Quality Children's Entertainment Family Movie Reviews

Archive for March, 2019

KIDS FIRST! Partners with Xerb.tv to Launch Family Streaming Service

Wednesday, March 6th, 2019

KIDS FIRST! and Xerb.tv are proud to announce the launch of a new, ad-free digital streaming service for high quality children’s programming, on March 1, 2019. The content is curated from filmmakers from all around the world and the bulk of the revenue from the channel will go directly to the filmmakers. The rapidly growing Xerb.tv, which launched in January, 2019 is providing KIDS FIRST! a platform to deliver a collection of family-friendly content that is inspirational, enriching and motivational.

“What the KIDS FIRST! Digital Channel (https://xerb.tv/channel/kidsfirst) offers families is engaging, informative and fun content with pro-social values that both kids and parents love,” comments Ranny Levy, founder and president of KIDS FIRST! “It’s not so easy to find programming like this in the jungle of digital channels, but KIDS FIRST! has 28 years experience in doing just that.”

The partnership came about when Levy met Xerb.tv founder, Eric Streeper, at a film event in Santa Fe, NM, where both companies are headquartered. Streeper, a Santa Fe native, spent eight years working in tech/entertainment in Los Angeles. The idea to create Xerb.tv came after working for a wildly popular YouTube star who, despite having a very large audience, wasn’t generating very much revenue from the platform. Streeper saw an opportunity to help filmmakers take control of their work and develop an audience to support it. While visiting his hometown two years ago, the creative and entrepreneurial energy there impressed Streeper and he realized it was the ideal place to launch his new media company. “Our goal is to level the playing field for creators,” Streeper proclaims, “and help them access the same resources that the big entertainment companies have.” When he met Levy he thought, “What a great way to give families access to programming that has been vetted by parents and kids reviewers alike through their extensive review process.”

KIDS FIRST! has a team of more than 100 kids and adults who review and recommend films with no algorithms involved. The KIDS FIRST! reviewers go through extensive training to asure continuity in film selection. The films on the channel represent the diversity of the filmmakers who made them –  from a documentary following the first Roma/Gipsy youth soccer team in Italy to one about educating girls in India. A high school student has created an animated series about the Mars Rovers. A Spanish film follows a 9-year-old boy dealing with loss. Another short is about a girl and her pet pig. A music video tells what it’s like to be an engineer. A feature film explores a changing mother/son dynamic and another one reveals the true story of an 11-year-old foster child with brittle bone disease who overcame his problems and directs his first musical. For a quick overview of the channel, check out the trailer at https://bit.ly/2T5LL1fLinks

KIDS FIRST! Channel: https://xerb.tv/channel/kidsfirst
KIDS FIRST! website: https://www.kidsfirst.org
Xerb website: https://xerb.tv
KIDS FIRST! and Xerb assets: https://landing.xerb.tv/assets

Stats
Number of films: 93
Number of filmmakers: 45
Number of countries: 15
Number of languages: 12
Price: $5.99/month

ABOUT KIDS FIRST! KIDS FIRST! Digital Channel is project of the 28-year-old national nonprofit (501-c-3) Coalition for Quality Children’s Media whose mission is to teach children critical viewing skills and to increase the visibility and availability of quality children’s media. KIDS FIRST! Digital Channel is an online space where kids and families can watch movies that both inspire and teach – and where parents don’t have to worry about what their kids are watching. A former educator, Levy created an award-winning PBS show, produced an ACE-nominated television show and managed an independent film production and distribution company in the mid 80s. In 1991, Levy founded the Coalition for Quality Children’s Media and its KIDS FIRST! program. The KIDS FIRST! Digital Channel features original animated programming, music videos, feature length films and international programming from 15 different countries, teaching about people and cultures world-wide. You can access the channel at https://xerb.tv/channel/kidsfirst

About Xerb.tv Xerb.tv is a streaming service, similar to Netflix, but different. Xerb.tv allows independent filmmakers and organizations to create tailored subscription channels and share them with a devoted fan-base. Xerb.tv is  changing how creators get paid online, how they build their audience, and how they collaborate with each other — all in an incredibly simple way. The future of content is independent. Are you a content creator, or want to run a channel? If you want to engage directly with an audience that loves your work and build a sustainable business around what you’re passionate about, we want to hear from you! Send us a message and come join our beta partner program. Xerb.tv is built for you.

Octonauts: Reef Rescue – Amazing Way To Learn About Different Sea Creatures

Friday, March 1st, 2019

The Octonauts are a team of adventurers who explore the world’s oceans, rescue aquatic creatures and protect their habitats – from the bustling eco-system along the Amazon River to the deepest depths of the Mariana Trench. Deploying a set of aquatic vehicles, Captain Barnacles, daredevil ex-pirate, Kwazii, medic Peso and the rest of the crew embark on missions around the globe before returning safely to their home base, the Octopod. On this exciting DVD, join the Octonauts as they journey to a colorful coral reef to rescue the creatures that live there! Come along with Dashi as she saves a pair of surfing snails. And when poisonous sea snakes get stranded on a beach, Peso must figure out a way to get them back into the ocean. Enjoy these adventures and more with the Octonauts! KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Katherine S. comments, “I really like the DVD Octonauts: Reef Rescue, because we experience a new adventure with each episode.  The animation is simple and has a rainbow of splashy colors.” Lukas L. adds, “The character animations are very simple and that works for me.  Also, they have the most adorable little personalities and vegetable helpers.” Nathalia J. wraps it up with, “This show promotes positive social behavior by presenting kind actions through rescuing others. It promotes team work, working together and solving problems on an ocean adventure.” See their full reviews below.

Octonauts: Reef Rescue
By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

I really like the DVD Octonauts: Reef Rescue, because we experience a new adventure with each episode.  The animation is simple and has a rainbow of splashy colors.  The music is also very playful, supporting the kaleidoscope of action in each different rescue mission.

Octonauts: Reef Rescue has a lot of lively characters, led by Captain Barnacles, who is a bear.  His crew also includes a number of other animals including a penguin, an ex-pirate kitten and a sea otter.  The most creative characters are vegimals – yes, part vegetable, part animal.  And, each rescue ends swimmingly! (ha ha) The DVD includes eight episodes, each a different adventure.  It is an amazing place to learn a lot about different sea creatures including a convict fish, very cute baby sea turtles, a tiger shark, poisonous yellow-bellied sea snakes and my favorite – surfing snails.  I had no idea snails could surf on bubbles.

There are so many positive messages throughout this DVD.  My favorite is the importance of team work.  The episodes also show how to protect the sea habitat and how much hard work and fun it is to rescue sea life. 

Octonauts Reef Rescue is very kid-friendly. It promotes positive social behavior, teamwork and kindness to one another and animals. I give this DVD 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 through 8. Adults will also enjoy this as they watch it with their kids and will probably learn something new. This DVD is available now, so look for it. I recommend it.

Octonauts: Reef Rescue
By Lukas L., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

I surprisingly really enjoyed watching the loveable Octonauts: Reef Rescue. The character animations are very simple and that works for me.  Also, they have the most adorable little personalities and vegetable helpers.

The stories on this DVD are about a polar bear, cat, a penguin and their friends that explore, rescue and protect underwater sea creatures and their habitats. In these episodes, we learn about baby sea turtles, sunfish, tiger sharks and more. There is always a conflict in every episode and they manage to come up with the cleverest ways to save the day.

The series stars voice-talent actors Ross Breen, Teresa Gallagher and Simon Greenall and is produced by Adam Idelson.  I really like the animation and give props to the animator Willian Muir. He keeps it very simple so that all ages can enjoy watching it. It is not just the main characters that I enjoyed. Oh, no no no, I really enjoyed the animated sea creatures as well. A lot of these sea creatures have very hard textures to mimic, so they make it through very nicely, plus we get a little sneak peak of the actual animals themselves at the end and that’s pretty cool.

This is the kind of where they make learning fun, which they succeed at.  There is not really a moral, but I it definitely promotes a love of ocean life. This show is great at teaching kids about marine life and their habitat. When I was younger, I was obsessed with animals of all sorts and I adored this show. Watching it again reminds me why I loved it so much!  There are not a lot of other shows that are dedicated to teaching kids about ocean life, so that’s a plus.

I give this DVD 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 9. The DVD is available now, so look for it.

Octonauts: Reef Rescue
By Nathalia J. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Are you ready to dive into adventure with your favorite underwater explores? This 90 minute, eight-episode, action-packed, powerful, thrilling and stimulating DVD is loaded with excitement in every episode. You get to join the Octonauts as they go on adventures through the glamorous, lovely, attractive and stunning reef to rescue creatures in need of help.

The Octonauts are a team of adventurers that explore the world’s oceans and protect the creatures and habitats therein. You get to watch the Octonauts save a pair of surfing snails through a rutted wave in the tide and save baby turtles from an enormous wave and explore the lives of sunfish, yellow belly sea snakes and colorful fish. 

The lead characters are Ross Breen (Captain Barnacles), Teresa Gallagher (Dashi), Simon Greenall (Captain Barnacles) and produced by Adam Idelson.

My favorite episode is the most adventurous and informational Episode 7, because it shares multiple facts about the biggest fish in the ocean, sunfish.  Fun fact: When sunfish get the case of the itchies, smart fish masticate the itches off the sunfish which stay in the sunfish’s skin.


This show promotes positive social behavior by presenting kind actions through rescuing others. It promotes team work, working together and solving problems on an ocean adventure. Sounds like fun, huh?! This DVD is a great way for kids to learn about reefs and so much more. Each episode is filled with beautifully colored stories that will keep you engaged.

I give this 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 11. This DVD is now available now so look for it!

Sesame Street: Celebrate Family – Learn About The Importance Of Family

Friday, March 1st, 2019

Celebrate your family with this fun-fest of five family stories from Sesame Street! First, Abby’s family has dinner at Elmo’s house, where Abby learns that different families can have fun working together to make a meal. Then, Cookie Monster realizes he’s forgotten a gift for his mommy for Mother’s Day what should he do? For Father’s Day, Rosita wants to make a video for her dad, but she needs some help from her friends. Next we meet Rudy, Abby’s new stepbrother! And finally, Hooper’s Store is throwing a special party for kids and their grandparents. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Katherine S. comments, “Each episode has an abundance of vibrant energy and many great lessons for families.  This DVD is a great place to learn about the importance of family.” Nancy F. adds, “!  It is absolutely amazing to watch with its focus on positive messages that teach kids about family values. It also shares terrific lessons about kindness and many other uplifting messages.” Ella L. wraps it up with, “Even as a teenager, I felt the happiness that radiates through the screen. This movie is musical, creative, filled with positive messages and very importantly, is representative of real life relationships.” See their full reviews below.

Sesame Street: Celebrate Family
By Katherine Schell, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

I absolutely love each episode of Sesame Street: Celebrate Family, because the characters are so colorful and cute. Each episode has an abundance of vibrant energy and many great lessons for families.  This DVD is a great place to learn about the importance of family.

Sesame Street: Celebrate Family has five parts covering different topics with all of the different Sesame Street characters. The stories include Abby and her stepfamily visiting Elmo for a fun “father/kids’ night” learning about the different things families do together. We get to see the challenges that Cookie Monster has trying to make something for his mom on Mother’s Day. He just likes to gobble everything up because it reminds him of cookies (surprise!).  For Father’s Day, Rosita makes something special for her dad since he’s away from home. We also get to see a grandparent’s party and learn about different grandparents such as Baby Bear’s grandpa.

The main characters are, of course, Elmo, Abby, Rudy (Abby’s step brother) and Rosita. The puppeteers are fabulous with all their actions and different voices. The songs are so stinking cute, catchy and easy to follow along with. My favorite part is when Cookie Monster eats the locket he planned to give to his mom because the picture reminded him of how they eat cookies together. You probably guessed that my favorite character is Cookie Monster. If so, you guessed right.

There are several positive messages throughout the DVD.  My favorite is that family is so very important, and you should take time to celebrate with them. Family is important no matter what you do or how different yours is. These episodes also touch on ways to have self-control, acknowledge your differences and give love to your family and friends. They also show that it is okay to be nervous about meeting new people, and that you can still celebrate even if your special person isn’t there. Each episode makes me want to celebrate family even more. 

Sesame Street: Celebrate Family is very kid friendly. It promotes positive social behavior and treating one another appropriately. There is no bad language and nothing risky or dangerous that children might imitate. I give this DVD 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 through 11. Adults will also enjoy this show. This DVD is available now, so look for it. I recommend it.

Sesame Street: Celebrate Family
By Nancy Fifita, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

The DVD Sesame Street: Celebrate Family is incredibly adorable!  It is absolutely amazing to watch with its focus on positive messages that teach kids about family values. It also shares terrific lessons about kindness and many other uplifting messages. What I really love and appreciate is how each character highlights a different point of view that all relate back to friendship and family. This film is filled with catchy music, comedy, valuable lessons, and features funny and adorable characters.

The DVD is centered on five family stories from Sesame Street!  The first adventure is about Abby and her families’ dinner with Elmo’s family. She discovers that not all families are the same; each has their own way of doing things. The second story involves Cookie Monster and Mother’s Day. He is great at creating gifts, but always ends up devouring them. He finally is able to restrain himself from eating the cookies he gives his mom as a gift for Mother’s Day. The next story is about Father’s Day and how Rosita wants to make a special video for her father. In order to complete the video she needs help from her friends. Then there’s a story about Abby and her new stepbrother Rudy! The last adventure shows happiness through a special celebration held for grandparents at Hopper’s store.

The characters we see here include Elmo (Kevin Clash), Abby (Leslie Cadabby), Rudy, Rosita, Cookie Monster (David Rudman), Oscar (Caroll Spinney), Slimy, Prairie Dawn (Fran Brill), Elmo’s Father (Bill Barretta) and Abby’s Father. I love all the messages that are taught in the different episodes. Each gives cute and warm fuzzy feelings as it focuses and draws attention to the importance of family relationships, family support and having family right by your side.

My favorite moment on this DVD is when Elmo Face Times his grandparents. It is a simple gesture and form of communication, but their reaction of joy and happiness is priceless. It teaches us an important lesson that, even if distance separates us from family, there is always a way to keep in touch, especially in the world of modern technology.

I rate this DVD 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 11 and adults as well. This DVD is so adorable, with meaningful lessons and teachable moments. I’m sure that anyone that watches it will truly enjoy it!  It is available now so look for it!

Sesame Street: Celebrate Family
by Ella Ladd, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Sesame Street: Celebrate Family is a fun and entertaining DVD that both kids and parents will be able to enjoy. Even as a teenager, I felt the happiness that radiates through the screen. This movie is musical, creative, filled with positive messages and very importantly, is representative of real life relationships. I assume that the purpose of this show is to entertain children, while teaching them about the variety of families that exist. 

Sesame Street: Celebrate Family follows Elmo and all his friends as they navigate through different relationships and figure out what the word family really means. Throughout the series, topics such as siblings, step-siblings, parents and grandparents are discussed. Different songs about different members of one’s family showcase the love and admiration Elmo and his friends feel towards their family. The film is very well written, with loads of content and humor that kids will absorb and enjoy thoroughly. The cheerfulness of Elmo and the Sesame Street community ought to make your kids want to laugh, play and sing along with them. Their positivity is absolutely contagious.

The aspect of the show that stands most are the positive messages. Elmo even says that “families come in all different shapes and sizes.” I am impressed by the progressive way that families are depicted in this show. All the families are different; none are a cookie-cutter mother-father-kid experience. Elmo and his friends also teach kids to love their families and treat their parents with love and respect. This DVD shows that family isn’t necessarily what you are born into. It’s the connections, relationships and bonds that you build with the people around you, regardless of age, color or any other hereditary aspect. Family is thicker than blood and that message is well portrayed here.  

I give this DVD 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 10, as well as adults. This is an awesome show that helps kids develop their own personal values and character. Sesame Street: Celebrate Family does indeed celebrate families. The DVD is available now so, look for it!  

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