Turning your TV Time into Quality Time

February 10, 2009 Issue #2

Christine L. Pollock, Editor         Ranny Levy, Publisher
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Christine L. Pollock, Editor
Christine's News Blog

Ranny Levy, Publisher
Granny Ranny's Addenda

Entertainment Insider News

Last week my husband, nine-year-old son and I popped the The Velveteen Rabbit into the DVD player. I must admit that I did it with some trepidation since I absolutely love that story, and sometimes when you love something, you don't want to see any new versions that might mess up your beloved mental imagery. I didn't have to worry. The film caught all of us up in its enchanting storyline and beautiful cinematographic effect as live-action blended seamlessly with animation. I was caught up in the magic of the story-a mix of imagination and confrontation of real-life issues in relationships. My son laughed more than I've heard him laugh at a film in a long time.

Based on the best-selling classic book, "The Velveteen Rabbit" tells the tale of a young boy named Toby whose father has packed away in ice his grief over the death of his wife. When Toby is sent to stay with his very proper and somewhat forbidding grandmother over the Christmas holidays, he does not know what to do with himself. Then he discovers an attic filled with toys from the past and an unopened present from his angel mother. Inside the box is a velveteen rabbit that opens up he world of imagination for Toby. Rabbit along with Swan and Horse fill Toby's world with exciting animated adventures. Their love and insights help Toby melt the heart of his grandmother. Who calls his father home. Their world reaches a crises when Toby contracts Scarlet Fever and his beloved rabbit must be burned. Through this loss Toby and the grownups in his life come to realize the importance of family and the power of love to make us real.

"The Velveteen Rabbit" is part of the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival, and you can check out our website to see where it is playing near you. Look for the DVD on shelves March 17, 2009.

Plugged In Parents/Educators

The online training for KIDS FIRST! jurors has officially begun. Kimberly Duff, a homeschooling mother of nine children ages 3-27, and Jacqueline Henshaw, a Virginia-based former school librarian, are two of our latest graduates. Both Henshaw and Duff heard about the KIDS FIRST! juror training program while searching for reviews for family oriented movies. Duff says, “I was excited about what the organization was doing and wanted to learn more. Also, we have been screening films for years to assess their good points and age appropriateness for our own children, and our children have become used to this process and seem better equipped to judge for themselves and make good decisions on what films to watch. I hoped due to this that we might prove an asset to the Kid's First team.”

When she signed up for this training, Florida-based Duff hoped to learn how the KIDS FIRST! team evaluates films for review. She got this and a bit more. In her own words, “There were considerations when reviewing a film that I had not concentrated on before. For instance: Condescension to children and behaviors that children might try to imitate. The training made me more aware of the need to pay closer attention to those issues.”

Henshaw expected to learn how the KIDS FIRST! process works and which factors are most important when evaluating films. She had never done a "net meeting" before and learned how easy it is to set one up. She also learned how important direct quotes from the children are to the review process. Taking the training was a big step for Duff, and a bit challenging since she hooks up the the Internet through a dial-up connection. She found that with the slow speed, the conversations were choppy, but the KIDS FIRST! team were very helpful in making sure she was getting the necessary information.

With the two sessions and a little homework, Duff and Henshaw became KIDS FIRST! jurors in less than two weeks. Duff comments that her children are excited about the prospect of reviewing the films and that they get to keep some of the ones they enjoy. She recommends the training for the information it provides that may help others be more alert to the subtle negative influences in a lot of today's media. She adds, “By being involved in the juror process we can teach our children, by critical practice,to become discerning media viewers.”

Hensaw, who is currently homeschooling her own children and leads the local homeschool network, adds, "I would recommend the training to anyone who works with children and is interested in film. It teaches you how to view with a critical eye and look for details."

** If you would like to join our team as a KIDS FIRST! juror, let us know. Our next online juror training is February 12 (Part One) and February 17 (Part Two. We offer the trainings during the day and in the evening. Please contact Lauren, our Juror Manager, for more information or to sign up.

Blogs: Up-to-Date News from our President and VP and Jury Manager

Granny Ranny's Addenda

Veggie Tales: Abe and the Amazing Promise
From one of our favorite producers, Big Idea, comes a new Veggie Tales title: Abe and the Amazing Promise. Bob the Tomato tries ... - Read More

From our friendly pediatricians at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
Comes this delightful list of tips for showing your love to your children or grandchildren this Valentine's Day. What a great substitute for candy or sweets!... - Read More

Ann's Marketing Memes

Ah, Summer Outdoor Movies - How about in Your Neighborhood?
Remember Drive in Movies? Well they may be a thing of the past, but over the last few years, KIDS FIRST! has partnered with difference ... - Read More




Free Jury Training Course Extended, February Dates Announced.
The next FREE jury training course will be held on February 12, with follow up on February 17, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Eastern Time... - Read More





The Coalition for Quality Children's Media is a national, nonprofit organization founded in 1991 whose mission is to teach children critical viewing skills and to increase the visibility and availability of quality children's media. ... More.


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