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

Archive for August, 2009

Favorites: Trick or Treat Tales Coming September 1

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009
Gatherr round for not-so-spooky tales of adventure, learning and friendship with your favorite preschool pals Thomas & Friends™, Barney™, Bob the Builder™, Angelina Ballerina™, Fifi and the Flowertots™ and Fireman Sam™ in HIT Favorites: Trick or Treat Tales on DVD September 1, 2009 from Lionsgate and HIT Entertainment.

The thrills start with Thomas & Friends™ in a ghostly adventure. Bob The Builder™ and Spud put on scary faces to protect a giant pumpkin pie from hungry crows. Barney™ and Fifi learn that there’s more to a costume than just dressing up. Angelina Ballerina™ sneaks into a costume ball and Fireman Sam™ saves a furry friend from a chilling experience. Enjoy the season’s sweetest collection of Trick or Treat Tales
· Thomas & Friends – “Flour Power!”
· Barney & Friends™ – “Guess Who?”
· Bob the Builder – “Trix’s Pumpkin Pie”
· Fifi and the Flowertots – “Pirate Primrose”
· Angelina Ballerina – “The Costume Ball”


· “Cat Magic” – a bonus episode of Fireman Sam

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“Fireman Sam Help is Here!” on DVD August 25, 2009

Monday, August 24th, 2009
With a fresh new look, brave and resourceful Fireman Sam™ tackles problems big and small in the all-new Fireman Sam: Help is Here! igniting onto DVD August 25, 2009 from Lionsgate and HIT Entertainment. In his first ever CGI adventure, everyone’s favorite firefighter teaches about fire safety, rescues those in need and demonstrates the importance of fire prevention.

Fireman Sam – the only children’s firefighter-themed show – originally launched in the UK and made its U.S. debut on PBS KIDS SproutSM in October 2006, and continues to air daily.
See Fireman Sam™ in action in this thrilling collection of firefighting adventures! Join Fireman Sam, Norman, Mandy and Radar as they make courageous rescues throughout the town of Pontypandy. Fireman Sam saves the supermarket on Fire Prevention Day, helps the rescue dogs find missing people, shares important safety tips and makes a daring helicopter rescue in the midst of a forest fire.

Episodes include:
· “Paper Plane Down”
· “Hot & Cold Running Sniffer Dog”
· “Hearts On Fire”
· “Perilous Path”
· “The New Hero Next Door”

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“Bob the Builder Call In the Crew” DVD with Toy Truck Aug 26

Monday, August 24th, 2009

Get a big scoop of fun with Bob the Builder™ and his machine team in the all-new Bob the Builder: Call in the Crew! available on DVD August 25, 2009 from Lionsgate and HIT Entertainment. Featuring never-before-seen episodes, the DVD is packaged with a free toy vehicle and is filled with action as Bob and his Can-Do Crew learn that good friends always work together to get the job done. Teamwork, positive thinking and problem-solving equip future builders with the right Can-Do attitude to tackle any project!

DVD SYNOPSIS – Join Bob, Muck, Scoop and Roley, in 5 exciting, action-packed episodes! Watch and learn as Bob and his Can-Do Crew build a house, open a new café, fix an old gate and help a family of ducks. See how teamwork and fun go hand-in-hand in these building adventures.

Episodes include:

· Massive Muck
· Roley’s Moleys
· Scoop Slips Up
· Scrambler’s Seaweed Delivery
· Muck’s Convoy


§ “Lofty the Painter” Game
§ “Skip’s Chute Rescue” Game

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Submit your Rough Cut to Aniboom’s History Channel Competition and win $5,000.

Friday, August 21st, 2009

The first stage submissions period ends in less than two weeks. They are looking for the top five “Rough Cuts” (early-stage works ranging anywhere from basic sketches, storyboards, animatics to partial or full animations), which can be synched up to the free audio provided exclusively at Aniboom.com/History.

The top five are awarded an automatic $5,000 so that they may be further developed into final animations. Those final animations then go on to compete for a $25,000 development deal and national television exposure.

This is a great opportunity for you to showcase your style, win cash prizes, and show off your animation to millions. It’s simple—just download 30 seconds of exclusive free audio and show how you would animate it— sketches, drawings, and storyboards are all fully welcome! But don’t wait to the last minute—their servers get a bit overloaded when everyone submits all at once!

With the first stage of this competition ending August 31st, now is your time to win a cool $5,000 and get on the road to your big break!

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The Simpsons, Complete 12th Season Coming to DVD August 18

Monday, August 17th, 2009

Simpson fans, listen up!

Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie return for more outrageous adventures when “The Simpsons” The Complete Twelfth Season arrives on DVD August 18 from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. The longest running animated series in television history, “The Simpsons” latest DVD collection features all 21 classic episodes from the 2000-01 season including Bart’s boy band odyssey in “New Kids on the Blecch” featuring pop sensations ‘N Sync and the hilarious less-than-ordinary day in-store for Homer, Bart and Lisa in “Trilogy of Error.” The season also boasts an impressive line-up of talented guest stars including Drew Barrymore, Edward Norton, Justin Timberlake, Stephen King, Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Roger Daltrey, and many more.

“The Simpsons” The Complete Twelfth Season is loaded with special features including an introduction from Matt Groening; audio commentaries on every episode with Groening and “The Simpsons” Executive Producers, Writers, Actors and Directors; deleted scenes; animation showcases; original sketches; special language feature; featurettes and more. As an added bonus, the set comes in collectible packaging modeled after the overweight and over opinionated retailer Comic Book Guy.

“The Simpsons” The Complete Twelfth Season Special Features:

All episodes are compiled on four discs. Each episode is presented with English, Spanish and French and English, French and Spanish subtitles. The following is a breakdown of each disc:

Disc One:

o Treehouse of Horror XI
o A Tale of Two Springfields
o Insane Clown Poppy
o Lisa the Tree Hugger
o Homer vs. Dignity
o Additional Bonus Features Include:

§ Commentaries featuring Executives Producers, Writers, Directors, Cast and many more
§ Illustrated Commentary: Lisa the Tree Hugger
§ Animation Showcase: Treehouse of Horror XI
§ Deleted Scenes
§ Special Language Feature: Homer Vs. Dignity

Disc Two:

o The Computer Wore Menace Shoes
o The Great Money Caper
o Skinner’s Sense of Snow
o Pokey Mom
o Worst Episode Ever
o Additional Bonus Features Include:

§ Commentaries featuring Executives Producers, Writers, Directors, Cast and many more
§ Deleted Scenes
§ Comic Book Guy: Best. Moments. Ever. featurette
§ Illustrated Commentary: HOMR

Disc Three:

o Tennis the Menace
o Day of the Jackanapes
o New Kids on the Blecch
o Hungry, Hungry Homer
o Bye Bye Nerdie
o Simpsons Safari
o Additional Bonus Features Include:

§ Commentaries featuring Executives Producers, Writers, Directors, Cast and many more
§ Deleted Scenes
§ Animation Showcase: Day of the Jackanapes

Disc Four:

o Trilogy of Error
o I’m Goin’ to Praiseland
o Children of a Lesser Clod
o Simpson Tall Tales
o Additional Bonus Features Include:

§ Commentaries featuring Executives Producers, Writers, Directors, Cast and many more
§ Deleted Scenes with optional commentary by Executive Producer Mike Scully
§ Global Fanfest
§ Sketch Gallery
§ Illustrated Commentary: I’m Goin’ to Praiseland
§ The Commercials

About “THE SIMPSONS” – Currently the longest-running sitcom on television, The Simpsons aired their historic 400th episode in May 2007, followed by the hugely successful The Simpsons Movie in July 2007. The critically acclaimed series features Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie Simpson who take traditional family life and turn them upside down. Exploding into a cultural phenomenon in 1990, The Simpsons has remained one of the most visible and marketable properties both domestically and internationally. The Simpsons is noted for its famous celebrity guest voices and received a Star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame in January of 2000. In Spring 2008 The Simpsons Ride opened at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida and Hollywood, CA.

This multi-Emmy Award®-winning series is currently in production of its 21st Season. The Simpsons is a Gracie Films Production in association with 20th Century Fox Television. James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, and Al Jean are the Executive Producers. The Gracie Films Licensing and Marketing Division develops and produces the DVD collection for the series. Film Roman is the animation house.

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Rethinking Early Childhood Education

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

Dr. Ed Greene, CQCM National Board member shares some recent news about the U.S. work with the Pyramid Approach to Early Learning from the Netherlands.

The attached article was written during the recent study tour Dr. Greene conducted for Dr. Jef van Kuyk, the creator of the Pyramid Approach to which he was introduced by mentor and friend, Dr. Irving Siegel, several years ago. Dr. Siegel’s psychological distancing theory was an influlencial element in the development of the Approach.

Enjoy and pass it on.

Rethinking Early Childhood Education

Liz Babiarz

In a sunlit room decorated with different colorful plants, the four year olds at Georgia State’s Child Development Center began their project on “How Does Your Garden Grow?”

Much like other preschool classes might, they started the project by talking about what they know about plants and drawing pictures.

But they didn’t stop there. They spent the following four weeks broadening and deepening the concept to include everything from parts of the plant and germination, to weather cycles and plants found in literature and music.

GSU’s Lanette S. Suttles Child Development Center is one of the first in the nation to pilot this educational approach to early childhood learning. It’s called the Pyramid Approach and it is a new American adaptation to a Netherlands-based method of educating the whole child through sequential levels of thinking and learning.

“When children learn and play only in the here and now, say, through their five senses, their learning is limited,” said Dr. Jef van Kuyk, creator of the Pyramid Approach who visited GSU this month. “But if we are able to expand their thinking through comparing, predicting, and re-presenting, children can come to a much higher level of development.”

Georgia State began piloting the Pyramid Approach last fall and it will continue for another two years. The approach is also being tested at two nonprofit, community-based preschools – Sheltering Arms in Atlanta and the Jefferson County Head Start in Alabama.

At the same time, Georgia State faculty will guide a research study of Pyramid’s effects at these centers. The study will look at teacher’s experiences with the curriculum, their success implementing it and the quality of instruction students receive. It will also evaluate the impact of the instruction on child development outcomes, such as the development of literacy, language, socio-emotional and mathematics skills, compared to existing approaches.

“There are a lot of approaches that work with young children and we know what good early childhood practices should look like,” said Gary Bingham, assistant professor of early childhood education and an evaluator for the study. “But that doesn’t mean we can’t improve upon existing practices and make them better. Early childhood education is important because children’s preschool experiences set the developmental pace for the rest of their schooling experience.”

Students in Georgia State’s Birth through Five year old undergraduate degree program will also learn about this international approach in their teaching methods class this fall. Pyramid is a total education approach where a child’s cognitive, physical, language and socio-emotional needs are balanced. The approach starts by introducing a child to a concrete idea and moving into more abstract understanding of the concept.

Teachers are given detailed project books with clear steps to follow. The first two steps, orientation and demonstration, help a child learn through their senses, and the last two steps, broadening and deepening, lead a child to a higher level of thinking. These steps start close to the child’s experiences and gradually take distance so that children are able to develop the abstract representations they will need to be successful in formal schooling.

One year into the pilot, teachers at the child development center say they are seeing results.

“We ask them more questions to get them to think a little bit more and they learn to verbally express themselves more,” said Ansley Bailey, four year old assistant leader teacher at the center. “It’s very effective.”

The Pyramid Method is widely used in the Netherlands and is also internationally well known. Along with in the United States, pilot projects have started in Germany, Japan and South Korea.

“We’re piloting this method because we have a strong interest in identifying best practices for young children in language, literacy and cognition,” said Ruth Saxton, GSU assistant clinical professor of early childhood education and coordinator of the Birth through Five program. “Pyramid is a good match with the research and training interests of the ECE department and the university.”

For more information, visit http://education.gsu.edu/ece/BirthThroughFive.htm or http://education.gsu.edu/ece/Child_Development_Ctr.htm.

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