Archives for February 18, 2015

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY Now on DVD/Blu-Ray, Perfect for Family Viewing

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This comedy is based on the best-selling book by Judith Viorst and is about young Alexander and his horrible day. Alexander only thinks these bad days happen to him but, he learns he is not so alone. This is an entertaining family movie and had my whole family laughing out loud. It actually makes you smile and there are quite a few meaningful lessons in this fun movie. It shows that when things go wrong, you should have courage and should try your best to turn them around. Maybe you won’t fix it perfectly but, with courage, you can be proud of who you are.  It also shows that there will be some bad days and you don’t always have to be positive. The two most meaningful lessons are that family is important especially at the worst of times and as young Alexander states in the movie “You have to have the bad days so you love the good days even more.” (Adult juror…Denise A. Bloomfield) See what one of our youth critics has to say about it below.

 

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY

Reviewed by Katie G., KIDS FIRST! Critic, age 13

 

 

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day Is an amazing, laugh-filled experience for the whole family. This Disney movie is based on the book written by Judith Viorst, directed by Miguel Arteta and stars Steve Carell, Jennifer Garner and Ed Oxenbould as Alexander.

 

Alexander is a boy who has endless bad days. After a particularly bad day, he is feeling like the rest of his family never has any bad days, so he makes a birthday wish that they will all have a no good, very bad day. He wants them to feel what he feels, so that they might understand him.

 

My favorite scene is when Alexander’s sister, who is starring as Peter Pan in her school play, wakes up with a cold and then drinks way too much cough syrup. The result of this over-medication happens on stage and is hilarious.

 

Parents should know that there is some rude humor, with a bit of bad language and reckless behavior. But, this film is brought to you by Disney, so you can be pretty certain that is appropriate for the whole family.

 

I loved ‘Alexander’s Very-Good Bonus Content’ which is available on the Blu-Ray version of the film. It includes the very funny blooper reel and outtakes as well as a behind-the-scenes adventure filmed by Alexander, himself.

 

I recommend this film for ages 5 to 18, as well as parents. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars for brilliant acting and a hilarious story. Be sure to check out this great, fun family film on Blu-Ray and DVD. It is available in stores and available for digital downloads now.  This is Katie G. reporting for KIDS FIRST!

 

More about the extras: The DVD/Blu-ray includes some great extras. We found them interesting and enjoyable to watch. There are quotes from the actors and the author of the book in “Alexander in Real Life.” Both kids and adults will enjoy the “Delightful, Magnificent Bloopers” because they are really funny! There is also a short video called Snappy Crocs and Punchy Roos which is about how Alexander is into the Australian outback. Very enjoyable is the “Walk About Diary” where you learn that the actor who plays Alexander is actually really from Australia. Last of all, there is a music video of the Vamps performing the song from the movie “Hurricane.” A Must-See! I give this one 5 stars.

 

Additional youth reviews.

 

Kendyl

 

 

Gerry

 

 

Cast interviews

Gerry

Credit: KIDS FIRST!  www.kidsfirst.org

Organize Your Life with GroupMe

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GroupMe, the free messaging app focused exclusively on streamlining group communication, launched a new calendar feature today that will help you share and connect easily with all of the important groups in your life. GroupMe is like a private chat room on your mobile (iOS, Android and Windows Phone) that can easily organize chats with the parents on your child’s little league team, your running group, book club or any other interest you and your friends may share and need to organize activity around. You can have as many group chats on GroupMe as you need and the best part – it’s always free!

 

Here are some ways GroupMe can simplify your everyday communication:

 

  • Little League Team

o   Cut down on email inbox clutter by streamlining practice schedules, snack rotations, venue changes and carpool specifics.

o   Calendar event invites alleviate the constant back and forth, while providing an easy way to keep the group organized and everyone in-the-know. Plus, you can share video and images of your favorite players saved in the group chat via a gallery!

  • Family Reunions

o   Coordinate your upcoming family reunion by finding out – in real-time – location preferences, what date works best and who is planning to attend.

o   Save time by simply ‘liking’ a message to communicate that you’re in agreement making – it easier to show or gain consensus, fast!

  • Oscars Viewing Party

o   The Academy Awards will be here before we know it (2/22) and there’s not a lot of time to get your friends together to coordinate a viewing party.

o   With GroupMe, your film junkie friends can chat about who will host, who will bring appetizers, wine, paper goods and party favors with full visibility among the group . Add optional notifications and reminders in the calendar so you remember to pick up whatever delicious treat you’re contributing to the get together!

 

Calendar Feature Specifics:

  • It’s easy to create events. To create an event, the only thing you need is the event name, time and location. You can add optional notifications with up to two reminders and a location and add an image. This is a great way to track responses and view all of your group’s events in a single place!
  • Every group has its own calendar. You can see an overview of all of your group’s upcoming events in your group-specific calendar, and once you have RSVP’d ‘yes’ to an event, you can send the event to your phone’s calendar.
  • Events in the message. When a group member shares a calendar event, it will pop up in the group chat for all to see. 

 

Credit: GroupMe. No compensation was received to post.

THE JNP PROJECT The first-ever children’s book series focused on self-esteem development! Giveaway Opportunity!

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I have recently been introduced to a New 31-book series that focuses on self-esteem. Dona Rudderow Sturn, founder of the JNP Project has is launched the first-ever children’s book series focused on self-esteem development. The JNP Project, a self-esteem discovery movement for children (ages 5-12+), is now launching the first two books in a multi-book series, Jane & Jake’s Adventures to Awesome.

I love the positive messages in these stories. Self-Esteem is so important and unfortunately so many children have such low self-esteem.  As someone who has worked in the fields of child abuse prevention and domestic violence awareness, I highly recommend this series of books.  I read the introductory Prequel book: The Jane & Jake’s Adventure to Awesome: The Journey Begins and was very impressed with the story line, messages and illustrations. I recommend to parents, children, teachers and they would be great for counselors and therapists. 

In addition to a focus on building children’s self-esteem, JNP offers both unparalleled artistry and collaboration among published international authors in the story development. The 31 chapter-books, set in three series, are available in traditional as well as digital interactive book formats. JNP is already working with several schools whose students and teachers are responding enthusiastically.

This series introduces Jane and Jake, two elementary school aged kids, and a not so average goldfish, Oracle. The content and images appeal to all audiences while the continuous theme of nurturing character, courage and confidence in kids is attracting parents, educators and counselors. Both children and adults are drawn into each scene by the intricate and vibrant illustrations but are more subtlety affected by the underlying lessons. The characters’ internal growth is outwardly reflected as they literally start off as blank canvases and develop into very colorful and unique individuals.

The interactive website, http://thejnpproject.com/, provides parents, teachers, caregivers and counselors the tools to help children develop confidence, strengthen self-esteem, and grow into assured leaders.

Book purchases will be made directly at http://thejnpproject.com/ or through Amazon, B&N, iTunes, Kobo and Google Play Books.

We have teamed up for a Giveaway! One winner will win the Prequel – The Journey Begins, Book 1 – Truth and a magnet. To enter, leave a comment below on how you help your child have positive self-esteem. Deadline to enter is February 25th, 2015 at noon PST. One winner will randomly be selected via Random.org.

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Self Disclosure: I received a free download to facilitate this feature. No other compensation was received to post. A Child’s self-esteem is so very important that I am very happy to post this information.

 

Humpback Whales Reviewed by Adam Chernick, KIDS FIRST! Critic, age 9

If you enjoy seeing a documentary movie that will educate, inspire and amaze you than you will love MacGillivray Freeman’s Humpback Whales. I learned more about the humpback whale than if I had studied this unit in school for a month!

 

This forty minute, large format documentary on humpback whales tags along with leading whale researchers using new methods to see what the humpback whales do when no one’s watching them.

The documentary follows the whales to the tropical kingdom of Tonga, to summertime in Alaska and then to the warm waters of Hawaii.  The audience has a chance to follow the humpback whales migration, while experiencing their incredible songs and underwater acrobatics.

 

One unique thing among humpback males is the singing that they engage in. In fact, the recordings of whale songs are what helped save the humpback whales from extinction as people became interested in the animals who could make these beautiful and unique sounds.

 

The humpback whales do cooperative food gathering. It is known as “bubble net fishing” in which they work together to release bubbles and loud “feeding calls” to herd and trap herring.  This makes it easier for them to gulp the herring or krill in large quantities because they can eat up to two tons of food a day.

 

My favorite part of the movie was seeing and learning about the different researchers who have spent their lives studying the humpback whales. One scene showing the males circling a female whale in an effort to mate is usually seen once every ten years.  Nobody has ever seen the humpback whale actually mate so there are many unanswered questions surrounding this aspect of the humpback whales.

 

Ewan McGregor narrates with a sense of wonder that inspires us to want to know as much as possible about the humpback whales.  The upbeat music throughout the movie peaks our interest and curiosity about these extraordinary creatures.

 

The film teaches us to admire and appreciate the complexities and sheer beauty of the humpback whales.  We also see how a whale is rescued when it becomes entangled in life-threatening fishing gear.  This rescue requires a lot of skill and understanding of how to free the whale while the rescuers stay safe.  We learn the important things we must ensure so that they do not become extinct.  We must never again have a whaling industry, have safer fishing gear, less trash in the ocean and take precautions not to have collisions between ships and whales.

 

I give this movie 5 out of  5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18. Adam Chernick, 9, KIDS FIRST! Critic.

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