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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 - coming
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


This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
EDGE OF 12
EV FILMS NY
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - What are the typical decisions facing a 12-year-old suburban girl? And what are their consequences?
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Edge of 12 is a nice short about the unfortunate events that can occur in the life of a preteen. Although this short focuses on preteen girls, you must believe these events can happen to males as well. This short explores what it means to be peer pressured and the consequences that follow bad decisions. The main character is pressured into stealing a dress and gets in trouble with her mother because it. There is a scene where the girl gives her last bit of money to a homeless woman for a cup of coffee. You can see the pride in her eyes as she sees her kindness pay off. The story ends with a man approaching the girl to get her help "finding his dog." She runs away from the situation and later hears about another girl getting kidnapped and is able to lead the police to the man that beckoned her.

The music in this short is well done and rather quirky, which makes for a delightful ambiance in this serious message. I believe that this is a short that young kids could benefit from as it serves as a great, but light warning for multiple situations that are more common than we'd like to believe. The only complaint I have is the scene in which the girl encounters the kidnapper. It could have been better outlined. I feel that it is, by far, the most important scene and yet, it is not as impactful as I had hoped, due to some ambiguity. This short is definitely suitable for ages 9 to 15 and I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This interesting short, written, produced and directed by Nanci Gaglio, is about a girl who has to make important decisions through life and how the decisions she makes impact her life. The cinematography looks like a well made home movie because of the camera work and lighting. The background noises are at times distracting. This video feels like a downer because it only shows the bad side of life, although it does teach you some things - don't talk with strangers and don't shoplift. This is not my favorite film. I rate this short 2 out of 5 stars because the story about the girl's life makes you feel like your life could be like that and then, you could be a little scared. I recommend this short to 12 to 18-year-olds because it could make a younger child think they will live a life like the girl in the film. It could make them afraid or worried. There is a message here that an older person could teach a younger sibling or friend to make wise decisions if they find themselves in a scenario like the girl in the film finds herself in. Reviewed by Mia A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11.
Runtime: 8.5 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: DVD


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


MOLECULES TO THE MAX

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
MOLECULES TO THE MAX
RENSSELAER POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - Molecules to the MAX!, a 42-minute film created by scientists and professors from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, is an animated, colorful and engaging Giant Screen adventure film about a curious oxygen atom ("Oxy") and her friends who have a lot of fun exploring the nanoscale building blocks of matter as they travel through nanospace. In the film, Oxy, Captain of the Molecularium, is dispatched from the Unified Field of Atoms on an expedition to discover the secret of life on Earth. Along with her crew - Hydra and Hydro, the curious hydrogen twins and Mel, the uptight computer- they have many misadventures exploring the Earth's atmosphere and the cycle of water molecules, through clouds, snowflakes and raindrops. Lost in the far reaches of outer space, Oxy and her crew are rescued by Carbon and his gang of intergalactic carbon atoms. With lots of bravado and a little luck, Carbon is able to pilot the ship back to Earth. The film is showing around the globe on select IMAX screens and has been translated into Spanish, Chinese, Arabic and Japanese. In addition to the film, the DVD is packed with bonus features, including behind-the-scenes commentary on the making of the movie; five educational animated shorts from NanoSpace; and a glimpse of the award-winning film "Riding Snowflakes." The DVD is the latest release of Rensselaer's Molecularium Project, an educational initiative designed to teach children about science in an entertaining environment.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This title is really well animated, has cute informative songs, is very funny with comical movie references and word play. The flow of the show is great. There is a clear beginning, middle and ending. And, it is entertaining and really funny throughout. Even if the viewer knows little or nothing about molecular science, the characters explain the very basics in a way that is easy to understand and fun to watch. The animation is really good and there is nonstop action to keep the viewer's attention.

It has cute, informative songs and makes comical movie references. There are lots of complicated information presented in a kid friendly way. The animation is quite good and there is nonstop action to hold the viewer's attention.

It is suitable for ages 6 to 14. It's a great way to learn simple molecular science principles. The characters are molecules. They portray moments of friendship and rejection, depending on which molecules are together in a scene. This title will encourage kids to question everything. It's very informative and yet, acknowledges that there are many unanswered questions in science and in life.

Excellent production values. It has special features such as scene selection, soundtrack in five different languages, filmmaker's commentary and information about Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the producer of this title. It is very easy to navigate and fun to explore.

Our adult reviewers enjoyed it as much as their kids. Reviewed by Eli B.

Molecules to the Max is an exciting trip into the tiny world of polymers, DNA, atoms, and many other microscopic structures. The viewer follows some hydrogen and oxygen atoms, along with a traveling computer and miniature spaceship, into space and to the planet Earth. There, the atoms learn all about molecular structures and life.

This was entertaining and very educational. The concepts explored were things the viewer could identify with. The show included some catchy upbeat songs and some fun characters as the teachers. I was learning along with my kids, as we watched it together.

My only negative feedback is that I felt like some of the wording would not be understandable to the suggested age range. A few of the concepts, such as DNA and polymers, were explained in a way that I'm not sure children would understand. There were also numerous references to carbon dating, along with a song about Carbon, that I think would probably be very confusing to most children. Having said that, my 6-year-old walked in while I was watching the show and said, "Oh I LOVE this movie!" He then sat and watched the entire thing with me. He also watched several of the bonus animated shorts, which explain some concepts more clearly. He may not have understood it all, but he enjoyed it all. And I'm sure when he learns about molecules and atoms, it will be familiar to him. So I would recommend this DVD for ages 8-16, but I think if a child were interested in science, then maybe even down to age 6 would enjoy it. I give it 5 stars. Reviewed by Karyn A.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The movie Molecules to the Max is cool. I like that the atoms are all different colors, and I liked when they went into the person's body. I learned that everything is made out of molecules. Oxy was my favorite atom because she was fun. I think other kids would like it because the atoms do lots of fun things like going inside an American penny, a snowflake, and gum. They also go into a tunnel that leads to the other side of the Galaxy. It's an awesome movie. Luke A., Age 6

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 7-15
Suggested Retail Price: $ 19.99
Media: FeatureFilm


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)


Buy Here (from TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX HOME ENTERTAINMENT)


CINDERELLA

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
CINDERELLA       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WALT DISNEY STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 7-18
Topic - Family
Description - When her father unexpectedly passes away, young Ella finds herself at the mercy of her cruel stepmother and her daughters. Never one to give up hope, Ella's fortunes begin to change after meeting a dashing stranger. Starring Lily James, Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter and Richard Madden. Directed by Kenneth Branagh
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This much anticipated live action feature from Disney does not disappoint. The sets, locations and costumes are absolutely stunning. Cate Blanchett shines as the evil stepmother who can turn on the charm when she wants to. Lily James as the innocent Cinderella truly exemplifies kindness, a theme of the film. Richard Madden as The Prince also holds up. He is good-looking, kind-hearted and drawn to Ella because of her extreme honesty and her ability to live by what she believes in. The step sisters, played by Sophie McShera and Holliday Grainger are truly a hoot. Their antics are more humorous than evil but they get the point across. As their mother says, they are just plain stupid.

Branagh's direction is as delightful as when he directed Much Ado About Nothing. He takes a well-known take and puts an entirely new spin on it. Well done Mr. Branagh. Filmed at various locations in Buckinghamshire, England, it wreaks of Old English architecture and detail.

And, one more thing - even my husband liked this! And he is usually only a fan of fast-paced action films. Much to my surprise, he raved about it afterwards.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Cinderella is a beautiful classic fairytale. This modern rendition is powerful with a great cast that will keep you entertained. It's simply stunning!

After her father's death, Cinderella (Lily James) lives under the guardianship and authority of her wicked stepmother (Cate Blanchett). She becomes the servant of the house and is the subject of the family's ridicule and unkindness. When she meets a stranger in the woods Cinderella is unaware that she is talking to The Prince (Richard Madden) and this classic fairytale continues.

Cinderella's cinematography is flawless. It has elaborate costumes and the glass slippers are outstanding. You are in awe of how spectacular they look when you first see them. The set has such a majestic feel to it and it draws you in entirely as the plot develops. I especially like the special effects when the Fairy Godmother is preparing Cinderella for ball. It has a lot of excitement and anticipation. The chemistry and romance between the two main characters is incredible. It feels as though they are made for each other. Even though I know the plotline to this classic fairy tale it is nice to see it with slightly a different take.

My favorite scene is when Cinderella meets her Fairy Godmother (Helena Bonham Carter) for the very first time. The Godmother transitions from an ugly, dreadful old woman to a beautiful goddess. This scene has some humor and a well-know, message to never judge a book by its cover. My favorite character has to be the Fairy Godmother. She is surprisingly funny and has a very big part in the story.

Director, Kenneth Branagh, directs this classic fairy tale with great artistry and dramatic characteristics. The cast, design and the creative aspects of this film is wonderfully place together.

Always be kind. A message that's very evident in this film. Being kind can change someone's day for the better. The younger you learn this message the better.

I recommend Cinderella for ages 8 to 18. Also, I'm sure a lot of adults will enjoy this film as well. Anyone who loves fairy tales, this is your film and you will love it. I give this beautiful film 5 out of 5 stars. It's wonderful and beautifully made. Cinderella is in now so please check it out.

Reviewed by Brianna Hope Beaton, Age 15, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic.

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 7-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


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)


Buy Here (from TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX HOME ENTERTAINMENT)


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
      Buy Here (Amazon.com)


UPTON CHARLES-DOG DETECTIVE: SHIP SHAPE

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
UPTON CHARLES-DOG DETECTIVE: SHIP SHAPE
NEPTUNE PRESS LLC/ D.G. STERN
Series: E-BOOK, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - When the Chief of Police calls the Charles family to report that a brand new boat and trailer are missing from the boat show, Upton is immediately recruited to apply his detective skills to the disappearance. Our super sleuth is a Bichon Frise (that's "BEE-shon free-ZEY"), a little white dog, who wastes no time in sniffing out clues that lead to a surprising discovery. During the course of the investigation, Upton is joined by a new assistant. Come along with Upton as he unravels another mystery in Ship Shape.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink. (Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner)

This story is one of many from the Upton Charles - Dog Detective series, a series about a mystery-solving dog, a white fluffy Bichon Frize, who is a cute as can be, judging from the illustrations. Besides solving mysteries, Upton Charles can tell time (sort of), hates dry dog food and, of course, talk to us which allows him to tell about all his adventures.

The black and white illustrations are lovingly drawn and give us insight into what Upton's family is like. This adventure has Upton Charles and his family trying to solve the case of the missing boat, a 27 foot Wyman motor cruiser, from the boat show. As Upton shares his thought processes with us, we follow his logic in solving the crime. We learn about cool stuff such as how tire prints are like finger prints. Upton exerts his way upon the humans by his adept non-verbal communication and winds his way into your heart. He discovered a cat in the midst of the investigation who appears to have joined the motley group. Just when you think the mystery is solved, it takes a bit of an unexpected twist leaving us with newfound appreciation for the fine art of detecting.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This is a mystery novel with a little twist. It is from the prospective of an intelligent dog named Upton Charles. This book will make you laugh and wonder who is the culprit in the mystery. Upton Charles, Dog Detective: Ship Shape is a wonderful book that will be admired by both mystery and animal lovers.

This is a mystery story at heart, of course, with that little bit of suspense of who did it! There is also the family feel from Upton's owners which serves as a wonderful addition to the comedy.

I loved this book! It is not hundreds of pages so you feel satisfied when you get to the end. It is the perfect length at around 140 pages. It is a little predictable at times which will make kids love it, but anyone could fall in love with Upton and his family. The book does a wonderful job of showing the prospective of a dog's point of view and we see Upton's special talent. He can solve crimes, but still has dog in him.

This is definitely meant for teens and younger so I give it a age rating of 8 to15. The vocabulary is very basic so it is an easy read. I give it 5 out of 5 stars for wonderful writing that made me imagine the text coming to life but enjoying it too.

Reviewed by Gerry Orz, KIDS FIRST! Critics, Age 12

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-15
Suggested Retail Price: $ 7.99
Media: Book


LEAN

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
LEAN
OLIVE RANCH ROAD PRODUCTOINS
Series: SHORT, AGES 8-18
Topic - Education/Instructional
Description - An older African American man looks back on the traumatic event that changed his life.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This is a charming short film that is well shot and delivers a poignant message.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Kevin O'Neill's "Lean" is a good lesson to be taught. For the majority of the film the lesson is taught well, as Kevin's direction is more show than tell. Until the very end. An older man goes onto his front porch and reminisces on the day he fell in love with a young white girl. It is older times so the white girl's mother takes her away from him, ruining their perfect day. After the flashback is over, the man goes back inside and holds hands with his wife-presumably the girl from his flashback. And, you can tell by where they live, their love may still not be accepted. They live in what looks like a secluded log cabin out in the country, away from immediate society. They seem to be isolating themselves. I enjoyed the black and white cinematography. I enjoyed it more than usual, knowing he used it to further push color neutrality rather than using it for the sake of using it, or to show the setting was older. The acting was very good by the younger actors, especially since this was a silent film. I appreciate young actors who can do so much emotionally with just their eyes and faces. The score is the guide on the whole journey though. It takes you from beginning to end and keeps your interest. I found that Kevin's pacing went along very well with the music, therefore investing our attention. But, the wonderful first two-thirds of the film is bogged down a little by the end. The ending says, "Children do not see race...love does not see color." Don't get me wrong, it's a fantastic message...but we already got that. The ending high angle slow zoom out as we see the older interracial couple would have been fine. There wasn't any need for the spoon feeding at the end. I also found myself asking "why"? Why in that moment, on that day, did the man choose to remember that time? Was it the couple's anniversary? Is she dying? Is he dying? Why did he go out on that porch and live back that life changing day? I would have loved the writing to have addressed that somehow. Lastly, I feel the day itself wasn't emotionally strong enough. They play, she reads to him, she gives him a gift (which is very significant), and then the mom comes. But I felt there was something missing. Perhaps something stronger like a kiss. Or maybe even a montage of their relationship over a period of weeks, because If it weren't for the chemistry the actors' have, I'm afraid the very meat of the film wouldn't have worked. That is why I give this film, 3 out of 5 stars; and I recommend it for anyone 8 and up.
Runtime: 7.5 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: DVD


MCFARLAND USA

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
MCFARLAND USA       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WALT DISNEY STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - A cross country coach in a small California town transforms a team of athletes into championship contenders. Directed by Niki Caro. Starring Kevin Costner, Maria Bello, Ramiro Rodriguez.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This is definitely a "feel-good" kind of movie. Against all odds, broken down coach White (Kevin Costner) takes a job in McFarland, CA in the central valley. It's the only job he can get since he's been fired one too many times for his bad temper. His wife (Maria Bello) and kids are not thrilled when they arrive but, the town grows on them, and on him. He quickly gets in trouble with the lead football coach for acting against his will and is left on his own, teaching PE. The aha moment is when he realizes that his students, sons of migrant farm workers, are amazing runners and he starts a cross country track team with them.

There's nothing too surprising here since, it's based on a true story of how this track team ends up taking multiple state championships and traveling to foreign countries to compete as well. What is heart-warming is seeing how all this plays out with Costner taking the lead. The cast is comprised of local kids from McFarland along with professional actors and, they train for the film by running 5 miles a day. Pretty impressive.

The side stories - the mom and two daughters falling in love with their community, the 15-year-old having the community gather around her to produce her quinceanara, and how the local parents and business owners warm up to "White" are all good stuff. I particularly enjoyed the ending where they show what happened to the actual kids who are portrayed in this film. Every one of them went on to college, mostly on scholarships and all but one returned to McFarland to teach, coach, and run local businesses. As I said, it's a feel-good kind of movie and a great one to share with your family.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This movie is truly an inspirational story for anyone who watches. McFarland USA will keep everyone on the edge of their seats.

McFarland USA will make you cry, laugh and more. It is a compelling film based on a true story that is full of drama and a solid feeling of inspiration. However, there is a hint of comedy to brighten things up and a spice of thrill that will keep you engaged throughout the movie.

The story starts when a family moves to a very poor town in central California called McFarland. Track coach Jim White (Kevin Costner) is a newcomer to a predominately Latino high school in California's Central Valley. He quickly notices that the kids there are faster than he has ever seen and turns the fastest boys into a cross country track team. The movie covers the relationship between the coach and the boys, his relationship with his family and the adventure the boys and the coach go through as they try to win the state cross country championship.

This movie is truly compelling and inspiring. After seeing it I had an urge to do more. It has a fantastic mix between concentrating on the coach's story but also looks at each person on the team, which I think was a fantastic decision. The acting is impressive especially since some of the actors had never even acted before and some of them actually grew up in McFarland.

My favorite scene is when they have a one on one race with another school. Once the two teams start running, the opposing coach starts teasing Coach White. However, after the team's fastest player, Thomas (Carlos Pratts) finishes first, he brings back all that teasing but in a very classy way. I love this scene because it shows that the team was looked down on but they rose above the torment and tease and truly believed in themselves and a better future for themselves.

This film has a lot of mature moments that may be a bit too much for younger kids, so I give it an age rating of 10 to18. I also give it 5 out of 5 stars for a truly inspiring and fantastic film. Reviewed by KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Gerry Orz, age 12.

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WALT DISNEY STUDIOS
Series: DVD, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - Alexander's day begins with gum stuck in his hair, followed by more calamities. Though he finds little sympathy from his family and begins to wonder if bad things only happen to him, his mom, dad, brother, and sister all find themselves living through their own terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Starring Steve Carell, Jennifer Garner and Ed Oxenbould as Alexander.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This comedy is based on the best-selling book and is about young Alexander and his horrible day. Alexander only thinks these bad days happen to him but, he learns he is not so alone. This is an entertaining family movie and had my whole family laughing out loud. It actually makes you smile and there are quite a few meaningful lessons in this fun movie. It shows that when things go wrong, you should have courage and should try your best to turn them around. Maybe you won't fix it perfectly but, with courage, you can be proud of who you are. It also shows that there will be some bad days and you don't always have to be positive. The two most meaningful lessons are that family is important especially at the worst of times and as young Alexander states in the movie "You have to have the bad days so you love the good days even more."

The DVD/Blu-ray includes some great extras. My family found them interesting and enjoyable to watch. There are quotes from the actors and the author of the book in "Alexander in Real Life." Both kids and adults will enjoy the "Delightful, Magnificent Bloopers" because they are really funny! There is also a short video called Snappy Crocs and Punchy Roos which is about how Alexander is into the Australian outback. I enjoyed the "Walk About Diary" where you learn that the actor who plays Alexander is actually really from Australia. Last of all, there is a music video of the Vamps performing the song from the movie "Hurricane." A Must-See! I give this one 5 stars.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - What a hilarious adventure! Something I like about this film is that although it's a comedy, at the same time, the directors have created a story so it doesn't feel as if it's just one big joke. In my estimation, it is just perfect. This film has a bubble of unique comedy that sends the audience laughing out loud. And, it has a sprinkle of romance packaged with it which makes it a unique story.

The story starts out showing an eleven-(soon to be twelve)-year-old kid who always has bad days while everyone else in his entire family always has perfect days. On the very early morning of his 12th birthday he wishes that his family members would have a bad day. Well they do! And, phew, is it bad!

This film has comedy that isn't just little jokes or things that are commonly seen in lots of normal comedies but, unique and creative comedy that is really funny. The actors are all well suited to their roles and, something I love about this film is that the ending is not easily predictable. Also, the story is created in such a way that the comedy is just a part of the story. The creators managed to get a very important message through to the audience.

My favorite scene is when the sister is under the weather with a common cold but has a play that day. She decides to drink a whole bunch of cough medicine and gets drunk during the play. This part is absolutely hilarious. The entire audience, including me, could not stop laughing during this scene.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is a young kid film but not too young. I would recommend for ages 9 to 18 and I give it 5 out of 5 stars for a great story, fantastic acting and unbelievable comedy!

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

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible No Good Very Bad Day is an amazingly funny comedy for the whole family to enjoy. This movie is full of very humorous moments.

This film is about a boy named Alexander who always has awful days but other members of his family have great days; some of those days are even perfect, according to Alexander. On his 12th birthday, he decides to make a birthday sundae and he makes a wish that his family would know and understand the horrible conditions that he has to endure. Unfortunately, the next morning another horrible day begins. Everyone wakes up late, Anthony (Alexander's older brother) wakes up to a pimple and his girlfriend breaks up with him the morning before prom. Emily (Alexander's older sister) gets sick before her play and Trevor (Alexander's baby brother) runs out of diapers. It continues to get worse from there.

The message of this film is everyone will experience bad days; though the bad days will not last long. It is important to really enjoy the good days when they come.

My favorite character is Trevor, Alexander's baby brother. He is simply adorable. He has the cutest and funniest facial expressions at the right moment.

My favorite part is when Trevor starts to eat the ink from the marker. It is funny because no one notices him. Once the adults realize Trevor is eating the marker it is funny watching them try to wash it off and unfortunately, they learn it's a bit of a challenge to get the marker off.

The actors Steve Carell, Jennifer Garner and Ed Oxenbaould are all simply phenomenal in bringing humor to the film.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible No Good Very Bad Day is a fantastic movie for the whole family. I highly recommend it for boys and girls ages 9-18 and I give it 5 out of 5 shinning stars. You can watch Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day in a movie theater near you, October 10, 2014.

Reviewed by Kendyl Powell, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12.

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-15
Suggested Retail Price: $ 36.99
Media: FeatureFilm
      Buy Here (Amazon.com)


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


ANNIE (2014)

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
ANNIE (2014)       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - Academy Award� nominee Quvenzhan� Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) stars as Annie, a young, happy foster kid who's also tough enough to make her way on the streets of New York in 2014. Originally left by her parents as a baby with the promise that they'd be back for her someday, it's been a hard knock life ever since with her mean foster mom Miss Hannigan (Cameron Diaz). But everything's about to change when the hard-nosed tycoon and New York mayoral candidate Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx) - advised by his brilliant VP, Grace (Rose Byrne) and his shrewd and scheming campaign advisor, Guy (Bobby Cannavale) - makes a thinly-veiled campaign move and takes her in. Stacks believes he's her guardian angel, but Annie's self-assured nature and bright, sun-will-come-out-tomorrow outlook on life just might mean it's the other way around.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming soon

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - Larry spans the globe, uniting favorite and new characters while embarking on an epic quest to save the magic before it is gone forever.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming soon
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This is a wild, adventurous and funny film. This last installment of the Night at the Museum trilogy is takes you on an adventurous journey and is defiantly a must see. Robin Williams' final on-screen portrayal of Teddy Roosevelt is amazing. He has a great sense of humor and is in tune with his character completely.

The magic that brought the characters to life in Night at the Museum 1 and 2 is in danger. Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) must go on an adventure to unite and save them all. Will he be able to do it?

I really enjoy seeing this film. It has excitement and is bigger and better than before. Everyone is back, Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Steve Cogan. They are joined by some electrifying new characters. A lot of attention to detail is paid to the wardrobe, set locations and the historical time pieces. The special effects are big and bold and definitely compliment the film in every way. It looks so real. My favorite character is newcomer Tilly (Rebel Wilson, Pitch Perfect). She is funny, talks a lot and says whatever is on her mind. She goes on funny tangents and her appearance is simply amusing. The cast also includes Dick Van Dyke and Rick Gervais.

Shawn Levy, directs this film and brings his skill to making it artistic and funny from pulling together a great cast, production designers and all the creative people involved in this film. Although the film has a number of characters, jokes and situations, it also has a simple message of teamwork. Sometimes, you need a good team of people working together to get the job done.

I recommend this film for ages 8 to 18. However, adults will enjoy it as well, especially if they have seen the previous two films. It's rated PG for mild action and some rude humor. I give it 4 out of 5 stars. It's a good adventure that will keep you entertained.

Join the wildest night yet and see Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, it's in theaters on December 19th. So please check it out. Reviewed by Brianna Hope Beaton, KIDS FIRST! Critics, age 15

Hilarious, exciting and imaginative is how I would describe Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb. I enjoy the Night at the Museum movies because I love anything to do with history. This movie brings some of history's greatest characters to life in a fun and entertaining way.

Director Shawn Levy brings back the incredibly talented cast and adds a few new faces. Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) returns as head of the museum's "special effects." Larry begins noticing some strange behavior by the museum's residents. He suspects the ancient Tablet of Akmenrah, the source that causes the museum's exhibits to come to life, is somehow losing its powers. Larry decides that he must travel to the British Museum in London to find Akmenrah's parents. He hopes the parents can help him solve the mystery of why the tablet is losing its magical powers. Larry's plan does not turn out as smoothly as he hoped. Some of the residents of the New York museum secretly follow Larry to Britain. That's when things go hysterically wrong.

Ben Kingsley( Akmenrah's Dad) and Dan Stevens (Sir Lancelot) are wonderful newcomers to the cast but, Rebel Wilson shines as the weird and wonderful security guard Tilly. Her one-liners are a little puzzling at times, but I loved them. The original cast is just as great as they were in the last two movies. I laughed out loud at Owen Wilson's Jedediah and Steve Coogan's Octavious as they go through their adventure.

My favorite part of the movie is when the exhibits in the British Museum come to life for the first time. The visual effects' team does an excellent job in creating images that are realistic. The story has many sub plots so it may be difficult for a younger audience to keep up with how each part connects to the big picture.

The message of this film is that parents cannot hold onto their children forever. I recommend Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb for ages 8 to 15 and give it 4 out of 5 stars. Please be sure to check out Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb when it comes to theaters on December 19.

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-18
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

Buy Here (from WHISTLEFRITZ LLC)


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


LOST TREASURE HUNT

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
LOST TREASURE HUNT       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
ARGOSY FILM GROUP
Series: SHORT, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - A secret code dating to 1492 sends two teen treasure-seekers on an adventure to solve the mystery before the treasure falls into enemy hands. They discover multiple sides to the Columbus voyage while decoding clues and escaping from counterspies.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Lost Treasure Hunt is and action packed and entertaining animated film with lots of visual appeal. It is historical fiction about Christopher Columbus and 1492. The main characters are very likable and fun to watch and at the end, you expect you will be seeing more of Dex and Eva's adventures. There is humor, action and the typical good guys win at the end although there is a slight twist. The film is appealing and entertaining. It grabs your attention from the get go and holds it through to the end. Children will enjoy the treasure hung aspect with all its action and adventure. The two young sleuths, Dex and Eva (from the Society of Lost Treasure Hunters) are completely likeable and it is easy to root for them to find their treasure. The historical facts add a bit of education to the mix.

The story flows well from beginning to end. It makes sense and the end tells you that the real treasure hunt has only just begun. The vocabulary is appropriate for its audience (8-18). Any negative behaviors displayed are done by the criminals and there are repercussions. The two sleuths treat one another respectfully.

It may make kids ask what was the real treasure? Why was it valuable? What does the ending means when they say "a treasure hunt that has only just begun?"

It is entertaining and loaded with historical facts but it is primarily historical fiction. Children will learn a few facts about Christopher Columbus and 1492 by watching this. They may want to learn more about treasure and treasure hunts. Certainly, they will most likely want to see more adventures with Dex and Eva.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This fun and educational show makes history an adventure. In this episode, the lost treasure of Christopher Columbus is in jeopardy of falling into the wrong hands. The organization, appropriately called Sleuth sends in agents Dex and Ava. Their mission is to find clues leading to the treasure before a piece of history is lost.

The educational side of this show is refreshing. They provide update-to-date information and illustrations of what happened during the Columbus' voyage. This enlightens the audience with a different side of history. It's not patronizing in any way. It's clever to witness how they transform theses history lessons into investigative clues. In one scene, we learn about Columbus' signature and that information brings us closer to the treasure. This method of storytelling promises amazing future episodes.

The treasure hunt itself is a ride kids can enjoy. There are fast chases, foreign locations, and gadgets to capture everyone's attention. Mixed in are two main characters who are fantastic to watch as they go on this hunt.

My favorite character is agent Dex. He is the one with the gadgets and gizmos that help him and Ava get out of a sticky situation. I enjoy this character for his brains and, at times, his awkward behavior. This is his first mission and we can see that he is not used to being out in the action.

My favorite scene is when the agents go to Central America. This is when we meet Falcon who gives information about the Taino tribe. I love this scene because we see a different side of Columbus that not many people refer to. The character Falcon is also entertaining to watch. He never stays in one place.

The moral is "the treasure is in the journey not the destination." The villain, Ivan does not care about clues and history, all he wants is the treasure. However, if you are just out to find fortune then you will never find it. The sleuth agents know this and look at every clue and fact. Not only do they find the treasure, but they acquire something better than that. Knowledge.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend this to 7 to 15-year-olds. Kids will enjoy the spy action and adventure while also learning about history. Older kids are probably past this history lesson although, one never knows what the next episode will cover.

Reviewed by Keefer C. Blakeslee, age 14, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic
Runtime: 29 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-15
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: DVD


BELLE AND SEBASTIAN

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
BELLE AND SEBASTIAN
FILM MOVEMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - In the snowy Alps of occupied France, young Sebastian befriends an enormous yet gentle sheepdog he calls Belle. With Nazis in their village rooting out the resistance fighters helping Jewish refugees cross the border, Belle and Sebastian will have the chance to become the village's heroes.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This beautifully set film in the French Alps follows the adventures of a young, free-spirited boy Sebastian and the dog who he learns to trust and names Belle. The opening shot of Sebastian dangling over the side of mountain to rescue a young sheep whose mother has been shot by hunters, indicates to us a young brave boy who feels at home in his elements and exhibits great will and courage.

This film takes place during World War II when the German soldiers are on the lookout for anyone in the French Resistance who is trying to smuggle Jewish refugees through the mountains to Switzerland. It is here, once again, that Sebastian shows his true colors. With the assistance of his tried and true dog, and a determined Angelina, wife of Dr. Guillaume who has hidden a Jewish family in the mountains, they fulfill their mission to bring the family to safety.

The subplot of the French resistance coupled with daily life twists and turns, shows Sebastian and Belle both exhibiting bravery and determination. The combinations makes for a suspenseful, well-told story that warmed my heart and I believe will do the same for children and their families. Reviewed by KIDS FIRST! Critic Terry S.

This is one of the most visually appealing titles I've reviewed. The scenery is absolutely beautiful. There are lots of different settings such as the mountains, villages, caves and meadows. The storyline is heartwarming even though the topics faced are difficult to approach. The unappealing parts are animals being shot pretty graphically, the heaviness of war and the heartbreak the main character, Sebastian faces. The title shows the importance of kindness towards humans and animals and I find that is very valuable. It deals with some very serious social situations and, if the child is able to comprehend these concepts, it could be a great educational tool. This film brings up many questions that a parent could explain such as why some humans are cruel to animals and why is there war.

The characters are complex as is the setting. There are people fleeing and hiding from the government. The "good guys" portray respect, kindness, generosity and sympathy. The vocabulary is age appropriate but I would be cautious about showing this to a child who has experienced the ravages of war him or herself. The story is well presented and easy to follow. Reviewed by KIDS FIRST! juror Elizabeth B.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - If you have a child who has never seen a foreign film, this would be a great one to start with! Belle and Sebastian is a French movie, by Nicholas Vanier, with English subtitles.

Belle and Sebastian is about a young boy, Sebastian and the friendship he makes with Belle, a large dog. She is being blamed for killing the sheep in the village. In fact, the villagers call her "the beast."

The movie is set in Nazi-occupied France. There are refugees in the village always escaping at night over the snow-covered mountains into Switzerland. Sebastian is told to stay away from both this part of the mountain and "the beast." But, he can't resist. He finds and tries to protect "the beast," who he names Belle.

Sebastian meets up with Belle every day and they run in the fields and play in the snow. He shows her places to hide from the angry villagers and from the German Nazi soldiers. She is Sebastian's friend and he believes that it is not her who is killing the sheep.

The scenery in this film is incredible! The snow-covered mountains, grassy hillsides, waterfalls, rocks and panoramic vistas will take your breath away. There are lots of aerial shots in the film that make you wish you lived in France.

Parents should know that there is some drinking, lying and cursing, but the characters are trying to do their best given the given circumstances. It can't be easy having your little village be taken over by soldiers. Over-all, the message this movie gives is a good one. "Protect your friends and always try to do the right thing."

I recommend this movie for ages ten to eighteen. This is a great age level to introduce appreciation of sub-titled movies. I give Belle and Sebastian four out of five stars for amazing scenery and great acting.

Reviewed by Katie G., KIDS FIRST! Critic

Belle and Sebastian is an adventurous type of movie. It takes place in the mountains of France. This film is about a about a beast that is trying to kill all of Sebastian's grandfather's sheep. But once Sebastian meets the dog he realizes that the dog is a girl and decides to call her Belle. So, it is up to Sebastian to protect Belle from his grandfather and the men who are trying to kill her.

The message of this film is to not judge a book by its cover. Everyone judges Belle by calling her a dirty wild beast. But truly she is a very loveable and a great dog.

My favorite character is Angelina. She is Sebastian's cousin. She's very helpful, caring and she is always there for Sebastian.

I did not have a favorite scene because I enjoyed the whole movie. The actors, do a fantastic job translating the movie from French to English.

If you're the type of person that enjoys adventures, this is the perfect movie for you. I recommend this movie for boys and girls ages 8 to 13 and give this movie 3 out of 5 shining stars.

You can find this movie at film festivals everywhere and on DVD. Reviewed by Kendyl Powell, KIDS FIRST! Critic, age 12.
Runtime: 104 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-12
Suggested Retail Price: $ 29.99
Media: DVD


UPTON CHARLES-DOG DETECTIVE: LOST LOOT

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
UPTON CHARLES-DOG DETECTIVE: LOST LOOT
NEPTUNE PRESS LLC/ D.G. STERN
Series: E-BOOK, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - Upton loves to dig for clues, so it's no surprise that when he and the rest of the Charles family discover some unusual old coins while touring the construction site at the twins' new school. Our sleuth is a Bichon Frise (that's "BEE-shon free-ZEY"), a little white dog and he always finds himself in interesting situations. And this time, there is something very familiar about the silver dollars he uncovers. Could they be from a bank robbery? Come along with Upton as his efforts lead to the discovery of Lost Loot.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Upton Charles is a very likable White Bichon Frise dog who loves to solve mysteries with the help of his family. The beginning of the story starts off a bit slow, but it picks up in the middle and becomes engaging until the end. Upton is quite insightful for a dog. In this mystery, he finds some old coins at a construction site of a school. The coins he first finds are dated back to 1882. This story has quite a few educational and historical information about the coins that children should find quite interesting. The middle of the story is quite intriguing as the family and the sleuth dog try to figure out where these coins came from. Is it possible they came from a famous train robbery? I found this appealing it held my interest. The story has entertaining elements as well as educational ones that teach about coin collecting. It actually may inspire and motivate young readers to want to take up the hobby of coin collecting.

Upton Charles is an insightful and interesting Character. He is unique. The story in itself a bit slow and wordy in the beginning but, once you get into the middle it picks up and is interesting, slightly educational and a fun read for kids ages 8 to 12. When reading with my 11-year-old son, it was hard to get his interest in the beginning because it has a lot of extraneous narration. However, once you get to chapter 3, the story really takes off. So, be patient.

I think Upton Charles is a unique character and one that children will really enjoy. Some kids may think the story is a bit longer than need be but I would encourage them to stick with as it will be worth their while in the end.

Upton Charles is a positive character, the family members are appealing and the story is engaging. The illustrations are quite simple and the story's historical facts give it extra depth
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This book is for a younger audience but I still enjoyed it. The book tries to get across a lot of facts and include them in a story to make it more interesting.

This book is all about a dog named Upton Charles who is 3 years old and finds some silver dollars at a construction site. He and his family, along with a new family they met on their trip around the beach, go to a construction site where a school is being built. There, they discover a lot of cool coins and share the history of them. A lot of kids will probably like this story because it is educational and fun.

The main characters in this story are Upton, Veronica, Alex, Mom, Dad and the Keenan's. My favorite character is, of course Upton because he is a cute little dog, always obeys and if, he didn't find the silver dollar coins, there would be no story.

My favorite part in the book is when they tell the history of the coins because I learned a lot more things that I never knew before. It's really cool to learn about coin history.

I recommend this book for ages 8 to 12 because it is well written and includes quite a lot of history. It will teach you things regardless of what age you are. I like the book and I bet you will too! Reviewed by KIDS FIRST! Critics Anthony Aranda, age 11.

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-12
Suggested Retail Price: $ 8
Media: Book


UPTON CHARLES-DOG DETECTIVE: WINTER WONDERLAND

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
UPTON CHARLES-DOG DETECTIVE: WINTER WONDERLAND
NEPTUNE PRESS LLC/ D.G. STERN
Series: E-BOOK, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - Upton Charles and his family are in New Hampshire for a weekend ski vacation and our canine investigator meets three Saint Bernards. But it would not be an Upton Charles adventure without a mystery. Our sleuth is a Bichon Frise (that's "BEE-shon free-ZEY"), who is quickly on the trail of a long-lost treasure map, buried gold, and the papers of Daniel Webster. The fire is warm, but the case is never cold. Come along with Upton as he considers two-hundred-year-old clues to solve the mystery in Winter Wonderland.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Upton Charles is a likable, and not your average every-day Detective. For one thing, he is an insightful dog that doesn't talk but narrates this story as he looks for clues and solves a mystery with his family. The mystery starts off as the family goes on a ski weekend trip to New Hampshire. The beginning of the story shows that Upton is not only insightful but has a sense of humor - canine humor that is! The mystery takes off a bit slow but there are interesting historical facts about Daniel Webster (not to be confused with Noah Webster and the Dictionary). And, the story teaches us that! The middle portion of the story speeds up when a stranger arrives. Is he good or bad? This is the most interesting part of this story. The story also has missing treasure and a valuable lesson to be learned about what treasure really is. Is treasure always something of monetary value? This is a great lesson for kids to learn. There is a twist in this story which makes it very entertaining as it leads to solving a mystery. This story is entertaining and educational with historical facts and valuable social lesson to be learned. The messages inherent in the story is that things do not always have to be worth a lot of money to be valuable.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - After all of his adventures, the one and only Upton Charles (Dog Detective) receives his rightful spot in being the guard dog of his beloved family. Though he is small, he will detect any case and will always protect his family. Upton Charles knows by now that a hero like himself can always take a vacation at any time but he always has to be prepared for whatever life will throw at him. He and his family go on a skiing trip and Upton judges the Inn by its cover and does not feel welcome at first. Then, two St. Bernards, Hans and Fritz host him and do an excellent job. While Upton and his family are having fun, a mysterious presence arrives and is urgent. There seems to be missing treasure. While Upton the mastermind dog and his assistants try to solve the case, Upton gets closer and closer to his new friends and family.

I admire how the author allows Upton to be more courageous and tough but at the same time playful and sweet. I also enjoyed that the setting in each of these e-books is different every time. I also like this specific setting because it is winter which causes the setting to have calm auras. Throughout each book, the author escalates in cutting out any unnecessary scenes. Also, the level of difficulty in each book doesn't increase very much in terms of vocabulary and context. This could be interpreted beneficially or negatively, depending on the reader. Upton's character is very curious and Upton can be interpreted as a role model for kids. I also love how new characters are introduced as it gives the reader the opportunity to favor different characters. In every new book, more characters are introduced which makes each novel more interesting and hooks the reader. The author also is very good at relieving the intensity of tension and suspense unlike the first and second books.

I almost feel as if each book is a bit too similar and has the same plot to some degree. Also, the situation Upton has to detect is not necessarily realistic but, could be possible, which is not bad but it is a bit clich�. The second book is a little more of a fantasy. Some concepts are almost too difficult to grasp, not because it is a general difficult book but because of how they are written.

The moral of the story is "no matter what shape or size you are, you can achieve anything if you are determined and work hard for it." I recommend this book ages 6 to 10and rate the book 3.5 out of 5 stars.

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-12
Suggested Retail Price: $ 8
Media: Book


UPTON CHARLES-DOG DETECTIVE: SOMETHING FISHY

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
UPTON CHARLES-DOG DETECTIVE: SOMETHING FISHY
NEPTUNE PRESS LLC/ D.G. STERN
Series: E-BOOK, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - Upton and the rest of the Charles family are on vacation in a small coastal town in Maine and something VERY fishy is going on. Along with his new friend, Storm, the dog detective discovers an abandoned boat near Shell Light. Upton puts his nose to work sniffing out clues...which lead to the secret of the lighthouse. Our inquisitive canine, a Bichon Frise (that's "BEE-shon free-ZEY"), helps answer a tricky question: What's real and what's fake? Follow Upton as he gathers evidence and puts together pieces of the puzzle to solve the mystery in Something Fishy.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This is a story about Upton Charles, a dog detective, and his family as they head out on a family vacation that turns into solving a mystery. Upton Charles is a likable dog who tells this story from his dog point-of-view. He is also a solver of mysteries. It's fun to follow Upton as he finds the clues and solves this mystery.

After some sibling squabbles, the family heads to Maine. The friends they stay with have a dog named Storm. They explore the beach and readers will learn lots about boats and parts of boats. The mystery starts out a bit slow and then, around the middle of the story, it takes off when the family finds an abandoned vessel. The middle and ending flow together as the mystery unravels and they discover the clues to solve the mystery.

This story is entertaining. There is humor and action and it is very appropriate for school-aged children. Younger children may want more visual appeal and not as many words but for older kids, it's perfect. It is fun to follow the mystery of the abandoned (stolen) vessel through to its ending. There are some educational elements such as learning about different types of boats and houses.

One of the appealing aspects of this book is the mystery. The other is that the main character is a dog who thinks out loud as the narrator of the story. Upton Charles is an intelligent and insightful character that children will enjoy. Note, he is not a talking dog, just a dog whose thoughts we can hear. Children will easily relate to the characters in this story, particularly the mom, dad, boy and girl. But, Upton Charles is, without a doubt, the most entertaining of them all.

The language is most appropriate for ages 8 to 12. It is somewhat believable that a real dog may be thinking some of the things that Upton Charles thinks. The brother and sister do not always get along which is quite realistic. Overall, the family members are very respectful of one another and the other characters as well. There is also a display of teamwork.

It may stimulate conversation with younger readers with questions such as: What were the clues that Upton Charles found? How did they know there was a mystery to be solved? How did Storm help Upton solve the mystery?

Visually, I would have liked a more colorful cover. But then, you can't always tell a book by its cover. It is a chapter book but it is a short chapter book. Most important is that it is fun to read and engaging. Upton Charles is very entertaining. I'm sure kids will want to seek out more stories about him.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Every hero needs a vacation, so dog detective Upton Charles and his family set off to visit Maine. Upton Charles makes a new furry friend named Storm on this adventure. All is well but, there is a boat anchored nearby for a couple days and nobody knows what or who it is yet alone why it is anchored there. Upton Charles and his new assistant, the dog Storm, step into the mysterious case. Though Upton Charles is small, he is capable of handling the big world.

The vocabulary and content of this story is a bit more difficult than in the first book of this series. I like that Upton makes a new friend who helps him on the case and keeps him company while everyone else is very busy. This gives the viewer the opportunity to explore a whole new personality. I like how the author makes the situation that Upton is investigating very unusual. In the first book of this series, the story was a bit too predictable. In this one, it's much more interesting. The author describes each scene so that I can visualize exactly what it looks like and I could really understand what was going on in the story. I like that the book goes into more depth describing each character's personality, especially Upton's.

The author marginally describes the case that Upton is investigating and the clues escalate a bit too quickly for my taste. The author takes too long on the introduction and then squishes all the clues together. There isn't as much suspension as in the first book but, in many ways, I like this one better.

The moral of this story is that if you work really hard and are determined then you can achieve anything. I recommend this book for the ages 7 to 10 and rate it 4 out of 5 stars. By Hailee H., KIDS FIRST! Critic, age 12

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-12
Suggested Retail Price: $ 8
Media: Book


UPTON CHARLES-DOG DETECTIVE: DISAPPEARING DIAMONDS

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
UPTON CHARLES-DOG DETECTIVE: DISAPPEARING DIAMONDS
NEPTUNE PRESS LLC/ D.G. STERN
Series: E-BOOK, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - A Dog-Gone Good Book Upton Charles is a lot like you and me. He likes to be with his family, play with his friends and go on nice walks. Except Upton isn't like you and me...because he is a little white dog, a Bichon Frise (that's "BEE-shon free-ZEY"). Upton is also very smart and knows an important clue when he smells one. Our dog detective is recruited to help find the Van Camp diamonds that have disappeared from the local museum. Join Upton as he sniffs out evidence to find a valuable missing necklace in Disappearing Diamonds.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Upton Charles the Detective Dog is an intriguing dog who solves mysteries with the help of his owners. His family consists of a mom, dad, a brother and sister. I like that this mystery gets off to a quick start when the dad receives a phone call from a friend who works at the museum. A valuable Van Camp necklace is missing! This necklace is part of an exhibit and is quite valuable. So, off to the Museum they go. The middle is simply entertaining to read and educational as well due to the historical facts about artists such as Pierre-Auguste Renoir. The story is not just fun to read, children can learn about art and the artists known as the Impressionists. This actually could motivate children to want to learn more about art from this time period. It's both an entertaining and educational story to read. Children will enjoy reading as Upton finds the different clues and pieces them all together to solve the mystery. I also like that the mystery is not predictable and it teaches some facts about real and fake diamonds. The beginning, middle and ending flow well together to make this a good story with educational and entertaining elements. It's perfect for school-aged kids.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The first book of the series called Upton Charles is Disappearing Diamonds. This series is told from the perspective of a dog named Upton Charles who is underestimated not only by his family but by everyone else around him. Later in the book, he begins to be honored. This story revolves around a case of a stolen diamond necklace from a museum. The case can not be cracked by anyone else, so Upton Charles steps in to solve the mystery and, along the adventure, he gets closer to his family than ever before.

I like the book because the author describes the storyline in an interesting way. The vocabulary is first to third grade level. Upton Charles has an adorable and curious personality which is a good personality for a main character. Though many books have a plot of a dog, I have never before heard of a book about a dog that is a detective. That makes it creative. Another think I like is how the author thoroughly introduces a descriptive background of Upton Charles in the first book of the series.

Though the book has good sides, I have some issues with it. One is that there are some scenes that seem unnecessary and can be confusing. Also, the book is intended for 6 to 9 and I am older than that so, I'm not the perfect audience. I also thought that the author could have been more creative about the diamond necklace's whereabouts. It seems a bit too realistic and predictable. After all, this is a children's book so why not add more creativity and imagination into the crime scenes.

The moral of the story is that no matter what shape and size you are, differences do not matter. As long as one puts their mind to it, they can achieve whatever they want, whenever they want. I recommend the book for 6 to 9-year-olds and rate it 3 out of 5 stars. Overall, the book is good but I'm a bit older than the targeted age. By Hailee Hutton, KIDS FIRST! Critic, age 12.

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-12
Suggested Retail Price: $ 8
Media: Book


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


BIG HERO 6

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
BIG HERO 6
WALT DISNEY ANIMATED STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - The special bond that develops between plus-sized inflatable robot Baymax, and prodigy Hiro Hamada, who team up with a group of friends to form a band of high-tech heroes. Starring voice talent of Ryan Potter, Scott Adsit and Jamie Chung. Directed by Don Hall and Chris Williams. Written by Don Hall, Jordan Roberts and 7 others.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The movie Big Hero 6 is adorable, funny, and downright enjoyable. The movie is about a young, intelligent, robotics fanatic named Hiro Hamada, voiced by Ryan Potter, who spends his days hustling adults in "bot fights" until his brother, Tadashi, voiced by Daniel Henney, introduces him to his college and friends. Hiro then spends his days trying to get accepted into his brother's school to apply his knowledge of robotics to a greater cause. Hiro later develops a loveable bond between himself and an inflatable robot named Baymax, voiced by Scott Adsit. After Hiro encounters a dangerous force that threatens his future and safety of the city, he turns to Baymax and his friends to make a heroic group called "Big Hero 6" to fight evil. The movie takes us through an action-packed adventure that provides laughter, tears, tension and relief.

The unpredictable plot makes the movie very exciting and hilarious. The movie is funny within the first few minutes which is really delightful because it avoids a slow beginning. Even though this movie is about superheroes fighting evil with intense superhero gear, it does not follow the typical superhero expectations because the heroes handle situations differently than expected. The movie provides realism and surprisingly does not sugar coat certain scenarios. There a certain times where one would think "wow, I'm surprised Disney did that" but that surprise is good because it makes the movie stand out from the rest in a new and different way.

The characters are so lovable, especially Baymax, an adorable robot whose only purpose is to make others feel better. Because of this, it is easy for the audience to get attached to the characters and engage with the movie emotionally. The movie is phenomenal and appeals to adults as much as children which is a very special aspect.

Not only does Big Hero 6 have clever dialogue, great special effects, lovable characters and nice music, but it also pays attention to little details and messages about education and friendship that contribute to an amazing movie as a whole. I will definitely watch this movie multiple times and recommend it ages 5 to 18. Be sure to check it out in theaters on November 7th. Reviewed by Harmony M, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

This film is a fun and hilarious adventure with a very unique story that the whole family will love.

The story starts when a technology genius, Hiro, is accepted into a technology university but, at the same time, something bad happens to his older brother. While he grieves, he finds his brother's medical robot, Baymax. Together they discover a deep and dark secret and they team up with four friends to get to the bottom of it.

This film is wonderful! The humor is unique and not boring, making the audience always roar with laughter. They don't concentrate on one theme. Instead, they surprise us with many different things to spice up the story. However, in many ways, I feel the story is a bit too complicated. It takes the film about 30 minutes just to finish the back story which makes the climax and conflict a bit rushed. Otherwise, its a great film!

My favorite scene is when Hiro first discovers Baymax. Hiro stubs his toe which activates Baymax. First, Baymax squeezes around a bed and the way he does it makes the audience laugh to tears. Then Hiro trips, gets stuck and things fall on him. The entire scene is just pure comedy which makes it a very memorable scene and sets the tone for their relationship as the story unfolds.

I recommend this for ages 9 to 18 and give it 4.5 out 5 stars its amazing, unique animation, humor and interesting storyline.

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

Big Hero 6 is a really fun movie! It is suspenseful, funny and creative. The writers, Don Hall and Jordan Roberts, wrote an awesome script. Each character has a different ability and a distinct personality. Yet, they all work very well together. I really enjoyed learning about each character!

Big Hero 6 is an animated film about a boy genius named Hiro (Ryan Potter) whose parents have died and he spends all his time "bot" fighting with robots he creates. When Hiro's brother, Tadashi, (Daniel Henney) dies, he discovers a robot named Baymax (Scott Adsit) that his brother designed as a personal health care assistant. When a villain steals one of Hiro's inventions, Hiro must use his brain and technology to change Baymax into a robot superhero and, along with some friends, must stop the villain.

Big Hero 6 is a really incredible movie. This movie has a great mix of comedy, suspense and even a little bit of sadness. There is a lot of comedy from beginning to end. All of the characters are funny and face some tough challenges. Another thing I like about this film is that it kept me guessing what would happen next throughout the whole movie. I was completely surprised by some of the things that happened because I had a different idea in my head of what to expect. The 3D effect is also great! The animation makes it seem as if I could reach out and touch objects and jump right in with them. My favorite part is when Baymax learns karate. It is so funny because he looks like a giant marshmallow and looks so cuddly you want to hug him instead of fight him.

Big Hero 6 has a really great message. It teaches us to make great friends and to always put your friends first! The characters have to trust in their friendship and stop arguing to defeat the villain.

I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars because it is funny, adventurous and really creative. Kids and adults will love it, especially those who like comedy and science experiments. I recommend this film for children ages 4 to 18. This is a movie that the whole family will enjoy. Reviewed by Jeremy Badour, age 7, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic



KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


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



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