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Turning your TV Time into Quality Time

Issue #1
Issue #2
Issue #3


Turning your TV Time into Quality Time
April 7, 2004 Issue #3
Christine L. Pollock, Editor
Ranny Levy, Publisher
[email protected]











1. Letter from the President
Letter from the Editor
Readers' Comments
2. New Endorsements
3. Media News
4. Family and Parenting News
5. Movies and Museums by Christine L. Pollock
6. Teens Use Media to Help Promote Healthy Choices
7. Member News
* Permission to forward or reprint the content herein is granted with
complete attribution


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

"Difficulties come not to obstruct, but to instruct. Within every setback or obstacle lie seeds of an equal or greater benefit or opportunity." --Brian Tracy

Dear Friends,

A little while ago, my ten-year-old and I were watching TV. When a commercial came on, the advertisement was pitching a product for children. The accompanying music was a catchy tune I remembered from my teens. As I sang along, my son turned to me and said, "Mom, this is a smart commercial. They are targeting adults as well as the kids."

He was right and I was thrilled. The years he has spent as a KIDS FIRST!® Junior Film Critic have paid off. He is developing an innate sense of media literacy. It's not about turning the TV off; it's about thinking while you watch.
This past month some interesting things have been happening in the world of media. With indecency fines rising, Eisner's difficulties with Disney, Emmy nominations, the controversy over Mel Gibson's Passion of Christ film, and lawsuits between Universal and Barry Diller, the month of March certainly came in like a lion. At the same time, KIDS FIRST!® just reviewed a host of television programming for Access Learning Magazine and we all discovered a whole new group of outstanding shows that were unfamiliar to us before.


Have a wonderful month!
Christine Pollock, Editor

Video/DVD-Ages 0-2

*** GIGGLE TOGETHER. Shows how laughter can be used to strengthen family bonds and help parents develop their children's sense of humor. Demonstrations of things parents have found to delight and prompt laughter. Adult Juror Comments: Great fun. Deserving to be included in every new mother's tool kit. Tempo, music, and variety are excellent. Children and parents joyfully and lovingly engaged in entertaining each other. Offers a range of play activities perfect for new parents. Kid Juror Comments: Giggle giggle. Great relaxed interaction between parents and kids. DVD. 75 min.; $17.95; Age: 0-3. THE MAKE BABY LAUGH COMPANY.

*** HUNK-TA-BUNK-TA FUNSIES 1. Fifteen skill-building activity songs for care givers, parents and babies. Musical tracks for sing along fun and activity guide available. Adult Juror Comments: Marvelous tool for parents of infants. Well organized. Includes instructions for how to use with song lyrics so parents can sing along. Covers the whole range of infants' readiness for response to music and rhythms from six to eighteen months. Kid Juror Comments: Parents loved the clarity of this presentation and having the song lyrics included. Audio.min.; $15.99; Age: 0-2. HUNK-TA-BUNK-TA MUSIC.

Video/DVD-Ages 2-5

Two separate adventures narrated by the character Rhea about one of her favorite stuffed animals. Each story follows the tiger on his early journeys to discover what makes him special. Adult Juror Comments: Simple production, narrated by a child. Both stories are typical with magical creatures, animals a semi-scary monster and a hero. Friendship and kindness are emphasized. No animation and little excitement. "Tape is too short (17 min.) for the price." Kid Juror Comments: Some enjoyed it, others wandered. "Wildfire found mysterious things. She told her daddy the tiger got rocks for the king." "The monster was mean; the king was nice; they used good manners." Video. 17 min.;$14.95; Age: 3-5. Scottish Winters Productions, Inc.

*** PICK ME UP! FUN SONGS FOR LEARNING SIGN LANGUAGE A compilation of 20 original songs to help teach children over 200 American Sign Language vocabulary words, including an activity guide with pre-written curricula for parents and educators. Enhanced CD with video clips. Adult Juror Comments: Cool! Great! Really fun. Great variety of music styles - everything from Frank Sinatra-esque to Caribbean style music. Plays music in the CD player and also has activities for the computer. Great resource for teachers. "We need more resources like this." Kid Juror Comments: Loved it. Enjoyed learning the signs and dancing and doing the movements. They thought the diaper song was particularly funny. It's hard to keep up with all the songs - there are 20 of them - offering lots to come back to time and time again. Audio. 52 min.; $36.95; Age: 2-7. SIGN2ME/NORTHIGHT, INC.

*** THOMAS & FRIENDS: PLATINUM EDITION. Thomas, James and Percy star in the "Best of" featuring fan favorite episodes of each train. Adult Juror Comments: Enjoyable. Easy menu with all the options. Offers many different activities for the kids. It's more like a CD-ROM. Promotes pro-activity and positive role models. Promoted appreciation of self and others. A fine example of children's programming. Kid Juror Comments: Loved watching these. They were familiar with the characters already from seeing them on TV. "Cause I like Thomas and Percy and James." "I like the games and the conductor." " I like Thomas. He helped his friend not be scared." DVD. 105 min.; $29.98; Age: 2-5. ANCHOR BAY ENTERTAINMENT.

** YOGA KIDS 2: ABC'S. Children are provided with simple techniques that they will enjoy, remember and use. Provides a creative association between the alphabet, animals and yoga poses. Adult Juror Comments: Very positive and self-affirming, saying things such as: you are courageous, you can do anything. It's creative and informative. Gives facts about things such as alligators. Good continuity. Does the entire alphabet. Kid Juror Comments: Liked it. "I like to exercise. It was fun to move in different ways." "I wanted to try the poses again." My friends would like learning about the animals and would want to try the moves." VideoDVD. 33 min.; $14.98; Age: 3-7. GAIAM, INC.Age: 5-8. ARTISAN ENTERTAINMENT.

Video/DVD-Ages 5-8

*** THE LION KING 1-1/2 Thought you knew The Lion King? You don't know the ½ of it. Hilarity reigns in this new movie starring Timon and Pumbaa. See why things look a bit different from their perspective. Features the original cast and music by Elton John and Tim Rice. Adult Juror Comments: Music, characters, and format follow the original movie. Great animation and characters that the children identify with. Children can be moved by the music and the feelings of Timon and Pumbaa in their wonderful friendship. Kid Juror Comments: Loved it. "It's exciting and got me to thinking about what a true friend would be like. It has everything." "It goes back to some places from The Lion King and I didn't understand why." "The hyenas were mean." I liked the music and the singalong." VideoDVD. 77 min.; $29.99; Age: 5-12. BUENA VISTA HOME ENTERTAINMENT/DISNEY.

** MARCO POLO: RETURN TO XANADU The story tells of the young Marco Polo and his exciting journey to the mythical kingdom of Xanadu overcoming dangers with the help of his friends, Reginald and Seagull, the mysterious Baby, and the Delicate Dinosaur. Adult Juror Comments: Wonderfully animated film with a message about honor and perseverance. Not historically accurate-pure entertainment. Has several "false endings" and some violence-though not gratuitous. Songs are humorous, music catchy, and friendship is emphasized. Kid Juror Comments: Funny and exciting. Good songs. "We liked the time travel and the swami guy." "I like that they don't marry and don't have love scenes."It definitely lasted too long for some kids. DVD. 80 min.; $24.99; Age: 6-10. LIGHTYEAR ENTERTAINMENT.

*** TOGETHER WE'RE BETTER. A story about teamwork. In this fun filled adventure, both float builders and good sports learn on of life's most important lessons: together we're better. Adult Juror Comments: Excellent! Emphasizes friendship, not giving up, teamwork, and it's funny. The songs are appealing. Those from a Christian background really wanted to share more Good Sports Gang videos with their kids. Sports theme appealed more to boys than girls. Kid Juror Comments: Engaging. Kids were interested in the characters and how they helped each other. "They taught us that, if we work together, things work out better." "I liked the part where it says God made us and we are all different." VideoDVD. 40 min.; $14.95; Age: 5-8. GOODTIMES ENTERTAINMENT. Video/DVD/Book-Ages 8-12

*** ENEMY PIE. When his dad suggests making an "enemy pie," the boy in this featured book is excited, but confused about the requirement of spending an entire day with his adversary. Multi cultural kids share their different cultures. Adult Juror Comments: Intelligently constructed, modern and thoroughly enjoyable. Colorful images and interesting camera shots and angles. Bridges childhood perceptions with more mature experiences. Children resolving cultural differences is helpful in allaying prejudices. Kid Juror Comments: Watched intently. "Awesome." "We learned to take the time to get to know other kids." "We didn't know about Indian people other than their food." "We liked the Room of the Gods." "I want to know what happened to their friendship a year later." Video. 30 min.; $39.95; Age: 5-12.

Video/DVD-Ages 8-12

*** FREAKY FRIDAY Jamie Leigh Curtis and Lindsay Lohan play a mother and teenager who switch bodies in this third version of the book by Mary Rodgers. Adult Juror Comments: Great production, fun to watch. Humor appeals to both adults and kids. Unlike many films for this audience, this one discourages rude behavior. When a teenager and a mother switch bodies they gain great insight into the other's point of view. Kid Juror Comments: Liked it a lot, especially the music. Enjoyed the actors. "We all want to play in a rock band now." "My friends would like the funny things the mother and daughter do after they switch places." VideoDVD. 98 min.; $29.99; Age: 8-12. DISNEY FEATURE FILMS.

* A LIGHT IN THE FOREST Britta, the new kid in school has reason to rejoice this Christmas, her sadness has summoned Holly Boy, the very spirit of the season, awakening him from the stony sleep imposed by the dark elf, King Otto. Adult Juror Comments: Unique holiday story that is mostly enjoyable. Follows a somewhat predictable good versus evil story line. At times, it's confusing. Presentation is a bit choppy. Costumes and acting are amateurish. Contains some inappropriate language for younger kids. Kid Juror Comments: Pretty interesting. "It's creative and puts you in happy spirits." "I related to Holly Boy because I'm witty and I like to figure out how to fix things and to pull pranks." "I wished the pig was more cartoony so it didn't look like a little kid show." Video. 96 min.; $24.98; Age: -. Ardustry Home Entertainment.

*** THE MAGICFRANK'S: MAGIC 4 FUN VIDEO. Features 21 tricks with everyday objects-from rubber bands, paper clips, sugar packets, rope, string, even a few card and coin tricks. Adult Juror Comments: Cool, even for adults. It moves quickly. Best to watch all the way through first, then repeat when you want to actually learn the tricks. Very age-appropriate. Home style production but, it works. Like that fancy props aren't needed. Kid Juror Comments: Loved it. "It's so much fun to watch." "We would watch it again right now." "I needed to see the tricks again in order to understand them and practice." "I want to be a magician now!" "It demonstrates the tricks really well." DVD. 58 min.; $19.95; Age: 6-11. MAGICFRANK.

** ME AND THE BAND-SCARLET CRUSH Eight-year-old Kent Styles McLean shoots and directs a documentary interview of the band Scarlet Crush. Adult Juror Comments: Well constructed and gives good insight into the individual band members of Scarlet Crush. Styles: interviewing style is personal and inquisitive. Kid Juror Comments: Kids enjoyed this and loved seeing work made by their peers. Video. 8 min.; Age: 8-11. Kent Styles McLean.

*****Movies and Museums KIDS FIRST® Film Club in Richmond, Va.
By Christine L. Pollock

What do movies and museums have in common? They are both great family entertainment, and now the two are brought together by the KIDS FIRST!® Film Club. Playing smart is a common theme and a great motto for a children's museum, but do films have anything to do with playing? The Children's Museum of Richmond in Virginia decided to give the KIDS FIRST!® Film Club a try to find out.

Hailed by Child Magazine as the "11th BEST Children's Museum in America," the Children's Museum of Richmond takes their programming very seriously. They support the concept that family members are children's first teachers and encourage parents to be active participants in the growth and education of their children. When the doors opened on March 21, 2004, Randee Humphrey, Director of Education and Guest Services, wasn't sure what to expect. Most of the museum's written publicity was for the new dinosaur exhibit. The Film Club was only publicized by word-of-mouth. The weather was beautiful, a warm sixty-degree Saturday. It was not the type of day people would normally flock to a museum.

In spite of these factors, the first day of film viewing was a success. As families entered the museum, they were met by a greeter who told them the movie schedules. Kimberly Ruth was one of the museum's visitors that day. She was informed that there would be a viewing for preschool-aged children in the morning and another show for five-to eight-year-olds in the afternoon.

Kim and her children, Landon (3) and Shelby (9 months), explored the museum all morning. From a topographical map of the James River, to a child-sized grocery story, the exhibits kept the family busy. They enjoyed an outdoor maze made from local saplings and clay. Landon especially loved running through the doorways in and out of the maze.

An announcement over the loudspeaker informed everyone that a film was going to begin in fifteen minutes. Playing can be tiring, and at this point a movie was a welcome break. As they entered the room, Kim noticed that chairs had been set up. There were also modular blocks to sit on. The children all went right for the blocks.

Randee announced the movie and talked about the program they were about to see. Her goal was to encourage interaction with the children. She didn't want the children just sitting in front of a movie; she wanted them to be really thinking about it and having fun with it. She also wanted parents to get a break from the walking around and enjoy the film with the children.

"I liked the idea that someone checks the films out before we watched them," Kim commented later. "I knew it wasn't going to be too scary for Landon." Kim also liked the educational aspects of the programming. Randee had set up a display of the books that the movie was based on. A strong point of the film club was that the movies were short films based on classic literature.

Originally, Randee had planned to show the Ezra Keats film, "A Snowy Day." She told the parents that since the weather so nice, they were going to watch some other Ezra Keats stories instead. As the children got ready to watch "Pet Show," Randee began asking them if they had any pets. The children enthusiastically jumped into a discussion about their pets. Kim remarked that Randee was "very intuitive" and really added a personal touch to the gathering.

One of the great benefits of the KIDS FIRST!® Film Club selections is that the films and videos are very user-friendly. Randee could easily choose, right up to the last minute, which shows to put on. At the end of each show, she could stop the program without difficulty and talk with the children.

In addition to "Pet Show," the children watched "Whistle for Willie" before they went back out to enjoy the museum's exhibits. When the afternoon programming of William Steig Stories ("Pete's a Pizza," "Dr. De Soto," and "The Amazing Bone") drew in twice as many people as the morning's show, it was evident that the KIDS FIRST! Film Club was appreciated by the museum guests.

"I think the calming influence of the darkened room is an interesting contrast to what the rest of the museum invokes," Randee summed up. "It is a good option for the quiet child who needs a break or for the super active child who needs to be reigned in."

The Children's Museum of Richmond is running the KIDS FIRST!® Film Club every third Saturday for the next few months. A detailed schedule can be found at

Kim, who had never been to this museum before concludes, "I would definitely go back. Next time I will plan our trip around the film club. It will be a nice break in our day at the museum."

Teens Use Media To Help Promote Healthy Choices

After school programs and classroom learning is a different experience today from previous decades. No more dry lectures or textbooks. Today's teens have media.

Hands-on learning appeals to many different learning styles. Now students are encouraged to teach their peers the lessons they have learned. Music, photography, and web sites are all venues teens can use to reach others.

Full article

KIDS FIRST!® Film and Video Festival Submissions

Submit your title for KIDS FIRST!® endorsement and for the KIDS FIRST!® Film Festival 15 Fall ‘04 Festival Late Deadline-May 10

Women of Color-Call For Film and Video Submissions
Seeking submissions for films and videos written by and/or about women of color. Extended deadline-April 30, 2004. More information at or call 212-501-3842.

31st Annual Daytime Emmy Awards
The full list of nominations can be found at:

Judy Blume Partners With Disney
Judy Blume's stories are coming to the movie screen beginning with "Deenie." This best selling author has sold over 75 million copies of her books around the world and is loved by several generations. More information at:

Digital Television: Sharpening the Focus on Children
As televisions change from analog to digital, how can we keep our children protected? Full article at

Senate Approves Indecency Fines
In a unanimous vote, the Senate agreed to greatly increase fines for broadcasters and performers who violate indecency rules. For more information go to:

Interactive Ads for Cable
Targeted interactive advertising is now available with a merging of Visible World and GoldPocket Interactive technology.

10TH Annual TV - Turnoff Week April 19-25, 2004!
April 1, 2004 - More than 19,000 organizers are expected to inspire a projected 7.6 million people to break free of TV during TV-Turnoff Week.

Television and Attention Problems
A new study released April 1 by the American Academy of Pediatrics shows that children watching more television than their peers have an increased probability of attention problems when they are older.

Your Opinions About Marketing To Children
Do you think children should be inundated with commercials before they are cognitively aware of the techniques behind the commercials? Voice your opinion in the five to ten-minute survey at

Protect Your Children
Legislation pending in California is trying to put a stop to kids under 18 renting video games that are "inhumanely violent." Your support is critical. Please call or send a letter before the hearing on April 13. To view sample letters and to find the names, addresses and phone numbers of committee members, go to:

Kids and Politics
Test your knowledge with an interactive quiz and read articles about kids and politics.

How Much Media Do You Consume?
Maybe more than you think. The latest research shows that Americans don't realize how much media they are exposed to.

Cleaning Up The Airwaves
Broadcasters, parents, and regulators schedule a closed-door summit.

Science Fair
It's time to prepare for the science fair. Learn how to get ready and what steps to take so that your project is fun as well as educational.,1156,66-12199,00.html?wtlAC=sac0310,email-h.

Uncover the roots of your family tree with your children. Activities and tips at:,1156,64-26973,00.html?wtlAC=sac0310,email-h

Cures for Cabin Fever
If you are snowed in or stuck inside with April showers, this is a great site for your family. IT has crafts, quizzes, reading suggestions and many more boredom busters,1156,66-11482,00.html?wtlAC=sac0310,email-h.

From Connect for Kids:

A Mom's View From Iraq
For parents serving abroad, life is filled with difficult realities--like how to explain why mom or dad has to be gone for so long. As the U.S. enters into year two of the Iraq war, Connect for Kids' Robert Capriccioso talks to Sergeant Roberta Martinez, a mom who's been there since day one.

Better Press Coverage for Community-based Organizations
Media-savvy communications experts share their knowledge on how community-based organizations can get better press coverage for their work and their issues. Submit a question today.

Celebrating Families
Celebrating Families 2004 is an online calendar of dates, activities and resources that strengthen families. These pages will celebrate culture, tradition and diversity, as well as advocate active community involvement.

Venture Awards for Young People's
Twenty start-up grants of up to $1,000 each will be available to help young people (ages 12-20) creating sustainable National Youth Service Days organizations to address an identified community need.


KIDS FIRST! Film Festival Touring Schedule:

April 15-25: Newport Beach Film Festival, Newport Beach, CA
April 23-25: Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Santa Barbara, CA
June 4 & 5: Explora Science and Children's Museum, Albuquerque, NM
June 16-20: Kidflix, Tampa, FL

KIDS FIRST! Film Club Events:
February 7 - February 7, 2004: Denver Film Society
March 20 - May 20: Children's Museum of Richmond

Other Events:

On-going-Philadelphia area- Wednesday afternoons-MediaSmart Seminars are designed to bring together K-12 educators, college faculty, artists, media professionals, youth development specialists, along with nonprofit, public health and social service professionals in the metro Philadelphia area. For directions and more information, visit

April 24 (8:30 a.m.- 4:00 p.m.): Girls Rock Spring Mini-Conference. Free workshops and inspirational speakers for New Mexico girls ages 15-18. Explore issues surrounding leadership, empowerment and self-discovery. Pre-registration required. For information, contact Girls Rock at 699-4778 or email [email protected]

April 3: Raw Arts Youth Media Conference, Columbia College, Chicago IL. Conference and Showcase for Teens in the Media Arts. FREE! For more info, visit

April 15: Public Health/Democracy Media Education Conference Know Media will offer a one day conference, "Media Education in Action: Public Health and Democracy," in Brattleboro, Vermont. For information on registering, please call the Green Mountain Training Center at 802-254-6590.

April 16 (9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.): Junior Film Critics Facilitator's Workshop. The Coalition for Quality Children's Media is holding a Junior Film Critics Program Facilitator's Workshop at the Explora Science and Children's Museum in Albuquerque. For more info or to register please visit or call 505.989.8076.

April 18 (10 a.m. – 4 p.m.): Seventh Annual Urban Visionaries Film Festival presents the Youth Video Expo 2004 at Manhattan Neighborhood Network. For info. call 212-757-2670 ext. 328 or 212-621-6661.

May 20: Girl Talk At the Pixie Sage Center on Long Island, NY, for 11-and 12-year-old girls who want to join peers in discussions about growing up. Topics range from anger to body image and friendships. Girl Talk meets the last Saturday of every month from 4-5:30 p.m. For more information, contact Kitty Gill at 631-757-1013.

June 25 – 28: AMLA's 2005 National Media Education Conference. "Giving Voice to a Diverse Nation." A Major feature of NMEC 2005 will be a media arts strand, focusing on the efficacy of media literacy and media arts on student achievement. Please contact either Karen Zill, Conference Chair, at [email protected], or Kara Clayton at [email protected]

June 28 - July 3: Through Her Eyes: Women of Color Film Festival 2004 in New York City. Information at or call 212-501-3842.

July 5 –22: At the Pixie Sage Center on Long Island, NY, for sixth-eighth-graders. Work with professional songwriters to create and original CD and more. The first session is July 5-22 and the second session is August 2-26th. For more information, contact Kitty Gill at 631-757-1013.

October 14-16: Ryerson University, Toronto. The Fourth Interdisciplinary Conference on The Evolution of World Order addresses high priority global issues. More details at


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 and are a critical component of our success. 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; Corporate membership $1,000-$10,000/year. For more information, visit our website or contact our office for an application form, 505.989.8076.

*** MEMBER NEWS ****
On June 17, Discovery Channel's 20th anniversary, John Hendricks, founder of Discovery, will step down as CEO. He will remain chairman as Judith McHale takes over the CEO post. This move was recommended by John Hendricks in order to strengthen corporate governance.

Please welcome our newest Independent Producer Members:
Armstrong Moving Pictures creates and produces films for business training as well as for the children's home video market. For twenty years, Armstrong has done it all-from concept to writing, producing and directing to editing and authoring. Armstrong always delivers on time at a reasonable cost that fits the particular market.

Our mission is to become the leading publisher of high quality DTV titles targeted primarily to girls. Our videos are intended to support, encourage and empower young girls in their efforts to develop and thrive in a world fraught with social pressures.

Producer of children's products for babies to early readers featuring Beobi the Baby Monkey

IWT Productions produces quality, wholesome yet irreverent family home entertainment. The "I Wrote That!" series of videos and DVD's is sketch comedy for kids. All the source material is submitted to us through a network of teachers and supplemental educators around the country. Think of Saturday Night Live for kids, written BY kids. We plan to expand to include supplemental software and board games, all centered around creative writing.

An independent producer that produces a show entitled "The Tales of Moondale Haven" that focuses on teaching children life lessons through humor and music. George the Head is their pilot episode.

An independent marketing consultant doing both licensing and producing in the children's entertainment world.

Please note the Coalition for Quality Children's Media members below and support their work by visiting their sites.

VISIT OUR MEMBERS' SITES ******************



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**************ABOUT CQCM AND KIDS FIRST!® ***************

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 (, call our office (505.989.8076) . Coalition for Quality Children's Media, 112 W.
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