so outgoing and adorable. You can't help but love this bear. He has an innocent way about him, but still is a little mischievous and gets into trouble. His visual effects and fur looks very real and life-like. Nicole Kidman's character (Millicent) is very determined to add Paddington to her collection of stuffed animals. She will stop at nothing to get him. She's fierce, frightening and intimidating. I love the story line, humor, and definitely the action. I liked that the climax of this film is very unpredictable and shocks the audience. My favorite character would have to be Paddington. He truly thinks of the wellbeing of others and his curiosity is adorable. He reminds you of a child learning new things. A scene that I would call my favorite is when Paddington tries to return a wallet to a man that dropped out of his packet while walking out of an antique shop. Paddington chases him, trying to get the wallet to him. Finally he catches up with the man by falling on him from the air. When he falls on the man they both tumble down and about 30 wallets fall out of the man's coat. Paddington catches a pickpocket and ends up in the paper on his first day in London. It's a very comical scene that makes the audience crack up.

One of the messages of this film is that families are not just made up by the people who are related to us, but friends and even animals can be a part of our family.

I recommend Paddington for ages 8 to 16. However it's great for the whole family and anyone who loves Bears. It's rated PG and there's nothing really you would need to look out for.

I give it 5 out of 5 stars. It's a great film that makes you feel good.

Paddington arrives in theaters on January 16th, so please check it out.

Reviewed by Brianna Hope Beaton, Age 15, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - From the producers of the Harry Potter franchise comes another children's film that many families will love for its humor, storyline, special effects and of course - the Bear! Paddington will be loved by families everywhere.

This movie has a nice core of humor with an intriguing story that is not only intense, but lighthearted too. Breathtaking special effects, animation and a strong feel of adventure round out the show.

The story starts when a very intelligent family of bears is sadly separated. An earthquake happens and the aunt must send her young nephew to London for a better home. After arriving in London, this young bear is taken in by a family but immediately starts running into challenges of fitting in to the human world.

This film is wonderful. I love the cast - lots of talented and wonderful people. Ben Wishaw plays the voice of Paddington and is excellent at making his character seem adorable and innocent, yet smart and caring at the same time. The humor is off-the-charts amazing and the camera angles and shots are one-of-a-kind. Some shots I could not get over and had to watch again and again.

My favorite scene is when Paddington tries to say his name to Mr. Brown, who is kind of the father of the family. But, Paddington says it in bear language. When Mr. Brown tries to repeat it, Paddington looks horrified and says, "How Rude!" It is a funny and lighthearted scene and kind of sets the right mood for this funny film.

This film is diffidently meant for kids but adults will enjoy it as well. I recommend it for ages 8 to 18 and give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Reviewed by Gerry Orz, KIDS FIRST! Critics, age 12
Runtime: 95 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: DVD


DANCIN' IN THE KITCHEN

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
DANCIN' IN THE KITCHEN       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
COMMUNITY MUSIC, INC.
Series: AUDIO CD FOR AGES 0-2
Topic - Family
Description - Grammy Award-winning musical duo Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer celebrate 21st century families with this new album of songs and stories. The 15 tracks reflect the diversity of families in the US today, and highlight the idea that families are bound by love. Guest stars include Riders in the Sky, the Savoy Family Cajun Band, The Canote Twins and Kim & Reggie Harris. At the request of Nora Guthrie, Cathy Fink set Woody Guthrie's poem "Howdy Little Newlycome" to music, enlisting Irish super group Cherish the Ladies to perform. The title song reflects the fact that the kitchen is the center of many homes.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Dancin' in the Kitchen by Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer knocked my socks off so I immediately decided to dance barefoot in the kitchen - great decision. This album is a breath of fresh air that climbs the mountain of rarefied musical integrity and promotes acceptance and tolerance on so many levels. First and foremost, I doff my symbolic cap to a duo that I have admired for so many years for their ultimate musicianship and steadfastness to true North. When you wrangle high-class talent, incorporate brilliant songs and deliver unswerving production values the gestation of your endeavor has value for the ages. Could I break down every song for you? Yes. Could you listen to samples somewhere? Yes. Is my review a teaser? Yes. Are samples a teaser? Yes. Get on up, people! You will not be disappointed or dismayed, this album is special and grabs you from the first downbeat to the last fade-away. XOXO.

This is an exciting and vibrant CD from the first downbeat to the final fade. There is a lot of wonderful music and supporting messages regarding the diversity of families and their makeup.

Cathy and Marcy know how to producer, perform, pace and structure an album. This CD has many guest groups and a wide range of songs that flow seamlessly.

Though topics of divorce, adoption and same gender parents are presented through song, it is never heavy-handed but presented with love and joy. Better learn how to get your dance on! Sit back and enjoy funny word play and stories and a wonderful array of musical sounds. These 15 performances are absolutely top rate. Vocals are spot on and engaging and the musicianship is stellar. The production value is impeccable. Review by John Wood.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This CD by Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer is sweet and loving. The title song Dancin' in the Kitchen is very upbeat in a zydeco style. My two birds loved this song. They moved their heads to the beat. It was so funny! My favorite song is Everything Possible. It's very calming and has a sweet message that you can be anything. The two songs Dinnertime Orchestra and Who's in Charge of Naming the Colors are both stories. In I'm my own Grampa, I enjoyed the tune but found the words very strange. Also From Scratch is a sweet lullaby. Most of the songs have amazing lessons to learn about accepting our differences, such as if your family is different or your skin color is different than your friends. I belong to a Family is also very sweet. I recommend this for kids age 2 to 8. I can see a lot younger kids dancing to it. I give this CD four out of five stars because it is fun and a good CD for little kids.

Reviewed by Mia Anderson, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

This CD is a good form of entertainment to bring children of this age together. The kids in our group had a good time listening and dancing to the music. Though they are young and distracted, the music brought them right back to dance together. The stories told in the music are simple and their responses to all ones of enjoyment, smiles abound. The children loved the music and had a good time. The music is about families and togetherness and they could relate to that.

The dinnertime orchestra was particularly fun and kids responded to it enthusiastically. They listened intently and danced along. They were too young to sit and listen to the entire thing all at once but wandered off and returned frequently. The pace of the music is perfect, fast enough to be engaging but not frenetic.
Runtime: 35 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 2-12
Suggested Retail Price: $ 14.95
Media: AUDIO
      Buy Here (Amazon.com)


MAYA THE BEE MOVIE

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
MAYA THE BEE MOVIE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
SHOUT! FACTORY
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Freshly hatched bee Maya is a little whirlwind and won't follow the rules of the hive. One of these rules is not to trust the hornets that live beyond the meadow. When the Royal Jelly is stolen, the hornets are suspected and Maya is thought to be their accomplice. No one believes that she is the innocent victim and no one will stand by her except for her good-natured and best friend Willy. After a long and eventful journey to the hornets hive Maya and Willy soon discover the true culprit and the two friends finally bond with the other residents of the opulent meadow.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Maya the Bee Movie is one of our new favorites! Maya is an adorable little bee trying to find her place in the world. My children and I were mesmerized from the start. This movie is feature film quality, the voices are all believable, and the story is an adventure worth watching. I personally loved the numerous teaching moments and lessons woven throughout the movie. Themes of being yourself, courage, acceptance, friendship, teamwork, kindness, and creativity are all central to the storyline. I loved having my kids see this little bee refusing to judge others based on appearance, and instead finding best friends in those she was told to judge. Maya has courage to stand up and do the right thing against insurmountable odds. When she feels like she doesn't have a place and doesn't belong, she learns that it's okay to be different and that her differences are needed and valued by others.

Overall, I adored this movie and will show it to my kids again and again. I'm wondering why I've never heard of Maya the Bee before, and I'm hoping we will see more of her in the future.

Reviewed by Karyn A.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Maya the Bee is an incredible animated film, written by Fin Edquist and Marcus Sauermann, directed by Alexs Stadermann. Maya the Bee is a very funny movie. I laughed during many scenes and I also cried during a few scenes. I love the movie because the characters are funny and it teach great lessons throughout the film.

The movie takes place in a bee hive located in a colorful meadow full of beautiful flowers. In the meadow, there are many different types of bugs. Inside of the bee hive, there are lots of worker bees. All of the bees have different jobs and the jobs are assigned by the royal advisor, Buzzlina (Jacki Weaver). For instance, one of the jobs is picking up pollen. Another job is watching the adorable little baby bees. This is also where Maya (Coco Jack Gillies) stays until spring. Maya wants to be independent and explore the hive. She does not like staying with the babies, so she sneaks out when she has the first opportunity. When Maya sneaks out, she causes a lot of chaos within the hive because she is very young and does not know what she is doing. She takes you on a fun and exciting adventure.

The movie is well written. Alexs Stadermann draws out remarkable performances from the voice actors and brings out the best in each character. I love how Coco Jack Gillies expresses Maya's feelings. Jacki Weaver makes the royal advisor, Buzzlina seem so real.

My favorite scene is when Willi (Kodi Smit-McPhee) and Maya meet. They seem to like each other from the very beginning. Another favorite part is when there is a battle between the bees and another group of bugs. My least favorite part of the film is when something horrible happens to Maya and she finds out a secret about the queen.

The message of the story is, everyone has a role to play in life. It takes everyone working as a team to get the job done.

The movie is fun, fabulous and family-friendly. I recommend it for ages 4 to 18 as well as adults. I give this movie 5 out of 5 gold stars.

Reviewed by Brooke S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 9

Maya the Bee Movie is a cute and funny movie! It's about a young little bee named Maya who is very curious and eager to learn about the beehive. As Maya explores the beehive without permission, she asks a bunch of questions. Maya quickly learns that she is completely different from the other bees. She repeatedly finds herself in trouble by Buzzlena, the queen's assistant. As a result, Maya gets banned from the hive. Her friend Willie does not want Maya to be alone, so he leaves the hive and follows her. As Maya and Willie are out in the meadows, they learn that hornets and the other bugs and insects are not as bad as they have been told. While Maya has been banned from the beehive because of her curiosity, Buzzleana devises a plan to harm the Queen so that she can take control of the bees and the hive.

There are several different messages in this movie. The one that stands out the most to me is, "dare to be different." In this movie, the bees have to follow specific rules, specific directions and they must do as they are told. Maya is different and she is told that she does not belong in the beehive. She works hard to find her place among the bees. She learns that she is an important bee in the kingdom and that her voice is important.

My favorite part is when Willie is mad at Maya and decides to fly back to the beehive. Willie is scared of everything. But, when a frog sticks out his tongue to try to capture Willie for dinner, Willie hits the frog's tongue and flies away without looking back. That's pretty impressive for a fearful bee.

My favorite character is Willie. Willie is a very loyal and a true friend. He supports Maya and helps her when she's down and he's not afraid to tell her when she's not right. Willie is also very funny.

Maya and the Bee Movie is a wonderful movie! It has great messages for kids! I recommend this movie for boys and girls ages 5 to 10. I give this movie 3 out of 5 shinning stars!

Reviewed by Kayla Powell, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13.

If you enjoy comedy mixed with great animation, then you will love Maya the Bee Movie. Maya is unlike other young bees her age. Instead of following orders, Maya has a mind of her own. For example, instead of staying within the safety of the beehive, Maya decides to go off on her own to visit the surrounding meadow wish she became friends with Flip the grasshopper. At some point, Maya's curiosity led to her finding out that the Royal Advisor to the Queen Bee had stolen the Royal jelly saved especially for the Queen Bee which leads to the Royal Advisor's kicking Maya out of the beehive. At this point, Maya has to survive on her own in the meadow and is soon joined by her close friend Willy who fears for her safety and cannot let Maya be by herself in the mysterious meadow. Together, the two bees become friendly with a variety of other insects and other creatures. Eventually, Maya and Willie learn that the Royal Advisor has stolen the Queen's royal jelly because she was seeking to make war with the hornets. By the end of the movie, Maya, Willy, and their other young hornet friend Buzzy stop the Royal Adviser's evil plans and, after recapturing the royal jelly, bring it back to the Queen who then makes a complete recovery. For her efforts, Maya is appointed as the Hive Ambassador by the Queen Bee and she and Willy are made responsible for observing the meadow and reporting new friends that arrive.

My favorite character in the movie is Maya (Coco Jack Gillies). Maya is easy to relate to for me because she is very much a free spirit, unable to sit still, who always wants to be in on the action. I also enjoyed hearing from Flip the grasshopper. Flip is always able to provide Maya with excellent advice such as telling her to always "bee positive." The scenery is also colorful and beautiful and will be enjoyed by everyone.

My favorite part of the movie is when Maya and Willy are together out in the meadow attending the Jitterbug Hollow Musical Festival. There, they hear different insects playing a large number of musical instruments while Flip the grasshopper sings "It Don't Matter What They Say, Be Yourself Every Day."

This film has many positive messages that apply to younger audiences. For me, the most powerful message of the movie s that a person should be himself and does not need to follow in the footsteps of others. The movie also show the strong bonds of loyalty between Maya and Willy who have to work together in order to stop the Royal Advisers' plans. I also enjoyed the lesson that young people can make a huge difference in this world. In the movie, many grown-up bees and grown-up hornets are prepared to fight to see who would gain control of the meadow. In the end, it is too young bees and one young hornet who save everybody from being destroyed. I give Maya the Bee Movie 5 out of 5 stars. It is a great family movie. I recommend it for ages 4 to 9. I'm 9 and I enjoyed watching this movie and very much appreciated its excellent messages and wonderful music. Maya the Bee Move opens in theaters May 1 and is available on DVD on May 18. It is well worth the cost of buying it for a fun-filled night of family entertainment.

Reviewed by Adam C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9
Runtime: 89 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 4-12
Suggested Retail Price: $ 17.99
Media: DVD


HOME

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
HOME       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION
Series: ANIMATED FEATURE, AGES 4-15
Topic - Family
Description - When Oh, a loveable misfit from another planet, lands on Earth and finds himself on the run from his own people, he forms an unlikely friendship with an adventurous girl named Tip who is on a quest of her own. Through a series of comic adventures with Tip, Oh comes to understand that being different and making mistakes is all part of being human. And while he changes her planet and she changes his world, they discover the true meaning of the word HOME.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - From Dreamworks comes a new animated feature, Home with an adorable misfit from another planet who lands on Earth, makes friends with the locals and everyone discovers the true meaning of the word Home. Starring Jim Parsons, Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez and Steve Martin, this film is filled with music and humor and is perfect for you to share with the younger members of your family. KIDS FIRST! Critics Harmony M. comments, "The film serves as great entertainment with its loveable characters, hilarious dialogue and feel good tone." Madeline R. adds, "The message of this film is that family is important and it's good to face your problems or fears instead of running from them." See their full reviews and Gerry O's interviews with cast and crew below.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - From DreamWorks, comes the delightful film Home. The film serves as great entertainment with its loveable characters, hilarious dialogue and feel good tone. The film is about an alien species, called the Boov, that invade planet Earth in an attempt to hide from an evil monster called the Gorg. By doing so, the alien race makes themselves at home and relocates all the humans elsewhere. While all the humans are transported, a young girl named Tip gets left behind and later encounters a Boov named Oh. Oh and Tip join together in search of Tip's mother who got taken away during previous alien invasion. A lot unfolds when Tip's mother is not the only one who needs saving.

It is very enjoyable and even shocking to hear familiar voices in the film such as Jim Parsons who plays Oh, Rihanna who plays Tip, Steve Martin who plays Captain Smek and Jennifer Lopez who plays Lucy. Jim Parsons is delightful as the voice of Oh. They couldn't have chosen a better actor for that role. Oh is an overly friendly, silly, trouble-making, outcast, who not only steals the hearts of the audience with his facial expressions and personality, but also with a voice that fits that perfectly. Fans of The Big Bang Theory will be so pleased to see his character, Sheldon in cartoon form. Home is Rihanna's first role in an animation film. Considering that, her portrayal of the sassy and adventurous Tip are spot on. I find it very unique that the Boovs change colors depending on their emotion, especially because I have not seen that feature in any other type of film. The dialogue is really funny because the Boovs speak with improper grammar which adds a comedic touch that all ages will love. The futuristic technology shown in the movie is fascinating, it will be especially appealing to the younger crowd.

The film is entertaining to watch and one I would enjoy watching again. Although the film is very good, it's not good enough to be a new classic or one that will be very memorable in the long run. It is cute, friendly, very funny, has amazing messages and puts you in a good mood. I recommend this uplifting film to people of all ages, especially between the ages of 5 and 11. Overall, I give the film a 4 out of 5 stars. It is playing in theaters now.

By Harmony M, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Home is a new animated family film from Dreamworks. The screenplay was written by Tom Astle and Matt Ember and he film was directed by Tim Johnson.

I love this movie! It is a fun, action-packed adventurous movie the whole family can enjoy together.

Home is about an alien named Oh who runs away from his own people, the Boovs who are trying to hide from the Gorg. He lands on Earth and meets an adorable and feisty girl named Gratuity Tucci, who everyone calls Tip. Oh and Tip form an unlikely friendship and go on an exciting adventure together to find Lucy, Tip's mom.

Home features a star studded cast. Jim Parsons is brilliant as the voice and personality of Oh and Steve Martin is hilarious as the voice of the Captain Smek, the cowardly leader of the Oh's. Rihanna plays the fun, yet determined Tip and Jennifer Lopez plays her sweet Mother, Lucy.

As a special bonus, both superstars perform original songs for the film which adds a lot of emotion and drama. Be sure to listen for Rihanna's new single "Towards the Sun" and Jennifer Lopez's new song "Feel the Light".

The animation is spectacular. I love how Oh and Tip ride in Tip's newly "fixed" car powered by multi-flavored slushis. My favorite scene is when Tip tries to teach Oh jokes to help make him feel better. She does the "Interrupting Cow" Knock Knock joke. It's really funny because it takes him a while to get it!

The message of this film is that family is important and it's good to face your problems or fears instead of running from them. Home is great for families of all ages, especially for families with kids between 4 and 14. I give Home 5 out of 5 stars. I love it and think you will too! Home is in theaters nationwide now.

By Madeline Rose, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 4-15
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


SOUND OF MUSIC, THE (50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION)

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
SOUND OF MUSIC, THE (50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION)       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 7-18
Topic - Family
Description - In 1930s Austria, a young woman named Maria is failing miserably in her attempts to become a nun. When the widower, Navy captain Georg Von Trapp writes to the convent asking for a governess that can handle his seven mischievous children, Maria is given the job. The Captain is often away and runs the household as strictly as he does the ships he sails on. The children are unhappy and resentful of the governesses that their father hires and have managed to run each of them off. When Maria arrives, she is met with the same hostility, but her kindness, understanding, and sense of fun soon draws them to her and brings some much-needed joy into all their lives -- including the Captain's. Eventually he and Maria find themselves falling in love, even though Georg is already engaged to a Baroness and Maria is still a postulant. The romance makes them both start questioning the decisions they have made. Their personal conflicts soon become history in this multiple award-winning film celebrating its 50th anniversary this year (2015).

Starring Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Eleanor Parker. Directed by Robert Wise. From the stage musical with music and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and Richard Rodgers.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I remember the year this film came out (1965). It was all the rage and everyone ran around singing the wonderful songs. Julie Andrews became a household name that held her fast in our hearts. This film today, still enchants. Based on the real live story of the Von Trapp family and their escape from Nazi Germany, it is a classic in many ways.

The bonus features on this 50th anniversary meditation will be a plus for filmophiles who will enjoy the audio commentary by Ms. Andrews, Mr.. Plummer and director Mr. Wise. The restoration of the real-life Von Trapp family, the screen tests, sing along track - all well thought out and presented. Thank you Fox for your thoughtfulness in presenting this special edition.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The 50th Anniversary Edition of Rodgers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music is a must-have for every family. This 5-disc DVD set includes the movie in HD and standard definition, a new 60 minute documentary called The Sound of a City: Julie Andrews Returns to Salzburg and lots of other special features.

The Sound of Music is the best family film of all time because it brings everyone together with its great, true-life story of the Von Trapp family. The songs by Rodgers and Hammerstein are all wonderful and unforgettable. Each song is a masterpiece. Some might think Frozen is an amazing movie musical, but Rodger and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music is a million times better! The quality of the song writing just cannot be compared with anything else.

The Sound of Music stars Julie Andrews as Maria, a young Austrian woman who is training to be a nun at a monastery. Christopher Plummer stars as Captain Von Trapp, a wealthy Austrian naval captain who hires Maria as governess to his seven children. It was directed by Robert Wise. It won five Academy Awards including Best Picture.

The documentary, The Sound of a City: Julie Andrews Returns to Salzburg, which is included in this 50th anniversary DVD edition, is informative and revealing. We go behind-the-scenes to visit the original locations in the film: the monastery, the Cathedral, the Von Trapp estate (which is really a classical music school) and a 100-year-old marionette theater which was the inspiration for the puppet scene in the film. It is wonderful to see Julie Andrews so excited about coming back and visiting the film's locations after 50 years.

For those who love the songs, the 50th Anniversary DVD Edition also includes the original soundtrack from the film. And there are lots of other bonus material, such as Music Machine Sing-Along; Audio Commentaries with Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, and Director Robert Wise; A City of Song--Virtual Map of Filming Locations in Salzburg, Austria; Vintage Rodgers and Hammerstein and The Sound of Music programs; and more.

The Sound of Music is appropriate for all ages. The documentary, The Sound of a City: Julie Andrews Returns to Salzburg is appropriate for those ages 10 to 18. I rate this new DVD set 5 out of 5 stars.

Reviewed by Clayton Pickard, KIDS FIRST! Critics, age 15
Runtime: 174 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-18
Suggested Retail Price: $ 19.98
Media: Video and DVD
      Buy Here (Amazon.com)


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BIG BLOCK SINGSONG,  VOLUME ONE

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
BIG BLOCK SINGSONG, VOLUME ONE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
GODDARD/BROWN
Series: DVD, AGES 0-2
Topic - Family
Description - The DVD features animated Big Block Singsong music videos. This is a fun and entertaining animated musical short format series which currently airs on the CBC in Canada, Disney Junior in the US and Nick Jr. in the UK, among other international networks. Season 2 music videos debut on the Disney Channel and Disney Junior TV in May, and they already air on CBC TV in Canada. For more info, go to www.bigblocksingsong.com. "Season 2" episodes will debut on Disney Junior in May. www.bigblocksingsong.com
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Who knew that being so square could be so cool! Big Block Singsong is a terrific musical, visual DVD romp. Creators Warren Brown and Adam Goddard have hit the creative mother load here - what seems so simple is so deceiving in its well-designed construction - the 'simple' individual block characters sing a two-minute nicely produced song that covers subjects from noses and hair to emotions of sadness and happiness, so you see the sky's the limit, or not. Two of my favorite pieces are 'Octopus' who is so proud of his eight legs and 'Moose' who touts the joys of visiting the park. If I was a betting man I'd bet you couldn't watch just one, could you, I bet not.

This might be the best invention since the Wheel! Simplicity and cleverness of design mixed with catchy songs and melodies. Great to look at and fun to hear. I'm 65 and mesmerized ... the colors and movement will entrance toddlers while adults will get the in-jokes.

Each two-minute animated song is a complete story and true to its mission of making what might be a mundane single word into a revelation that being so square could be so cool. I love that some of the lyrics are above the head of the little ones. It doesn't matter because the visual and audio support each other so well.

The songs are positive and supportive and applaud individualism and uniqueness. I bet this DVD will get worn out from repeat viewings!

The DVD cover shows the diversity of each character, an animated block that is colorful, very fun-looking and inviting. The technical features are all sound but the joy is letting each of the 24 segments play through. Cool!

The entertainment value is topnotch - colorful and unique animation coupled with a creative two minute song on a theme such as monkey, spider, robot, ears, moose and similar.

Bet you can't watch just one! The characters and songs are all so engaging that the children will learn while being highly entertained.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The kids really liked this program. They watched it with interest and they were excited for each next song to begin. They laughed and jumped around during the song about hair. We watched it in two sessions because it was a little long for them to watch in one session. They lost interest halfway through but came back excited about it again later. They loved the different colors of the blocks and were interacting and discussing the songs with each other.

"It's big music!" "My favorite part was the hair person that had hair all over her eyebrows." "We liked everything." "We liked that it said, oh yeah!"

They really liked the format of short, fun songs, laughed hysterically at the hair song. The baby had his eyes open really big. They also liked the space song. Thought it was really cool.

"We learned about colors, fruit and flamingos. The owl looked so mean." They were loud and enthusiastic about each new song. The baby cooed at the fruit song. Very enjoyable for all, ages 4 months to 5 years.
Runtime: 48 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 1-18
Suggested Retail Price: $ 12.99
Media: DVD


RUSSELL MADNESS

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
RUSSELL MADNESS       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - This tail-wagging comedy-adventure from the Creators of "Air Bud" and "Air Buddies" stars John Ratzenberger, Will Sasso and Fred Willard. Russell is an undersized but big-hearted terrier who dreams of having a family of his own. After running away from his pet store, Russell gets taken in by The Ferraros, a family desperate to revive their grandfather's pro wrestling arena. That's when they discover their new pet pooch has incredible wrestling skills. With help from his coach, Hunk, a savvy and hilarious monkey, Russell rockets to the top of the pro wrestling world and becomes a famous sports superstar. But when a dishonest promoter double-crosses the Ferraros, Russell will face his biggest challenge and discover that the strongest tag team is family.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming soon
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This film is hilarious, adventurous and much more! It will appeal to kids as well as adults and has a very unique idea. Russell Madness is a perfect family story that will be enjoyed by many. Russell Madness has a feel of comedy with a wrap-around of family ties, while still having a core of wrestling and a little sprinkle of suspense.

The story starts when a family moves back to Oregon to take over an old wrestling ring which belonged to the family for a long time. It is a bit run down, but a new generation opens it back up. Then, during a first match, something very interesting happens. A dog named Russell (completely by coincidence) comes into the ring where a big tough and strong wrestler is. What happens next is absolutely unexpected and surprising.

This film is stupendous! Something I really like about it is that Russell's coach is a monkey named Hunk. And yes, it is a talking monkey, played by a very smart and adorable monkey named Crystal, except for the talking parts of course, which I think is a great and smart idea. The acting is wonderful and the whole film has that perfect amount of cheesiness, cuteness and positivity to make it a wonderful family film. Also, the jokes are original and hilarious.

My favorite scene is about the family's first encounter with Hunk. Hunk tells them to take in Russell as a family dog and offers to train Russell to be a wrestler. But, his price is many things doing with bananas. It is funny and an important scene in the movie.

I recommend for kids ages 5 to 18 and I give it 5 out of 5 stars for fantastic acting, production, directing, and unbelievable animal training. Don't miss it when it comes out March 10, 2015. Reviewed by KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Gerry Orz, age 12.

Watching a movie with talking animals that do athletic activities makes me feel nostalgic, especially that movie is made by the same people that made the movie that gives me nostalgia: Air Bud. When I was younger, I remember watching Air Bud and wanting a dog like that. But after watching Russell Madness, I experienced that same feeling all over again.

Russell Madness is about a Russell terrier named Russell (very punny) that meets a family, the Ferraros, that just so happen to have recently gained the ownership of a vintage wrestling arena from their grandfather. At this arena he meets a monkey named Hunk. Russell seems to be a timid dog, but once Hunk begins to train him he becomes a world class wrestler. On the way to stardom, he gains the love of his new family and this is something that he has longed for. However, as his popularity grows, he runs into bigger opponents.

It was great to be able to watch a different storyline that involves animals. I think that so many movies have the same plot, one way or another. However, Russell Madness brings a completely different story and uses it to its advantage. It is also perfectly executed with good actors and great dialogue. I enjoyed the small jokes here and there. While some jokes are aimed at the younger kids, they do include some jokes for the older kids and adults. I really enjoyed seeing the wrestling dog but I think that actors that played the wrestlers could have been much better. Some of the extras looked slightly out of place and that was little distracting. The cinematography is good. I enjoyed the different angles that the movie is filmed from. In some cases, the camera is low to show that the animals are talking and their point of view is different than that of people.

This movie brings back a lot of memories from my childhood. Russell Madness looks like its going to leave a mark in a new generation of children just like Air Bud did for me. This can also rekindle the flame that was lit by Air Bud for older kids and even for adults. I recommend this movie to kids from the age of 5 to 16, because it is a heart-warming story that kids of any age can enjoy. I give this movie a rating of 4 out of 5 stars and I hope that everyone enjoys it as much as I did.

Reviewed by Jorge Lopez, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15
Runtime: 90 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $ 22.98
Media: DVD
      Buy Here (Amazon.com)


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TINKER BELL AND THE LEGEND OF THE NEVERBEAST

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
TINKER BELL AND THE LEGEND OF THE NEVERBEAST       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WALT DISNEY STUDIOS HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Return to Pixie Hollow for a heartwarming adventure, Disney's TINKER BELL AND THE LEGEND OF THE NEVER BEAST. An ancient myth of a massive creature sparks the curiosity of Tinker Bell and her good friend Fawn, an animal fairy who's not afraid to break the rules to help an animal in need. But this creature is not welcome in Pixie Hollow -- and the scout fairies are determined to capture the mysterious beast, who they fear will destroy their home. Fawn must convince her fairy friends to risk everything to rescue the NeverBeast. This thrilling action-adventure roars to life with never-before-seen bonus extras on Disney Blu-ray and DVD.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming soon
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast is an adventurous movie about Tinker Bell and her good friend Fawn, (Ginnifer Goodwin) an animal fairy with a big heart and an adventurous mind. As Fawn is flying through the forest, she notices a mysterious cave and hears a weird sound coming from inside. Fawn immediately flies inside the cave to see what is happening. Fawn discovers a mysterious creature that no one knows anything about. She begins to observe the creature and notices he does a lot of strange things. Fawn names him Gruff. Nyx and the other fairies try to capture the big green-eyed beast because they fear he will bring harm and danger to Pixie Hollow. Fawn tries her best to convince Tink, Nyx and their scout friends and fairies not to harm Gruff.

My favorite character is Nyx (Rosario Dawson). Nyx is apart of the Scout fairies. She protects the fairies in Pixie Hollow and tries to get rid of anything that would harm them. Nyx is very cool, confident and strong. She likes to get her job done.

My favorite scene is when Fawn tries to help Gruff hide from Nyx and the other fairies. As Fawn tries to hide Gruff in a secret place, he lets out a very loud and big sneeze and he sneezes on all the other fairies. It is really funny.

The message of this movie is not to judge people. Gruff is a creature that only wakes up every 1000 years for a special task. Everyone in Pixie Hallow thinks he is a bad beast. He is actually a nice creature.

The DVD/Blue-Ray combo has bonus features which include never before seen bonus extras, access to cool computer games, five ingredients to getting Gruff, The True Story of the NeverBeast and so much more!

Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast is a fabulous movie. It will be available on DVD/Blue-Ray/Digital on March 3, 2015. I recommend it for boys and girls ages 3 to 10. I give this move 5 out of 5 shinning stars. Reviewed by KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Kendyl Powell, age 13
Runtime: 76 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $ 36.99
Media: DVD
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HUMPBACK WHALES

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
HUMPBACK WHALES       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
MACGILLIVRAY FREEMAN FILMS
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - Narrated by two-time Golden Globe� nominee Ewan McGregor, Humpback Whales is an extraordinary journey into the mysterious world of one of nature's most awe-inspiring marine mammals. Set in the spectacular waters of Alaska, Hawaii and the remote islands of Tonga, this ocean adventure offers audiences an up-close look at how these whales communicate, sing, feed, play and take care of their young. Captured for the first time with IMAX� 3D cameras, and found in every ocean on earth, humpbacks were nearly driven to extinction 50 years ago, but today are making a slow but remarkable recovery. Join a team of researchers as they unlock the secrets of the humpback and find out why humpbacks are the most acrobatic of all whales, why they sing their haunting songs, and why these intelligent, 55-foot, 50-ton animals migrate up to 10,000 miles round-trip every year.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - If you enjoy seeing a documentary movie that will educate, inspire and amaze you than you will love MacGillivray Freeman's Humpback Whales. I learned more about the humpback whale than if I had studied this unit in school for a month!

This forty minute, large format documentary on humpback whales tags along with leading whale researchers using new methods to see what the humpback whales do when no one's watching them.

The documentary follows the whales to the tropical kingdom of Tonga, to summertime in Alaska and then to the warm waters of Hawaii. The audience has a chance to follow the humpback whales migration, while experiencing their incredible songs and underwater acrobatics.

One unique thing among humpback males is the singing that they engage in. In fact, the recordings of whale songs are what helped save the humpback whales from extinction as people became interested in the animals who could make these beautiful and unique sounds.

The humpback whales do cooperative food gathering. It is known as "bubble net fishing" in which they work together to release bubbles and loud "feeding calls" to herd and trap herring. This makes it easier for them to gulp the herring or krill in large quantities because they can eat up to two tons of food a day.

My favorite part of the movie was seeing and learning about the different researchers who have spent their lives studying the humpback whales. One scene showing the males circling a female whale in an effort to mate is usually seen once every ten years. Nobody has ever seen the humpback whale actually mate so there are many unanswered questions surrounding this aspect of the humpback whales.

Ewan McGregor narrates with a sense of wonder that inspires us to want to know as much as possible about the humpback whales. The upbeat music throughout the movie peaks our interest and curiosity about these extraordinary creatures.

The film teaches us to admire and appreciate the complexities and sheer beauty of the humpback whales. We also see how a whale is rescued when it becomes entangled in life-threatening fishing gear. This rescue requires a lot of skill and understanding of how to free the whale while the rescuers stay safe. We learn the important things we must ensure so that they do not become extinct. We must never again have a whaling industry, have safer fishing gear, less trash in the ocean and take precautions not to have collisions between ships and whales.

I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18. Adam Chernick, 9, KIDS FIRST! Critic.

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


1001 NIGHTS

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
1001 NIGHTS       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
BIG BAD BOO STUDIO
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - 1001 Nights is an animated show that brings the famed 1001 Arabian Nights to the screen. You've heard of Sinbad, Aladdin, and Ali Baba? You've got 998 more stories to go! Join the heroine, Shahrzad, as she weaves tales of adventure, intrigue, and excitement!
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - 1001 Nights really wasn't exactly what I had expected from the theme song but this series is entertaining, engaging and appropriate for ages 7 to 12. There are beneficial social lessons children will learn from watching this series such as all actions have consequences or that rules need to be reinforced. The characters are fun to watch and the story lines are easy to follow because they flow well. The most important thing is that these shows will motivate children to think before they act. Maybe they will think before they make fun of someone. Maybe they will realize there are consequences to their actions. The series makes it a fun way to learn these important social lessons.

The shows have appealing characters, there is humor and each show has a lesson to be learned. The animation is also fun to watch and eye catching. The series is also available in a variety of different languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Persian and Urdu. The one thing that may be a slight drawback is that it is slightly difficult to find out all the names of the characters and remember their names. The theme song expresses that there will be adventures and many thrills. Two of the shows didn't seem to go along with the song.

The shows flow well and are easy to follow. They make sense and each starts with a problem of some type and then a story is told and a lesson is learned. All actions have consequences, rules are rules and should be followed. For example, in the first episode, The Joke's on You, the young prankster needs to learn that there are consequences for his joking/pranking behavior. He learns that if you play a practical joke on someone that you need to be prepared that someone will play one back on you. The consequences definitely do not go undetected.

It is visually appealing. The characters and the animation are eye-catching and entertaining. There are bright colors and it is simply fun to watch. The theme song is delightful but I'm not sure it's a perfect fit for the show. There seems to be lots of adventures in the stories but there are more lessons than adventures and thrills. It is action packed at times.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The animated comedy series, 1001 Nights, is playfully exciting and keeps it fun for young viewers. Based on the classic stories from Arabic literature, 1001 Nights, is humorous and educational. The series was nominated for 13 Leo awards and won 4. It won Best Screenwriting in an Animation program or series in 2012 and 2013 and won Best Animation Program or Series in 2012.

In Episode 3:Sinbad and the Valley of Serpents, a porter, Sinbad, comes to the palace and accidentally drops all the fruit in front of the Queen. The Queen asks if he's ok and he tells her he hates his job as a porter. She asks him why he doesn't get a new job and he tells her he's too poor and untrained. The Queen tells him the story of another Sinbad who started out as a poor fellow but became a rich merchant due to perseverance and intelligence. The rest of the episode is an adventure about how ancient Sinbad became rich through tenacity and keen wits. It is told in a funny, light, exciting way. There's a serpent, treasure, huge rooks and a whale!

1001 Nights was produced by Big Bad Boo Productions, from Vancouver, Canada. They are the production company that did Mixed Nuts which airs on PBS. Chad Van De Keere and Mike Myhre are the two main animation executives on the series. Mr. Van De Keere also worked on Being Ian (TV Series), Ren and Stimpy and Madeline: My Fair Madeline (TV movie). Mr. Myhre work on Monster High (TV Series) and George of the Jungle (2007 TV series).

1001 Nights grabs you in with its wonderful short stories based on tales from the classic book. In each episode it is the Queen, Shahrzad, who tells an ancient tale, just like in the book. So each episode has a story within a story. Each episode also has a gently imparted moral. The members of the Queen's family are always included in the ancient tale in some way. And, there's always a bumbling character, who thinks he's smart and wonderful, but humorously messes everything up. The only thing I didn't like was the animation style. It is flat and uninspiring, like most of Saturday morning animated TV.

Despite its mediocre animation style, 1001 Nights is a good series for kids aged 5-10. The fast-paced storytelling style and the educational elements make it a worthwhile series. I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Reviewed by Clayton Powell, KIDS FIRST! Critic, age 15.

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-13
Suggested Retail Price: $ 0.99
Media: TV


SPONGEBOB MOVIE, THE: SPONGE OUT OF WATER

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
SPONGEBOB MOVIE, THE: SPONGE OUT OF WATER       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
PARAMOUNT PICTURES
Series: FEATURE 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - When a diabolical pirate above the sea steals the secret Krabby Patty formula, SpongeBob and his nemesis Plankton must team up in order to get it back. Starring Tom Kenny, Antonio Banderas, Bill Fagerbakke.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming soon
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - If you enjoy seeing a documentary movie that will educate, inspire and amaze you than you will love MacGillivray Freeman's Humpback Whales. I learned more about the humpback whale than if I had studied this unit in school for a month!

This forty minute, large format documentary on humpback whales tags along with leading whale researchers using new methods to see what the humpback whales do when no one's watching them.

The documentary follows the whales to the tropical kingdom of Tonga, to summertime in Alaska and then to the warm waters of Hawaii. The audience has a chance to follow the humpback whales migration, while experiencing their incredible songs and underwater acrobatics.

One unique thing among humpback males is the singing that they engage in. In fact, the recordings of whale songs are what helped save the humpback whales from extinction as people became interested in the animals who could make these beautiful and unique sounds.

The humpback whales do cooperative food gathering. It is known as "bubble net fishing" in which they work together to release bubbles and loud "feeding calls" to herd and trap herring. This makes it easier for them to gulp the herring or krill in large quantities because they can eat up to two tons of food a day.

My favorite part of the movie was seeing and learning about the different researchers who have spent their lives studying the humpback whales. One scene showing the males circling a female whale in an effort to mate is usually seen once every ten years. Nobody has ever seen the humpback whale actually mate so there are many unanswered questions surrounding this aspect of the humpback whales.

Ewan McGregor narrates with a sense of wonder that inspires us to want to know as much as possible about the humpback whales. The upbeat music throughout the movie peaks our interest and curiosity about these extraordinary creatures.

The film teaches us to admire and appreciate the complexities and sheer beauty of the humpback whales. We also see how a whale is rescued when it becomes entangled in life-threatening fishing gear. This rescue requires a lot of skill and understanding of how to free the whale while the rescuers stay safe. We learn the important things we must ensure so that they do not become extinct. We must never again have a whaling industry, have safer fishing gear, less trash in the ocean and take precautions not to have collisions between ships and whales.

I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18. Adam Chernick, 9, KIDS FIRST! Critic.

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


PETRA'S PLANET

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
PETRA'S PLANET       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
DRAMAFORUM
Series: WEBSITE, AGES 5-12
Topic - Nature
Description - A free to play online virtual world where kids can explore world cultures, create their own avatar, make friends, decorate their room and adopt pet toys to care for. Plus it has lots of games and quests, is COPPA compliant and advertising-free. http://www.petrasplanet.com/
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Petra's Planet is a free and fun virtual world for kids although there are also paid membership options available too. When you sign up, you design your own Avatar and give him a name that is not your real name. (Which is a good thing!) I recommend for ages 6-10. The paid memberships include Premium Pet Toys, Special Clothing, Exclusive Explorer Outfit and a Kipps allowance. Kipps money allows you to make purchases for your Avatar. If you are a member, you can also join dance parties which the older kids will like. There are a lot of fun games and different challenges and it seems quite easy to navigate. You can even chat with other kids which I think the children will enjoy. The best thing is that kids can also learn about other places and people in different countries which also makes this educational. There is also a variety of different things to do on the website so children don't get bored easily. It is entertaining and engaging. The website seems to be a safe interactive and fun place for kids. I would give this 4 stars out of 5.

Petra's planet is a fun and educational website. It is something that any child between the ages of eight and twelve would enjoy. You get to create your own character and build and decorate his or her room. Then the fun begins. Petra's planet has a lot of fun games, challenges and unique ways to explore and learn about the world. You earn tokens by completing the challenges. This allows you to upgrade your character and buy lots of cool things to personalize your space. Any child that is interested in learning about different parts of the world will really find this website fun. It teaches children about the different cultures, animals and cuisines of many different countries and much more. The website is also used for chatting and interacting with other children online. The website is monitored and is secure and safe for children to use. There are three levels of membership so the payment plan is very flexible. Petra's Planet is a great introduction to online virtual realities for kids.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Petra's Planet is a clever combination of fun and education in a virtual world setting. You can travel to different parts of the world and see new cultures and animals, all in the comfort of your own home. Each time you encounter a new animal you receive a card and it makes for an enjoyable card game. You can play entertaining mini-games where you earn you KIPPs coins that allow you to buy cool clothes for your avatar and your adopted pet. When you're done exploring places like Jordon and Sri Lanka you can relax in your own customizable room. Not only can you do it by yourself, you can also chat with people and make new friends. This allows you to compete in multiplayer mini-games. Petra's Planet will have you exploring, learning, and having a blast. Reviewed by Keefer C. Blakeslee, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14.

I started playing the FREE online virtual world game Petra's Planet and I am hooked on it.

First you make an avatar which will take you through many adventures as you travel around the world.

The goal is to visit different countries. Each country has various games and quests related to its culture. Animals, sports, clothes and many other tasks are available.

You can play this game on your own or you can invite other avatars to play with you. They will visit your houses, help you with quests or whatever you and your new friends decide to do. There is a mail box to talk to each other. You can write your own messages or use a pop up menu.

Game coins are earned and used for houses, accessories, clothes, pets and other supplies.

Playing can take you an hour or as long as you like depending on how far you would like to get in the game. I have playing for a few days and have enjoyed every minute of it.

The age range is 5 and up. So if you would like to learn about other cultures this is perfect for you. Play, learn and have a great time.

I give this game 5 out of 5 twinkling stars. Reviewed by Morgan Bertsch, age 10

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: Website


INTO THE WOODS

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
INTO THE WOODS       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WALT DISNEY STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - Into the Woods is a modern twist on the beloved Brothers Grimm fairy tales in a musical format that follows the classic tales of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Rapunzel-all tied together by an original story involving a baker and his wife, their wish to begin a family and their interaction with the witch who has put a curse on them.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming soon
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I confess that I binge listened to the soundtrack before seeing this film and was thoroughly impressed with the vocals. It got me excited going to the screening. I also admit that I am a fan of the Broadway musical. I've seen the play this film is based on starring Bernadette Peters, Vanessa Williams and Phylicia Rashad. All three have played the witch. I have watched Johanna Gleeson light up the stage with energy, charm and humor. I noticed every change, subtraction and addition in the cinematic adaptation and I must say, this film is a triumph. It has wit, humor, emotion, magic and music - all the makings of a great musical.

The first fifteen minutes, the prologue, is edited with such vivacity and rhythm that you are immediately engulfed into the stories and the action. Then, Director Rob Marshall slowly starts to focus on the rhythms and details of each individual story. From the Baker and his wife, to Little Red Riding Hood, to Jack, to the Witch and Cinderella. All their stories are told with the same passion and intent as the others, each with their individual flair. Yet somehow Marshall is able to have each story fit perfectly into the grand puzzle that is Into the Woods.

I could rave on and on about Sondheim's score. His scores always have a sort of, inside joke sound to them. It's as if Sondheim knows something we don't know when he composes. There is an obvious humor and wit in Sondheim's score of Into the Woods, but it is the lyrics that tell the story. James Lapine, who wrote the screenplay and the libretto for the Broadway musical, makes some interesting changes for the film version. Fans of the musical will recognize the changes immediately and they may or may not like them. I personally liked them. For those who've never seen or even heard the Broadway version, this film will entertain and even touch them.

Meryl Streep, is the best Witch I've seen. The finest actress of all-time gives The Witch a portrayal big enough to fit Rob Marshall's theatrical style, but is subtle enough for us to understand her. Her solo Stay With Me is one of the best scenes in the whole movie and one of the best acted scenes this year. But, it is the show-stopping number of Last Midnight that will leave a lasting impression on you. I haven't been able to stop listening to it since I saw it. I was in jaw-dropping awe in the theater watching that number. It's because Meryl Streep doesn't just sing a song (she has a beautiful voice and can surprisingly belt very well), she acts it. She feels each word and doesn't waste them. She's able to find the subtext in every song, every line of dialogue, every lyric. She will definitely be a presence this awards season and rightfully so.

Speaking of showstoppers, I must mention the funniest duet in any musical from any time, Agony. Sung by Chris Pine and Billy Magnussen, who play Cinderella and Rapunzel's princes respectively, the number is beautifully staged and timed hilariously. Everyone in my theater roared with laughter and I was apart of it. That may actually be the best musical number in the whole movie.

I'd also like to point out James Corden, who really surprised me. I knew he'd do the comedic portrayal of The Baker well, but it is the dramatic parts that had me apprehensive. He killed them. His chemistry with Emily Blunt is very believable. They work well together and they both have fantastic voices as well.

I think Blunt is one of the most underrated actresses today and I'm confident this film will put her on the map. She is a grand talent. The million dollar question fans of the musical may have, "Does she live up to Johanna Gleeson?" My answer is, I don't know. They approach The Baker's Wife differently. Their choices completely differ and therefore they cannot be compared.

The last standout I want to mention is young Lilla Crawford, who some may know as Annie in the 2012 Broadway revival. She has impeccable timing and a great voice. It is a great feature film debut for the young star.

The ensemble overall is fantastic and work extremely well together. Of course the costume and production design are top notch, but I don't think anyone expected anything less. Rob Marshall and company have made the best American movie musical in over ten years. Ironically enough, Rob Marshall's Into the Woods is the best musical since Rob Marshall's Chicago. I give it 4 1/2 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18.

Reviewed by KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Willie Jones, age 15.

Into The Woods is a brilliant new film adapted from the award-winning Broadway musical. This lively tale tells the story of some of the most well-known Grimm's Brother fairy tales, but with an unexpected twist. In the film we see the stories The Baker and his Wife, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Red Riding Hood and Jack and the Beanstalk. All of their lives intertwine and it makes for a wild journey full of song, humor, heartbreak and wonderful lessons.

Into The Woods is a must-see this season and I am so pleased with how it turned out. Being a theater junky, I heard news that this musical was going to be made into a film and the anticipation began to grow. The execution of this film is flawless. It captures the feel of seeing a musical live, with the over-the-top theatrics and set design. It translates so well to the screen and allows the audience to fully immerse themselves into this incredible story. The costumes and locations for this film are beautiful and the music is excellent. I caught myself singing along with the movie more than once.

Something that I love about this film is that it isn't the "classic" Disney version of these fairytales that most of us grew up with. It goes back to the authentic stories from the Grimm Brothers themselves, with the obvious twist here and there. In this film, the bad stuff that tends to be cut out of modern fairytales actually happens. For example, Cinderella's step-sisters cut off bits of their feet to fit into the golden slipper, Rapunzel's prince is blinded by blackberry thorns and there are no fairy godmothers. Rest assured, all of these misfortunes are done in very humorous ways. I also love that it takes all of these different fables and weaves them together so that everyone has a part in each others' story. The final thing that really makes Into The Woods stand apart from other fairy tales is that not everyone gets a happy ending. You have to work with what you're given and make the best of the situation.

The entire cast is wonderful and so talented. Meryl Streep plays The Witch, Anna Kendrick - Cinderella, Emily Blunt - The Baker's Wife, Johnny Depp - The Wolf, Chris Pine - Cinderella's Prince. Every character has a solo and I'm so impressed with all of these actors' amazing voices. I had no idea they could sing. This film brings in names and faces that are very recognizable and also incorporates actors that most of us have probably never seen. So, it's a really nice mix of people that make up this cast.

My favorite scene is when the two Princes sing Agony. It is the most hilarious scene in the film and I laughed so hard I cried. Prince Charming and his brother are lamenting over their princesses, Cinderella and Rapunzel, and it is the cheesiest, funniest thing I have seen in a long time. The Princes are the most melodramatic people, making everything a big deal and this song highlights just how over-the-top they are. The entire audience was cracking up and after the film was over I could not stop singing Agony and laughing about how ridiculous the music number is.

Into The Woods is a film that all ages will enjoy. I cannot wait to see it again. Every aspect of it is so well done - the cast, the visuals, the music and even though a few moments could maybe be a bit scary for younger children, it is something for the whole family. I recommend it for ages 5 to 18 and give this film 5 out of 5 stars. Be sure not to miss Into The Woods. It opens in theaters everywhere on Christmas Day! Reviewed by Raven Devanney, KIDS FIRST! Critic, age 16.

Into the Woods is a musical comedy about a journey a baker and his wife must take in order to reverse the curse The Witch put on their house and have the child they always wanted. They must go into the woods and get four things - a slipper as pure as gold, hair as yellow as corn, cape as red as blood and a cow as white as snow - all before the blue moon rises. The most interesting thing about this film is how the screenwriter, James Lapine merges the stories of Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel and Little Red Riding Hood into this brand new fairytale.

Cinematographer Dion Beebe has created incredible fairytale-like scenes that are just outstanding. I loved the scene when Cinderella goes to her mother's grave and tells her that she wishes to go to the ball. All of the sudden, the tree and the leaves twirl her around to dress her in a beautiful golden dress and slippers. It's fascinating how the camera moves around her to make the scene magical.

Of course, music plays a huge role in the film thanks to the brilliant work of Stephen Sondheim who has written perfect lyrics that capture the emotions of every scene. Meryl Streep's character, The Witch, is the most memorable character. Her voice is powerful and beautiful. When she discovers that Rapunzel has fallen in love with a prince, she begs Rapunzel to stay with her. When The Witch sings "Stay with Me," you realize that she isn't as cold- hearted as everyone thinks. She locks Rapunzel in a tower because she is protecting her from the world.

The message of the film is that you should be careful of what you wish for. Sometimes what you wish for isn't exactly what you really want. A secondary message is when you love something you should set it free. I recommend this film for ages 10 to 18 and give it four out five stars. Into the Woods comes out on Christmas Day to a theater near you! Reviewed by Shelby Ronae, KIDS FIRST! Critics, age 14

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


ALLONS DANSER! (LET'S DANCE) FRENCH LEARNING SONGS

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ALLONS DANSER! (LET'S DANCE) FRENCH LEARNING SONGS
WHISTLEFRITZ LLC
Series: AUDIO CD FOR AGES 0-2
Topic - Family
Description - Allons chanter! (Let's sing) Allons danser! (Let's dance) Apprenons le Francais! (Let's learn French) Get in the language-learning groove with this fun-filled collection of original tunes and beloved traditional favorites. Makes learning French as easy as un, deux, trois!
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Allons Danser (Lets Dance) is a charming and inviting way for young children to learn French words and phrases through familiar children's songs. These twenty ditties for little kiddies will have the whole family dancing from 'Bonjour Les Amis' (Hello Friends) to 'Au Revoir' (Goodbye) and did I mention the highlight of 'Le Vieux MacDonald' (Old MacDonald)? He had a farm in France too, apparently. Renowned French artists Marie-Louise Desage and Didier Prossaird add a major touch of class to make this musical vintage an album for many a listen! Very musically engaging. Learning to speak French is a bit of a hard sell to kids but this makes it seem extra cool! Offers exposure to brilliant musical performances and another culture, always a good thing. Very upbeat instrumentation. Promotes cultural awareness and introduces familiar children's songs in French. Hits the bulls-eye for its target audience of young children. Great production values across the board. Stellar! Love the vocals and the bouncy arrangements. Instrumentation is infectious.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Filled with songs for learning the French language, this CD is so fun and pleasant I found myself dancing as I listened to each and every song. The vocals and catchy songs stuck in my head even when I wasn't listening to the CD!

Allons Danser! contains 20 short songs intended to teach children French. Song topics range from the classic Old MacDonald to parties for kids. The songs are sung by a woman and children, while the music is provided by a keyboard, percussion, trumpet, trombone and guitars.

It comes with a lyric book containing the French lyrics and word-by-word English translations on the side - perfect for the young English-speaking child trying to learn French. Every song is different and very fun, but one of the most exciting to listen to was "Un Deux et Trois" which translates to "One, Two, and Three." This song is very happy and, just like the other songs, it has a catchy hook and refrain. Another standout song is "Les Petits Poissons" or "The Little Fish." This song is a little bit slower but still very whimsical and enjoyable.

The vocals are provided by Marie-Louie Desage and her voice is very smooth and pleasant. She enunciates very clearly and it is very easy to follow along with her in the lyric book. There are child vocalists that come in at a couple parts in each song, providing more of a backbone of background vocals to Desage. The music accompaniment is very clean and does not overwhelm the French lyrics that Desage is singing to the children.

One thing that sticks out in particular is the enjoyment I got out of this. I genuinely had a great time listening to each song and learning French along the way, so children will have a blast as well. The film meets the KIDS FIRST! criteria perfectly and is suitable for children from the ages of 4 to 12. Both boys and girls would enjoy the CD equally as long as they are keen on learning French. The CD earns a 5 out of 5 star rating and is extremely well made.

Reviewed by Carissa P.
Runtime: 40 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 3-7
Suggested Retail Price: $ 14.99
Media: AUDIO

Buy Here (from WHISTLEFRITZ LLC)


!SABOR!-SPANISH LEARNING SONGS

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
!SABOR!-SPANISH LEARNING SONGS
WHISTLEFRITZ LLC
Series: AUDIO CD FOR AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - This lively CD is a fabulous fusion of world music styles -- including cumbia, calypso, salsa, and merengue -- that teach kids Spanish. Get ready to be immersed in irresistible rhythms and pulse-pounding beats, and get ready to shout, "�Sabor!
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - �Sabor! - Spanish Learning Songs is a refreshing and fun way to learn Spanish words and phrases and dance and sing at the same time! You're a newbie? Do not fear, the helpful liner notes offer English translations to the all-Spanish set of traditional and original rousing tunes. Singer-songwriter Jorge Anaya and keyboardist Didier Prossaird keep this fast-paced party moving along with a splendid variety of rhythms and styles - cumbia, salsa and merengue to name a few - will have you dancing in the streets and shouting, �Sabor! Wonderfully produced, very authentic. The style is right on the money, the structure true to the source and the continuity from song to song is well done. The quality of the source material and the professionalism of the performers shines through and is perfect for young audiences. It gives you the idea that learning Spanish can be and should be fun, not work. It invites audience participation. I see this as a joyous musical exclamation of a fun introduction to our Spanish-speaking neighbors. Reviewed by John Wood, KIDS FIRST! Music Critic.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This CD is good for kids that already know a little Spanish. The fast pace of the songs makes them fun and easy to learn a few new words, especially when refer to the booklet. Without the booklet, the songs are still fun but you don't necessarily learn any new words. The upbeat songs are fun to dance along with and are very happy sounding. A favorite of the kids was Old MacDonald.
Runtime: 40 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-10
Suggested Retail Price: $ 14.99
Media: AUDIO

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KAZAZ!!

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
KAZAZ!!
AMERICAN STORY CHANNEL
Series: APP, AGES 5-8
Topic - Family
Description - Kazaz! uses technology and storytelling as a vehicle to support learning for young children. It's an immersive tablet-based world designed to help children develop visual literacy and support social emotional learning as well as language development
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The iPad app Kazaz! combines story, animation and factual information. The opening screen presents a planet with various islands to explore. The islands pop up links to a story with illustrations accompanying a voice narration. As you revisit the story, animations and "gems" appear on the illustrations that link to informational videos relating to the topic of the story.

This is a good learning tool for ages 5 to 8. The narration is very interesting, engaging and helps kids to read along. The music is good and, after all the stories are developed, it should be a good app for this age group.

/The stories are perhaps a bit too long for kids in the younger part of this age group. But, they have simple words and concepts that are age-appropriate. And, the stories model positive behaviors. They are also constructed well and encourage you to continue reading to find out what happens at the end. A page turner!

The app is very easy to navigate and to listen to the stories and the music. The sounds and visual quality are great. The sound effects for the instruments are quite good. The app seems to be in the beginning stages so all the stories are not yet developed. Those that are show good sound and picture quality. I could not find a way to start from where I left off and that was disappointing.

The entertainment value of the music and the music man are good. The children can learn about different instruments when using this app.

I was able to view only one story, the namesake of the app. All other content is available for purchase or says "coming soon."

This app stands out from other story apps because as you revisit the story, animations and "gems" appear on the illustrations that link to informational videos relating to the topic of the story. These animations and gems are not only fun to discover, but the level of information presented is accessible to the target audience. I enjoyed exploring the one story that is available because the graphics are visually appealing and the element of surprise made me want to come back for more.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This is a fun and educational app that will encourage young kids to learn about reading and the world around them.

This app has a core of education and learning with a sprinkle of fun adventure and a little humor. It is a series of audio picture books that all talk about different characters in this world called Kazaz.

Personally, I thought that the app was a bit limited. The GUI is very complicated with no instructions or guidance and I could only get one book for free. The rest, which was only around two, are $2.99 each. As far as the books go, they are fun. However I really felt like the books could concentrate on more educational things. The free book that I read was mostly about the creation of Kazaz, the planet. In my opinion, it would be more educational if instead it provides a story about how Earth formed and evolved. Kids would be very curious about that!

My favorite feature is how you find the stories. There is a map of the planet and you click on certain areas to get the books instead of going into a folder and choosing one. I think that is a nice touch.

I recommend this app for ages 2-5. It is definitely meant for younger kids. I also give it 3.5 out of 5 stars for some disappointing features. But, it is a very smart and civic minded idea which, with some enhancement, can become a very popular product for early education.

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 3-7
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: App


ONCE UPON A SIGN: THE NEW GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEATS

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ONCE UPON A SIGN: THE NEW GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEATS       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
DAWNSIGNPRESS
Series: SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Overlooking the scenic California coast, the quaint home of the Three Bears sits alone. But today, something will change. An unexpected visitor awaits them when they return home after a walk on the beach. Then they will learn about the power of sign.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This is a modern day version of Goldilocks and The Three Bears. It is engaging for the most part. We had a bit of a difficult time with the Baby Bear character who is played by an adult. His voice changes which is a bit distracting and takes away from charm of the overall film. The modern twist with Goldilocks having magic is a positive aspect especially when she signs with all her heart. That is the best part of the film. We enjoyed the modern day setting of the film. It flows well and the storyline follows the traditional one, for the most part. The vocabulary and concepts are suitable for children, primarily younger ones. It shows compassion, particularly when Goldilocks apologies to the three bears and does not run off. They appear to become friends and treat one another with respect. Visually, it's quite appealing. The house being on the beach is a nice touch. Our only issue is Baby Bear played by an older actor.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This series brings the fairy tails we love to life with a little bit of sign language education and even good life lessons. Once Upon A Sign is fun and educational series that offers a great starter show for young kids. The show takes the fairy tales we all know and love, modernizes them and adds sign language! The filmmakers have taken the classic Grimm Brothers' fairy tales and added lots of twists to make it modern and interesting.

I think the idea of telling a fairy tails in sign language a very unique idea, not just for the hearing impaired but it provides an opportunity for those who hear to learn sign language. I also like that they are animated. The animation reminds me of one of my favorite shows as a kid, Blue's Clues.

This episode is the modernized story of Goldilocks. It has a little bit of comedy, a sprinkle of family love wrapped around a fantastic feel of a classic fairy tale. Goldilocks tells about a girl who goes into this little house and starts exploring things there. For example, there are three cups of oatmeal on the counter and she tries each one and each is either too hot, too cold or just perfect.

Unfortunately, I found the animation a bit dull and the story was kind of rushed. Also, the acting is a bit bland. The casting left something to be designed. There is an adult playing Baby Bear and his make-up and odd costume makes him look kind of creepy instead of fluffy and adorable. Also Goldilocks is a young adult which makes it hard to forgive her for breaking into someone's house and eating their oatmeal, breaking chairs and more. The message I got out of this is if you're beautiful, you can do bad things which I assume is not what the maker intended it to be.

My favorite scene is when Goldilocks is caught and she realizes what she did wrong and offers to help fix her mistakes. This is a great example of what should be done if you do something wrong.

This show is definitely meant for younger kids, perhaps ages 2 to 6. They would enjoy the bright colors, pictures and smiles. I would give it 3.5 out of 5 stars for a great idea, but a bit lacking in execution, casting and mixed messages.

Reviewed by Gerry Orz, KIDS FIRST! Critic, age 12.
Runtime: 25 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-8
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: DVD


ONCE UPON A SIGN: LITTLE RED RIDIING HOOD

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ONCE UPON A SIGN: LITTLE RED RIDIING HOOD       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
DAWNSIGNPRESS
Series: SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - This updated version takes Little Red on an exciting trip through Central Park. Little Wolf is up to his old tricks but will the Park Ranger save the day? After arriving at Grandmas, we learn a lesson about fun.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This is a modern day version of Little Red Riding Hood with sign language and a more refreshing, modern day, younger acting Grandma. It is engaging but may have some limits to the ages of children wanting to watch a Little Red Riding Hood story. It is a more modern day version and would greatly appeal to those who use sign language. I'm not sure how appealing it would be to children who don't sign. The fact that Little Red is 17-years-old may seem a bit unrealistic to today's children. It does have educational and social message elements. It teaches not to talk to strangers and that play is as important as work. Of course, it also teaches sign language. The music is entertaining and so are the animation and real characters. The costuming is more modern day and fits the story well. The location is Central Park and the modern, younger Grandma is refreshing. There is a bit of flirting between Grandma and the Forest Ranger but it's not too much and the characters are definitely kind to one another. It flows well and the storyline is similar to the traditional story.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Little Red Riding Hood from the Once Upon a Sign series is a great educational film. If you know sign language or want to learn how to sign, this film is perfect for you. This film is about a young girl, Little Red, who wants to bring cookies to her grandmother who's recovering from a cold. Little Red's mother is a little nervous about her going to her grandmother's house by herself. Little Red's mother tells her, "Go straight to your grandmother's house and do not talk to any strangers." While on her way to her grandmother's house, she forgets everything her mother tells her and speaks to a very friendly Park Ranger. As she talks to the Park Ranger, a very sneaky wolf eavesdrops on her conversation. And, when Little Red gets to her Grandmother's house, she notices something different about her. Watch the film to see what happens next.

There are several messages in this film. First, do not talk to strangers. Secondly, be sure to follow your parent's instructions. Not only did Little Red talk to strangers but, she told them where she was going as well. The art in this film is very simple yet it captures the essence of each scene. Little Red's grandmother is my favorite character. She's very spunky and an energetic woman. She reminds me of my own grandmother.

I really enjoyed watching the characters sign each other throughout the movie. The tutorial at the end was my favorite part. This film is delightful and educational. This is a great film for girls and boys, ages 5 to 10. I give this film 3 out of 5 golden stars. This movie is available on DVD as part of the Once Upon a Sign series. All of these updated fairy tales are told in sign. If you are hearing impaired, this film is great for you. Even if you are not, you'll enjoy it like I did.

Reviewed by Kayla Powell, KIDS FIRST! Critic, age 12..

This episode from the fairy tail sign language series, Once Upon a Time, is a fantastic twist on the fairy tale we all know and love, Little Red Riding Hood. This series will be liked by young kids who enjoy watching fairy tales come to life.

This episode has a feel of adventure, with a hidden core of good messages and even a bit of comedy and romance.

The story starts when a girl named Red is crossing a park in Manhattan to give her Grandma cookies. However, when she arrives, she finds her Grandma acting very odd.

The idea of doing fairy tales in sign language is a good and unique idea. The animation has a bit of nostalgic feel to it of older kids' shows.

Unfortunately, I felt that even though it was a very clever idea to bring Red into the modern world of New York City, the acting was not up to par. The casting is so-so. There is an adult playing a 17-year-old Red. We all know that Red is not 17, she is a young girl of 10 or 11. I thought that was wrong because you can clearly see her age is off and, as a teenager, it doesn't make sense that she is so na�ve. The casting for older characters also wasn't right. The Grandma looks very young which also doesn't make sense.

My favorite scene is when Red is given instructions (as if she were 3) on how to handle herself when going to Grandma's from her mother. I could relate to her mom's instructions because I know a lot of moms act. Sometimes they act if they are sending their children out to go swim in a volcano instead of walk two blocks to the store for milk and bread. That part made the characters a bit more realistic.

This show is, of course, for little ones. I recommend ages 2 to 6. They would mainly enjoy the bright colors and pictures and smiles. I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars for it's good idea, but acting and casting are really off.

Reviewed by Gerry Orz, KIDS FIRST! Critics, age 12
Runtime: 26 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: DVD


ONCE UPON A SIGN: MAGIC MIRROR

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ONCE UPON A SIGN: MAGIC MIRROR       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
DAWNSIGNPRESS
Series: SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Young Alice Cogswell wants to enter the talent show but she's unsure of herself. After an audition that doesn't go her way, she gets some magic help. This magic help gets her to the talent show and helps her ASL poetry sparkle.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This is an engaging film about believing in yourself and how you can make your dreams come true. Also, it emphasizes that you do not need to be perfect and that you must not be overly confident to the point that you lose your humility. It is all told in sign language but has words as well so, it is easy to follow and suitable for children who hear as well as those who don't. The special effects of the Magic Mirror are quite entertaining. It is visually appealing and has social and educational elements that make it valuable. The messages are positive: "If you can dream it, you can do it," "Believe in yourself." It is a subject matter than most children will relate to as many have a tough time believing in themselves and have a fear of performing in front of others. The story flows well and is easy to follow. It is entertaining and fun to watch. It also shows that if you keep trying, you can get better and better. It is set in modern day. There are fun signs at the end where children can learn to sign certain words.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This 22 minute show is very delightful and provides a universal message about confidence and humility in a very unique way. CJ Jones' portrayal of Sparkles is extremely entertaining and was reminiscent of my father when he is being playful and silly.

The program follows a young girl named Alice as she faces the internal conflict of lacking self confidence. After a talent show audition gone wrong, she gets another opportunity to prove her talent when magic comes in the form of a mirror and a little helper named Sparkles. However, not everything goes the way that Sparkles thinks it will and more problems arise, despite the new magical mirror. The whole show is done in American Sign Language (ASL) with voice-overs for those who cannot interpret sign language. My favorite moment of the program is when Sparkles attempts to fix one of Alice's problems by very creatively dressing up as an old woman. CJ Jones, the actor who plays Sparkles, standouts among the cast. He portrays a person who is sincere and genuine yet, at the same time, very lighthearted and amusing. That is very difficult to balance well and he is very successful in doing that.

The message of the show is that that people should believe in themselves and never give up despite struggles they might have to face. They need not rely on others or "stuff" to bring them success, because success can be earned because of one's own abilities. This is a very relatable message for people of all ages, because no matter the age, sometimes we all put ourselves down and lose our self esteem.

This film would be great for between the ages of 8 and13 since girls tend to gravitate towards shows dealing with personal conflicts more than guys do, especially at this age. I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars due to its uniqueness of including ASL and for taking a modern twist on this classic children's story that is very fun and enjoyable to watch. Reviewed by Carissa P., age 16, KIDS FIRST! Juror
Runtime: 24 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: DVD


THUNDER AND THE HOUSE OF MAGIC

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
THUNDER AND THE HOUSE OF MAGIC
SHOUT! FACTORY
Series: FEATURE 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Thunder, an abandoned young cat seeking shelter from a storm, stumbles into the strangest house imaginable, owned by an old magician and inhabited by a dazzling array of automatons and gizmos. Starring the voice talent of Cinda Adams, George Babbit, Murray Blue. Directed by Jeremy Degruson and Ben Stassen.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The animated film, Thunder and the House of Magic is directed by Ben Stassen Jeremy Degruson. The story is about a small, orange cat named, Thunder, who is abandoned by his owners. While wandering the neighborhood, he happens upon a supposedly haunted house, which is full of magical toys and an old magician.

Although, Thunder is quickly accepted into the house by the elder performer, he is not immediately approved of by the rest of the group. Through several adventures and troubles arising with the magician's not-so-nice nephew, who is trying to sell the house against the magician's wishes, the group begins to bond.

My favorite scene is when the old magician does a magic show for children in a local hospital. The magic is funny, imaginative and it is sweet that he does a show for kids in need.

Parents should know that this film is not for little kids! In the beginning, Thunder is chased by a scary dog, almost gets hit by cars and nearly falls out of a tree. In the end, he is thought to be dead for a short period of time. There is also a bit of bad language.

Therefore, I recommend this movie for ages 9 to 14. I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars for loveable characters and an original storyline. It is available now on DVD! Reviewed by Katie G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13.
Runtime: 85 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $ 15.99
Media: DVD


BOOK OF LIFE, THE

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
BOOK OF LIFE, THE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - THE BOOK OF LIFE, a vibrant fantasy-adventure, tells the legend of Manolo, a conflicted hero and dreamer who sets off on an epic quest through magical, mythical and wondrous worlds in order to rescue his one true love and defend his village.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Just in time for Halloween comes this new animated feature by producer Guillermo del Toro and director Jorge Gutierrez. In an unique visual style, The Book of Life reveals the journey of Manolo, a young man who is torn between fulfilling the expectations of his family and following his heart. Before choosing which path to follow, he embarks on an incredible adventure that spans three fantastical worlds where he must face his greatest fears. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Morgan Bertsch comments, "This animated feature is set in South America. It is colorful and festive and I enjoyed learning about all the different cultural beliefs of South America." See her full review in youth comments.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I love this movie. It's a terrific, animated family film full of adventure. It's a visual spectacular with fantastic sets, costumes and intriguing characters. And, it has a great positive message.

The movie begins with a museum tour-guide telling her field trip students about The Book of Life. Her voice is played by Christina Applegate who serves as narrator throughout, which is especially helpful with all the flashback and flash-forward scenes. In the book, it starts with a flashback to three children. Maria, Manolo and Joaquin are childhood best friends, living in San Angel, the 'center of the world' in Mexico, in the Land of the Living (aka Earth). As they grow up, we see the two grown men compete for Maria's affection. The story revolves around the celebration of the Day of the Dead, when Mexicans celebrate their loved ones who have passed away. As legend has it, as long as they are beloved, they live in the Land of the Remembered. For those not remembered well, they live in the Land of the Forgotten. The two rulers of these two lands, Meurta and Xibalba make a wager on which boy will marry Maria. The winner gets to rule the Land of the Remembered.

Great adventure and drama ensues as Manolo and Joaquin, voiced by Diego Luna and Tatum Channing, compete to win Maria's heart, and fend off the pressures from their families' expectations, while saving their home town. Joaquin's father was a war hero and Manolo comes from a long line of Bull Fighters, though he prefers to sing and play guitar.

My favorite part is when Manolo visits the Land of the Remembered and is reunited with his mother, grandfather and great grandfather, both matador heroes, who were killed. He learns of their common musical interests too, and what mother really wanted him to be.

This film has a terrific message: To never stop fighting for what you believe in, to follow your own dreams and be true to your heart.

The music throughout the movie is awesome and helps tell Manolo's story, especially with the songs "I Will Wait" and "The Apology Song."

The three sets are very distinctive and perfect for each of the three realms: San Angel is a beautiful town in the present day. The Land of Remembered is a colorful, vibrant, happy place and the Land of the Forgotten is dull, grey and has spiky architecture.

I really enjoyed the animation. The characters are wood-like with joints like Pinocchio. The boys have broad shoulders and super skinny legs. Maria and the other girls have skinny waists, full Mexican skirts and dramatic hair and eyes. While I love it in 3D, the animation is so good, it would be great in 2D also.

This is an all-around great family film. I recommend it for families with kids ages 7 to 18. There are some intense bull fighting scenes, slightly scary music and fights in the Land of the Forgotten. I give this film a 4.5 out of 5 star rating. Be sure to check out The Book of Life which is in theaters now. Reviewed by Katherine Starr, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9.

On October 17th Twentieth Century Fox brings a new Halloween movie to the big screen. This is sure to become a must-see for everyone at Halloween time!

This animated feature is set in South America. It is colorful and festive and I enjoyed learning about all the different cultural beliefs of South America. On the day that we celebrate Halloween, they celebrate Mexican Day of the Dead. This movie is funny, cute and the story keeps your attention from beginning to the end.

Many of the movies we see today seem like the same story or theme told in different ways. This movie is truly an original. There are many hints of movies you have seen before but overall, it is truly a different movie. The animators' attention to detail is mind boggling.

The characters are made of wood but, after the first five minutes you see them as real people. The intercut details are astonishing. The unique personalities and different characters will keep you entertained. Animals, people, spirits - this movie has it all.

Maria is my favorite because she is a little girl with cute pig tails. She is fun, bubbly, tough and adventurous. Her independence gets her in trouble but at the same time it is her greatest asset. We watch her grow from a child to a young lady. She keeps the same spirit and kind heart. She must choose who to marry between her two best friends. Zoe Saldana voices the character and really brings her to life.

The candlestick maker, voiced by Ice Cube, is laugh-out-loud funny. Even though he is not in the movie for very much time, you will leave with a smile on your face just thinking about him.

Gabriel Iglesias, Cheech Marin, Hector Elizondo are three amigos who try to help one of our heroes win Maria's hand in marriage. The singing group is hilarious. The song choices are great and made me giggle.

There are many messages in this film. The two heroes follow in their father footsteps. We see how it is important to remember your ancestors but also know that you are your own person and should follow your own path. Although it has been a long-standing tradition, bull fighting is beginning to be thought of as wrong. The bulls should be allowed to live. We see how it takes a whole village of people to protect and look out for each other and how everyone needs to be on the same team helping everyone else.

I recommend this movie ages 7 to 18. It is about Halloween and the Mexican Day of the Dead. Although it is entertaining it is still about death and there is violence. I give this movie 5 out of 5 twinkling stars. Reviewed by KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Morgan Bertsch, age 9.

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


DOLPHIN TALE 2

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
DOLPHIN TALE 2       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - The team of people who saved Winter's life reassemble in the wake of her surrogate mother's passing in order to find her a companion so she can remain at the Clearwater Marine Hospital. Starring Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd and Nathan Gamble.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - What an inspirational continuation to the first Dolphin Tail film. When I saw that they were making a sequel, I couldn't wait to see what was next in store for Winter and her friends. When I saw it, I laughed, cried and was overall inspired to see more. This is a fantastic film that everyone will love and re-watch time after time.

This is a huge mixture of hilarious and unique jokes sprinkled over a fantastic and entertaining story wrapped up in one huge adventure taco and all based on true events.

The story starts when Winter has been at the hospital (or, should I say a full blown aquarium now) for 7 years and Sawyer and Hazel, still doing the same things, have both grown a lot and Sawyer is not so shy anymore - even a littlie bossy at times, However, when Winter's best friend, an older dolphin, passes away from old age, they have a challenging task. They need to pair Winter with another female dolphin or she will be deported from the aquarium.

This film is pretty awesome. The cast returned and does a wonderful job again and they make the story so it has five sub stories which makes it so ever interesting. The only negative thing is that most of the storyline is predictable.

My favorite scene is when Hazel feels like she is not treated like an adult by her father. She decides to ask for a health record for one of the dolphins, but does it wearing very professional attire and also talks very adult-like and sassy. I love this scene because it is funny, entertaining and shows how mature Hazel has become.

The only thing parents have to be worried about is a few thrilling scenes that show damage to some of the animals. I recommend this to ages 4 to 18 since younger kids may not completely understand the situation. I also give it 4.5 out of 5 stars for a good cast, a great director and fantastic cinematography. Reviewed by KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Gerry Orz, age 12.

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-15
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: Web Series


HERO OF COLOR CITY, THE

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
HERO OF COLOR CITY, THE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
MAGNOLIA PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - A diverse band of crayons strive to protect not only their magical multihued homeland but the imagination of children everywhere from a terrifying monster. Starring Owen Wilson, Christina Ricci and Rosie Perez.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Hero of Color City is an interesting film that has wonderful animation and a great message for our youth.

The movie is about a little boy who enjoys coloring and drawing pictures. He has crayons that come to life every night once he falls asleep. When the crayons come to life they travel to a town known as Color City. Trouble begins when one of the crayons, Yellow, is left behind and wakes up two unfinished drawings, King Scroll and Gnat, who both follow yellow to Color City. The unfinished drawings are mad at Yellow for not coloring them and they try to destroy Color City. It's up to yellow and her friends to save Color City.

The message of this film is to believe in your self; throughout the film, yellow is fearful and lacks courage. Throughout the adventure, Yellow learns a lot about her self which helps the others at Color City as well.

My favorite character is Blue. I like him because he is always very positive and optimistic. My favorite scene is when you are able to see the entire town of Color City. The city is bright and colorful.

The voice actors Elizabeth Daily, Christina Ricci, Rosie Perez and Wayne Brady are wonderful at showing their expressions and bringing the crayons to life.

Hero of Color City is a perfect movie for Kids ages 2-8. I give this film 3 out of 5 golden stars! The Hero of Color City will be in theaters October 3, 2014. You do not want to miss this spectacular movie!

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 2-8
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


BOXTROLLS, THE

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
BOXTROLLS, THE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - THE BOXTROLLS are a community of quirky, mischievous creatures who have lovingly raised an orphaned human boy named Eggs in the amazing cavernous home they've built beneath the streets of a city called Cheesebridge. The story is about a young orphaned boy raised by underground cave-dwelling trash collectors who tries to save his friends from an evil exterminator, the town's villain, Archibald Snatcher. When Snatcher comes up with a plot to get rid of the Boxtrolls. Eggs decides to venture above ground and "into the light," where he meets and teams up with fabulously feisty Winnie. Together, they devise a daring plan to save The BoxTrolls family. The film is based upon the children's novel 'Here Be Monsters' by Alan Snow.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I loved this movie because it is not the average children's story. It represents two completely different worlds that only interact when one is trying to destroy the other.

In a small city where the upper class is completely obsessed with cheese, there lies under the roadways another city; created and run by Boxtrolls. The creatures are believed by humans to be completely evil though they are good and gentle creatures. Lead by an evil exterminator, Mr. Snatcher, the humans on the surface fear Boxtrolls and trap them. Eggs, a young boy that was raised by Boxtrolls after the "death" of his father, and Fish, his Boxtroll father-figure, go on an adventure to save the rest of the Boxtrolls from the evil Mr. Snatcher and his companions.

My least favorite part is when Snatcher has all of the Boxtrolls piled up underneath the crusher and Eggs has to watch them be "crushed."

My favorite part is when all of the naked Boxtrolls come back and help save the day, while all the terrified townspeople watch curiously.

Archibald Snatcher (Ben Kingsley) portrays the evil exterminator very incredibly. Kingsley's voice fits not only the character perfectly, but he allows a deeper background into the history of the character just by his speeches throughout the movie.

The message of this movie is that everyone has the ability to change their own nature.

The movie is made in Claymation and, along with all the twists and turns of the story plot, stands out dramatically.

I recommend this film for ages 5 to 12 and give it a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Reviewed by Samantha Melton, KIDS FIRST! reviewer
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Splendid! The Boxtrolls is another fantastic stop motion film by Laika. In the city of Cheesebridge's a human boy named Eggs ( Isaac Hempstead- Wright) is raised by Boxtrolls, creatures that rummage the streets at night and live under the city. Mr. Snatcher (Ben Kingsley) intends to exterminate every last Boxtroll, all for the love of cheese and a white hat. Eggs needs to teach his family to stop hiding.

Stop motion dates back to Wallace and Gromit, Gumby and many of our favorite Christmas specials. Laika has created movies I adore such as Coraline. This film is another success with its fast pace stop-motion. The way the boxes fold, stack and bend are impressive to watch. The designs of the characters are distinct and detailed. From the trolls who are dirty with glowing eyes and pale blue skin, to the proper humans who are clean with fancy clothes and perfect hair.

The small scale sets are marvelous. The film transports you into two opposite worlds. Once is the view from above the city where we see buildings and streets of stones. At night it's dark with only lamp posts to light the way. The Boxtrolls' under ground lair is a whole other picture. The ground is covered in boxes and tin cans for the characters to slide around on. The room is lit with light bulbs they find and is filled with inventions that they have made.

The writing is witty. The comedy comes through in a very playful manner with its shock humor and, at times, straight-forward jokes. There is even a scene with a rim shot. The trolls, even though they speak gibberish, bring a lot of emotion into their delivery. Speaking of which, the voice talents are sensational. The villain Archibald Snatcher, who is my favorite, uses his amazing voice talents to create this mean, eccentric character. He fits the image that we see on screen. Same goes for the rest of the cast, particularly Elle Fanning who plays Winnie, a snobbish brat that befriends Eggs.

My favorite scene is in the middle of the credits. When the credits roll, please stay in your seat! What you will see is one of the funniest fourth wall jokes to be seen on-screen.

The moral of this story is you can change your nature. The Boxtrolls are used to sneaking around and hiding. Even when they are in danger, they don't fight back. They learn that they can change.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend this to 7 through 18-year-olds. This movie gives the audience jokes, engaging characters and beautiful visuals which make it a great film.

Reviewed by Keefer C. Blakeslee, Age 14, KIDSFIRST! Film Critic

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


MY LITTLE PONY: EQUESTRIA GIRLS - RAINBOW ROCKS

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
MY LITTLE PONY: EQUESTRIA GIRLS - RAINBOW ROCKS       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
SHOUT! FACTORY
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - Music rules and rainbows rock as Twilight Sparkle and pals complete for the top spot in the Canterlot High "Mane Event" talent show. The girls must rock their way to the top, and outshine rival Adagio Dazzle and her band The Dazzlings, to restore harmony back to Canterlot High.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This movie Music rules and rainbows rock as Twilight Sparkle and her pals compete for the top spot in the Canterlot High "Mane Event" talent show. This latest installment of the My Little Pony franchise does not disappoint and is perfect for your younger set as well as the die hard Brony fans. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Gerry O, age 12 comments, "It is definitely a combination of adventure with a cr�me of comedy and a sprinkle of excitement all rapped up in a friendship sandwich." Samantha A adds, "This movie teaches kids that friendship is stronger than any powers or spells. See their full reviews in the youth comment's section and catch Gerry and Haley's interviews with Tara Strong, Andrea Libman, Will Anderson, Jamie Foxx and more at the premiere below.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - What an addition to the "My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic" franchise! This film has references to the first movie, a bit of story from the last season of the show and even all the little extra characters that My Little Pony fans love!

It is definitely a combination of adventure with a cr�me of comedy and a sprinkle of excitement all rapped up in a friendship sandwich.

The adventure starts when a band performance is planned at Canterlot High where the kids can make bands and raise funds and three very unusual girls turn it into a super competitive battle of the bands. When they run out of things to do, Twilight's friends from that world call to another world where Twilight is. Will they be able to come there and save them or will evil prevail?

This film is just fantastic! Hasbro was smart to include a lot of little fun things from the shows that fans adore including the beloved Derby Hooves pony who is really never part of the story, just in the background for fun. The songs are great as well. We hear not just the classic My Little Pony songs from the TV show. Instead, the music is very pop like which suits the story well. I imagine that sing-along coming to the fans shortly and being a smash hit. The show's creators also connected to the first Equestria Girls movie which I thought was perfect.

My favorite scene is when girls are having a sleep-over at Pinkie Pie's house. When Twilight gets out of bed and walks to the kitchen she finds Pinkie's older sister feeding her pet boulder. I love this scene because, in the show, there is an episode where we meet this sister. So, I thought having her in the movie is a great idea and so unexpected.

This film does not have anything parents should be worried about and for extremely little kids who do not understand the ponies, they will enjoy the bright colors. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars for its original story, fantastic songs and those little characters that fans and Bronies love so much! If you want to see "My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic, Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks," it comes out in theaters, near you, September 27th 2014.

Reviewed by Gerry Orz, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

My Little Pony, Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks is a movie about a group of friends (Twilight Sparkle, Apple Jack, Rainbow Dash, Pinky Pie, Flutter Shy, and Rarity) who battle three girls (new to the school) who use their dark magic to turn people against each other and then feed off of their negative energy. This movie teaches kids that friendship is stronger than any powers or spells.

I think that this movie is PERFECT for any little girl because it has singing, you get to see all of your favorite ponies (and even some new characters) AND it has a few great messages. There are three that come to mind: 1) there is no power greater than friendship, 2) never let anybody put you down and 3) always keep your head up.

Some of my favorite movies are animated movies because I think that it's AMAZING how people can change their voices to sound like their characters. Sometimes they don't even change their voices but still change the way they sound to match the characters' expressions. Tara Strong does a great job with that when she plays the voice of Twilight Sparkle. Ashleigh Ball plays the voice of two characters, Apple Jack and Rainbow Dash. And, Andrea Libman also plays two characters, Pinkie Pie and Flutter Shy. They all are fantastic will give you yet ANOTHER reason to like this movie.

While this movie doesn't teach any subjects like math, it teaches kids about teamwork, forgiveness and especially friendship. I think that this is one of the few kid's movies that I have seen with actual role models and these role models would be all of the ponies. Even though they all have their little flaws (for example Rainbow Dash has a huge ego), they all show great personalities and each pony has a good quality that shows throughout the movie like Twilight Sparkle's leadership skills.

I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids 4 to 7 because it is a movie that has singing, and a lot of little jokes that kids will love. And, the best part is that it doesn't have any bad scenes so it is completely kid friendly. This is also a movie that most kids over the age of 7 or 8 will probably not enjoy as much as those younger than that. Unless, of course you are a "My Little Pony" fan. This movie will have you singing songs and laughing all day long!

Reviewed by Samantha Alexander, age 11, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 4-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


JACK AND THE CUCKOO CLOCK HEART

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
JACK AND THE CUCKOO CLOCK HEART       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
SHOUT! FACTORY
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - Edinburgh, late 19th century. Little Jack is born on a day so cold that his heart remains frozen. Madeleine the midwife replaces his heart with a cuckoo-clock. It will work, as long as Jack follows the rules, mainly not falling in love. But his encounter with a fiery-eyed girl singing on a street corner and his decision to chase after her will test the resistance of his makeshift heart to the breaking point... Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart is a magnificent love story set in an exciting period full of fabulous inventions, eccentric characters and fantastic adventures. Adapted by Mathias Malzieu from his best-selling novel and the gold-selling album by his band Dionysos, this superbly animated movie is about passion and acceptance of others. Produced by Luc Besson. Music by Mathias Malzieu. Starring Michelle Fairley (Lady Stark, Game of Thrones), Samantha Banks. Directed by Stephane Berla.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming soon
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This is a phenomenal romantic animation! It is tricky to do an animated romance, but they did a pretty good job at it!

Interestingly enough, this film is not just about romance - it has that tiny little grain of comedy with adventure and thrills wrapped up in a great story!

The story starts when a newborn, named Jack, has a frozen heart. An expert with mechanics puts a clock in his chest to keep him alive. Sadly his 'heart" is very fragile so he can't fall in love, but when he meets a girl of his dreams, he can't stop it.

This is a fantastic film! I love how they veered off from comedy in animation to a romance film in animation! However, after about 60 minutes I knew the ending and it became a bit boring. Otherwise the film was fantastic!

I think my favorite scene is in the beginning when Jack is born. The lady who helps the mom give birth is very smooth and looks very warm. And how about pancakes - of course, they are the best and no one should give birth on a empty stomach! That was pretty funny!

This film has some dark discussions so I recommend it for ages 10 to 18. I also give it 3.5 out of 5 stars for a good film but a bit boring at times and the story feels a bit stretched. Also there were so many plots it got confusing at times.

Reviewed by Gerry Orz, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

I didn't think I could love French cinema any more than I have. I've watched some of the best of live-action French cinema, but I've never seen an animated French feature (produced by Luc Besson produced, no less). Jack and the Cuckoo Clock Heart kindled an interest in me to watch more French cinema.

The beautiful thing about this movie, other than the way it looks, is its style. It is based on a rock concept album by the rock band Dionysus, so it is a musical - a feature animated musical. Simply put, Jack and the Cuckoo Clock Heart is the best animated feature since Toy Story 3 (not counting The Wind Rises for the sake of our mostly American readers) and it is the best musical since Sweeney Todd and Hairspray.

The movie has a very unique animated look. It is not quite as clay animated as Mary and Max but not as "normal looking," per se, as Finding Nemo. It comes off as a cross between the two. I'll admit, I am no expert in the creation of animated films but I do know what works in a film. Another aspect of the film's look, its art direction, is quite beautiful. It is dark, mysterious and effective in its tone. Speaking of which - the tone is quite dark with an underlying feeling of loss and rejection.

Even the score, in its happiest moments, have a heavy feeling under the surface. Although love does find its way into the story and the objectives of the characters, loss and judgment resurface. The themes are quite adult and not appropriate for young children.

As to the finest aspect of the movie - the score and songs, I would love this to be turned into a Broadway musical. The style of the musical and the editing combined is reminiscent of Moulin Rouge, filled with vivacity and rapid pacing. The songs each carry their own beat and enhance the personalities of each character and its intentions. There is a mixture of ballads, rap, rock and even Latin. I would buy the soundtrack to this movie.

The story itself is about a boy born with a heart so weak that falling in love would be too much for him. The movie follows his early life where he inevitably falls in love (screenwriting 101) and the strength of his heart is put to the test.

I have learned over the years that just because a film is animated, it's not necessarily designed for children. Jack and the Cuckoo Clock Heart isn't exactly The Grave of the Fireflies but it is not for young children either. I recommend this film for ages 13 to 18. And my rating is 5 out of 5 stars. It is a wonderful film. It is one of the top five animated features of this decade.

Reviewed by Willie Jones, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15.
Runtime: 89 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-8
Suggested Retail Price: $ 24.97
Media: DVD


POSTMAN PAT, THE MOVIE

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
POSTMAN PAT, THE MOVIE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
PARAMOUNT HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - A veteran postman finds his beliefs challenged after he enters a TV talent show competition. Starring Jim Broadbent, Jane Carr and Robin Atkin Downes. Directed by Mike Disa. Based on the book by the same name.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming soon
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This animation has tons of color that burst all over the screen with music that will make you want to dance. Pat, (Stephen Mangan-Voice), a small town postman finds his priority system challenged after he enters a popular TV talent show competition. Meanwhile Mr. Carbunkle, (Peter Woodward-Voice), plans to take over the SDS postal company with robots.

I really enjoy this film. The part that I like the most is that every character has their own personality. Not one person has the same feelings and attitudes as any other character which makes it really great to feed off of each other. The music has an upbeat tone and keeps you energized throughout the film but the opening song makes you feel really good. It literally gets you in the mood to dance and I was snapping my fingers to it. You can understand the plot and the little ones will have no problem in comprehending it. Pat's Cat, Jess, tops with being my favorite character. He has a humorous personality and is very cute. He makes the most adorable facial expressions and actions. My favorite scene is when Jess accidently pops the soccer ball that Pat is playing with. The air escapes the ball; Jess launches airborne and flies all around into the sky. Being jerked around by a soccer ball and hitting many different things in his path is definitely not what he wants to happen. When he finally gets shoved in the car by the ball, no one even notices what's happening. It's my favorite scene because it's funny to see and no one seems to notice Jess's struggle.

Postman Pat: The Movie also stars Jim Broadbent (CEO-Voice), Jane Carr (Mrs. Goggins-Voice) and Robin Atkin Downes (Simon Cowbell-Voice)

When you meet people, you should treat them nice. It's just the right thing to do and one of the main messages in this film.

Little kids, girls and boys, will enjoy this film and I recommend it for ages 7 to 13.

I give this film 4 out of 5 five stars because of the message, the beautiful colors and of course the wonderful music with its upbeat tone.

Postman Pat: The Movie is available on DVD and Blu-Ray. So please check it out.

Reviewed by Brianna Hope Beaton, Age 14, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic.
Runtime: 88 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 2-10
Suggested Retail Price: $ 19.99
Media: DVD

Buy Here (from PARAMOUNT HOME ENTERTAINMENT)


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
SHINE: LULLABIES FOR EVERYONE
SUZANNE SELMO
Series: AUDIO CD FOR AGES 2-5
Topic - Family
Description - From Disney to the Beatles, Standards to Billy Joel, this album of cool, acoustic arrangements will successfully soothe little ones to sleep while adult listeners relax to the satisfying, fresh take on 'kids' music.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - "Shine" is well-produced, well-performed and is well aware of its intended audience of sleepy little ones. Thirteen songs are represented from some of the world's beloved songwriters and one lovely original soon to be a classic. Suzanne Jamieson Selmo's vocals are clear and soothing and are supported by terrific arrangements. There is a consistent flow to the album despite divergent songs from a myriad of sources and intent- kudos to the production team! The subtitle to the album is 'Lullabies for Everyone' and that is true because I fell asleep three times while listening... and that's a good thing!

The album flows well helped by good arrangement and smooth and soothing vocals. It is perfect for sleepy time and parents will enjoy it as well. Should stand up to many repeats.

The album was obviously designed for young audiences; the content follows suit even though it comes from 14 different writers. The behaviors of love and caring shine through the songs and the presentation. Some of the language may be beyond little ones but that allows adults to appreciate the songs as well.

The vocals are consistently solid as well as the arrangements and players. The recording quality is top-notch. I think this is a favorite album that a child can grow with and learn to appreciate all the fine songwriters represented herein. They may want to know about other songs by them. Reviewed by KIDS FIRST! Music Juror John Wood.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The music is very soothing and can be used for bedtime. It worked well as background music for them, not demanding their full attention.
Runtime: 40 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 2-5
Suggested Retail Price: $ 9.99
Media: AUDIO


KIDS FIRST QUALIFIED ENDORSEMENT
BAILEY BEE BELIEVES, THE FIVE B'S       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
JENNIFER HILLMAN
Series: DVD AGES 2-5
Topic - Education/Instructional
Description - Bailey Bee and Jennifer will take you on an amazing journey inside a hive. Once they get inside the hive, Bailey will introduce Jennifer to an important book. The book jumps right into the animated characters of them learning the five B's. The children and Jennifer learn about: Body Parts, Boundaries, how to Be Brave: Yell and Tell, how to Bust Secrets, and to Be Bold and Believe. Throughout the DVD, there are opportunities for the children and Jennifer to earn stickers on their chart. Once the stickers are earned, then they receive Bailey's badge. Also, there is high repetition and wonderful music to engage this age group. For purchase, go to http://baileybeebelieves.com/store/
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This DVD is meant to increase awareness of sexual abuse for young children ages 2 to 6. Kids are taught about the five B's - body parts, boundaries, bravery, bust secrets and be bold and believe. This DVD discusses in a child friendly manner a very sensitive topic.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This is a very important video and can be very useful for increasing awareness of sexual abuse among very young children. The children themselves enjoyed the cartoon and music. It may be useful to create a girl version and a boy version. At the ages of 2-6, some parents did not want anatomical terms used. In that case, the majority of the video could not be viewed by the children. Those parents did not let their child watch the video starting from 5:19 when the terms "penis" and "vagina" are used. Those children had not heard these terms before. For parents who are comfortable with anatomical terms being used, this works well. Hence our qualitied yes ranking.
Runtime: 33 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 2-5
Suggested Retail Price: $ 34.99
Media: DVD


25 DAYS OF A TROPICAL CHRISTMAS

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
25 DAYS OF A TROPICAL CHRISTMAS
NEPTUNE PRESS LLC/ D.G. STERN
Series: BOOK, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - The e-book, 25 Days of a Tropical Christmas is a celebration of the holiday season incorporating beautiful illustrations with a variation of a classic melody. Similar to the 12 days of Christmas but extended with a tropical theme, this is a fun and entertaining read with beautiful beach- themed illustrations. Written by D.G. Stern and Illustrated by Susan Lane.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Similar to the 12 days of Christmas but extended with a beach / tropical theme, this is a fun and entertaining read with beautiful tropical beach themed illustrations. It makes me think of a warm Christmas instead of the traditional snow covered Christmas (which I have personally only seen once) and it will be easy for children to relate to that live in warmer climate places. Being a native of SoCal, I can relate to the reality of a sunny warm Christmas and so I really enjoyed this book. It is simple and easy to read and the illustrations remind you of beautiful water color beach images. I would recommend for all ages but is best for ages 5-18. 5 stars!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Kids loved this. It sparked giggles and comments about Christmas on the beach. Those in SoCal could relate to it in particular. They loved the illustrations and said they would share it with friends. "I think this would make a cool Christmas present for kids." And, they loved the $1.99 price point.

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $ 1.99
Media: Book


SLUGTERRA: RETURN OF THE ELEMENTALS

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
SLUGTERRA: RETURN OF THE ELEMENTALS       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
SHOUT! FACTORY
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - A new member has joined Eli and the Shane Gang! Junjie, once the protector of the Eastern Caverns, is a master of the slugslinging art of Slug Fu! But even with the power of five slingers, the Shane Gang find themselves in over their heads as they race across the 99 caverns in search of the legendary Elemental Slugs. The five Elementals are ancient slugs of great power, and the forbearers of all slugs found in Slugterra today. In the wrong hands, they could bring Slugterra to the brink of destruction. So when an evil alliance starts hunting down the Elementals, Eli and his friends -- old and new -- take off in pursuit of the greatest threat their world has ever faced! Starrng the voice talent of Sam Vincent and Shannon Chankent.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming soon
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This animation is adventurous with specks of comedy and laughter throughout the film. It's an enjoyable film to watch.

The Shane Gang is back and they now have the power and talents of five Slugslingers. With new member Junjie, they discover that they and their world are in deep trouble. The Elemental Slugs are being corrupted by an evil force and the only way to stop them is to gather up all of the 5 elementals, before it's too late.

Surprisingly, I really enjoy this movie with having all the Elementals coming together for a common cause. The aspect of the film that I love the most is that you never know what's going to happen next and it keeps you guessing. The action and anticipation makes it great especially when watching the fighting scenes. The film keeps moving at a good pace. It has lots of colors, but it is dark at times. The comedy keeps the film light and it never stays very serious for too long. Speaking of comedy, my favorite character is Pronto (Lee Tockar, voice), because he's funny and he's definitely the goof of the group. He is doing things that you wouldn't think that he would do.

Other voice actors include Sam Vincent (Eli Shane), Shannon Chan-Kent (Trixie) and Andrew Francis (Kord Zane). They all have high energy and are true to their on screen characters. The interaction between all of the slugs is great. Director, Johnny Darrel, is no stranger to adventurous animations, he also directed Hot Wheels: Battle Force 5 (2009), Spider-Man (2003) and Heavy Gear: The Animated Series (2001).

Trust people who have proven they can be trusted and who's good for you is one great message in this film. Trust is earned and not just given away.

I recommend Slugterra: Return of the Elementals for ages 8 to 14. It's a film that's perfect for a family movie night. Kids who love being courage and animation, this is your film. I give this film 4 out of 5 five stars because it interests me, it's adventurous and funny at times. I love the message about trusting. Slugterra: Return of the Elementals is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray. So please check it out.

Reviewed by Brianna Hope Beaton, Age 14, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic.
Runtime: 70 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $ 14.97
Media: DVD


-

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
-       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WARNER HOME VIDEO
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Your favorite cat and mouse are back with song, sorcery and slapstick in this enchanted tale with two bonus cartoons. The adventure begins when Tom and Jerry happen upon a mysterious glowing egg. Little do they know, this egg was stolen from a very large fire breathing dragon! In short time, baby Puffy hatches from his egg and takes Tom as his mommy. The angry mama dragon wants her baby back, but she's not the only one...a powerful witch named Drizelda captures the baby dragon for her own wicked plans! With the help of powerful allies and animal friends, Tom and Jerry must fight tooth and claw to stop the witch and get the baby dragon back to its mother. The action takes flight in a climactic ending filled with might, magic, and cartoon mayhem of course! Starring the voice talent of Kelly Stables, Vicki Lewis, Jim Cummings, Laraine Newman and Wayne Knight. Directed by Spike Brandt and Tony Cervone. Writer: Brian Swenlin.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I loved watching this film with my ten-year-old son because we are BIG Tom & Jerry fans. This film does not disappoint! It still has the classic Tom & Jerry humor and is filled with a fun family story and grand adventure! It really is a film for the whole family! Tom & Jerry find a mystery egg that hatches into a lost baby dragon who thinks Tom is his Mama. Tom & Jerry face some bad evil characters but, of course, good wins over bad as the duo save the day! 5 stars!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This is a classic Tom and Jerry film with all the goodness included! I thought Tom and Jerry would find a lost dragon in their normal house, but no! Tom And Jerry: The Lost Dragon is a hilarious family friendly adventure with a lot of unexpected turns.

This is a story with a lot packed in it - adventure to start with covered in Tom and Jerry classic humor, with a sprinkle of thrilling and all topped with family wrapped in one huge delicious story sandwich.

The story begins with a girl who owns an animal-care shop but, it is going out of business. Then, they find a dragon egg and a whole bunch of stuff happens including the girl facing her evil Aunty Witch! Of course, the girl's two little helpers are a cat named Tom and a mouse named Jerry!

What a fantastic Tom and Jerry film! This has everything right about it. Tom and Jerry don't talk, but imitate talking. The slapstick humor makes you crack up throughout the entire film and much, much more! They cover all of it! The voices of the talking characters are fantastic and they also make it so that Tom and Jerry are very close to main characters but are not in every scene. I like this because it lets the story develop much smoother and takes it much further.

My favorite scene is probably in the very beginning when Jerry is awake and running around doing chores while Tom is lazily chilling on his pillow not doing anything - the classic Tom and Jerry scene. As usual, Jerry gets upset and teaches Tom a lesson. I love it because it's such a classic moment for these favorite characters.

This film is extremely family friendly. Even kids who don't understand the characters will enjoy the bright colors, so a good age rating is 4 to18. I also give it 5 out of 5 stars for just an overall fantastic Tom and Jerry adventure. Reviewed by Gerry Orz, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12.
Runtime: 57 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 4-12
Suggested Retail Price: $ 19.98
Media: DVD


MUMFIE'S QUEST: THE MOVIE

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
MUMFIE'S QUEST: THE MOVIE
LIONSGATE FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 2-5
Topic - Family
Description - From Britt Allcroft, creator of Thomas & Friends, comes Mumfie's Quest. Discover how Mumfie the special elephant first meets his friends Scarecrow, Pinkey, Whale and many more. Share the excitement as they hunt for Pinkey's mother on a mysterious island taken over by the evil Secretary to the Queen of Night at last returning home with a treasure beyond price. Magic, mystery, songs and laughter.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Mumfie's Quest - The Movie is an adventurous, funny and exciting animated film for preschoolers. The Animation Director (John Collins) does a great job of making the characters look so realistic.

This film is about a young elephant named Mumfie who lives all by himself. One day he decides he wants to go on an adventure. He makes a lot of friends on the way such as Scarecrow, Whale, and Pinky the flying pig, who is lost from his mother. Mumfie, Scarecrow and Whale decide to take Pinky back to her mysterious island home, but the Queen's evil secretary has taken over the island. They have to work together to defeat him and bring back the Queen of Night.

I really enjoyed this movie! It is very adventurous and suspenseful. It captured my attention the whole time and the suspenseful parts kept me wondering if Mumfie and his friends were going to get caught by the evil secretary. This movie is also very funny. There are lots of jokes throughout the whole film. Britt Allcroft does a great job writing amusing scripts and creating interesting characters. The music, by Larry Grossman, is also great! Some of the music is dark and scary during evil parts and then bright and upbeat during the happy parts in the film. My favorite character in this film is Whale because he is built like a ship. On the inside he has hammocks for beds, chairs, tables and food. It is so cool that he looks like a whale on the outside and a cruise ship on the inside!

The message in this movie is that friends will always help you if you ever get into trouble and need them. In the end, Mumfie realizes that friends and teamwork are more important than anything else. His friends help him a lot throughout the film and when they are in trouble Mumfie helps them too! In the end they have to learn to work together to stop the secretary.

I give Mumfie's Quest - The Movie 4 out of 5 stars because it is adventurous, exciting, and funny. I recommend it for kids ages 2 through 6 especially those who like animals, adventures, and pirates.

Reviewed by: Jeremy B. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic
Runtime: 67 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 2-5
Suggested Retail Price: $ 9.98
Media: Video and DVD

Buy Here (from LIONSGATE FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT)



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