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Disney Princess: Beyond the Tiara * Gives Insight Into These Characters Beyond The Ball Gowns, Princes And Tiaras

Friday, September 23rd, 2022

Everyone knows the Disney Princess characters, but how did they become the cultural icons we know today? From the Princesses Walt Disney and his artists brought to the screen in the 20th century, such as Snow White and Aurora, to the recent additions such as Moana, Tiana and Rapunzel, each Disney Princess character’s influence has expanded beyond their original film. Each of their unique, individual stories create a fabric with the power to inspire our imaginations, spark social conversations, and empower us. Featured Disney Princesses include Moana, Merida, Rapunzel, Tiana, Mulan, Pocahontas, Jasmine, Belle, Ariel, Aurora, Cinderella, Snow White. Organized by themes of origins and inspirations, re-imaginings, toys and collectibles, fashion, music, parks, fandom, and more, the book features memorabilia and interviews with Disney historians, directors, voice talent and fans. Explore the different eras, influences, and legacies of the Princesses with Disney Legends such as Jodi Benson (voice of Ariel in The Little Mermaid), Lea Salonga (voice behind Jasmine and Mulan) and composer Alan Menken.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Nyara A. comments, “Disney Princess: Beyond the Tiara is an enlightening book that gives you true insight into character design and animation beyond the ball gowns, princes, and tiaras. The reader learns about the process of Disney filmmaking from the steps of animating the characters to the fashion designers behind the classic “princess dresses.” See her full review and interview with the author below.

Disney Princess: Beyond the Tiara
By Nyara A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

Disney Princess: Beyond the Tiara is an enlightening book that gives you true insight into character design and animation beyond the ball gowns, princes, and tiaras. The reader learns about the process of Disney filmmaking from the steps of animating the characters to the fashion designers behind the classic “princess dresses.”

Author Emily Zemler engages the reader with an abundance of colorful and appealing photos. These images help you recognize the immense amount of work you never knew was necessary to create your favorite princesses. My favorite part of this book is the chapter on the fashion designers and artists who worked tirelessly to create perfect dresses that matched each character and their personality.

This book would be a fascinating read for Disney-loving families or teens and adults. Each chapter of Disney Princess: Beyond the Tiara describes a different element of this process including animation, music, fashion, marketing, and merchandising, as well as its famous theme park, Disneyland.

Readers will enjoy learning about the development of animation from the early 1930s with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to the early twenty-first century with popular films such as Moana and Encanto. It even offers the reader insight into how classic animated films have been adapted into modern live-action movies, many with actors we all know and love.

By including pictures, quotes, illustrations and memoirs written firsthand by Disney voice stars, every type and age of reader can easily engage in the storytelling. Although this book contains positive information about the Disney Princess franchise, it does not address the issues the company faced with complaints such as princesses having an unrealistic body image or the lack of diversity.

I give Disney Princess: Beyond the Tiara 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Kids under 12 would benefit from reading it with their parents. It will be available starting September 20, 2022, at online retailers and in bookstores.

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Francis at The Beach * Great Book For Someone To Read Who Longs To Go To The Beach

Saturday, March 12th, 2022

Francis is exhausted. He has been working extra shifts. Francis decides that he will go to the beach and visit his lifeguard sister, Fiona. Fiona is delighted that her firefighting big brother is coming to see her. She wants to share with him all the amazing things the oceans have to offer.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Carlee S. comments, “Francis at The Beach is both entertaining and educational. The images are appealing and the cartoon characters are set against real-life photographs, which is nice. Readers will enjoy following Francis’s time at the beach with his sister Fiona while learning about beach animals and beach safety.” Avalon N. adds, “The story held my attention quite nicely without dragging. It is very accurate, especially when it talks about professions such as the lifeguard and firefighter. Good behavior such as listening to lifeguards is demonstrated.” Madeleine H. contributes, “The most appealing thing about Francis at the Beach is how much Francis learns and enjoys about the beach when he visits his sister Fiona. This would be a great book for someone to read who longs to go to the beach. I especially enjoyed when Francis discovers the conch shell; those shells are beautiful.” Katherine wraps it up with, “Francis at the Beach didn’t quite catch my attention…(but) A reader could learn about dolphins, turtles and birds, and also about climate change. It might make children more interested in knowing more about the beach or nature.” See their full reviews below.

Francis At The Beach
By Carlee S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

Francis At The Beach is both entertaining and educational. The images are appealing and the cartoon characters are set against real-life photographs, which is nice. Readers will enjoy following Francis’s time at the beach with his sister Fiona while learning about beach animals and beach safety.

Francis At The Beach is an educational children’s fiction book about Francis, a firefighter, who decides to take a vacation to visit his sister Fiona at the beach. He packs up his things and heads off to the beach where he is greeted by his sister who shows him around. Fiona talks about the different animals they see. The next day they head off to the beach where Fiona works as a lifeguard and she talks about certain dangers at the beach by explaining the meanings of the different flags. During his day at the beach, he enjoys learning to surf and collecting shells. Francis learns about the importance of keeping the beach free from pollution. In the end Francis returns home with a lot more knowledge and appreciation for the beach.

The characters in this book are kid family and good role models. The way they interact with each other and the environment is positive. The story has a well thought-out storyline that stays on topic. It gives reasons why Francis travels to the beach, explains the activities he enjoys and the things he learns while he is there. It held my interest because there is a lot of detailed information. For example, the information about the meanings of the different flags at the beach is interesting and useful. The facts about the beach seem accurate. Francis and Fiona, the main characters, are siblings and they have a positive relationship. They are polite and enjoy each other’s company. Fiona teaches Francis about the beach, and he appreciates it. The story also addresses the issue of pollution. There is one instance when Francis finds a plastic bottle floating in the ocean. They take it out and dispose of it properly. There are other examples, such as when a shark is spotted close to the beach, and they respond with the appropriate actions. The vocabulary is rich; however, some of vocabulary might be difficult for younger readers to understand. For example, the words quandary and dilemma are not words that are common for the target age group. The book’s cover is colorful and inviting to kids. It features an animated character with a beach as the background. As an e-book, you have option to view one page at a time or several in smaller panels. There is also a search option where you can type in a word, and it shows the pages where that word is featured. This book might make kids inclined to learn more about animals that live at the beach and to do things to protect the beach environment.

One of the important messages of the book is about pollution. Francis and Fiona discuss the importance of cleaning the environment and taking care of the ocean’s animals.

I give Francis At The Beach 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 13.

Francis at the Beach
Avalon N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Something very appealing about Francis at the Beach is that it has amazingly edited pictures along with words. The story has lots of good messages and it is not too scary for younger audiences.

This is a very interesting and engaging book with terrific pictures, a nice plot and interesting storyline. The story follows a firefighter rat, Francis, who decides to go visit his sister who lives at the beach. His sister, Fiona, is a lifeguard. While at the beach Francis learns things about the animals that live there and what a lifeguard does.

The story held my attention quite nicely without dragging. It is very accurate, especially when it talks about professions such as the lifeguard and firefighter. Good behavior such as listening to lifeguards is demonstrated. It is very easy to get though; there are even arrows that make it very easy to follow the pages. Kids will find it entertaining to hear about Francis’s adventures. They may even decide to do some research on professions such as lifeguards and firefighters.

The story encourages kids to be grateful and to appreciate a vacation. It also talks about necessary professions such as lifeguard and firefighter.

I give Francis at the Beach 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 through 12. You can find it online where books are sold.

Francis at the Beach
By Madeleine H., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9

The most appealing thing about Francis at the Beach is how much Francis learns and enjoys about the beach when he visits his sister Fiona. This would be a great book for someone to read who longs to go to the beach. I especially enjoyed when Francis discovers the conch shell; those shells are beautiful.

This book is about Francis, a hardworking firefighter, who needs a rest and decides to visit his sister, Fiona, who is a lifeguard and lives at the beach. He learns so many things about the beach and ocean from his sister while he has a very relaxing time.

This e-book is an easy read with interesting illustrations featuring cartoon characters in live action settings. Francis learns how to ride the surf, relax and take better care of the ocean and its inhabitants. We can all take better care of our planet by recycling plastic. Francis at the Beach is a great book for a fun escape to the beach. One thing I found confusing is when Frances takes the bus trip, it states that he will need to take two busses. Then, he falls asleep and still wakes up where he needs to be. Otherwise, the story moves along nicely and is easy to follow. I like that Francis takes a vacation to rest from his hard firefighter job. I also like that Fiona is respectful of the baby turtles by leaving her porch light off. That is a kind and thoughtful idea. The vocabulary and concepts are easy to understand. At first the use of animated characters in a live setting didn’t make sense, but by the end of the book I liked it.

The message of the book is that we need to treat our planet better, especially our beaches. Picking up plastic bottles to recycle is important, or limiting the use of plastic.

I give Francis at the Beach 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 8. It’s a fun book that can be read by parents for little ones and older kids can easily read it for themselves.

Francis at the Beach
By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST!

Francis at the Beach didn’t quite catch my attention. I am not fond of the characters, which are unsettling to me and the storyline falls short. The wording is simple and the story is definitely easy to understand. I like that it has pictures, which make it more interactive, but they’re not great.

The story is about Francis, a firefighting rat, who is tired and needs a break. He decides to go to the beach to visit his sister, Fiona who is a lifeguard and lives on the beach. So, he packs up and goes. Together, they visit the beach, learn about animals, shells and lifeguard duties. They even get smoothies. Then it’s time for Francis to say goodbye to his sister and the beach so that he can return to work.

The story makes sense, but it is not very interesting and feels a bit choppy at points. The facts about the animals and shells are accurate, but seeing a rodent as a firefighter or lifeguard is definitely imaginary. The characters all portray positive interactions and respect for one another. The only questions they ask are about what the main character should wear or do on vacation. The vocabulary is mostly appropriate for its audience and, when new words, such as vacation, are introduced, they are explained. I expect most kids to the word vacation, but not words such as pristine or delectable. I did not find the characters attractive, but I’m not a fan of rodents. Stock photos are used for the backgrounds. A reader could learn about dolphins, turtles and birds, and also about climate change. It might make children more interested in knowing more about the beach or nature.

I can’t say I’m a big fan of Francis at the Beach, but it might appear to early readers, ages of 2 to 7. I give it 3 out of 5 stars.

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