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

Archive for October, 2010

Five Halloween DVDs Your Family Will Absolutely Love

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

WubbzyGoesBoo.jpgWow Wow Wubbzy: Wubbzy Goes Boo. Wubbzy and his friends are back just in time for the fall season! Watch as Wubbzy, Widget and Walden clean up a crazy mess with Moo Moo’s magic wand, try to collect the very last leaf of autumn, pick the perfect pumpkin and create the spookiest Halloween costume of all. There’s singing, dancing, trick or treating and kickity-kick ball too, plus plenty of positive values like creativity, patience and responsibility. It’s all here in the Emmy winning Nick Jr./Noggin hit that’s so much fun it’s scary! DVD. 70 min.; $16.98; Ages 2-5. Anchor Bay Entertainment.

The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss: There is Nothing to Fear in Here. Scare up some fun this Halloween with the Cat in the Hat in three spine-tingling, never-before -released episodes themed for Halloween. In “There Is Nothing To Fear In Here,” the grumpy Grinch gets a taste of his own medicine when the Seussville folks give him a scare. Then in “The Blag-Bludder Beast,” the people of Troomph are thankful when Yertle unknowingly “conquers” a frightening mystical creature. And finally, Binky shares a dark tale about the adventures he has had with his goldfish in “Norval The Great.” DVD. 72 min.; $14.98, Ages 5-8. Lionsgate Home Entertainment

ScaredSilly.jpgJim Henson’s Fraggle Rock: Scared Silly. Join the Fraggle gang in three frightfully delightful episodes full of mystery and magic. From Wembley accidentally wandering into the cursed “Terrible Tunnel,” Boober discovering what makes Fraggle tails flare when they get startled, and Ma and Pa Gorg leaving Junior alone in the castle on a dark and stormy night, Fraggle Rock: Scared Silly is bursting with Halloween fun! DVD. 74 min. Ages 5-8. $14.98. Lionsgate.

Scholastic Storybook Treasures: The Halloween Stories Collection. 18 not-so-scary stories in a 3 DVD collection. From the kid-friendly Halloween stories A Very Brave Witch and By the Light of the Halloween Moon, to family favorites The Teacher From the Black Lagoon and Where the Wild Things Are, kids and parents delight watching their favorite books spring to life on DVD. Includes: Where the Wild Things Are, In the Night Kitchen, Alligators All Around, One Was Johnny, Chicken Soup with Rice, Pierre, A Very Brave Witch, By the Light of the Halloween Moon, A Dark, Dark Tale, Georgie, The Witch in the Cherry Tree, The Three-Legged Cat, The Three Robbers, Little Tim and the Brave Sea Captain. DVD 175 min.; $24.95 Ages 4-9. New Video Group

210207.jpgGoosebumps: The Blog That Ate Everyone and Go Eat Worms. Making their DVD premiere, these haunting Goosebumps adventures include such spooky mysteries as an antique typewriter that makes every terrifying word come to life, a creepy piano teacher hiding a frightening secret, a magician with a horrifying bag of tricks and a group of sinister lawn gnomes terrorizing the neighborhood. Plus, fans won’t be able to escape the story of the hungry and horrible blob that traps everyone in sight, not to mention the invading hoard of squirming worms that turn up in the most unlikely places. DVD. min.; $14.98; Ages 8-12. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.





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Friday, October 22nd, 2010

BeBig.jpgScholastic Media and HandsOn Network, the largest volunteer network in the nation, announced today the winners of its second annual “BE BIG in Your Community Contest,” a signature component of the ongoing Clifford The Big Red Dog® BE BIG!™ campaign sponsored by American Family Insurance. 

Sixteen-year-old Tucson student Jennifer O’Neal’s BIG idea to create a hospital classroom for young cancer patients at Diamond Children’s at University Medical Center – has been awarded the $25,000 grand prize grant from the BE BIG Fund.  The Arizona student will see her idea come to life with the support of Volunteer Center of Southern Arizona, an affiliate of the HandsOn Network. 

The national contest invited participants to submit a BIG idea that demonstrates Clifford’s Big Ideas (Share, Help Others, Be Kind, Be Responsible, Play Fair, Be a Good Friend, Believe in Yourself, Have Respect, Work Together and Be Truthful) for a chance to win a community grant to be used toward implementing the winning proposals. Since its inception, the contest has brought in over 1,500 entries from over 40,000 children, parents, teachers and community leaders ranging in age from 2 to 70. 

O’Neal was inspired to apply for a BE BIG grant after her sister was hospitalized at the University Medical Center in Tucson in 2009. During her sister’s stay, O’Neal learned that children face substantial challenges keeping up with their school work while being treated, and falling behind in school is one of many young patients’ chief concerns. With help from two members of Girl Scout Troop 484, Sharon Fass and Lauren Evans, O’Neal developed the idea to create a study room to help reduce young patients’ stress.

“Jennifer and her team drew from personal inspiration to develop a BIG idea that will meet the needs of their community for years to come,” said Deborah Forte, President of Scholastic Media and Executive Vice President of Scholastic Inc. “Clifford’s BIG Ideas are inspiring people of all ages to embrace civic engagement; Scholastic is delighted that so many children and families are committing to improve the lives of others in innovative ways, while taking pride in service to their communities.”

“The BE BIG program continues to inspire and help equip children and families to adopt a tradition of service” said Michelle Nunn, CEO of Points of Light Institute and co-founder, HandsOn Network.  “We are extremely pleased to partner with Scholastic Media in providing a way for a new generation, exemplified by Jennifer and the other award-winners, to make its mark on the world and realize its power to make a difference.”

“Every great idea has a starting point,” said Lisa Bacus, vice president of marketing for American Family Insurance. “These incredible ideas started in the hearts and minds of people of all ages and from various walks of life. American Family Insurance is proud to help provide the framework for these ideas to become reality in improving the lives of others.”

Ten additional contest entries have been selected as First Place prize winners; each will be awarded a $2,500 community grant.  Nineteen Second Place prize winning ideas – one from each of American Family Insurance’s 19-state business territory also will receive grants totaling $25,000. The ten First Place prize winners are below.

·         Will Lourcey, age 7, and his team from Fort Worth, Texas will work with Volunteer Center of Texas to organize local area little league baseball players against hunger in the “Hits Against Hunger” project.

·         Erika Ferguson, age 17, of Northfield, New Jersey will work with United Way of Atlantic County’s Volunteer Center on her BIG Idea for the “ACRM Farm Project” to grow and harvest food for the poor.

·         Mackenzie Bearup, age 17, of Alpharetta, Georgia will work with HandsOn Atlanta to expand the reach of her “Shelter Libraries” book donation initiative.

·         Lindsay Hyde, age 28, and her team from Miami will work with HandsOn Miami to double the size of the “Strong Women, Strong Girls” volunteer mentor program in her community.

·         Leigh Pruden, age 17 of Houston will work with Volunteer Houston to keep a refugee education initiative thriving through a high school community service program.

·         Milan Patel, age 15, of Clearwater, Florida will work with HandsOn Tampa to expand the “Teen Music Hospice Program” that plays bedside music for patients in his community.

·         Jenny Chen, age 19, of North Potomac, Maryland will expand her “Connect Through Comics” mentor program into the Washington, D.C. community with DC Cares.

·         Sandy Warrick, age 55, and her kindergarten students in Albuquerque, New Mexico will work with generationOn to support the “Kids Babyfood Drive” initiative for a local food bank.

·         Shelley Sellwood-Davis, age 24, and her team from Lexington, Kentucky, will work with United Way of the Bluegrass Volunteer Center to expand the “Build-A-Bed” initiative to include 2000 volunteers in more communities.

·         Rohan Chandra, age 15, of Fremont, California will work with generationOn to start his “Earthquake Kits/Emergency Preparedness” project for seniors in his community.

Nearly 1,000 entries comprising more than 25,000 community members of all ages were submitted for the 2010 contest. This represented an 82 percent increase in the number of entries over 2009 and more than a 50 percent increase in community members.

The 11 top-winning BIG Ideas were selected by a panel of judges based on four criteria — feasibility, creativity, sustainability and impact.

The Clifford BE BIG campaign (scholastic.com/cliffordbebig) is a fully integrated cause marketing program that invites everyone to take action and raise awareness for how Clifford’s BIG Ideas can make the world a better place.  Its mission is to recognize and reward others for their BIG actions, to catalyze change in local communities, and to provide resources for everyone to share BIG ideas. The initiative is sponsored by American Family Insurance, an organization with a long tradition of community sponsorships and involvement, contributing to organizations that improve the quality of life for those in need, particularly children.  A complete list of finalists, and profiles about their BIG ideas, can be found at www.scholastic.com/cliffordbebig.

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Read Every Day Campaign Launches This Month

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

ReadEveryDay.jpgRead Every Day. Lead a Better Life is a global literacy campaign launched as part of Scholastic’s 90th anniversary celebration that underscores the importance of reading to better prepare children who will need strong literacy skills to survive and succeed in the 21st century. Scholastic is asking EVERYONE, its partners, publishers, educators, business leaders, nonprofits, parents, caregivers and students — to work together to bring reading and deeper understanding to all children around the globe. The Reading Bill of Rights, the foundation of the campaign, includes eight “beliefs” that affirm every child’s right to read and what that means in the 21st century… from access to books and great stories to the ability to analyze, interpret and understand information in the digital age.

The Read Every Day initiative is comprised of several elements, including:

    * The Reading Bill of Rights the Bill of Rights is available on the website and will also be handed out at noted sites around the world on October 22, Scholastic’s official anniversary.
    * Reading Action Steps, ways we can all encourage and help kids read
    * Celebrities, including Sarah Jessica Parker, Whoopi Goldberg, Kathy Bates, Keke Palmer, and the NFL’s Justin Tick, will support Read Every Day through public service announcements, while noted kid’s illustrators, including David Shannon, Mark Teague, Norman Bridwell, and Barbara McClintock, have created special posters for the campaign
    * Scholastic has also created the social network site You Are What You Read (http://www.youarewhatyouread.com/), where people can post the five books that changed their lives and connect with others through shared “Bookprints,” and discover new books.  The site also features “Bookprints” of noted people such as Bill Gates, Eva Mendes, Tony Hawk, Jodi Picoult, Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Malcolm Gladwell.  The site launches October 22. Taylor Swift will participate in a live webcast exclusively for schools to celebrate Read Every Day.  Read Now! with Taylor Swift will include an interview with the artist about how reading is part of her life and she will perform.  Hosted by Nick Cannon, the event will take place October 27, 2010.  Teachers can get more information and register at scholastic.com/readeveryday

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It’s a Wonderful Life As Interpreted by Veggie Tales – You’ll Love It

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

Veggie Tales: It’s a Meaningful Life.  Jimmy Stewart fans get ready for a new version of It’s a Wonderful Life. An asparagus has taken over the leading role. Stuart’s life is falling apart, and he focuses his life on event where he failed in the past. He boards the “What if Express” and finds out what life would have been like if he became famous when he was younger. The same lessons as the classic tale still shine through, along with a message of God’s love for the person you are, not what you might have been. It also clearly demonstrates that God has a plan for you, even if you don’t know what it is. Adults and children alike will laugh together as the beloved Veggie Tale gang sings, dances, and teaches importnat lessons about life. See how many Christams stories you spot as you watch this deligthful story. We saw, It’s a Wonderful Life,   The Polar Express, a bit of the Grinch Who Stole Christmas, and A Christmas Carol. Child Juror Comments: I loved this movie because it had a great lesson that God loves you, and even if something happened that you didn’t want, He has a plan for you. I think the cinematography was pretty good. It’s not the best in the world, but is still pretty good. They were nice to each other. When the main character was in trouble, someone would come along and help him. I think my friends would love this DVD becasue they love Veggie Tales, and they would love the lesson learned in this. May favorite part was when they went on the train ride, and he saw what his life would be like if he caught the football. 97 min.; $14.97; Ages 5-12. Big Idea Entertainment.

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PBS KIDS Celebrates Halloween with a Spooktacular Lineup of Episodes

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

pbskidsgo_halloweenlogo.jpgStarting October 25, PBS KIDS will offer a spooktacular lineup of Halloween-themed episodes, including new episodes of ARTHUR, FETCH! WITH RUFF RUFFMAN and MARTHA SPEAKS, plus classic favorites from WORDGIRL, CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG, CURIOUS GEORGE, SUPER WHY!, SID THE SCIENCE KID and more. Neil Gaiman, author of creepy novels “Coraline” and “The Graveyard Book,” makes a special appearance on ARTHUR and encourages Sue Ellen to write a graphic novel, while the gangs at MARTHA SPEAKS and FETCH! WITH RUFF RUFFMAN learn that friends can help you face your fears.

On PBSKIDS.org – PBSKIDS.org web properties are also offering special Halloween content. The Freezer Burn group is back with an all new Halloween music video on FIZZY’S LUNCH LAB. And on WILSON & DITCH DIGGING AMERICA, the gopher brothers visit Sleepy Hollow and have an encounter with the Headless Horseman.

On PBS KIDS – Following is a listing of the episodes airing the week of October 25 (Check local listings for air dates and times). 

CURIOUS GEORGE – “Creatures of the Night” – George thought it was odd that all the food was gone from the bird feeder in a single night.  Who or what is eating it all?  Could the small animal tracks be a clue?  Determined to solve the mystery George stays up all night and finds a baby possum who has lost his family.  The two set off on a night journey to find the possum’s home and meet some other nocturnal animals (and some very tired “day animals”!) on the way.  And because their night shadows strike a scary resemblance to the legendary Lake Creature of Lake Wannasink Lake – whose tale Mr. Quint is broadcasting to the entire town on this same night – the furry twosome cause quite a stir.

DINOSAUR TRAIN –”Night Train” – Dad, Buddy and Tiny take a special ride on the Dinosaur Train at night, learning about animals that are active after dark, culminating at the Big Pond for a nature walk under the full moon.    

MARTHA SPEAKS – “Scaredy Cat” – To escape a storm, the kids and dogs retreat into the Boxwood’s house. TD, Alice, and Helen decide to tell spooky stories to pass the time. But as spooky things start happening in the house, they wonder if their stories might be a little too real. 

SUPER WHY! – “The Ghost Who Was Afraid of Halloween” – It’s Halloween in Storybrook Village and Pig is so frightened, he won’t go Trick or Treating with his friends! The Super Readers pay a storybook visit to Little Ghost, who’s a bit of a scaredy cat himself, to teach him there’s more to Halloween than meets the eye!

SID THE SCIENCE KID – “My Mushy Banana” – Sid wants to know why his beloved yellow banana has turned brown and mushy.  After exploring how fruits and vegetables slowly change, including a Halloween pumpkin that decays, Sid learns that it’s natural for his banana to ripen and turn brown and mushy

WORDWORLD – “A Kooky Spooky Halloween / Sheep’s Halloween Costume” – A Kooky Spooky Halloween – The WordFriends get their share of scares the night before Halloween, when Pig sleepwalks and everyone thinks he’s a ghost!

Sheep’s Halloween Costume – It’s Halloween – Sheep’s favorite day of the year.  Sheep likes nothing more than to dress up, so she always goes out of her way to make herself a special costume.  But what will she do when her WordFriends need pieces of her costume for their own costumes?

CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG – “Boo” – It’s Scary Movie night on Birdwell Island.  Does anything scare Jetta and Mac?  Not much, except maybe for the Ghost Dog of Birdwell Island.

BARNEY & FRIENDS™ – “Guess Who? / Sweet Treats” – Guess Who? – BJ™ and Baby Bop™ decide to get Halloween celebrations underway with a costume party.  But when it comes to picking costumes, Riff™ just can’t decide!  That night, as the festivities get underway, Riff makes a grand entrance proudly wearing a costume that suits him perfectly!

Sweet Treats – Barney and his friends go trick-or-treating in the park.  One of Barney’s friends discovers all his candy is gone…he has a hole in his bag!  BJ shares his candy and everyone learns how nice it is to share with friends!

CAILLOU – “After Dark!” – Things get a little scary today. Caillou and his new neighbors, Jason and Jeffery, are playing hide and go seek in the backyard, until dusk brings out the shadows. A flashlight and Mommy help chase the shadows away. That evening, Caillou can’t fall asleep when he hears scary “scratchy monster” noises and thinks there’s a monster in his room. Daddy shows him that a tree branch brushing against the window is making the noises and the only monster in Caillou’s room is Gilbert. Later, a bad dream about a scary monster leads to a restless night for Caillou. Mommy and Daddy help him learn to fall asleep safely in his own bed.  And, finally, when Caillou sleeps over at Leo’s house for the first time, he has fun until it’s time to go to sleep. A phone call to Mommy reminds Caillou that Teddy was looking forward to spending the night. Together they rest easily.

ARTHUR – “Falafelosophy / Tales of Grotesquely Grim Bunny” – Falafelosophy – At the urging of guest-star author Neil Gaiman (“Coraline,” “The Graveyard Book”) Sue Ellen tries her hand at writing and illustrating a graphic novel.  When Sue Ellen needs inspiration and encouragement, she turns to Neil – who pops up in unexpected places! – and to the philosophy lessons of her local falafel vendor!

Tales of Grotesquely Grim Bunny – When the local comic book store changes ownership, the new darker and scarier comics are right up Fern’s alley.  But Arthur can’t seem to stomach them and now he’s worried.  Is it wrong to be afraid?  Maybe his friends will be more supportive than he realizes.

FETCH! WITH RUFF RUFFMAN – “Ruffman Manor is Haunted!” – Ruff has just learned that he’s set to inherit Ruffman Manor from his ancestor Maximilian Ruffman. The only problem… Ruffman Manor is said to be HAUNTED! Ruff sends all six FETCHers out to check out the manor and find out if it’s safe for him to move in.

WORDGIRL –“Tobey’s Tricks and Treats” – After losing the costume contest at school, Tobey sets his Robots on a candy-stealing spree and vows to ruin Halloween.  Becky and Violet (in her WordGirl costume) plot to save the holiday… and the city.

CYBERCHASE – “The Halloween Howl” – The annual “Halloween Howl” bash in Castleblanca promises to be spooktacular…until Hacker takes over the Mayor’s Castle and brings its seven stone gargoyles to life. Obeying Hacker’s every command, the gargoyles capture the Mayor and imprison him in the dungeon.  To gain control of the creepy creatures, the CyberSquad must figure out how to use division to evenly split up bunches of garlic and rock candy.  But can they do it in time to rescue the Mayor and save The Halloween Howl?


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Powerful and Inspirational Film about Forgiveness

Monday, October 11th, 2010

Amish Grace. Perhaps this film should have been called “God’s Grace.” Either way, the story is powerful and inspirational. It’s based on the true account of a gunman who entered an Amish schoolhouse and killed some of the girls. The man’s wife struggles to come to terms with the enormity of what her husband had done, and because of their belief in God’s forgiveness of them, the Amish community offers a hand of forgiveness to the wife. Except for one mother. Ida, a fictional character, struggled to come to terms with that her own community preached. Viewers who watch this film should settle in to watch the entire movie, which isn’t hard to do since the pacing keeps the viewer glued to the screen. The first half of the film seems almost black and white with the Amish as good guys and the “Others” as evil influences. As the film moves on, however, both sides begin to grey so everyone just becomes human, with good and bad qualities. This in no way detracts from the strong message of forgiveness. The idea of forgiveness is shown to be very difficult and very real, but a viewer understands the messages behind forgiveness. When you don’t forgive, you are disobeying God’s command and authority. Even if you don’t believe in God, the hatred that comes from a lack of forgiveness will eat at you, making you feel even worse.  The acting is very real, and those who live in Amish communities will recognize the lifestyle, aside from the fact that all the Amish women in the film are young and beautiful, and there are no scenes with little babies, even though  the Amish tend to have many children. Child Juror Comments: The message of forgiveness in this movie was really good. I’m not sure that my friends would like it because it’s so religious. My Christian friends would like it. They aren’t like the Amish people in my area. The ones here don’t talk. The acting and crying seemed real. If my brother got shot, I don’t think I would act like the Amish. DVD. 94 min.; $22.98; Ages 14-18 Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. http://www.amazon.com/Amish-Grace-Kimberly-Williams-Paisley/dp/B003V3FSO6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1286486894&sr=1-1

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