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The Newsstand - KIDS FIRST! News 2005 - What's Hot


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The Newsstand - What's Hot

Christine Pollock, Newsletter Editor
"My philosophy is that not only are you responsible for your life, but doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment." - Oprah Winfrey


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Turning your TV Time into Quality Time
December 6, 2005 Issue #12
Christine L. Pollock, Editor
Ranny Levy, Publisher
[email protected]

1. Letters from the Editor and President
2. Web Store Features
3. New Endorsements
4. Festival Titles
Member News
6. New Members/Renewing Members
7. Media News
8. Family and Parenting News
9. Fabulous Film Festival Winners by Christine L. Pollock
10. 2005 Festival Winners
11. Crafts and Activities: Outdoor Play from Dr. Toy and Lion Mask Craft
12. Festival City Schedule and Events

* Permission to forward or reprint the content herein is granted with complete attribution.

Interview with Center for Media Literacy Founder, Liz Thoman

Interview with Reading Rainbow Producer, Dr. Twila Liggett

The Inner Workings of Sesame Workshop with Dr. Ed Greene

New: KIDS FIRST! logo store
Your purchase of hats, t-shirts, baby jumpers, bibs, and totes benefit KIDS FIRST!

HOLIDAY SALE - 25% off!

Become an Affiliate of the

The Coalition for Quality Children's Media is a national, not-for-profit organization founded in 1991. Because we believe that media profoundly affect children, our mission is to 1) teach children critical viewing skills and 2) to increase the visibility and availability of quality children's programs.

CQCM Newsletter Archive
2005 Jan / Feb / Mar / April / May / June / July / August / September / October/ Mid October / November
2004 / 2003 / 2002
2001 / 2000 / 1999 / 1998
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Welcome to KIDS FIRST!® NEWS. All articles are by Coalition for Quality Children's Media unless otherwise noted.

Dear Friends,

I love December! The snow is fresh, and the kids are excited. Next week is my birthday, and I am having a unique celebration this year. Two of my sons will be competing in a Lego robot competition in Rochester, NY (see image on left). They are part of a team of local homeschool children who built and programmed the robot with their team and gave papers and presentations at local gatherings in preparation for this event. The children even created an animated film using stop-motion photography. Whether they win or not, this has been a great experience.

Speaking of winners, be sure to check the next issue of this magazine for the winners of the KIDS FIRST!® coloring contest. We have some wonderful artists out there! Last month, readers voted and chose the Best of the Fest film festival titles. My article below highlights these titles.

As always, I welcome your input. If you have comments on titles we have endorsed; notices of awards, publications, and products; or suggestions for articles...leave a message for Chris

Christine Pollock, Editor
Contact Me

Dear Readers,

As the days grow shorter and colder, the Christmas lights that are popping up all over town are a welcome brightness in the otherwise dim landscape. Last week, Ann and I visited our studio sponsors to learn about all the wonderful new titles we'll have for you in our 2006 Festivals. It was such fun to see all the Christmas decorations up around town and the festivities planned around them. I wished that my four-year-old grandson was with me so that he could experience the magic. Instead, I've been scouring our online catalog of titles to make recommendations for you about some nifty DVDs that would make fun gifts for the children in your life. A short list is below and more titles are in our webstore.

To our producer readers, a gentle reminder that our second quarter deadlines are fast approaching. Take advantage of our early deadline of Dec. 15 for a discounted application fee and remember that our regular deadline is Jan. 15 which will be here before you know it. To submit a title online, click here.

I send you my best wishes for your holiday season and a wish that all the children in your life have the most precious gift of all - a little bit of your time.

Much love,

Ranny Levy
Founder and President, KIDS FIRST!


To keep up with the fast-paced growth at KIDS FIRST!®, we offer juror training online. If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a KIDS FIRST!® juror, now's a great time to get started. There is a minimal $25 fee for the training. Jurors keep the titles they review and approve. What a wonderful way for teachers, librarians, parents, daycare providers and others involved with children to help KIDS FIRST!® while building their own quality media library. To register or get more information, please click here.


Age: 3-8 Price: SPECIAL hOLIDAY SALE $9.67 (msrp $12.95) Age 3-8 Price $13.49 SPECIAL HOLIDAY SALE (MSRP $17.99) Age: 5-12 Price: $11.23 SPECIAL HOLIDAY SALE (MSRP $14.98) Age: 4-7. Price $7.46. 7SPECIAL HOLIDAY SALE $7.46 (MSRP $9.95)
Age: 3-11 Price: SPECIAL HOLIDAY SALE $11.21 (MSRP $14.95) Age: 3-8 Price: SPECIAL HOLIDAY SALE $7.46 (MSRP $9.95)
Age: 6-12 Price: SPECIAL HOLIDAY SALE $9.74 (MSRP $12.99) Age: 8-12 Price: SPECIAL HOLIDAY SALE $11.23 (MSRP $14.98) .

NEW ENDORSEMENTS ********************************

More New Endorsements can be found at

*** = Titles receiving the highest scores are given a three star rating.
** = Ttles that meet or exceed the criteria receive a two-star rating.
* = Titles that meet the baseline criteria but require some extra consideration on the part of the viewer a one-star rating.

Video/DVD-Ages 2-5
Young viewers join fun pals Wink & Blink on an interactive trip to the zoo. Along the way they'll learn about lots of animals, they'll discover what it's like to be a zookeeper, and they'll even tag along with the zoo vet on a barn-yard house call. Adult Juror Comments: Enjoyable with lots of useful information and footage of zoo animals but the presentation doesn't always stay relevant for its target audience. The visuals and general content are just right for preschoolers but some of the information is too advanced for them such as the concept of carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores. Also, the magic door game where children have to find clues about a mystery animal is far too complicated for younger children. Kid Juror Comments: Liked the footage of the zoo animals. One two-year-old kept putting her hands on the floor and walking on all fours every time she saw the apes or monkeys saying they walk like this. Kids wanted to watch it again immediately and pointed out their favorite animals as reasons why. The clue game with the puzzle keys was very confusing and needed explaining. The two's ignored the game completely and the older kids kept asking questions about it. DVD. 30 min.; $12.98; Age: 2-5. LAUREL HILL ENTERTAINMENT.

Video/DVD-Ages 5-8

** ADVENTUREPATROL: TOTALLY ROCKS. A wild, weekend-long-adventure in the red rock mountains of Utah. Zeke, our series' host, invites kids to come along with him as he learns how to mountain bike, rock climb, and watch pros at these extreme sports and explore Native American Indian art and dance. Adult Juror Comments: Offers information about rock climbing and camping, Native Americans, hygiene, and respect for nature. Scenery is incredible and the music rocks. The traditional Native American dress is stunning. There is something for everyone, from outdoor stills to rock art. The mountain biking parts are awesome. The only down side are scenes of playing hide and seek in holes and crevices, which are potentially dangerous. It does stress safety and using proper equipment at all times. Kid Juror Comments: Loved it. "I like the bikes and seeing what you can do with rocks." "It's funny. You can learn a lot about biking and rocks." "It's about rocks and Native Americans and hide and seek in the wilderness." They loved the Native American drummers and dancers and the historical information. "It has a lot of stuff I've never really seen close up before." DVD. 35 min.; $14.98; Age: 5-12. BIG BRIGHT WORLD, INC.

Video/DVD-Ages 8-12

*** TREVOR ROMAIN COLLECTION: TAKING THE "DUH" OUT OF DIVORCE. Skye's parents have just dropped a bombshell. They are getting divorced. Trevor uses Skye's experience to give kids practical, helpful advice for dealing with the pain of divorce. After all, as Skye discovers, her parents aren't divorcing her, they love her. Adult Juror Comments: Provides accurate information and facts about divorce. Assists children in working through emotional issues of divorce and provides positive role models for addressing issues about divorce. Love that this emphasizes that divorce is between arents not between the parents and child. Takes the kids' viewpoint into consideration. Skye is the female character, representing the female gender with style, attitude and strength. Jack represents the boyish behaviors of frivolity, humor and compassion. Available in English and Spanish with subtitles. Excellent content, production values, animation, music. Kid Juror Comments: Good. "I could really relate." Uses humor appropriately. Offers hope. Sky and Jack are funny. It lets you know that things are going to be okay. "It made me think about my parents getting divorced and about someone I know whose parents are getting divorced." "I liked Trevor. He reminds me of my uncle." DVD. 80 min.; $14.99; Age: 6-12. THE COMICAL SENSE COMPANY.


Blue's Clues: Blue's Room: Holiday Wishes Charlie Brown Christmas, A Davie & Golimyr Lazy Town Surprise Santa
n Blue’s Room, Blue has transformed into a loveable plush puppet who can now talk with you! Blow on the Play Date Spinner- wherever it lands sets the theme for the play date, and even the look of the playroom itself! Blue’s Room can fill with snacks, turn into Birthday Party Land, host talking alphabet letters, or change into any imaginary setting. There’s no limit to what you can do when you talk, play, pretend with your best friend, Blue! Ages 2-5 This made for TV classic features Charlie Brown's problems producing the school Christmas pageant. All of the Peanut's characters are shown in their most endearing ways - Lucy, Snoopy, Schroeder, Pig-Pen, etc. Linus stops the show reciting from the gospel the story of Jesus' birth. Ages 5-15 Davie is a pear grower who stands up again a bully giant to protect his village. When Davie hits Golimyr in the head with a pear, Golimyr becomes a good, decent person. Good family story, based on the familiar biblical story of David and Goliath. Religious content. Claymation. Age: 8-12. Lumenas Studios and Ageless Animation. Stephanie has just moved to a strange new place called LazyTown. Along with the other kids in town, this optimistic 8-year-old is caught between a charismatic, health-conscious super hero named Sportacus, and the world’s laziest bad guy, Robbie Rotten. LazyTown is action-packed; in spite of its name, it’s anything but lazy. Ages 5-8.

Littlest Angel, The
Miracle on 34th Street My Little Pony: A Very Minty Christmas Olive the Other Reindeer
When a mischievous little boy enters heaven, he finds an exciting world of magic and wonder, but a place where the angels have forgotten how to play. Swinging from the golden gates and interrupting the heavenly choir make him something of a nuisance, until the day comes when the chief archangel makes a startling announcement - God is to have a son. Heaven is turned upside down with the news as every angel rushes to find the perfect gift. The Littlest Angel, with his tilted halo and untested wings, has no idea what to do, until he realizes that the most valuable gift always comes from the heart. Ages 5-12 The holiday season is in full swing when a cultured gentlemen with twinkling eyes, and ample belly, and a snowy beard is hired as Macy's department store Santa. He claims his name is Kris Kringle, and soon fills everyone with Christmas spirit - except for his boss, Doris Walker, who's raising her daughter Susan to not believe in Santa but when Kris is declared insane and put on trail everyone's faith is put to the test as old and young alike face the age old question: Do you believe in Santa Claus? Actors: Natalie Wood, John Payne, Maureen O'Hara, Gene Lockhart, Porter Hall, Edmund Gwenn, William Frawley, Jerome Cowan, Thelma Ritter Director: George Seaton. Ages 5-18. Uh-oh! When Minty accidentally breaks the Here Comes Christmas Candy Cane……the beacon that shows Santa the way to Ponyville each year……she'll do anything to save Christmas for her Pony friends. And they'll do anything to save Minty! Together, they discover Christmas comes wrapped in the love of good friends and the heart of one little clumsy, minty-green Pony. Ages 2-5. In this delightfully funny animated adventure, "Olive, the Other Reindeer" is erally a kind-hearted dog who sets out to save Christmas when she hears that Blitzen is injured and Santa can't find a replacement! With the help of a smooth-talking penguin named Martini, Olive heads for the North Pole to join the flying reindeer team - but along the way, they must defeat an evil mailman who wants to end Christmas so he can carry less mail! With an all-star voice cast featuring Drew Barrymore, Ed Asner, Dan Castellaneta and Peter MacNicol, "Olive, the Other Reindeer" is sure to become a holiday tradition for young and old!
Operation Micron. Red Planet Blues. Santa and Sons & Daughter! Silent Night, A
Tommy, a master radio controlled car driver, is recruited by secret agents, miniaturized, and asked to take top secret plans to another location, while being pursued by the bad guys. Tommy must drive a RC
car, boat and plane in order to deliver the secret plans. Age: 8-12. Circle R Media.
A little Martian, longing for blue skies and singing birds, thinks his chance has come to hitch a ride to Earth when he spots a NASA rocket heading towards Mars. Non-narrative, claymation. Age: 5-12. Mixed Emotions Productions. Nine new songs are part of this live-action musical movie introducing Santa's sons, Nicholas and Klaus; and spunky daughter, Sandy who falls for Zwerkin the inventor of a Teleportation Device. Unfortunately, bad-guy Snavely steals it and beams up to confront Santa. Age: 7-11.Calexas, Inc On Christmas Eve of 1972 during the Viet Nam War, a little monk manages to circumvent the dangers of war to intrude an American Base and leave an impact on an American Soldier that will never be forgotten. Quiet, only Vietnamese is spoken. Offers a good glimpse of another culture, another time, and war seen from the inside out. Makes a peaceful statement with few words or action. Ages 12-18. Andy Nguyen.

Our complete list of titles is available by clicking here.

Long Island Children's Museum is having a New Year's Countdown by time zone around the world. At each midnight, they will play an episode from Families Around the World that corresponds to that time zone. For India, they are screening Going to School in India. Also showing on January 2 and 16 beginning at 11am. Read More


Please welcome these new or renewing members and visit their web sites.

Hello Baby Productions

Kiddie Village


Civil Rights Possibly Compromised by Digital TV Bill
A draft proposal by House Energy and Commerce Committee leadership addressing the digital television transition (DTV) may put minority and low-income Americans at a disadvantage. Read More


The Food Pyramid Can Be Fun?
Yes! Help your child learn the food pyramid through an interactive computer game where kids can reach Planet Power by fueling their rocket with food and physical activity. Check it out.
Kids Aren't Skipping Commercials
The first survey of American children by Mediamark Research Inc. has found that children differ from adults in one way that should interest advertisers: Most of them aren't skipping TV ads. Read More

Fabulous Film Festival Winners! by Christine L. Pollock

Our viewers have voted, and the results are in. Last issue we announced the winners of the KIDS FIRST!® Best of the Fest awards chosen by our readers. They are all terrific titles sure to please even the most choosy viewers.

In Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus, Princess Annika (Barbie) escapes the clutches of the evil wizard, explores the wonders of Cloud Kingdom, and teams up with a magnificent winged horse who turns out to be her sister, Princess Brietta,to defeat the wizard and break the spells that imprisoned her family. Spectacular 3-D scenes add magic to this extraordinary adventure forages 4-10.

Matthew Rathauser, VP of Marketing for Lions Gate Family Entertainment, tells us what they feel about winning the KIDS FIRST!® Best of the Fest award: We are so honored to receive the Best of the Fest Award from the viewers for our Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus film. When we were approached by Ranny and the KIDS FIRST!® team to show the feature at the festival, we jumped on the opportunity to work with such a reputable group who works tirelessly to bring quality entertainment to parents and children alike. We knew it would be the perfect venue to have viewers take an advance look at the first-ever Barbie film in 3D, and the experience was unforgettable! To us, receiving this award tells us that we're effectively meeting our objective with our releases-- which is to produce and distribute quality children's products that can be enjoyed by the entire family.

Another title which danced into the hearts of our readers was Mad Hot Ballroom. This movie provides an insightful, inspiring and often hilarious look at a group of eleven-year old New York City public school kids who journey into the world of ballroom dancing. Along the way, they reveal themselves and their world to the viewer as they compete in the final citywide competition.

Learning about yourself and your world seems to be a quality viewers appreciate in a movie. Another Best of the Fest award winner was Because of Winn Dixie. In this title for children ages 8-12, a lonely girl adopts an orphaned dog who helps her make friends in the small town where she and her preacher father live. The two of them bring the community together, and in the process, they are able to make peace with being abandoned by the girl's mother.

Steve Feldstein, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Communications at Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, which produced Because of Winn Dixie, says a goal of the producers was to transport and entertain audiences even if only for an hour or two. This sweet, wonderful movie succeeds in doing that. They are delighted to work with KIDS FIRST!® because it is a good way to broaden audiences. When asked what it was like to work with KIDS FIRST!®, Feldstein replied, "How many ways can you say positive?"

This thought is shared by Michael Moore, CEO of Educational Adventures. "We are honored by the recognition of the Coalition for Quality Children's Media as a Best of Fest winner for the sixth annual KIDS FIRST!® Film and Video Festival. The Danger Rangers Mission 547 Safety Rules! is carefully produced to bring children powerful, safety-oriented messages in entertaining ways," said Moore. "If we can help protect our most vulnerable - young children - now, our future generations will enjoy a much safer world."

This animated series for three- to nine-year-olds combines exciting action-adventure, comedy and upbeat original songs to bring important - even life-saving - information to children ages three to seven.

For the younger children who want a great animated story, look no further than our final Best of the Fest award winner for best TV series, Dora the Explorer. Dora and her sidekick, Boots the Monkey, need your help. In one episode they need help first to bring sticky tape to Benny the Bull in his hot air balloon, then to find their way to Blueberry Hill by rowing and swinging. Lots of learning fun. Our adult jurors call this show an absolute delight. It's perfect for preschoolers who are eager to learn.

All these titles sound great, but how can I view them?, you might ask. It's really quite easy. Just go to This is a great time to check out the titles since the FIRST!® store is having a huge holiday sale. Let's take a lesson from Dora and check it out. ¡Vamanos! Come on, everybody. Let's go!



Dr. Toy's Tips on Use of Video by Stevanne Auerbach, PhD./Dr.Toy
Smart Play /Smart Toys (

Outdoor Play
Every day children benefit from playtime outside. What they do outside includes a wide variety of play such as- rough and tumble, pretend, organized sports and other activities. They like to walk, run, skip and jump. Find videos that provide your child with expansion of skills that stimulate their physical activities and help them learn more about the outdoors. Sample videos include the KIDS FIRST!® title, Toucanz Trail.

Lion Mask based on Wai Lana's Little Yogis, Vol. 1

Materials: paper plate, old newspaper, string, scissors, crayons or markers. For instructions, go to craft page.

KIDS FIRST!® Film and Video Festival Schedule
Join us as we travel around the country with film festivals. Find out when we will be in a town near you. For details read here

Yuma, AZ

Madeira Park

Los Angeles, CA

Newport Beach, CA
San Jose, CA

Denver, CO

Fort Wayne, IN

Wichita, KA

Louisville, KY

New Orleans, LA

Brookline MA
Williamstown, MA

Ironwood, MI

Alamogordo, NM
Albuquerque, NM

Santa Fe, NM

Brooklyn, NY

Garden City, NY

Queens, NY

Oklahoma City, OK

Ashland, OR

Nashville, TN

Austin, TX
Dallas, TX

Houston, TX

Spring, TX

Salt Lake City
, UT

La Crosse, WI
Milkaukee, WI

Washington, DC

Other Events:

December 8-10: San Francisco, Calif.
Project Spera presents the first annual Global Youth Media and Arts Program and Festival, celebrating three months of collaboration between Project Spera and more than 20 Bay Area (California) media and arts organizations working with youth. This year's theme is Peace and Conflict: Local to Global. Project Spera is an education nonprofit devoted to raising youth awareness of global issues.More info at

Deadline: January 20, 2006: ITVS: International Programs for U.S. Audience
Independent Television Service (ITVS) invites international producers to create programs for television audiences in the United States that represent diverse global communities, advance underrepresented points of view, inspire public dialogue, tell powerful stories, and explore globally significant themes and issues. Visit for complete program guidelines and application procedures.

To add your event to this list, please send a notice to Chris.

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. 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. To join, go to: or contact our office at 505.989.8076.

VISIT OUR MEMBERS' SITES ******************
Please visit our website for an up-to-date list of Coalition members by clicking here:


Contact Ann ************************

Send comments, questions and feedback to Chris

To SUBSCRIBE to our free e-zine, KIDS FIRST!® NEWS: Send e-mail to join-[email protected] Or fill out the simple form at: To leave this list, send e-mail to [email protected] or use the link below:

This newsletter may be reprinted with permission. Write to: [email protected]
Copyright 2002 by Coalition for Quality Children's Media,

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 at, call our office (505.989.8076) or send an email to Our Jury Coordinator.

Coalition for Quality Children's Media, 112 W. San Francisco St., Suite 305A, Santa Fe, NM 87501.

CQCM Newsletter Archive
2004 / 2003 / 2002
2001 / 2000 / 1999 / 1998
1997a 1997 b
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