Up to date information about children's entertainment – film, TV, DVD and more…. from founder and president of KIDS FIRST! Ranny Levy

Archive for April, 2008

Poetry for Kids on HBO Family Channel

Thursday, April 10th, 2008

Check this out! I highly recommend the Classical Baby – The Poetry Show coming to HBO April 12 on HBO Family. Set to classical music, this collection includes classic poetry such as “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost, “The Swing” by Robert Louis Stevenson, “The Red Wheelbarrow” by William Carlos Williams, “Grass Grass Grass” by Woodie Guthrie, “The Owl and the Pussy Cat” by Edward Lear, and many more. The part I loved most about is were the live action segments of real children expressing their thoughts about the poetry. “I like poetry because it can have a lot of different meanings to it.” “It’s like music in your head when you read it.” A group of elementary-age children candidly talk about how the poetry affects them and their comments ring so true. “Poetry is a pretty way of saying something.” “It’s like music. It has a beat, a rhythm … just like music. Obviously, these kids have thought about it a bit. “Sometimes you have to read it more than once to really get it.” “Maybe you love somebody so much that there are no words for it. You just have to write down what you feel.” And, they don’t miss a beat in terms of execution. “You don’t have to put in a period, a comma, or an exclamation point. You just put it down the way it comes out of your head. That’s the way it is.” Summary – “It’s just beautiful.” Try it, you’ll love it. HBO Family’s Peabody and Emmy Award-winning animation team has created yet another winner from the Classical Baby franchise. It’s all-star cast includes Gwyneth Paltrow, Susan Sarandon, Geoffrey Wright, Andy Garcia and John Lithgow. It’s the brainchild of director-producer Amy Schatz and animator Maciek Albrecht. Schatz produced the Emmy Award-winning HBO family specials “Through a Child’s Eyes: September 11, 2001,” “Goodnight Moon and Other Sleepytime Tales,” “How Do You Spell God?,” “Going, Going, Almost Gone! Animals in Danger,” and “Twas the Night.” Produced in association with the Poetry Foundation, it offers a vehicle to plant the seeds for a lifelong love of the music of words. It is scheduled to play April 12, 16, 20, 24, and 29. Tivo it! It’s also coming out in DVD on April 15 and at $9.98, it’s a great value for introducing your kids to poetry.

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This Week’s News – Wii in Hotels, National Library Week coming up

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

Nintendo’s Wii has maintained its lead as the hot item in videogaming. Wii, which is pronounced like the English word “we,” tells you who this console is for — all of us, everyone. I’ve talked with everyone from grandparents to kids and it’s their game of choice these days. When Nintendo company set out to to dramatically improve the interface for video games, they came up with the Wii. So, what makes it different from other next-generation consoles. I went to “How Stuff Works” to find out.

“If you look at the controllers for the Xbox, the Playstation 2 and the GameCube, you’ll notice that they are nearly identical… Nintendo’s designers got outside of the box and innovated. The Wii controller looks like the remote control for a TV and it has no joystick. Instead, the primary control is the controller itself. The controller contains solid-state accelerometers and gyroscopes that let it sense movement. The controller’s most-talked-about feature is the capacity to track its own relative motion. This enables players to do things like steer a car by twisting the remote in the air or moving a game character by tilting the remote down or up.”

Hotels are the latest to capitalize on the Wii’s success. According to USA Today, the fitness center at Manhattan’s Le Parker Meridien offers guests Wii rentals at $50 an hour. Westin Hotels have announced plans to offer Wii for guests at their 150 locations and resorts. For hotels, offering their customers the Wii is helps maintain their up-to-date image and appeals to their guests who are seeking a new experience. At Wii’s price point ($250-300), it’s much less costly than installing flat-screen TVs or other add-ons.

And, hey – for the public, it’s a great way to try out a new technology while you’re on vacation or a business trip.

Next week, April 13 – 19 marks the American Library Association’s 50th anniversary of National Library Week. “Join the circle of knowledge at your national library,” is this year’s them. Honorary chair is actress and author, Julie Andrews, who is featured in a series of TV and radio Public service Announcements celebrating the week. Each year on the Thursday of National Library Week is Support Teen Literature Day, sponsored by the Young Adult Library Services Association. Teen Read Week 2008 will be celebrated, October 12-18.

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AAP Study shows Teens With TVs in Bedrooms Have Fewer Healthy Habits

Monday, April 7th, 2008

Older adolescents who have a television where they sleep are less likely to engage in healthy activities such as exercising, eating fresh vegetables and enjoying family meals, according to the study “Characteristics Associated With Older Adolescents Who Have a Television in Their Bedrooms.”

A study group of 781 socioeconomically and ethnically diverse teens participating in the Project EAT study reported on their television viewing habits, study habits and grades, diet, exercise habits and “family connectedness.” About two-thirds of the teens, who had a mean age of 17.2 years, had a television in their bedroom or sleeping area. They watched four to five hours more television each week.
Girls with a TV in their bedrooms spent less time in vigorous activity each week than girls without TVs in their rooms (1.8 vs. 2.5 hours). They also ate fewer fresh vegetables (1.7 vs. 2.0 servings per day), and had fewer family meals (2.9 vs. 3.7 meals per week).
Boys with TVs in their rooms not only had lower fruit intake and fewer family meals, they also had a lower grade point average compared to their counterparts with no TVs in the bedroom (2.6 vs. 2.9). Overall, teens with televisions in their rooms ate more fast food, consumed more sweetened beverages and read or studied less.
The authors from the University of Minnesota conclude that refraining from placing a television in teenagers’ rooms may be a first step in helping to reduce screen time and subsequent poor behaviors associated with TV watching.
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PBS Kids Sprout VOD Report

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

PBS Kids Sprout recently reported they are averaging 17 million views a month on their video-on-demand programs. PBS Kids Sprout is looking at how VOD has changed how preschool households are taking in media. They are the first 24-hour preschool network on TV, on-demand and online (sprout online.com) for kids 2 to 5 and their parents. The network launched first as a VOD service in April 2005, and then began a 24-hour linear channel and Web site that September. A partnership of Comcast Corp., HIT Entertainment, PBS and Sesame Workshop, PBS Kids Sprout reaches 35 million households via Comcast, Cox Communications, DirecTV, Insight, RCN, Time Warner, Verizon and AT&T.;

The network offers 60 hours of VOD programming each month, including 10 hours of Spanish-language programming (Plaza Sesamo, Angelina Ballerina, Jay Jay the Jet Plane, Barney & Friends, Bob the Builder and The Berenstain Bears).

Further research on the consumers utilizing VOD revealed that the typical Sprout household is a more active media consumer; parents are 10% more likely to sit and watch TV with their preschoolers and 25% more likely to have selected a kids’ VOD program in the past six months. Also, nearly half of the Sprout viewers said they watch TV and VOD with their children daily.

Interesting, are you using VOD yet? If so, write me and tell me more. You can reply to this post. Thanks.

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Doodlebops live – Mall of America; April 3 at 1:30 p.m.

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008

Straight from their hit TV show on Playhouse Disney, the Doodlebops from Cookie Jar Entertainment) will perform live at the Mall of America. Deedee, Rooney and Moe are traveling the U.S. in a live concert tour across North America. This candy-colored trio will have children and parents rockin’ and boppin’ together at the country’s largest Mall. At 1:30 p.m. families can meet in the Rotunda where they will be inspired to move and groove along with the Doodlebops as they perform some of their rockin’ hits.

Doodlebops LIVE! is taking place at the Xcel Energy Center on Friday, April 4. Tickets are available at the Xcel Energy Center Box Office and all area Ticketmaster locations or online.

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