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

Archive for January, 2009

Secret Life of Bees Arriving February 3

Saturday, January 31st, 2009
I loved the book and loved the movie even more. This heartwarming and empowering story based on the celebrated best-selling novel by the same name, The Secret Life of Bees arrives on DVD and Blu-ray disc February 3. Set during the turbulent Civil Rights era, The Secret Life of Bees stars Dakota Fanning (Charlotte’s Web, War of the Worlds) as Lily Owens, a 14-year-old girl who is haunted by the memory of her late mother. To escape her lonely life and troubled relationship with her father, Lily flees with her caregiver to a South Carolina town that holds the secret to her mother’s past. Taken in by the intelligent and independent Boatwright sisters, Lily finds solace in their mesmerizing world of bees and honey, and is forced to confront her own dark past and discover what it means to be a family. A thought-provoking and emotional film, The Secret Life of Bees explores the undeniable desire for a sense of belonging and the often-daunting journeys that must be navigated in order to achieve it.

Based on the award-winning novel by Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees was on the New York Times best-seller list for two years and sold over 4.7 million copies. The film features a critically acclaimed supporting cast including Academy Award-winner Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls, Sex and the City), Oscar nominees Queen Latifah (Best Supporting Actress, Chicago) and Sophie Okonedo (Best Supporting Actress, Hotel Rwanda) and 16-time Grammy Award-winner Alicia Keys. A universal story about the powerful discovery of family, hope and love, The Secret Life of Bees DVD includes features with the cast and crew, extended scenes and more.

This is a great film to share with your school age children as it offers excellent talking points about civil rights and American history.

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New DVD Releases Arriving February 3rd

Friday, January 30th, 2009
Keep your eyes peeled for some great new DVDs for your youngest – coming to the shelves in early February. Some of my favoriate selections are:
The Doodlebops are one of my favorite music DVDs for kids. Their new title,  JAMMIN’ WITH THE DOODLEBOPS will be released on February 3. For the first them, the DVD comes packaged with a separate music CD. The theme of this DVD is music, from exploring the rewards of practice and patience to overcoming stage fright, to singing a song on a dinosaur hunt. Cast: Deedee, Rooney, and Moe Doodle; Director: Wayne Moss, Jamie Waese, and Steve Wright. http://www.doodlebops.com/

From one of our favorite creators, Jim Jenkins comes: Pinky Dinky Doo: Where Are My Shoes. Featuring mighty metaphors and silly similes, seven-year-old Pinky Dinky Doo loves to make up crazy stories for her four-year-old brother Tyler Dinky Doo and her lovable pet, Mr. Guinea Pig. In her latest adventure, Pinky goes to school with salami on her feet when she can’t find her shoes, encounters a singing guinea pig, harmonizing pets, a gargantuan Pinky and much more! Always prepared to solve any problem with a little imagination, each episode teaches children about working together as a team, improves their vocabulary with the “Great Big Fancy Word” and addresses problem-solving skills. At the end of each story, Pinky’s Cheese Sandwich Game Player switches on, inviting children to play an interactive game.

From Genius Products comes Escape To Chimp Eden – Journey into the depths of South Africa and experience the fascinating events at Chimp Eden when “Escape To Chimp Eden” Season One arrives as a two-disc DVD for the first time on February 3. The heartfelt series follows conservationist Eugene Cussons, a South African rescue director for the Jane Goodall Institute’s Chimp Eden, as he travels throughout war-torn African countries to rescue neglected and abused chimps. Once brought to the sanctuary of Chimp Eden, Eugene works hands-on with these challenging chimps, sometimes putting his own safety on the line to teach them basic skills such as climbing trees and foraging for food. “Escape To Chimp Eden” Season One provides viewers with compelling stories that are both educational and adventurous.

Also from Genius Products is Jon & Kate Plus Ei8ht Season 3 – Hardly your typical American family, nonstop chaos returns when Jon & Kate Plus Ei8ht Season 3 is delivered on DVD February 3.  Following the super-sized family as they tackle seemingly ordinary activities such as visiting the zoo, vacationing in Utah, going to Disney World or celebrating the holidays, the #1 show on TLC showcases how the Gosselins manage their extraordinary lives raising two sets of energetic multiples. Featuring all-new extended episodes as well as a Gosselin family music video, Jon & Kate Plus Ei8ht  Season 3 continues to offer insight into Jon and Kate’s unique approach to child-rearing. Twins followed by sextuplets were not exactly what the Gosselins expected, but Jon and Kate’s ambitious parenting and dedication to provide a normal childhood for their happy brood has helped the show attract a large and dedicated fan base.

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Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common diagnosis in U.S. school children, and many of these children are treated with medication. In the study, “Hallucinations and Other Psychotic Symptoms Associated With the Use of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Drugs in Children,” researchers analyzed data from 49 randomized, controlled clinical trials as well as postmarketing surveillance data on ADHD drugs. The data show that some people, including some with no identifiable risk factors, can develop drug-related symptoms of psychosis or mania at usual doses. Hallucinations involving visual or tile sensations of insects, snakes or worms were reported in pediatric postmarketing cases. Patients and physicians should be aware that these symptoms may represent adverse drug reactions.

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Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

If parents smoke, chances are their adolescents will too. The study, “Parental Smoking and Adolescent Smoking Initiation: An Intergenerational Perspective on Tobacco Control,” looked at 564 adolescents enrolled in the New England Family Study. The authors found that there is a direct link between parental smoking and initiation of smoking by adolescents. The factors impacting the initiation of smoking by teens were parents who were active regular smokers and parents who smoked around their children before age 13. Fathers who smoke are more likely to influence teen boys than girls. The authors conclude that this study can be used to encourage parents to quit smoking as part of an effort to curb the initiation of smoking among teens.

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How’d They Build That?

Monday, January 26th, 2009
Big and yellow and ridden by almost everyone once in their lifetime, it’s the mighty school bus. And with a giant onboard concrete drum constantly turning both en route to and on site at construction sites everywhere, it’s the concrete truck. These are two of the most recognizable vehicles on the roads today. Now go behind the scenes and learn how these vehicular giants are built in the latest titles from the engaging  DVD series “School Bus” and “Concrete Truck,” arriving at stores February 24, 2009.

Each How’d They Build That? program takes viewers along for an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at some of the country’s most renowned assembly plants, showing how different types of trucks – emergency, utility, delivery, construction, service and agricultural – are built, from frame stamping to assembly, engine installation to paint, to final inspection and activation. Combining high definition live action with vivid, virtual 3-D animation, along with onscreen “Fun Facts” – which provides both interesting trivia and simple explanations of technical terminology – the How’d They Build That? series is sure to excite anyone who ever wondered where some of our most important vehicles come from. So start your engines and gear up for a truckin’ good time!

The newest titles in the How’d They Build That? series are:

· School Bus – Have you ever wondered where that big yellow bus you rode to and from school came from or how it was made? Learn all about it in a visit to the amazing IC School Bus factory in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where most of the school buses in North America are built. This fascinating plant features “The Green Mile,” an assembly line that’s more than a mile long, all under one roof! Watch each stage of assembly involved in building one of the safest vehicles on the road and learn fun trivia along the way (it’s the only vehicle on the road allowed to be “school bus yellow”). So take your seat for this fun-filled field trip!

· Concrete Truck – Is there any truck more fun to watch than a concrete mixer? We’ve all been mesmerized by the giant spinning drum mixing the concrete inside, and now its possible to see how that giant machine itself was built with a visit to the amazing McNeilus Concrete Truck factory in Dodge Center, Minnesota. Filmed in High Definition, with extensive use of colorful 3D computer generated models, watch how these marvelous machines – one of the heaviest vehicles on the road – are brought to life. Look at each stage of assembly from nuts & bolts to sparks and spinning steel and see how the rotating drum works to mix the concrete and watch it pour down the chute. It’s a rock-solid good time with this fun and fact filled program.

How’d They Build That? DVDs are available for sale at www.amazon.com and other online retailers.

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Monday, January 26th, 2009

For the first time, a new study examines how cell phone usage distracts preadolescent children while crossing the street. In “Effects of Cell Phone Distraction on Pediatric Pedestrian Injury Risk,” researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham used data from children aged 10 to 11 years in simulated road crossings in an interactive, virtual pedestrian environment. Distraction was only by cell phone conversation with a research assistant, not by other commonly used devices such as portable audio players or text messaging. Results indicate that when distracted, children were less attentive to traffic, left less time between themselves and the next oncoming vehicle, and were involved in more collisions and near misses. While cell phones offer convenience and safety to families, the study authors indicate that pedestrians – especially children – are likely to be more distracted than adults, and should limit cell phone use while crossing the street.

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