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

Cookie Jar Entertainment

Cookie Jar Entertainment is, without a doubt, one of the leading producers of outstanding children’s TV shows for today’s youth. I met with Kirsten Hurd, Sales Executive for Cookie Jar at NAPTE earlier this year and was awed by not just what they have done to date but what is on the docket. Among their list of winning shows are PBS favorites: “Caillou,” “Postcards from Buster” and “Arthur.” Then there is “The Doodlebops” which plays on the Disney Channel, amd “Are You Afraid of the Dark,” “The Adventures of Paddington Bear,” and “Wimzie’s House” which have all been hailed by KIDS FIRST! They have a host of new shows, some appearing in the U.S. and others, coming soon that includes: “Hurray for Huckle!,” “World of Quest,” “Will & Dewitt” (just picked up by Discovery Kids Latin America), and “Magi-Nation.” Impressive line up, si no!

First, a little history about this company which was formed in March 2004, when leading children’s entertainment executives Michael Hirsh and Toper Taylor, teamed up to buy Cinar and founded the Cookie Jar Group. Together with noted educational publishing executives Steve and Patti Carson, and Scott McCaw, they forged a unique company focused on enhancing the lives of children at home and at school.

You couldn’t find better visionaries than Toper Taylor and Michael Hirsh. Taylor is among the most respected executives in children’s entertainment having led the development, production, distribution and marketing of a multitude of new productions together with leading broadcasters in the U.S. At Nelvana, his guidance helped the company forge relationships with all the major studios, develop ancillary product lines with toy and book manufactures. Hirsh’s career in children’s entertainment began in 1971 when he co-founded Nelvana and helped drive it to become a world-class animation company. He also co-founded Teletoon, Canada’s leading animation network.

Headquartered in Toronto, Cookie Jar Group has teams located around the globe with offices in Los Angeles, London, Paris, Tokyo, Montreal, Boston, Chicago, Providence, Santa Fe, Greensboro and Charlotte. In a relatively short period of time Cookie Jar Entertainment has become one of the most successful, innovative and popular entertainment content producers of our time.

Here’s a list of Cookie Jar’s “edutainment” shows currently available in the U.S.

Doodlebops – the rockin’ band that sings, dances and laughs through a series of fun and funny adventures with band members Deedee, Rooney and Moe. The Doodlebops are always up for a good time and never pass up the opportunity to sing and dance. The ultimate rock and roll band, The Doodlebops hang out and practice their song and dance routines in the coolest rehearsal space imaginable and go from gig to gig in the world’s most rockin’ tour bus!

Caillou. Growing up is the greatest adventure, especially when you are 4 years old. Each Caillou episode is about a simple everyday life situation that feels so BIG to a child. It’s about discovery and imagination. Watching Caillou helps children feel empowered and inspired. What Caillou does in the episodes reflects what every child does in their day-to-day lives. Caillou is an everyday hero and “a kid just like me.”

Arthur – the smash hit series is a worldwide sensation and winner of four Emmy® Awards for Outstanding Children’s Animated Program. Based on the best-selling books by Marc Brown, Arthur follows the adventures and misadventures of an irresistible eight-year-old aardvark whose charm is simple — he’s just a regular kid.

Will & Dewitt. The trouble with being a kid is that there seems to be a lot more things that you can’t do than things you can do! Sometimes you just need that extra boost of confidence to push you along. Will, an everyday kid who wants to do it all, is able to jump into new situations with a little help from his best friend, cheerleader and morphing pal, Dewitt (who just happens to be a frog). Together Will & Dewitt are ready to make a big splash in the world.

Gerald McBoing Boing is a collection of hilarious adventures packed into high-energy 11-minute episodes. Gerald is a precocious six-year-old boy who makes himself heard using sounds instead of words. Gerald’s world is filled with non-stop “gags!” and “giggles.” Gerald McBoing Boing is based on the character created by Theodor Geisel also known as Dr. Seuss, the best-selling children’s author of such classics as “The Cat in the Hat” and “Green Eggs and Ham.”

Magi-Nation, one of the new properties has a spin-off online web-based game, “Magi-Nation: Battle for the Moonlands.” This free game features a user-friendly menu system that enables players to quickly manage their items, spells and creature collection. The intuitive interface encourages players to take control of the game experience as they seek to become the best magi in all the Moonlands. Fans can register and play the game at http://www.magi-nation.net/. In addition to the online role-playing game and series, they have a new Trading Card Game that will come out this fall as well as DVDs and a Nintendo DS Game currently in the works.

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