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

Archive for February, 2011

PBS KIDS® Celebrates Dr. Seuss’ Birthday On March 2

Monday, February 28th, 2011

On March 2, PBS KIDS is honoring the birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel, more widely known as Dr. Seuss, with a two-hour marathon of THE CAT IN THE HAT KNOWS A LOT ABOUT THAT!  PBS KIDS will celebrate Dr. Seuss’ 107th birthday by rhyming along with the playful Cat during two brand new episodes, “Incredible Journey/Bamboozled,” where the Cat introduces Nick and Sally to two incredible creatures, Salmon Sam and Zhu Zhu the panda, and “Teeny Weeny Adventure/I See Seeds,” in which the Cat takes Nick and Sally on two “tiny” adventures.  The fun will then continue with encore presentations of two favorite CAT IN THE HAT KNOWS A LOT ABOUT THAT! episodes.

“We’re excited to celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday with this special on-air event,” said Lesli Rotenberg, senior vice president, Children’s Media, PBS.  “With its focus on science education, THE CAT IN THE HAT KNOWS A LOT ABOUT THAT! series has become one of our most popular programs, nurturing children’s natural curiosity and instilling a love of exploration through fun adventures and problem solving.”

THE CAT IN THE HAT KNOWS A LOT ABOUT THAT! has ranked among the top five programs for children ages 2 to 5 since its launch in September.  Children can view these marathon episodes of THE CAT IN THE HAT KNOWS A LOT ABOUT THAT! on PBS KIDS on March 2 (check local listings).  Viewers can also catch a favorite episode, “The Tree Doctor,” online at PBSKIDS.org/video. Episodic images of these episodes are available on PBS PressRoom.

Following is a listing of the episodes airing during the March 2 Marathon Event (Check local listings for air dates and times).


“Incredible Journey/Bamboozled” NEW

“Incredible Journey” – Nick and Sally are playing in their homemade Thingamajigger, when the Cat arrives to take them on a real adventure! Off they go to meet Salmon Sam, who is returning to the pool where she hatched so she can lay her eggs. With the help of the Subber-e-blubber, they follow Samantha on her incredible journey!

“Bamboozled” – Sally needs to find a gift for her stuffed Panda, Pammy. Who better to ask than a real Panda? The Cat takes them to meet Zhu Zhu, a giant panda who helps the kids to discover all the wonderful things you can do with bamboo. It’s a perfect gift for Pammy the Panda!

“Teeny Weeny Adventure/I See Seeds” NEW

“Teeny Weeny Adventure” – Nick has spotted a tiny ladybug, but Sally has found an even smaller ant!  And there’s nothing smaller than an ant.  Or is there?  Cat takes Nick and Sally to meet a variety of single-celled creatures, the smallest anywhere!  Nick and Sally soon learn that a drop of water holds a whole lot more than they ever realized!

“I See Seeds” – Sally and Nick are going on an adventure, but how are they going to get there? Skateboard?  Train?  Rocketship?  They just can’t decide, until Cat suggests they see how trees send their seeds on trips.  They follow different seeds as they travel through the air, float on the water and hitch rides on animals.

“A Long Winter’s Nap/The Tree Doctor”

“A Long Winter’s Nap” – Sally and Nick are so excited to go ice skating tomorrow, that they can’t fall asleep! Cat’s friend Boris the Bear can help! Off they go to the Gleep-sneep Woods to learn how Boris gets ready to take his long winter’s nap. Back at home, Nick and Sally follow Boris’ advice, and, with the help of a bedtime story from Cat, they quickly fall asleep.

“The Tree Doctor” – Sally’s little maple sapling hasn’t grown any bigger! To discover why, the Cat in the Hat takes the kids to meet Dr. Twiggles. With the help of the doctor and his songs, Nick and Sally discover how trees “eat” – through their leaves and roots. They also learn that trees grow verrrry slowly. A few more years and their maple sapling will grow into a maple tree!

“Maps/Termite Towers”

“Maps” – Nick and Sally are pretending to be pirates. The Cat takes them on a real pirate adventure by following a treasure map! They use landmarks to find their way to a real pirate treasure: parchment paper and ink pens to make their own pirate maps!

“Termite Towers” – Sally and Nick just can’t seem to keep their block tower from toppling over.  The Cat in the Hat takes them to meet some expert tower builders: the termites!  After shrinking down to bug-size, they learn from Terry Termite how to build a tower that won’t wiggle and wobble.  With some engineering tips from a termite, Sally and Nick can build their block tower higher than ever before!

The Roommate Reviewed by KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Raven Devanney

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Roommate.jpgThe Roommate is the story of a crazy chick who doesn’t take her meds and wants to be her college roommate’s only friend.

This movie was scary but it wasn’t very good. It was supposed to be a thriller but it wasn’t very suspenseful and it wasn’t scary enough to be horror. I think the rating PG-13 was good because there wasn’t really any language or sexual content and the horror level was low. The only part that was sooo horrible it made me cry was when the crazy lady put the cutest little kitten in the washing machine.

 It really bugged me when Rebecca, the crazy person, beat herself up. It was kind of scary and gross and made me sick when she broke her own face!! It was, like I said, not very good.
I had a fun time seeing it with my friends, but I wouldn’t watch it again. Wait ‘til its out on DVD.
I think this movie would be good for a sleepover with friends because it is a good RavenAM.jpgmovie to socialize in if you don’t have to completely watch it.

I give this movie 2 stars because I wasn’t very impressed but the acting was really good and believable.

Credit: Raven Devanney, age 13, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic

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Earth Day Network, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment and Avatar Inspire Lasting Change through Global Tree Planting Projects

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

earth2.jpgEarth Day Network announced that it has exceeded its one-million-tree goal for The Avatar Home Tree Initiative with the planting of 1,006,639 trees on six continents in 2010. The resulting reforestation, sustainable development and increase in environmental awareness will last far into the future. The project was made possible through the generous support of Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment and its Avatar Blu-ray & DVD. It was accomplished through the tireless work of 17 partner organizations. Over 31,000 individuals were directly involved in the massive planting effort.

“In creating this project, we wanted to make every tree count. That’s why we selected ecosystems around the globe where we believed trees were most crucial to protect, and partners we were confident would work the hardest to get strong healthy trees in the ground and nurture them to maturity. While our requirements were high, in the end, the results of this project surpassed our expectations,” said Kathleen Rogers, Earth Day Network President. “Planting trees fights global climate change and is the essence of service inspired by Earth Day. We want to thank our partner Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment for making this meaningful project possible.”

“At the core of AVATAR lies an inspiring message of empowerment and self-discovery, said Mike Dunn, President Worldwide, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. “Our program to plant one million trees resulted in fans around the world fervently getting involved to promote a healthy, sustainable planet. That alone has made this initiative a huge success.”

Earth Day Network reports that the trees planted for the Initiative protect some of the world’s most bio-diverse and threatened forests; restore acres destroyed by fire, flood and wind; enable local and regional governments to rebuild communities devastated by disaster; engage tens of thousands of children and youth in learning about the environment; create career opportunities in the green economy; and provide hands-on service opportunities to volunteers of all ages.

In one of the most compelling projects, in Haiti, Trees for the Future worked with local citizens under the Avatar Home Tree Initiative to address urgent needs to reforest degraded hillsides, produce fruit and biodiesel fuel and establish intensive hillside farming practices. Over 500,000 trees have been planted in Haiti.

Within the U.S., the Avatar Home Tree Initiative supported city reforestation efforts in New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles, shaping urban tree canopies that improve air quality, provide shade, cool the ground, save energy, attract birds and other wildlife, beautify landscapes, grow free fruit for residents and even increase homeowner property values.

Each of the million trees planted under the Avatar Home Tree Initiative has been added to Earth Day Network’s Billion Acts of Green® campaign, a global service project to log one billion sustainable actions in advance of the Rio+20 Earth Summit in 2012. Additionally, the trees planted in this initiative have been pledged towards the Billion Trees Campaign, a worldwide tree planting initiative of the United Nations Environment Programme.

The tree planting was also a part of Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment’s parent company News Corporation’s Global Energy Initiative, a company-wide commitment to reduce impacts on climate and engage global audiences with environmental issues.

Trees were planted in 16 countries including Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Haiti, Italy, Japan, Mexico, The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, and the United States.


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2 Great DVDs for PreSchoolers Releasing this Week

Monday, February 14th, 2011

wishbone_1.jpgWishbone. Let your imagination run wild with everyone’s favorite dog Wishbone! The adventurous little terrier takes four action-packed journeys in these beloved classic tales. Join the Merry Men and follow Robin Hood in the Paw Prints of Thieves as he takes from the rich to give to the poor.  In Hot Diggety Dawg and The Impawssible Dream, band together with Don Quixote and Jules Verne’s Professor Liedenbrock to battle giants and monsters. In Hunchdog of Notre Dame, escape danger as Wishbone rescues maidens and defeats his evil master. This clever pup with a nose for adventure will delight and inspire the whole family. Includes “The Making of Wishbone” featurettes. DVD release February 15, 2011.115 minutes. MSRP  $8.99JumpSpring_1.jpg Ages 2-5. Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

Jump Into Spring. Discover the joy of Spring with these eight sunny episodes! It’s a perfect Spring day to fly kites with Barney and his friends, or join a three legged race with Fireman Sam and then race backwards with Thomas around the Island of Sodor. With episodes from your favorite friends from Timmy Time™, Angelina Ballerina™ and more, there is something for everyone in this Springtime celebration of warmhearted fun! DVD, Full Screen, Widescreen arrives on February 15 and is targeted to ages 1 – 5. Runtime is 65 minutes. MSRP $14.98  Lionsgate Home Entertainment

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Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Are you aware of the new educational programs that PBS has been developing for children?

From the beginning, children’s media at PBS has been about helping children learn.  Today, that mission is more relevant than ever as a new generation of kids spends more time with media and new technologies make it possible for producers of children’s media to do more to propel learning.  Following a State of the Union address calling for Americans to “out-educate” and “out-innovate,” PBS KIDS announces on-air, online and mobile milestones showcasing its commitment to using media to prepare America’s youth for success in school and in life.

“Educational programming – particularly entertaining media properties focused on math, science and engineering – is needed now more than ever, with the President calling for a concerted focus on stepping up kids’ skills in these areas,” said Lesli Rotenberg, senior vice president, Children’s Media, PBS.

With its pervasive approach to sharing media, PBSKIDS.org dominates the kids online space, with over 10 million unique visitors in January.  PBSKIDS.org ranked as the top kids’ site for free videos streamed for September, October, November and December, according to comScore Video Metrix. Kids spent an average of 42.8 minutes watching free, educational videos on the site in December, which is nearly 10 minutes longer than the monthly average for kids’ sites, with 92 million free video streams for the month.

PBS KIDS also celebrates success in the kids’ mobile apps category. PBS KIDS launched seven mobile apps in 2010, raising the bar for the category by producing top-of-the line apps that are both fun and educational. Apps like SUPER WHY! consistently ranked #1 in the App store and a U.S. Department of Education-funded research report showed that PBS KIDS mobile apps can lead to substantial learning gains. The MARTHA SPEAKS DOG PARTY app was shown to increase literacy skills up to 31 percent among kids ages 3 to 7.
“Mobile apps were one of the most important developments in children’s media for 2010 and we found that they can have real potential for helping kids learn,” continued Rotenberg. “In 2011, we will continue to experiment and test the educational impact of the combination of our content across multiple platforms, seeking new opportunities to engage and teach our nation’s children.”

For 2011, PBS KIDS has planned a pipeline of new apps, web original series, and transmedia projects in new frontiers such as augmented reality and in-video gaming. Research will continue to inform how PBS KIDS develops content and later this year new studies, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, will explore how the combination of content across new technologies can impact learning.

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Wubbzy’s Egg-Cellent Easter – A Hit with Preschoolers

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

WubbzyEggCell.jpgLooking for a fun Easter-themed DVD that’s not religious? WOW! WOW! WUBBZY!: WUBBZY’S EGG-CELLENT EASTER suits the bill. All the episodes succeed in pushing through the pro-social messages that Wubbzy does so well such as teamwork, friendship, even healthy exericise. With the First Lady pushing fitness, we love seeing producers picking up on the theme. Starting preschoolers on a life long pathway of good health and fitness makes sense.

This DVD focuses on the Easter Bunny, eggs, and springtime rather than religious messaging so even non-Christians can appreciate it.  The episodes include: Eggs Over Easy, Big Bunny Blues, Flower Day Parade, Watch the Birdie, Wubbzy Bounces Back and Flight of the Flutterfly.

If you haven’t hooked onto Wow! Wow! Wubbzy yet for your preschoolers, maybe this is the perfect one to get you started!




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