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

Archive for November, 2008

Nickelodeon Offers Holiday-Themed Programming

Saturday, November 29th, 2008

Tune into nick for primetime fare including new holiday-themed specials and episodes.

Mark Your Calendars (check your local listings for times and airdates)

Merry Christmas, Drake & Josh on Friday, December 5 (8p), the two-hour TV movie special features guest appearances by Henry Winkler and MMA fighter Kimbo Slice;

The Wonder Pets! Save the Nutcracker bows December 8 (8p);

The Fairly OddParents Merry Wishmas debuts Friday, December 12 (8p).

December also features the network’s holiday episodes/specials such as SpongeBob SquarePants Patchy the Pirate Presents the SpongeBob SquarePants Christmas Special, The Fairly OddParents Christmas Every Day among others.

Saturday, December 13, Nickelodeon will offer back-to-back premieres of holiday episodes: iCarly’s iChristmas (8p); True Jackson, VP Telling Amanda (8:30p); The Naked Brothers Band Christmas Special (9p), featuring guest stars Whoopi Goldberg, Natasha Bedingfield and Leon Thomas.

Nick Jr.’s Frosty Fridays mini-marathons will feature holiday episodes each Friday throughout December(9a-2p), including a new episode of Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! A Great and Grumpy Holiday/The Super-Special Gift, on Friday, December 5 (1:30p). The Frosty Fridays rundown also includes holiday themed episodes of the network’s preschool series The Wonder Pets!, The Backyardigans, Dora the Explorer, Go, Diego, Go!, and Yo Gabba Gabba!, among others.

Sounds like Holiday fun!

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The Nutty Professor Returns – Nov 25

Monday, November 24th, 2008
A hilarious flick for everyone of all ages is arriving on DVD this November. The once-buried secret potion to being cool is rediscovered when The Nutty Professor 2: Facing the Fear debuts on DVD November 25. Featuring the voice talents of the original Nutty Professor, comedic icon Jerry Lewis as Julius Kelp and three-time Kids’ Choice Award* Winner Drake Bell (Superhero Movie, “Drake and Josh”) as his grandson Harold, The Nutty Professor is the modern animated sequel to the beloved 1963 classic and one of the great family franchises in movie history. When Harold gets his hands on the recipe for his grandfather’s secret elixir, he creates a potion that drastically transforms his personality to be more confident and suave. Unfortunately his alter ego is also obnoxious and destructive. Much like his grandfather before him, Harold must face his insecurities and fears while learning to believe in himself without the help of any special concoctions.
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Invite Your Kids Into the Kitchen This Thanksgiving

Monday, November 10th, 2008
Thanksgiving is a great time to invite your kids into the kitchen to share the fun of cooking and learn something while doing it. My kids, who are now in their 30s, and I started doing this when they were small enough to sit on the big chopping block I had in the middle of my midwestern kitchen in the 70s. Today, it’s still a family tradition that my grandsons now join in.

While browsing one of my favorite cooking websites, epicurious.com, I found this great article about getting your young ones involved in the kitchen and the benefits of so doing. Here are some of their salient point. For the full story, go to  http://www.epicurious.com/articlesguides/everydaycooking/family/cookingwithkids

No matter how young or old your kids, sharing the preparation of a holilday feast gives you a greater sense of intimacy and makes them feel part of the process. When that meal gets taken to the table, their sense of pride in pulling it off is evident. For young learners, there are many lessons to be learned in math, science and reading. Also, preparing and eating dishes from other cultures fosters learning about other people, other languages and even geography. Last, and important in today’s environment, getting involved in food preparation helps kids develop healthy food choices and an appreciation for “real food.”

You can help your preschoolers develop their fine motor skills with activities such as pouring, stirring and measuring. Their math skills are aided by counting ingredients. Working as a team helps develop their social skills.

Older children benefit from learning how to increase or a decrease a recipe which teaches or reinforces multiplication or division skills. The basics of nutrition are picked up by menu preparation. Reading and leadership skills can be enhanced by reading recipes and leading others in the team as they execute them.

Remember that learning and fun can be one and take the opportunity to enjoy this holiday with your kids or grandkids so that everyone can enjoy both the process and the results.

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Have you watched Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!

Saturday, November 8th, 2008

Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! Wubbzy, the animated preschool show on Nick Jr. stars a bright yellow square of a guy who loves to play and makes you laugh. He gets stuck in awkward predicaments that he gets out of thanks to the help of his pals, Widget and Walden.

Bob Boyle is the creator and executive producer of Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! for which he received the Individual Achievement in Animation award at the 2008 Emmys. Previously, he was a producer and art director for Nickelodeon’s hit show, The Fairly OddParents. Bob is also a fun loving Libra .

Wubbzy started when his niece said, “Hey Bobby! Will you draw a story for me?” She had come up with a crazy story about a little guy whose tail had been bitten off by a big long thing and was seeking help from his friends. You can see the original book online at the Wubbzy blog site: http://wubby.typepad.com/
What is cool is that she is 17 now and came to Los Angeles this last summer to intern for the show. What a great thing for both her and the show. As Bob says, “She has a lot of energy. Since I don’t have kids myself, it was great to have her around. Plus, she was working on a new show of her own while she was here.”
Bob went to college wanting to be an animator. The college he attended didn’t have an animation program so he studied illustration instead. After graduation, he moved to The Big Apple – NYC, where he worked with some major publications supplemented by working as a bellhop at the Marriot Marquee in Times Square. He often doodled on the guests’ claim checks – something that captured his colleagues attention who encouraged him to do more. Later, he moved to Hollywood, got a job at the Marriot there, then got a job at Film Roman where he worked on Bobby’s World and the Howie Mandel show. It was a great experience in that he learned everything there was to learn about animation production. Eventually that led to developing his own stuff. One weird thing happened after he got Wubbzy landed. He was in NYC meeting with the Nickelodeon folks. While standing in their offices, he looked out the window where he could see on the street below, the Marriot Marquee where he used to work. Later, he returned to give a motivational speech to the Nickelodeon employees.

I love this show! One of the things that is most refreshing about Wubbzy is its sense of humor which most other pre-school shows don’t even come close to. Bob talked about what it was like when he started designing a preschool show. It was something he had never done one before. He looked at other successful shows such as Dora and Blue and observed their educational content. “That idea terrified me. I didn’t know how to do that.” He had come from working on Fairly OddParents which is all about being funny all the time and thought it would be fun to translate that to a preschool show. It was an offbeat idea, and obviously it worked.

I asked Bob what would happen If Wubbzy ever appeared on David Letterman. “Hopefully he wouldn’t be there to do stupid pet tricks. Although, he could do that since he’s got the tail. He’d probably wonder what was in the cup on Dave’s desk or he’d stare at the gap in Dave’s teeth. He’d probably enjoy it because Dave is silly. He’d much rather be on Letterman than Leno. Letterman is kooky.”

I think that if Letterman had a Top 10 List of “Why It’s Fun to Be Wubbzy” it would look like this:

10. You don’t have to drive in LA traffic.

9. You can eat as much marshmallow lasagna as you want and not gain pounds.

8- Not having to wear pants

7- Being able to make funny cartoon sounds every time I fall on my head

6- Three words- Kickity Kickball! Ooops, I guess that’s just 2 words.

5- I get to pal around with Dora the Explorer on the weekends!

4- I get to work out my social awkwardness in front of millions of viewers. Hey wait! That’s not very fun!

3- Sure beats my last job in the fireworks factory.

2. I can terrorize my writers any time I feel like it.

1- Did I mention not having to wear pants?

All silliness aside, Wubbzy does have some deeper messages. They are different in every episode. Some of the bigger things are being yourself, knowing it’s okay to be different and that everything doesn’t have to be perfect. Wubbzy makes a lot of mistakes and he learns from them. It’s stealth learning at its best. There are songs at the end that wrap up the episode. So, you end up singing the lesson of something such as “don’t lie.”

Bob offered some advice to novice animators. “The key is – like the people at Nike say, ‘just do it.'” By that, he means – draw. Draw draw draw all the time. Create your own stories. You don’t necessarily go to animation school to get into this business. It helps to take drawing classes. Many people in this business that come from many walks of life who just stumbled into animation. There’s definitely not a straight path or set of rules. Once you’ve done your work, show it to other people. Don’t be afraid to show to others and get criticism. Listen to their feedback and take it to heart. Thanks Bob, can’t wait to see what you do next!

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Grandparents take better care of kids.

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008
According to a new study published in the latest issue of Pediatrics, if your child care situation involves grandparents, you can rest easy knowing they are in good hands. In fact, they might be safer with their grandparents than they are with you!

Contrary to common wisdom that suggests grandparents are too far removed from the realities of child rearing to understand and protect children from injury and harm, the study find that quite the opposite is true. Analyzing data from the National Evaluation of the Healthy Steps for Young Children Program, researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health determined that children are less likely to be injured when in the care of grandma than in other situations. That’s right, grandma takes better care of the little ones than organized day care centers, other relatives and even stay at home moms.

The reasons for this aren’t clear, but we could speculate for days. Grandma might be less distracted than professional caregivers and even moms. Maybe grandma keeps the kids on a shorter leash and therefore out of harm’s way. Whatever the reason, this should be comforting news for the increasing number of families who depend on grandparents to provide regular child care.
For more info, go to http://www.parentdish.com/2008/11/05/grandparents-take-better-care-of-the-kids/ or

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Barbie™ Stars in the FIRST Barbie™ Holiday Movie!- Nov 4 Street

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008
The First-Ever Christmas Movie Starring Barbie™, is Available Exclusively on DVD Celebrate this holiday season with music, laughter and fun as Barbie™ stars in, the all-new “Barbie™ in A Christmas Carol,” coming exclusively to DVD on November 4, 2008.
 “Barbie™ in a Christmas Carol” is a heart-warming adaptation of the classic Dickens story filled with cherished Christmas carols, fabulous fashions and lots of laughs! The tale stars Barbie™ as Eden Starling™ the glamorous singing diva of a theatre in Victorian London. Along with her snooty cat Chuzzlewit, Eden selfishly plans to make all the theatre performers stay and rehearse on Christmas Day! Not even Eden’s costume designer and childhood friend Catherine can talk Eden out of her self-centered tantrum.

It’s up to three very unusual Christmas Spirits to take Eden on a fantastical holiday journey that will open her heart to the spirit of the season and the joy of giving. “Barbie™ in A Christmas Carol” is sure to become a family favorite to enjoy every holiday season!

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