Film Festivals | Movie Reviews | Submit a Title | Jurors | About Us | Contact Us | Home

The Newsstand - KIDS FIRST!® News 2006 - What's Hot


Go to the KIDS FIRST!®Home Page

The Newsstand - What's Hot

Christine Pollock, Newsletter Editor
"To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides. "- David Viscott

Subscribe to our monthly E-Zine to stay up to date on KIDS FIRST!® initiatives. - FREE -

Your e-mail address:


Turning your TV Time into Quality Time
February 21, 2006 Issue #2b
Christine L. Pollock, Editor
Ranny Levy, Publisher

1. Letters from the Editor, President and Readers
2. Web Store Features
4. New Endorsements
5. Festival Titles
6. New Members/Renewing Members
7. Member News
8. Media News
9. Family and Parenting News
10. Worldwide Kids by Christine L. Pollock
11. Crafts and Activities: International Products from Dr. Toy and
Global Celebration craft and activity
12. Festival City Schedule and Events
13. Classifieds
14. Special Offers

* Permission to forward or reprint the content herein is granted with complete attribution.

Interview with Center for Media Literacy Founder, Liz Thoman

Interview with Reading Rainbow Producer, Dr. Twila Liggett

The Inner Workings of Sesame Workshop with Dr. Ed Greene

New: KIDS FIRST!® logo store
Your purchase of hats, t-shirts, baby jumpers, bibs, and totes benefit KIDS FIRST!®

Become an Affiliate of the
KIDS FIRST!® Web Store

The Coalition for Quality Children's Media is a national, not-for-profit organization founded in 1991. Because we believe that media profoundly affect children, our mission is to 1) teach children critical viewing skills and 2) to increase the visibility and availability of quality children's programs.

CQCM Newsletter Archive
2006 Jan3 / Jan 18 / Feb 7
2005 Jan / Feb / Mar / April / May / June / July /
/ September / October/ Mid October / November/December/Mid December
2004 / 2003 / 2002
2001 / 2000 / 1999 / 1998
1997a 1997 b

Welcome to KIDS FIRST!® NEWS. All articles are by Coalition for Quality Children's Media unless otherwise noted.

Dear Friends,

This is the time of year to hunker in and get back to a regular rhythm of life after the holidays. With temperatures dipping down enough that the kids can't stay outside too long, this is a perfect time for homeschoolers like my family to hit the textbooks. My boys and I especially love the fact that we have at least one video each day which supplements our curriculum, thanks to the library we have built as KIDS FIRST!® jurors. If you are interested in seeing more details on how we incorporate the media into our curriculum, check out our KIDS FIRST!® blog on the Homeschool Blogger website. If you are interested in information about building your own library as a juror, check out KIDS FIRST!® jurors.

Another benefit of these cold days is family-togetherness. When we are not running from one event to another, we have the opportunity to really interact with each other. We fine tune our social skills and attitudes promoting respect for each other. Once we have it on the home level, we find it easier to bring to our community and beyond. This philosophy is supported by Worldwide Kids, which Dr. Charlotte Frances Cole, Vice President for Education and Research at Sesame Workshop in New York, explains in my article below.

As always, I welcome your input. If you have comments on titles we have endorsed; notices of awards, publications, and products; or suggestions for articles. . .drop me at line at chris.

Christine Pollock, Editor
Contact Me

Dear Readers,

Our celebration of Independent Films continues to the end of this month, and I hope many of you will have the opportunity to view some of them. I guarantee that you'll enjoy them. We certainly have. One of my favorite titles, Choose Your Own Adventure: Abominable Snowman, is an interactive story that allows the viewer to change the direction of the film. Three siblings who are on a quest to rescue their uncle in the Himalayas encounter choices in their journey and the viewer chooses which choice to make. There are choice prompts every three to seven minutes. Ann and I played the DVD one afternoon and made a series of choices which resulted in a dead end trap. It illustrates the importance of making good choices in our life. That dead end prompted us to take a second whirl at it until we could have a more successful outcome - which we did. This is one of the titles that we're playing at children's and science museums where the kids have the opportunity to interact with the film. It's enjoyable for them and works great in this environment.

The creativity I see in the submissions that we receive for our festivals never ceases to amaze me. We are just finishing jurying our second quarter submissions, and I'm still chuckling over a group of titles from students at Perrsyburg HIgh School. We've included four titles from them: Ballad of King Jimmy, Don't Give Up the Ship, Heart of Diamond, and The End. Another fine title is Jumpin' Frog Jubilee - a short music video blending bluegrass music with an overview of the famous Calaveras County's Frog Jumping Contest. Two other shorts that you're sure to enjoy are Flyaway, the story of a little wooden plane set to the music of John Denver and Bubbleman, a fascinating look at bubble art created by (who else but) Mr. Bubbleman! And last, one of my favorite titles, Peep, of which we're showing two episodes, Dry Duck Part 1 and 2. I have to say that Peep gets All Star status at KIDS FIRST! because it is so cleverly written and sweetly animated. It really does amuse both little ones as well as adults.

I promised you that we have a brand new film locator program coming soon which will enable you to find exactly what's playing where. We're closer to completion but not there yet. Be patient because it's just around the corner.

In conclusion, producers, please remember that our that third quarter deadline is March 15. To submit a title, go to the producer's submission page.

Much love,

Ranny Levy
Founder and President, KIDS FIRST!®


Long Island Children's Museum is very pleased to present your films. I had screened several of them as a part of the “Kids First!® Festival.” I really am excited myself to find a perfect reason to present these films. I wish we could run them even longer. Your films are a delight, they do not talk down to kids, they answer the questions a child might ask as well as information they should know. Great Job! - Jim Packard, Long Island Children's Museum, Theater Manager.


To keep up with the fast-paced growth at KIDS FIRST!®, we offer juror training online. If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a KIDS FIRST!® juror, now's a great time to get started. There is a minimal $40 fee for the training, which will be reimbursed once six titles are reviewed. Jurors keep the titles they review and approve. What a wonderful way for teachers, librarians, parents, daycare providers and others involved with children to help KIDS FIRST!® while building their own quality media library. To register or get more information, please click here.



Merlin and the Dragons
Young Arthur doesn't understand why pulling a sword from a stone qualifies him for kingship. Merlin, the magician, guides him with inspiring stories and prophetic dreams that prepare him to become a magnificent king. Narrated by Kevin Kline.



Cara and her lovable grandfather embark on a journey of imagination that brings them face to face with the wonderful variety of people in the world. Based on Peter Spier's book. Music by Al Jarreau, Chaka Kan, Grover Washington Jr, Vanessa Williams.



Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type and More fun on the Farm

Country superstar, Randy Travis, narrates the title tale about a barnyard mutiny on Farmer Brown's farm. Cows that type? Hens that strike? Be sure to pack your funny bone for a hilarious trip to the farm. Adapted from the Caldecott Honor Book. Spanish track.



Corduroy. . .and More Stories About Friendship
Corduroy (writer/illustrator Don Freeman) longs for someone to take him home from the department store. He thinks that finding his lost button may help, so he searches the store when nobody's around. Includes: Yo! Yes? ; Here Comes The Cat!



Pegasus the Flying Horse and Beauty and the Beast
Pegasus follows the mythological horse from birth to his battle with the multi-headed Chimaera. He is appointed by Zeus as thunder-bearer and is transformed into the constellation. Narrated by Mia Farrow. Adapted by Doris Orgel. Beauty and the Beast is based on the classic tale. To save her beloved father, a beautiful young girl agrees to become the companion of a brutish and unhappy beast. As time passes, love works a miraculous change in their lives. Narrated by Mia Farrow.


NEW ENDORSEMENTS ********************************

More New Endorsements can be found at

*** = Titles receiving the highest scores are given a three-star rating.
** = Titles that meet or exceed the criteria receive a two-star rating.
* = Titles that meet the baseline criteria but require some extra consideration on the part of the viewer a one-star rating.

Video/DVD-Ages 0-2

** MEET THE LETTERS. Designed to help babies and toddlers learn the alphabet while they are learning to talk. It works on the belief that exposing little ones to letters at the time they are learning to talk helps them master letter recognition along with the words they are learning. Adult Juror Comments: Well produced with good animation, good colors and shapes. Upbeat music. Good voices. Good consistency with letter and numbers DVD. The learning concept is based on an outdated theory of learning which some of our jurors found to be inappropriate and repetitious. We recommend adult intervention in using it. When viewed with an adult who repeated the lesson after the video voice, it was a hit. Kid Juror Comments: Very enjoyable for babies. "My 10-month-old was mesmerized, excited, and made lots of happy noises. " Broken into segments for viewing worked best. The ABC Song was a huge hit. DVD. 41 min.; $14.99; Age: 0-2. PRESCHOOL PREP COMPANY.


Video/DVD-Ages 2-5

** ADVENTURES WITH WINK & BLINK: A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A FIREFIGHTER. Join Wink and Blink as they explore the fire department to figure out their pal Magic Door's favorite fire safety lesson. Packed with learning, laughs and fun, emphasizes essential fire safety lessons that kids can really use. Adult Juror Comments: Lovely presentation about safety. Kids should be able to understand and relate to the characters. Well done. Bright, colorful. Cute characters. Fast-paced, perfect for holding kids' interest. Very engaging. Kid Juror Comments: Liked it a lot. "It was funny. " "The characters all helped one another. " "My friends would like it because of the humor. " "We learned how to be safe in a fire." This is a funny DVD. The kids were actively involved, talking back to the characters and answering questions. DVD. 35 min.; $12.98; Age: 3-6. LAUREL HILL ENTERTAINMENT.



Video/DVD-Ages 5-8

** REAL WHEELS: ROCKIN' REAL WHEELS. The first sing-along DVD from Real Wheels shows young children how fun it can be to travel on various means of transportation. Includes three 30-minute adventures on a train, a fire truck and a bulldozer. Adult Juror Comments: Makes a rather dry subject interesting for young people through the use of music. The lyrics of the songs complement the images and the narration provides backup detail. This is chock full of information, and a bit over-the-top for littlest kids. On the other hand, they are the ones fascinated with trucks and machines. A plus is a menu where you can print out the lyrics for all the songs. Kid Juror Comments: DVD. 100 min.; $14.97; Age: 5-8. POWER TO CREATE.


Video/DVD-Ages 8-12

** MAGICFRANK'S LESSONS IN MAGIC: MORE MAGIC 4 FUN. Twenty-one tricks with everyday objects, from rubber bands, tissue paper, paper bags, sugar packets, coins, spoons, even a few card and coin tricks. You will learn how to do MAGICFRANK's favorite sponge trick. Adult Juror Comments: Magic tricks look like fun and the instruction is clear. Frank is a great instructor making this otherwise pretty dry presentation, fun. This is very much at a kid's level, the tricks selected are appropriate for this age group, which is important. One doesn't want them to get frustrated trying to do things too advanced for them. Bravo for Frank for another good magic title. Kid Juror Comments: Overall, kids enjoyed this. One comment, "I like it because it's good," sums it up. Another, "My friends would like it because they'd like to learn to do magic tricks," is equally straightforward. And the last, "This video has good tricks that aren't too hard to figure out. " Makes a good finale. DVD. 73 min. ; $19.95; Age: 8-12. MAGICFRANK.


Lazytown: Robbie’s Greatest Misses. L. 100 min.
The people of LazyTown love to lounge. They find inactivity invigorating and they revel in relaxation. On any given day you can find the inhabitants of LazyTown doing whatever requires the least amount of effort - kicking back in comfy chairs, vegging out in front of the TV, playing video games and gulping down junk food. The children of LazyTown are in dire need of a hero to look up to, someone to show them alternatives to all the bad habits and easy solutions they see around them. Ages 5-8. Paramount Home Entertainment/Nickelodeon



SpongeBob SquarePants: Lost in Time. A. 187 min.
Includes: Dunces and Dragons - After a freak jousting accident at a Medieval Times restaurant, SpongeBob and Patrick are transported to a medieval version of Bikini Bottom. Also includes: Selling Out, Funny Pants, Mermaidman & Barnacleboy VI/The Motion Picture. Ages 8-12. Paramount Home Entertainment




Berenstain Bears- Always Look on the Bright Side. A. 82 min.
Even though life is pretty merry for the honey-loving Bear Family, each of them tend to get frustrated, sad or fearful at times. No matter what they encounter, however, the furry foursome always come out ahead, feeling positive and looking at the bright side of everything. This DVD contains six episodes. Age: 2-5. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment




Dragon Tales: Say Hola to Enrique. A. 64 min.
New families are always moving into new neighborhoods with their children. These children may be feeling a bit homesick and are looking to make new friends. Dragon Tales: Say Hola to Enrique introduces us to Enrique, the new face of Dragon Tales. It explores, through engaging and playful episodes, and gives children creative ways to make a new person feel welcome in their neighborhood and amongst their already established group of friends. Contains five episodes. English, Spanish. Age: 2-5. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment



The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss: The Cat's Home But Not Alone. A. 72 min.
Join the Cat in the Hat and his whimsical friends Terrence, Morton, Sarah Hall-Small, Milo and many others, as they experience imaginative new adventures! This DVD release contains three episodes. Age: 2-5. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.



Our complete list of titles is available by clicking here.


Please welcome these new or renewing members and visit their web sites.





VeggieTales Fans, Get Ready to Sing, Dance and Laugh
VeggieTales Rockin’ Tour LIVE! audiences can experience the silliness at churches and theaters nationwide and in various venues throughout Canada. Please visit Big Idea for details.


Dove Self-esteem Fund
A recent survey in the United Kingdom indicated that 6 out of 10 girls thought they'd "be happier if they were thinner."
Find out what the Dove Self-esteem Fund is doing about the problem of low-esteem in young girls — and how you can help. Read More

Hot Shots Soon Launches
This New York online photo library gives producers and location managers instant access to a catalog of Gotham-owned sites throughout the five boroughs that are available free of charge for production. Read More


Los Angeles Sues 'Grand Theft Auto' Publisher
Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo states, "Greed and deception are part of the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas' story -- and in that respect its publishers are not much different from the characters in their story." Read More

Great Titles from Cable in the Classroom

Go, Diego, Go! : Chito and Rita the Spectacled Bears (Nickelodeon) on February 20 at 11:30 AM ET/PT features Dora and Diego learning about and rescuing animals in the rainforest. Then, for the basketball fans, A&E is featuring Biography: Shaquille O'Neal (A&E) on February 24 at 9:00 PM ET/PT. Find more details at Cable in the Classroom.

Worldwide Kids by Christine L. Pollock

There is a strong movement seeping through the world of children's media. It is a movement of international knowledge and acceptance that reaches well beyond knowing the lyrics to Hakuna Matata. Leaders in children's media gathered together after 9/11 to discuss a very serious issue. How should media respond to promote respect internationally? How can it counter negative attitudes and be used to promote good in a significant way? In answer to these questions, Worldwide Kids was developed.

Worldwide Kids is a multi-year, multinational, activity-based public service initiative fostering the foundation for global citizenship skills and community activism in children aged 3-6 years. It helps prepare them to be responsible citizens in an increasingly global and interdependent world. The initiative will foster global awareness and citizenship in ways that will nurture and model basic civic values. These values include: fairness, mutual respect and understanding, justice, learning about different lifestyles, family situations, accountability for one's actions, fiscal responsibility and a general desire to work for the greater good.

Dr. Charlotte Frances Cole, Vice President for Education and Research at Sesame Workshop in New York, explains this initiative as a collaboration between the Merrill Lynch Foundation and Sesame Workshop. Worldwide Kids is a network throughout the world with a localized component. Though this initiative, the founders hope to use media as building blocks to promote good citizenship and the value of common humanity. But how is that different from what Sesame Workshop already does?

Worldwide Kids is a tool that invites adults to engage with children on important issues. The issues are heavy. For example, one goal is for the children to gain awareness of how kids around the world live and to help kids build an understanding of other cultures without prejudice. "While globalization is bringing individuals closer together, it is also requiring our children and youth to develop new skills, perspectives and competencies to successfully navigate our interconnected world," said Ambassador William H. Luers, president, United Nations Association-USA. International advisors of cultural experts, early childhood researchers, educators and media specialists from nine countries and organizations such as Oxfam, UNICEF, and World Bank, gathered to develop content for Worldwide Kids, with a focus on communicating messages of global citizenship to young children.

Parents need not feel overwhelmed, though. The materials they developed will be available on the web and through regular programming. Instead of learning about China by having an American producer go over there to film, our American audience will instead view a clip about China filmed by producers in China, teaching about their own country. This shows the children similarities and differences in culture in a culturally sensitive way. Parents can just accompany their children on the journey.

Many of the lessons and objectives presented are about learning to take responsibility. This has always been a part of the Sesame Street initiative. If you spill milk, you need to clean it up. Take ownership for your choices. Skills like this lead to positive community living. This is another goal of the Worldwide Kids initiative. Parents are encouraged to join their children in getting involved in community efforts.

Children are like sponges and have a greater capacity for understanding than many adults realize. Worldwide Kids is giving parents the tools to teach responsibility and community and global appreciation to young children. Through this global effort and collaboration with Merrill Lynch, Sesame Workshop continues to achieve their goal of building a better world by reaching kids and promoting understanding.


Dr. Toy's Tips on Use of Video by Stevanne Auerbach, PhD. /Dr.Toy Smart Play /Smart Toys (

International Products/Games
Learning about the world is exciting and educational. Children enjoy reading about other countries, their customs, and how their children live. They often like to try new foods that are typical of other countries. Attending a special festival presenting foreign culture such as dance and music can add to their understanding. In each of these areas you can help your child by using media like videos and CDs to complement all these activities. A perfect title from the KIDS FIRST!® collection is Zoe's Dance Moves.



A Global Celebration based on Zoe's Dance Moves

Materials: a globe, paper, colored pencils, web site or book about flags of the world

For instructions, go to craft page.

KIDS FIRST!® Film and Video Festival Schedule
Join us as we travel around the country with film festivals. Find out when we will be in a town near you. For details read here

Yuma, AZ

Los Angeles, CA

Newport Beach, CA
San Jose, CA

Tiburon, CA

Denver, CO

Miami, FL

Hanapepe, HI

Rockford, IL

Fort Wayne, IN

Brookline MA
Williamstown, MA

Ironwood, MI

Minneapolis, MN

Albuquerque, NM
Santa Fe, NM

Las Vegas, NV

Brooklyn, NY
Garden City, NY

New York, NY
Queens, NY

Oklahoma City, OK

Tulsa, OK

Ashland, OR

Nashville, TN

Austin, TX
Dallas, TX

Houston, TX

Spring, TX

Salt Lake City
, UT

Shelburne, VT

Seattle, WA

Milwaukee, WI

Washington, DC

Other Events:

March 20-21 University of Washington. Just Think: Professional Development Workshop, Images of Youth 2006-New Directions in Media Literacy and Teen Health.

March 24-25 UnConvention Center, New York City, NY. Celebration of Teaching & Learning Information and online registration is now available at registration.

To add your event to this list, please send a notice to Chris.


SCHOLASTIC INC.-Looking for 2 Asset Managers to work in Retail Software group. 5-7 month freelance position. Two years experience in multimedia production required. Email resumes to

SCHOLASTIC-Producer to manage production of 2 interactive DVD titles during maternity leave around 3/15-8/15. Titles will already be in development, possibly in production. Contact

EXPERIENCED COUNSELOR, coordinator looking for entry-level position or higher in Educational Media/Media Literacy in San Francisco Bay Area. Willing to travel. References upon request. 510- 653-1216.

SCHARFF WEISBERG, NY-based events-staging company currently seeks a highly motivated individual for an internship within our post-production division. Please e-mail any interested candidates resumes directly to


For Homeschoolers
The Old Schoolhouse is the must have magazine for homeschoolers and right now they are offering a deal that is hard to pass up. With your 2- year subscription you will get approximately $300 in FREE homeschool materials - 19 complete gifts - and FREE shipping. Click here or call TOS at 1-888-718-HOME. The Old Schoolhouse is the magazine for homeschoolers. Please call today as gift inventory is limited to the first 5000 new subscribers.

Become a Coalition for Quality Children's Media Member

If you've found our e-zine and web site helpful, please consider becoming a member of KIDS FIRST!® Members help underwrite the various projects of this organization. The Coalition for Quality Children's Media's relies on the generous support of its members and donors to support its programs. An individual/family membership is only $25/year. An organizational membership is $100/year. An independent producer membership is $200. To join, go to: or contact our office at 505.989.8076.

VISIT OUR MEMBERS' SITES ******************
Please visit our website for an up-to-date list of Coalition members by clicking here:


Contact Ann ************************

Send comments, questions and feedback to: Chris

To SUBSCRIBE to our free e-zine, KIDS FIRST!® NEWS: Send e-mail to Or fill out the simple form at: To leave this list, send e-mail to or use the link below:

This newsletter may be reprinted with permission. Write to:
Copyright 2002 by Coalition for Quality Children's Media,

KIDS FIRST!® is the not-for-profit Coalition for Quality Children's Media's initiative that evaluates and rates children's media - videotapes, CD-ROMs and television - using a highly acclaimed method that has been praised by parents and educators alike. It utilizes professionally designed criteria and evaluation tools and engages a volunteer jury comprising child development professionals, teachers and parents nationwide and children of diverse geographic, socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds. KIDS FIRST!® endorsed titles appeal to people around the world and include many programs on topics important to children's development. KIDS FIRST!®-endorsed titles are available on CQCM's award-winning Internet site, in the KIDS FIRST!® Film and Video Festival and in reviews we provide to more than 75 publications.

CQCM evaluates feature films, television programs, videos, CD-ROM, DVDs and audio recordings. For an application form and application deadlines, visit our website at, call our office (505.989.8076) or send an email to Jury Coordinator.
Coalition for Quality Children's Media, 112 W. San Francisco St. , Suite 305A, Santa Fe, NM 87501.

CQCM Newsletter Archive
2004 / 2003 / 2002
2001 / 2000 / 1999 / 1998
1997a 1997 b
Subscribe to KIDS FIRST! free monthly e-zine for news and specials: