Up to date information about children’s entertainment – film, TV, DVD and more…. from founder and president of KIDS FIRST! Ranny Levy

News – Kids Choice Awards, NEA’s Read Across America and More

Kids’ Choice Awards 2008 (www.nick.com/kca) The companion website to Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Awards allows children to cast their votes for favorite TV show, book series, and song as well as several other categories. The site also features video clips, quizzes, games, and more.

As part of NEA’s annual Read Across America project (highlighted at http://www.smarttelevisionalliance.org/site/PageServer?pagename=bunnytown), Disney Channel produced a Public Service Announcement exclusively for Smart Television Alliance promoting reading with characters from the comedic hit Playhouse Disney series for preschoolers, “Bunnytown.”

The PBS Kids competition show Design Squad is premiering an all-new season of innovative engineering and design challenges on April 2. The first ep kicks off with an IKEA challenge.

Last Saturday, March 15, Nickelodeon and Mall of America opened the doors to Nickelodeon Universe, a seven-acre theme park featuring 18 new Nick-themed rides and attractions. Located in the center of Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn, the park’s grand opening celebration featureed appearances by TEENick talent, including Miranda Cosgrove from iCarly, and multiplatinum recording artist Ashlee Simpson. It was one of the most successful days in the parks 16-year history with attendance the largest crowd in the amusement park since the opening weeks of Mall of America back in 1992. Over the weekend they gave more than 125,000 rides. All rides were in operation throughout the day with a wait line at each attraction.

Nick Jr. will premiere four episodes of its new series Ni Hao, Kai-lan, the week of Monday-Thursday, March 24-27 at 11a, followed by a series marathon on Friday, March 28 (11a-1p). The Chinese language (Mandarin) and culture focused series, Ni Hao, Kai-lan premiered on the network last month.

Actress/singer Raven-Symone kicks off her Pajama Party concert tour from April 26. The tour will travel to 55 US cities and features guest stars Mitchel Muss (from Hannah Montana), B5 (of Get’cha Head in the Game fame) and Clique Girlz. The tour supports the release of Raven-Symone’s self-titled album from Hollywood Records that is set to drop April 29, and includes a cover of the song Double Dutch Bus, which is also featured in her current movie College Road Trip.

Witness the heartwarming and marvelous journey as newborn cubs find their way through the joys, adventures, discoveries and challenges of their first days with the help of some professional caregivers in Animal Planet: Growing Up Wild Cats, a big cat-themed collection of episodes from Animal Planet’s popular series, debuting on DVD April 1st. The DVD includes four complete episodes: “Growing Up Lion,” “Growing Up Tiger,” “Growing Up Cheetah,” and “Growing Up Black Leopard.” Each installment features rescued or orphaned cubs and the compassionate caretakers who nurture them as they venture into adulthood. From bottle feedings, first steps and first bath to learning how to swim, these bold and bouncy babies discover how to adapt to their newly adopted homes while at the same time learning how to survive with other big cats.

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