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

Auditions for KIDS FIRST! Film Critics at DreamWorks, Nov 4

October 26th, 2016

KFFC.2016.Nov.jpgCalling all kids who love film and love to be on camera! Do you have a child who loves film, loves talking about film and loves to be on – camera? If so, we have a program for you – the national, KIDS FIRST! Film Critics, a project of the 25-year old Coalition for Quality Children’s Media.

KIDS FIRST! is pleased to be holding auditions at the DreamWorks’ Glendale Campus on November 4, 2016 from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. The auditions are open to any child between the age of 8 and 17. To audition, you must register online at the KIDS FIRST! Film Critics Audition site no later than November 2, 2016. Go to www.kidsfirst.org to register. Only registered youth and their guardian will be allowed onto the DreamWorks Campus.

As part of your Audition Registration, you will need to include a 200 word review of any; film or TV show released in the last 6 months, rated PG-13 or younger. Auditions will be limited to 50 children. Special consideration will be given to youth who are bilingual in Spanish and English.

Participation in the KIDS FIRST! Film Critics program is voluntary. None of the reporters are paid. However, the program offers a unique opportunity for youth to attend press screenings and red carpet events, learn to critique and review films, present their reviews on-camera and interview celebrities. Many of the KIDS FIRST! Film Critic have found employment in the entertainment field as a result of their involvement in this program.

Brianna B. (age 16), comments, “Being a KIDS FIRST! Film Critic has provided me with skill sets that will last a lifetime.  Who knew from being a KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, I would have one of my quotes on the back of the DVD, Mom’s Night Out, appear on a national syndicated TV show, The Daily Buzz and interview so many great celebrities.”

Rather than talk abstractly about media, the KIDS FIRST! reporters are given a voice and their reviews reach up to 7 million people per release through KIDS FIRST! blogs on Huffington Post, Kidzworld.com, WorkingMother.com, Grandmagazine.com and its very robust YouTube Channel.

Gerry O.’s mom comments, “This program not only teaches kids how to be better communicators, more pleasant company and knowledgeable movie gurus, it gives them so much more. These kids will be able to socialize and speak properly, write great essays, participate intelligently in debates and become confident leaders. Last spring, Gerry was invited to present some of his film ideas to Morgan Freeman’s production team after interviewing Freeman on the red carpet three times in a period of six week. Gerry has completed over 100 reviews and is now close to reaching 200! Gerry has taken numerous workshop at YouTube Space LA, representing KIDS FIRST! as one of only 10 channels accepted. He has interviewed a number of industry greats including Brad Bird, Morgan Freeman, Ty Burrell, George Clooney, Britt Robertson, Zoe Saldana, John Ratzenberger, Tara Strong and many more.

“We are delighted that DreamWorks has provided space for us for these auditions,” comments Ranny Levy, Founder and President KIDS FIRST! / Coalition for Quality Children’s Media. “In the past, we have taught our KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Boot Camps in Los Angeles on the Disney and Paramount lots. Some of our 14 KIDS FIRST! reporters from the Los Angeles area are starting to age out and we are looking for some younger kids to step in when they head off to college. It’s exciting to do this audition in Los Angeles which has a large Spanish speaking population because we have a keen interest in kids who are bilingual.”

The bilingual component is co-hosted by the Hispanic Information and Telecommunications Network (HITN). KIDS FIRST! has enjoyed a partnership with HITN which co-hosted and provided sponsorship for KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Boot Camps in Brooklyn for the past two summers. “We are so excited to support the continued efforts that create opportunities to build a pipeline of youth that includes increasing numbers of bilingual reporters and film critics,” says Ed Greene, VP for Partnerships at HITN.

Who: Open to any child in the greater Los Angeles area, age 8 to 17 with special consideration for bilingual skills in Spanish and English.

What: KIDS FIRST! Film Critics Auditions

Where: DreamWorks Glendale Campus, 1000 Flower St., Glendale, CA 91201

When: November 4, 2016, 4:00- 6:00 p.m.

Register here: http://bit.ly/2dr5t2m

About KIDS FIRST! / Coalition for Quality Children’s Media: The Coalition for Quality Children’s Media is a national, nonprofit (501-c-3) organization founded in 1991 whose mission is to teach children critical viewing skills and to increase the visibility and availability of quality children’s media. The KIDS FIRST! Film Critics are a group of 50+ youth reporters, age 8 to 18, nationwide who review new film and TV releases, interview talent and share their views on entertainment geared for kids. Their reviews and interviews reach more than 7 million people every month. KIDS FIRST! is supported by major entertainment industry leaders, teachers, librarians, media professionals, lobbyists, policymakers, child advocates, educators, parents and families nationwide. For more info, go here: http://slides.com/rannynm/deck-02802409-3352-462d-b30e-949e5ffba6c3

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More Holiday DVD Recommendations from Granny Ranny

December 2nd, 2015

holiday_gift_guide.jpgIn case missed our holiday gift guide we posted Thanksgiving week, here’s a link for it. It’s a great list of DVDs, videogames, EBooks and theatrical releases that are perfect for your holiday gift giving. And, here are a few more…

TheSnowmanDoubld.jpgThe Snowman & The Snowman and the Snowdog Double Feature (ages 2-18)
Description: Enjoy twice the magical enchantment in this double feature of The Snowman and The Snowman & the Snowdog!
One crisp, winter morning, a young boy wakes up to find a thick blanket of snow has covered the ground as far as the eye can see.  Filled with excitement, the boy decides to build a snowman using a tangerine for his nose, coal for his buttons and eyes, and tops him off with a hat and scarf.  Later that night, at the stroke of midnight, the snowman comes to life! Then, embark on a new adventure in the charming sequel!  When a young boy and his mother move to a new house, the boy discovers a secret box hidden under the floorboards of his bedroom. In the box, he finds a hat, scarf, some lumps of coal and a shriveled tangerine – a snowman-making kit! Later that day the boy builds a Snowman and with the little spare snow leftover, a Snowdog. That night they come to life and take him on a wonderful adventure. MSRP: $14.99

Naya.jpgNaya’s Arctic Adventures: Meet Naya (ages 2-6)
Description: Meet Naya!  Join Naya and her friends as they embrace numerous quests in the Arctic.  One might think that a young girl would get bored living in the Arctic but not Naya! Every day is an adventure with her and her friends.  Each story starts with the sea washing ashore an item and then throughout the story, Naya and friends learn the purpose of the item.  Your little one is sure to enjoy these heart-warming adventures that teach children fundamental human values all while enjoying a good laugh! MSRP: $9.99.

Gumby.Artic.jpgThe Gumby Show: Gumby’s Arctic Antics (ages 4-18)
Description: Gumby and Pokey, television’s legendary clay characters, live one great fantasy after another in a timeless world of magic and wonder.  Join this duo as they dive into one book after another in this assortment of 50’s, 60’s and 80’s episodes!  First, Santa gets sick right before Christmas.  Will Christmas be ruined or can a wicked witch save the day and deliver the gifts with the help of a certain someone?  Then, Scrooge escapes from his book and sets out to wreck all the toys in the toyshop but luckily Gumby is there at the right time.  Both children and adults will enjoy these classic stop motion adventures with Gumby and Pokey and friends. MSRP: $9.99

MiketheKnight.jpgMike the Knight: Mike’s Bravest Mission (ages 2-8)
Description: For many years, generations of the best and bravest knights have attempted to solve the legendary “Knight’s Puzzle” and now it is Mike’s turn!
However, Mike’s mission heads in an unexpected direction when his arch rival, Edward, steals the puzzle.  With the safety of the kingdom in his hands, Mike sets off on a brave journey. Join Mike on a thrilling, edge-of-the-seat adventure to retrieve the stolen Puzzle and protect the Kingdom of Glendragon! MSRP: $9.99

Sid.jpgObserve & Explore with Sid the Science Kid (ages 3-7)
Description: Sid the Science KidTM is an inquisitive little boy who uses comedy to tackle
questions kids have about basic scientific principles.  Why do things work the way they do? He tries to answer each question and solve problems with the help of Teacher Susie, Sid’s family as well as his classmates, May, Gerald and Gabriela.  In this second volume, Sid and his friends learn all about the five senses, brushing your teeth, eating healthy, keeping germs away, exercising and more!  So come on scientists, let’s observe and explore with Sid the Science Kid! MSRP: $14.99

Doozers.Ginger_1.jpgDoozers: Giant Gingerbread House (ages 2-7)
Description: Welcome to Doozer Creek where the Doozers live!  They’re green.  They’re cute.  They’re three inches tall and they’re full of energy, ideas, and enthusiasm! The Pod Squad want to build a Doozer-sized Gingerbread House that will take some clever construction to create.  Will they be able to DO it?  Find out and then enjoy 8 more family fun-tastic adventures! MSRP: $9.99

ABCMonsters.EFGH.jpgABC Monsters: Starring EFGH (ages 2-6)
Description: Meet the ABC Monsters!  They are big, hairy and not very scary.  On this DVD, embark on adventures to find the letters E, F, G, and H!  First, join the brainy gang as there’s an eagle exhibition taking place at the Alphabet Gardens!  However, disaster strikes when Emma the eagle escapes and flies into Capital Town!  Alice, Brian, and Cherry Berry must set out to find the eagle but after assembling the alphabet they soon release that E-Monster is missing too!  Can they find Emma the eagle and E-monster before the sun sets?  Continue the fun and join Alice, Brian, and Cherry Berry as they look for F-Monster, G-Monster, and H-Monster in the next three episodes! MSRP: $9.99

ThomasEdison.2D.jpgThomas Edison’s Secret Lab: Secret Lab Meeting (ages 5-11)
Description: Unknown to the world, Thomas Edison had a secret lab where he invented a virtual version of himself and a nearly-completed robot to guide and inspire future generation of young scientists.
The secret lab, Edison’s virtual alter ego, and his prototype robot remained hidden until a 12-year-old prodigy cracked the secret coded message that Edison left behind.  This young genius named Angie and her science club friends move into the lab and the fun begins!  Each episode covers fun scientific topics from dinosaur fossils to minerals to gravity and so much more!  Join Angie, JD, Kent and Nicky as they work with the robot, Von Bolt, and Thomas Edison’s virtual alter ego in this wacky world of scientific discovery! MSRP: $9.99

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Halloween Titles for Young Ones

October 27th, 2015

Halloween.jpgWith Halloween right around the corner, we want to share with you some of our favorite DVDs that you can share with your family. This collection is from N Circle Entertainment and the DVDs can be found online or in most stores that carry DVDs.

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Room on the Broom

From the creators of the Academy Award nominee The Gruffalo, comes Room on the Broom. Also Academy Award nominated, this magical tale is based on the best-selling children’s book written by Julia Donaldson and Illustrated by Axel Scheffler. A kind witch invites a surprising collection of animals to join her on her broom, to the frustration of her cat. This timeless tale of friendship and family features the voices of Gillian Anderson and Simon Pegg.

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Pocoyo: Boo

Join Pocoyo and his friends on seven playful Halloween adventures! Learn about honesty, imagination and more with Pocoyo and the gang. Whether it’s playing a new game called Boo!, enjoying a monster mash party, or pretending to be Godzilla and King Kong, every day is fun & engaging with Pocoyo and his friends! Features Stephen Fry as the narrator.

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Sid’s Spooky Halloween

Join Sid and his friends as they discover how bats catch mosquitoes, why spiders are expert engineer web builders and how skeletons make up the foundation of our bodies. The kids dress up to celebrate Halloween at school, and Teacher Susie leads them in a special Halloween parade song to show off their costumes! With Sid the Science Kid, Halloween can be spooky and scientific!

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The Cat in the Hat: Tricks and Treats

A new spooky adventure this DVD brings, with The Cat, Nick and Sally, Fish and the Things. Meet the eeriest critters you’ve ever seen, arrived just in time for Halloween! There’s be lots of tricks, and of course lots of treats, to share with the animal friends you will meet! There’s a coconut crab, spider monkeys and bats, and plenty more fun with The Cat in the Hat!

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Pajanimals: Spooky Costumes

After going to a Halloween party, Cowbella reveals that she is nervous about trick or treating because she doesn’t like all the scary vampires and zombies she saw there. The Pajanimals travel to Storybook Land, where Edwin explains that there’s nothing to be scared of. Those vampires and werewolves are just costumes that the big kids wear to have fun, just like her pretty princess costume! Then enjoy four more adventures with The Pajanimals!

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The Chica Show: Chica’s Halloween Adventure

Join Chica, everyone’s favorite chicken, as she gets ready for some fun adventures while working “The Costume Coop”. It’s Chica’s favorite time of the year – but her indecision on what costume to wear stops her from enjoying all the fun. Will she be able to make a decision and stick with it? Then enjoy five more adventures with Chica and her friends! Features the voice of Mario Lopez as Chica’s friend Stitches.

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Last Week to Enter XPRIZE Competition for “Miles from Tomorrowland: Space Missions”

August 20th, 2015

MilesfromTomorrow_1.jpgHurry! Only one week left to submit an entry for the Miles from Tomorrowland: Space Missions, a nationwide program based on the hit animated series that invites kids ages 3 to 8 and their families to develop their own “out-of-this-world” creations within three themed categories – technology, vehicles and planets. After completing the design, take a picture of it and upload it to the Miles From Tomorrowland website.

All the entries will have a chance to win incredible prizes, such as a 3D printer from 3D Systems and the Grand Prize of a VIP trip to Cape Canaveral to experience the past, present and future of space exploration firsthand, including a behind-the-scenes tour of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and have lunch with an astronaut; a tour of Moon Express (one of the teams competing for the $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE); and a chance to see a SpaceX rocket launch from a VIP vantage point. More info here: http://partners.disney.com/space-missions/submissions. This is a blastastic opportunity to do some fun, creative activities with your kids while teaching them about space at the same time. Submission deadline is Aug 31.

Check out our interviews by KIDS FIRST! Reporter Tre’ana H. with some of the key players from this project with Bill Nye the Science Guy, Bob Weiss (CEO of XPrize), Adrien Grenier, Ginger Zee (GMA Weather Anchor) and Yvonne Cagle (NASA Astronaut).

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Subscribe to our KIDS FIRST! YouTube Channel and Get Our Reviews When They Come Out

January 12th, 2015

YoutubeHeader.jpgDo you enjoy watching our KIDS FIRST! Film Critics video reviews of all the latest films, DVDs and other media? To receive our most current reviews the day they come out all you have to do is subscribe to our KIDS FIRST! YouTube Channel.

Yup, it’s as easy as that.  Click here to subscribe.

We have more than 1100 video reviews up now and add new ones almost daily. All the latest feature films rated G, PG and PG-13 are reviewed by our team of youth reporters and posted for you to watch.

So, whenever you’re trying to decide what movie to take your kids to, or even go to yourself, check out what our critics say before you spend your hard earned money on that pricey ticket!

Feel free to share with your friends, repost on your blog or social media and give us feedback. We are always trying to improve so, if you’ve got a suggestion on how to do that, let us know. We’d love to hear from you.

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PBS Kids Offers LOTS of Halloween Themed Programs for Your Little Ones

October 20th, 2014

Halloween.jpgIt’s that time of year when our thoughts run to the dark side and scary movies take over for October viewing. But preschoolers can be left behind because – well, we don’t really want to frighten them too much, right? Leave it to PBS Kids to come up with an assortment of shows from some of their most watched series that will fit the bill for your younger and easily frightened viewers. Here’s a few. Note the air dates after each title but check your local listings to find out exactly when it’s airing in your marker.

CURIOUS GEORGE: A Halloween Boo Fest (airs October 27 and 31)
It’s George’s first Halloween in the country, and Bill tells him and Allie about the Legend of No Noggin – a spooky tale about a hat-kicking scarecrow who haunts the countryside on Halloween.  But is the legend really real? George and Allie are determined to find out by taking a picture of No Noggin in hat-kicking action.  But first, George needs to figure out what he’s going to be for Halloween so he can win the costume contest at the town Boo Festival.  Will George’s quest for the perfect costume interfere with his quest for the truth? Only the curious will find out!

DINOSAUR TRAIN
(307) One Big Frog/Caving with Vlad – NEW! (premieres October 27, repeats October 29 and 31)
The Pteranodon kids are playing a game called “I’m the Biggest,” which raises the question: how big is the biggest frog? Dad takes the kids on the Dinosaur Train to find the biggest frog ever, the legendary Beelzebufo. Once off the train, they have to take a river raft to find this illusive creature, but find him they do. The kids are surprised that Benny Beelzebufo isn’t nearly as large (or mean) as they’d imagined, but he is definitely the biggest frog they’ve ever seen! Benny teaches the kids about his “sit-still-and-wait” hunting style and shows off his large, floating leaf “home.”

The Pteranodon family rides the “Night Train” all the way back to the Jurassic Period to visit their nocturnal friend, Vlad Volaticotherium, who tells them that he wants to take them caving!  Buddy, Tiny, Shiny and Don don’t even know what caving is, but they are soon having a great time seeing all the beautiful stalactites and stalagmites that have formed inside the cave.  They also learn that it can be a lot of fun to hear your voice echo down the cave’s long caverns!

(116) Night Train/Fossil Fred (airs October 28 and 30)
(211) Haunted Roundhouse/Big Pond Pumpkin Patch (airs October 24, 26, 29 and 31)

SUPER WHY!
(135) The Ghost Who Was Afraid of Halloween (airs October 27 and 31)

THOMAS & FRIENDS
(1008) Tricks and Tales (airs October 16, 18 and 27)
(1007) Spooky Charms (airs October 20, 28 and 31)

THE CAT IN THE HAT KNOWS A LOT ABOUT THAT!
(141) Trick or Treat (airs October 15, 27 and 31)

WILD KRATTS
(208) Secrets of the Spider’s Web (airs October 30)
(136) A Bat in the Brownies (airs October 31)
(134) Little Howler (airs October 31)

MARTHA SPEAKS
(307) Deadline Doggie/It’s the Giant Pumpkin, Martha (airs October 30)
(308) TD’s Magic/Scaredy Cat (airs October 31)

WORDGIRL
(505) Scary with a Side of Butter / Talent Show Tobey (airs October 23)
(126) A Kooky Spooky Halloween / Sheep’s Halloween Costume (airs October 24)
(209) Tobey’s Tricks and Treats / Escape Wham (airs October 30)
(212) Who Wants Candy? / Chuck’s Brother (airs October 31)

CAILLOU
(426) Fall Is in the Air (airs October 20 and 31)
(410) After Dark! (airs October 21)

ARTHUR
(1107) Hic or Treat/Mr. Alwaysright (airs October 31)
(1405) Tales of Grotesquely Grim Bunny/Pet Projects (airs October 31)

DANIEL TIGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD
(128) Katerina’s Costume/Dress up Day (airs October 31)
CURIOUS GEORGE
(313) Night of the Weiner Dog/Animal Trackers (airs October 30)

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