Archives for August 2016

Purrfect Together: Celebrate the Bond Between You and Your Kitty This September

September is Happy Healthy Cat Month—and there’s never been a better time to show our cats some extra love. Recently, the cat lovers at Meow Mix ran the Purrfect Together Survey, which asked cat parents around the country about their special bond with their four-legged friends. Here are some of the meow-nificent results:
83% of cats take naps with their humans
This is surprising—and not because 83% of people love napping with kitty. The bigger question is: Who are the 17% of deprived humans who don’t get to experience the joy of napping with their cats?
80% of cat parents believe they can interpret their kitty’s meows
While humans and cats may purr in different languages, that doesn’t stop most cat mommies and daddies from understanding what their kitty wants—whether it be some treats, cat nip, or just a snuggle partner.
72% of cat parents love to surprise their kitties with treats
Speaking of treats, nothing makes a cat happier than some spontaneous, unexpected goodies from the person who cares for them the most.
55% of cats love chicken-flavored nibbles
Exciting news: Meow Mix has just released a brand new culinary-inspired food made with real chicken or salmon, Bistro Recipes—a classy meal for a classy kitty! Head over Meow Mix’s new Purrfect Together web portal [http://bit.ly/meowsterpieces-socalcitykidsright meow, and you can download a coupon for $2.50 off any bag of Meow Mix Bistro Recipes.
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And that’s not all! You need a classy painting to go with that classy meal. On the Purrfect Together portal, you can enjoy the unique experience of converting a photo of you and your cat into a Meowsterpiece—a digital “oil” painting that helps express and immortalize your cat-love on canvas. I did it, and you should too!
Now it’s time to show me how special your human-cat bond is! Post your Meowsterpiece on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with the hashtag #PurrfectTogether. Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below.
Wishing a fantastic Happy Healthy Cat Month to you and your feline friend!
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Look for Meow Mix on Social Media! Meow Mix Facebook page [https://www.facebook.com/meowmix], Instagram (@meowmix), or Twitter (@meowmix).
Self Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I received  a special Bistro Bundle to facilitate this post. No other compensation was received and my cats actually love Meow Mix so I was more than happy to participate!

Glitter is Pet of the Week!

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Glitter had a litter. Then her family decided to move and left her and her immediate family at the shelter. Everyone wants kittens, and so all the babies were adopted, but not her. But is Glitter bitter? Not a bit! She’s slender, sleek and sensitive and is more than ready to put a sparkle into your home. Meet Glitter at the Companion Animal Village at 7700 East Spring St., (562) 570-PETS. Ask for ID#A573245.

 

(This rescue encouraged by the usual suspects.)

Credit: Courtesy of the Companion Animal Village.

August Book Favorites!

Kobee Manatee: A Wild Weather Adventure, by Robert Scott Thayer

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I just love this book!

In the warmth of our national waters, where seagrass and freshwater vegetation flourish, migratory manatees find their way through coastal and inland waterways. One of them is named Kobee, and he’s about to go on one of the most thrilling adventures of his life.

Manatees are considered an endangered species and are protected by the federal government—but for Kobee Manatee of Kobee Manatee: A Wild Weather Adventure, the biggest concern of the day is how he will survive the mighty Atlantic, powerful Gulf Stream, and a hurricane to surprise his sister Kim on her birthday.

This is the second installment of Robert Scott Thayer’s Kobee Manatee picture book series, which has won several awards since its debut in 2013. A Wild Weather Adventure recently won the Silver Medal in the 2015 Readers Favorite International Book Awards in Miami.

Each page of Kobee Manatee: A Wild Weather Adventure includes in-depth, scientific details titled “Kobee’s Fun Facts,” which expand on weather events the characters encounter along the way. This educational tool has been resourceful for classrooms to further the discussion about science, weather, and endangered manatees.

“That’s what the series is all about,” says Thayer, who has been enamored by manatees since he was a boy. “I want to provide children a fun and exciting way to learn about marine science in general and manatees specifically. A high number of manatees are threatened each year from human-related causes, including the ingestion of litter. Loss of habitat, red tide, and climate change are also considerable threats. I want to cultivate a love and respect of nature, science, and manatees.”

Kobee Manatee: A Wild Weather Adventure includes rich, colorful and dynamic illustrations, with something new to discover upon each reading. The playful and suspenseful prose lends itself well to numerous read-alongs by parents, librarians, educators, and storytellers.

Children have the opportunity to learn without feeling like they’re in a classroom.

Kobee Manatee: A Wild Weather Adventure received five stars from Foreword Clarion Reviews, while Kirkus called it, “charming, distinguished, and dynamic.”

Robert Scott Thayer is principal partner of Thompson Mill Press. In addition to writing children’s books, he is a recording artist who writes and sings in the children’s genre. “Kobee’s Song,” his latest children’s tune, was produced by Grammy award winner Jim Cravero. Thayer is a member of the Author’s Guild, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, the Save the Manatee Club, and BMI. He lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

Find out more here!

 

 

Charlotte and the Mysterious Vanishing Place

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One day, nine-year-old Charlotte has two surprises—she notices a patch of the forest slowly vanishing and discovers a lost puppy caught in a bramble bush.  She rescues it and takes it home. Returning to the woods, she notes the sinking area getting wider and deeper. Her parents and the authorities caution her to stay away, but Charlotte worries the sinking will allow other puppies to escape the kennel and get lost, too. When another puppy escapes and becomes trapped in the now enormous sinkhole,  Charlotte can find no one else to help it. As a fierce rainstorm arises, and the fallen tree the pups cling to begins to disappear through the opening at the center of the sinkhole, she realizes it is up to her to save the pups.

 

Can she rescue the pups and get out herself before the giant sinkhole swallows everything?

This is a delightful book for children!

You can purchase on Amazon.com.

Do you have a child who loves Legos? This one is a must-read!

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While some LEGO models require thousands of pieces, anyone can make an impressive replica with fewer than 10 bricks, a dash of creativity, and the latest book from No Starch Press.

Hailed as the “new LEGO bible” by VICE, Tiny LEGO Wonders(No Starch Press, $24.95, 208 pp., July 2016) is a collection of step-by-step building instructions for 40 compact yet realistic miniscale models—each built with fewer than a few hundred bricks. Packed with stunning models of engineering feats like a muscle car, a fire engine, a Swiss locomotive, and wooden ships, Tiny LEGO Wonders teaches readers how to make the most of their LEGO collection, no matter its size.

The pint-sized models in Tiny LEGO Wonders include:

  • A space shuttle and crawler-transporter
  • Emergency vehicles like choppers, police cars, and fire trucks
  • A cruise ship, freighter, and wooden ships
  • An Airbus A380, F-15 Eagle, and V-22 Osprey
  • Flatbed trucks and cement mixers
  • Race cars like the McLaren F1 and Ferrari F1
  • A fleet of sci-fi military vehicles
  • Bullet trains like France’s high-speed TGV train

According to No Starch Press founder Bill Pollock, “Miniscale building has fascinated me since I watched a friend build an airport from a cupful of LEGO bricks. Tiny LEGO Wonders finally makes miniscale building make sense.”

Tiny LEGO Wonders will be available online and in fine bookstores everywhere since this past July.

I received a copy and am really impressed with this one! I highly recommend!

Are you Crafty? Do you have a Tween or Teen that is? This is a great book to read!

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From the author of the #1 best-sellers, Tape It & Make It, Tape It & Make More and Tape It & Wear It comes the fourth book in this revolutionary “duct tape craft series:” Duct Tape Bags: 40 Projects for Totes, Clutches, Messenger Bags, and Bowlers(Clarkson Potter, July 2016). With the upcoming release of her new book, Richela Fabian Morgan is continuing to take the crafting and fashion world by storm, turning the humble roll of duct tape into the trendiest craft item since glitter glue.

Everyone from trendy teens to famous fashionistas can begin exploring the infinite uses this easy-to-follow guide provides to making handbags so fashionable, you won’t actually believe they’re made of duct-tape. Part art-piece, part usable accessory, Fabian Morgan shows how each of these gorgeous handbags can be recreated one manageable section at a time.

This is a really imaginative and creative book! I was amazed with the Bags I saw in this book! I also love how detailed the instructions are! I’m not quite crafty enough to make some of the bags but I know a crafty teenager girl who is having a blast with this book!

Duct Tape Bags provides DIYers with 40 fun projects using duct tape, including:

  • Clutches and wristlets
  • Hobo and Shoulder Bags
  • Satchels
  • Messenger and Flap Bags
  • Tote Bags
  • And tons of other one-of-a-kind bags!

You can purchase on Amazon.com.

Are you a Harry Potter fan?  You will love this one!

The Unofficial Guide to Crafting the World of Harry Potter by Jamie Harrington

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30 bewitching crafts that celebrate the magic of Harry Potter’s world

 

Fans will be as busy as Mrs. Weasley knitting her Christmas sweaters as they dive into dozens of Potterific projects. Drop some homemade Pygmy Puff Bath Fizzies into the tub, keep memories of the Quidditch pitch close with a Golden Snitch Necklace, or show off the Sorting Hat’s selection with a House Colors Tie-Dye Shirt.

This really is a must for all Harry Potter fans!

About the author:

Jamie Harrington is the creator of TotallyTheBomb.com, where she blogs about crafts, recipes, and parenting. Her work has been featured by Buzzfeed, the Huffington Post, and all over the blogosphere. Jamie is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and the managing editor of their Kids Activities blog.

This next one is great for younger kids!

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THE MIXED-UP TRUCK, written and illustrated by New York Times bestselling author Stephen Savage.

This picture book follows the naive and charming Cement Mixer truck during his first day of work, where he falls into an unfortunate cycle of mixing the wrong ingredients—yielding cakes, bubble baths, and anything but a building! The sweet story, which has already received glowing reviews from Publishers WeeklyKirkus Reviews, and School Library Journal, highlights the importance of perseverance to young audiences. It’s a great bedtime read, and the colorful illustrations really bring the characters in the construction zone to life.

It is a delightful story with fun illustrations! I highly recommend for ages 3-6.

Find out more here.

I really like this next one because it really is okay to be different! 

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The Spinfords – Delightful Children’s Book Teaches Kids to Celebrate Their Differences.

What is the one thing kids are often more scared of than anything else? Being different! In a world that encourages us to look alike, dress alike, and think alike, it can be daunting and confusing to a child (and parents!) to identify with anything but the “norm.” The truth is, though, is that the world is changed the most by people who dare to be different.

In the fun and relatable new children’s book The Spinfords (June 2016) by AnnMarie Martin, beautifully illustrated by Stevie Hannigan, families will meet The Spinford family, a group of circus spiders who spin beautiful webs for big crowds each night. But upon welcoming their new son Salvatore into the family and almost the family business, they aren’t too happy with his unorthodox ideas of what constitutes a “web.” With the help of his grandfather and cousin, Salvatore is given the confidence to push forward with a secret performance of his own special making that wins the crowd over, proving that people and bugs alike can see the beauty in something new.

I think all young children should read this one! You can find it on Amazon.com and you can find out more here

New teen fiction helps kids dealing with sick parents!

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The Relic, the newest teen novel from award-winning author Clark Burbidge.

Teenagers Tim and Martie Carson are the only ones that can save their family from a downward spiral fueled by their parent’s struggles with PTSD and depression. An ancient relic discovered under mysterious circumstances holds the key to unlocking answers that can only be found in the past. In a race against time they must learn its secrets while avoiding the dangerous shadowy figures, doomed to haunt history, that are drawn to possess the relic for their own wicked purposes.

From the award winning story teller, Clark R. Burbidge, comes the first book in a new young adult fantasy adventure series, StarPassage: The Relic, a non-stop spell-binder with surprises and suspense at every turn. Travel through history with the Carson family as they struggle to understand the relic’s purpose. Can they follow the clues and piece together the puzzle containing the answers they seek before being trapped forever by the evil forces that relentlessly pursue them?

I found this to be a fun and interesting book to read and recommend it for ages 13+.

More info on Clark at prbythebook.com/clark-burbidge.

You can purchase on Amazon.com.

This next one is really cool! Two teenagers actually illustrated this one too!

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Lady Lucy’s Quest by Karen Gross.

I love that this book encourages kids to follow their dream!

This is a story of a feisty young girl who wants to be a Knight in the Middle Ages and believes in the power of the possible. Quest after quest, Lady Lucy must prove her worthiness to join the Knights of the Round Table. But will her unusual and unique solutions to each hurdle and obstacle thrown in her path lead her to success? This delightful book demonstrates the importance of pursuing one’s dreams and is sure to inspire kids that they CAN achieve what might seem to be impossible!

 

Karen Gross is the author of the book, and this message was important for her to pass on to her young son. Karen is actually a lifelong teacher/professor, and former Senior Policy Advisor at the U.S. Department of Education. She is passionate about student learning and empowerment, and hopes this new book will inspire kids across the country that they can achieve what seems to be impossible. She herself is living proof of that!

You can find this book on Amazon.com.

Does your child love Magic Tricks?

This next one is a real must-buy!

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ABRACADABRA! FUN MAGIC TRICKS FOR KIDS by Kristen, Ken, and Colette Kelly is a must-read for all aspiring magicians and magic-lovers! Eleven-year-old magician Kristen and her magician dad, Ken, reveal secret magic techniques with step-by-step photographs and demonstrate how you can perform tricks that look impossible but are very simple to master. You’ll see that you don’t have to be an adult to perform magic! (June 21st, ages 7+)

I absolutely love this one! I like that it is not real complicated like many other magic trick books! Kids will find this one fun and easy to follow! Adults aren’t needed to help with most of the magic tricks and you will be amazed when your kids do magic!  I highly recommend! 

You can purchase at Amazon, B&N, IndieBound.

Self Disclosure: I received free copies of the above books to feature.

Babytime! Mighty Shield Repels Flying Pests, Soothes Existing Bug Bites All-natural bug repellant uses essential oils to keep mosquitos at bay

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Mosquito bite concerns go beyond the discomfort of red itchy bumps this year. People are also very worried about being bitten and contracting a virus like Zika or Chikungunya. There are a variety of ways to fend off the flying pests with voracious appetites ranging from long clothing to candles, yard and body sprays. Some mosquito sprays contain chemicals that many people do not want to apply to their skin, or coat their young children with, making all natural products with organic ingredients like Babytime! Mighty Shield lotion an ideal alternative.

 

This all-natural bug repellent is enriched with plant nectars and essential oils designed to work with the skin’s own natural defense system to keep skin bug-free. Aloe, combined with fruit, seed and nut oils, create a lightweight and non-greasy moisturizer that offers full-barrier protection and leaves skin feeling fresh and hydrated.

 

In addition to keeping away the flying carnivores, Babytime! Mighty Shield is formulated with all-natural anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties to soothe irritated skin or previous bug bites. It can be used alone or layered with Babytime! Sunny Sunscreen for enhanced outdoor skin protection.

 

Developed by doctors, Babytime! Mighty Shield is safe to use on any age skin. But, parents are advised to consult with their pediatricians before using Babytime! Mighty Shield on children under six months of age.

 

In addition to being the only U.S. formulations on the market currently that contain probiotics to enhance skin immunity with every application, ingredients in Babytime! Mighty Shield include:

 

Active Ingredients: Castor Oil 8.0%, Linseed Oil 1.5%, Cedar Oil 1.0%, Lemongrass Oil 1.5%, Rosemary Oil 1.0%

 

Ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis (Organic Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Water (Aqua), Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Oil, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Macadamia (Nut) Ternifolia Seed Oil, Cera Alba Beeswax, Bee Propolis Extract, Lecithin, Polygliceryl-4 oleate, Tocopherol (Non-GMO “TocoBiol”)

I had a friend try out my sample and this one is highly recommended!  I love that it is natural and is non-greasy!

 

Babytime! Mighty Shield can be purchased online for $12.50 at www.babytimeusa.com.

 

About Babytime!

Babytime! by Episencial  is the only company to make baby-safe, all-natural skincare products that support skin immunity and help treat common skin conditions, like eczema, cradle cap and common dehydration. With clinically effective formulas designed to support the health and development of both the skin and body, Babytime! provides a protective barrier to insulate vulnerable skin, offset environmental contaminants, and help keep children safe.  By virtue of all natural ingredients Babytime! products reduce exposure to unnecessary and potentially harmful chemicals so prevalent in skincare products; even those marketed for babies and children.  Doctors and medical professionals throughout North America use Babytime!’s skincare products in their hospitals. Babytime!’s unique probiotics formulation helps to enhance skin immunity, with organic ingredients as high as 95% to ensure the best quality.

 

Self Disclosure: I received a free sample to facilitate this post. 

Explore OC Parks New Mobile Application

The County of Orange, Orange County Board of Supervisors and OC Parks are pleased to introduce the new OC Parks mobile application, making it easy to explore all that the County regional and wilderness parks have to offer.
Using the OC Parks app for iOS or Android, you can easily get outside and find a park near you with the most detailed, accurate maps of all regional, wilderness, beach and historic parks and regional trails operated by the County of Orange. The app also offers detailed park descriptions and photos.

 

“The new OC Parks app gives Orange County residents and visitors information about the features and amenities available in our beautiful County parks,” Chairwoman Lisa Bartlett, Orange County Board of Supervisors, Fifth District, said.

 

The mobile app lets users easily locate the closest playgrounds, parking and restrooms in each park. Search recent OC Parks news, events and alerts regarding park access, weather, trail conditions and more.

 

The app also links to camping and picnic shelter reservations, some program registrations and annual parking pass purchases.

 

The new OC Parks app is free and available for download in the Apple and Google Play stores.
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Credit: OC Parks manages nearly 60,000 acres of parks, historical and coastal facilities and open space for the County of Orange as part of OC Community Resources. http://www.ocparks.com

ECOS Cleaning Products are a Must-Buy! I love these Earth Friendly Products!

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Looking for products that clean well and are Earth-Friendly? I love the ECOS line up! My favorite is the Lemongrass ECOS Laundry Detergent! It smells good, cleans great and even has built-in fabric softener! Now, how cool is that?! I love that there are no unnecessary chemicals and that it lifts dirt and can be used with colors and whites!

My other favorite is the ECOS All Purpose Cleaner, Ginger Plus!  This one is great for kitchen counters and more! This one cleans well and I love the light Ginger fragrance!

These products are my new favorite to-go-to products!

You can find out more at http://ecos.com/.

Self Disclosure: I received free products to facilitate this post. 

 

Jon Favreau’s 2016 Adaptation of The Jungle Book Reigns Supreme The Jungle Book DVD/Blu-ray/Digital HD - Available Aug 30

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From Disney animation comes the live action film, The Jungle Book, based on the classic books by Rudyard Kipling. A contemporary reboot of the beloved 1967 film, it captures your attention from the opening scene and holds through to the very end. Its stellar voice talent cast supports newcomer, young Neel Sethi who plays Mowgli. The story follows the man-cub Mowgli who flees the jungle after a threat from the tiger Shere Khan. Guided by Bagheera the panther and the bear Baloo, Mowgli embarks on a journey of self-discovery. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ryan R. comments, “What I like most about this movie is the 3D animation and the voice acting. The animals look so realistic and the sets look amazing as well with very detailed backgrounds.” Willie J. adds, “Having now see three versions of the Rudyard Kipling classic, I can honestly say that Jon Favreau’s 2016 adaptation reigns supreme. I know that may come as a far-fetched opinion for the faithful fans of the 1967 animated classic, but open your mind to the possibility that this version is above the rest.” Tre’ana H. wraps it up with, “ Director, Jon Favreau’s fantastic adaptation of the story and his devotion to the animals cherish exceeded my expectations. The special effects and 3D portrayal of all the animals are breathtakingly awesome.” See their full reviews below.

The Jungle Book
By Ryan R., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

I enjoyed watching the new Disney film, The Jungle Book with its vivid and realistic 3D animation. It is slightly different from the 1967 animated film and has outstanding voice acting from Idris Elba, Scarlett Johansson, Bill Murray, Christopher Walken and others.

In this movie you meet Mowgli (Neel Sethi), the only man cub in the jungle and he wants to be a wolf, but in reality he’s not. He is raised by wolves and feels he has a nice life. One day, Shere Khan (Idris Elba) threatens Mowgli’s life. While the wolves argue about whether or not Mowgli should leave for the safety of the pack, Mowgli decides for them and leaves. He heads out to the “man village”. On his way, he meets many enemies and friends such as King Louie (Christopher Walken), Kaa (Scarlett Johansson) and Baloo (Bill Murray). What will happen next? Will he make it to the man village? Does Shere Khan catch him? You just have to watch the movie to find out.

What I like most about this movie is the 3D animation and the voice acting. The animals look so realistic and the sets look amazing as well with very detailed backgrounds. The voice acting is superb. Idris Elba and Scarlett Johansson are scary. Bill Murray is funny and Christopher Walken is scary and funny at the same time. They and the other voice actors truly bring the animals to life in this film. The music adds even more energy and excitement to the film and makes the scenes more interesting.

What I didn’t like about this movie is that there are many intense scenes. I jumped out of my seat a few times. This isn’t a movie for children younger than 9 years old. This is definitely a “know your kid” type of movie. I also didn’t like that King Louie wasn’t as friendly looking as in the original film, but besides that this movie is great and entertaining.

The themes of this movie are 1) you can’t deny who you are and 2) animals who stick together, survive together. The wolves have their pack and Mowgli is raised as part of the pack. His natural instincts kick in and he makes inventions to make his life easier but is discouraged by the pack because “it is not the wolves’ way of doing things.” They are man’s way. When he is in trouble, his manmade inventions save him.

I recommend this to kids ages 9 to 18. As I said, this really is a “know your kid movie.” It contains some very intense scenes that will be frightening to those who aren’t accustomed to such things. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it to people who like to watch action, adventure and comedy movies. It is in theaters now so, go check it out.
The Jungle Book
By Willie Jones, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

Having now see three versions of the Rudyard Kipling classic, I can honestly say that Jon Favreau’s 2016 adaptation reigns supreme. I know that may come as a far-fetched opinion for the faithful fans of the 1967 animated classic, but open your mind to the possibility that this version is above the rest.

The darker, more realistic tone of this live-action adventure is a sharp contrast to the lighter tone of the 1967 musical comedy. That may be off-putting to some fans, but once you’re swept up in the visual splendor of the movie, the story becomes ever more engaging. Speaking of which, don’t be surprised if a few elements of the 1967 version’s story aren’t in this one or are rearranged.

Jon Favreu gives the story the proper grandeur it deserves. He uses lush art direction and sweeping cinematography to make the story look bigger. Visual effects aside, the aesthetic of the film gets across the monumental stature a family adventure should have. Combine the visuals with the score of John Debney and you’ll find beauty and thrills that bring back a child like wonder.

One thing I really appreciate is the way the film treats the animals as characters, not denying them close-ups or treating them as spectacles. They are instead, portrayed as natural beings within the world of the screenplay. It enhances the brilliant voice acting of the cast. Speaking of which, I hope this film can rekindle the campaign to get voice acting a category with the major awards. Idris Elba is perfectly evil. Ben Kingsley and Bill Murray provide such natural and fitting voice work. And, Scarlett Johansson and Christopher Walken steal the show. Their scenes are the highlights of the movie and are easily the most memorable.

This movie is an overall construction of perfect cinematic elements. Disney has hit a grand slam with The Jungle Book as it will be etched in the memories of audiences for decades. I say this film is one of the best films of this decade and maybe even the last ten years.

With that said, I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. It can be seen at a local theater near you.

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By Tre’ana Hickson, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

After analyzing this film, I really appreciated it because it is family oriented and explores the relationship of a young man. This film made me wonder if something happened to my parents who would take care of me. I love the fact that the animated jungle animals look so real and talk like human beings. This film blends adventure, drama, fantasy and family in an entertaining story. I enjoyed this film because of the way it takes a classic story and turns it into something amazing. Director Jon Favreau’s fantastic adaptation of the story and his devotion to the animals cherish exceeded my expectations. The special effects and 3D portrayal of all the animals are breathtakingly awesome.

The story follows the man-cub Mowgli (Neel Sethi) who departs the jungle after a threat from the tiger, Shere Khan (Idris Elba). The panther Bagheera (Ben Kingsley) serves as his protector and keeps him out of harms way until Baloo the Bear (Bill Murray) comes on board and joins the team. Mowgli embarks on a journey of self-discovery and meets creatures along the way who don’t have his best interests at heart. The film shows his innocence and you have to respect and honor him.

I loved the scene when Baloo the Bear and Mowgli go to the lake with Mowgli sitting on Baloo’s stomach as they float down the river. I really adored this moment because it is hilarious and it reminded me of a special time I spent with my friends in the pool. A bond is formed that you knew could not be broken.

The message of this film is do not ever hold a grudge against someone because of something that happened in the past. Try to make amends because life is too short and precious. Live each moment to the fullest. That is what Mowgli realizes and does. You should always give someone a chance to fit in.

I recommend this film for ages 7 to 18 because they will definitely be entertained. I give it 5 out of 5 Stars because it is child friendly, hilarious, exciting and enjoyable it even though some terrifying moments exist. This movie opens in theaters Friday, April 15, 2016 so go check it out, you will not be disappointed.

Credit: KIDS FIRST!

Pup Star – A Fun, Fantastic, Family-Friendly Film With Talking And Singing Dogs

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From Air Bud Entertainment comes the new film Pup Star about an adorable Yorkshire terrier competing in a televised singing competition who is separated from her owner by an opportunist dog pound worker and goes on a huge adventure to get back. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Gerry O. comments, “To make a perfect family-friendly adventure film is a difficult task to achieve. You have to make it both entertaining and kid-friendly while including a positive, preferably inspirational messages. Pup Star, the latest installment in the Air Bud series, succeeds in this goal with assistance of wonderful music and fantastic acting.” Abigail Zoe L. adds, “Pup Star is a fun, fantastic, family-friendly film! It really is an amazing and inspiring movie with talking and singing dogs. I found myself cheering for the super talented Tiny and booing the bad guys, or should I say bad dogs!” See their full reviews below. PUP STAR will release in select US theaters and Digital HD exclusively on Fandango’s premium on-demand video service, FandangoNOW (www.FandangoNOW.com) – August 30, 2016.

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Pup Star
By Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 14

 

To make a perfect family-friendly adventure film is a difficult task to achieve. You have to make it both entertaining and kid-friendly while including a positive, preferably  inspirational message. Pup Star, the latest installment in the Air Bud series,  succeeds in this goal with assistance of wonderful music and fantastic acting.

The adventurous feel of the movie appeals to the audience. This film has more than that to offer though with its comedy, positive messages and a slight bit of drama. There is even some romance to keep the viewer entertained and at the edge of their seat

The story starts when a young puppy named Tiny goes on a dog singing show and does quite well. She receives a golden ticket from the judge which allows her to go straight to the finals. Everything changes when Tiny gets captured by animal control and must go on a huge adventure to get back to her owner and also to the competition finals.

Pup Star has a wonderful story line and great acting by Tom Everett Scott, Kaitlyn Maher and Jed Rees. The voice over cast for the animals matches their characters and feels quite authentic. They each make their characters truly come to life. But, the best part of this film is that the story which is entertaining, suitable for young kids and easy to follow.

My favorite scene is when we first meet Tiny. She gets on stage and starts singing. Her song is beautiful and serves to introduce the style and the feel of the film. I also love this scene because, although the talking dogs are animated, it looks very realistic, as if the dogs are actually talking.

Pup Star would appeal to families and younger kids. I recommend it for kids ages 4 to 13 and rate it 5 out of 5 stars for its excellent acting that truly makes the characters come alive, its realistic animation, beautiful music and its fantastic story.

Pup Star

By Abigail Zoe Lewis, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9

 

 

 

Interviews: https://youtu.be/0idIS8oDRL4

 

Pup Star is a fun, fantastic, family-friendly film! It really is an amazing and inspiring movie with talking and singing dogs. I found myself cheering for the super talented Tiny and booing the bad guys, or should I say bad dogs!

The story is about Tiny, an adorable Yorkie pup who dreams of becoming the next Pup Star, which is a spinoff of the popular TV singing competition reality shows. The celebrity judges include Dog Gnarly, Blake Sheltie, Lady Paw Paw and of course, Simone Growl.

 

Along Tiny’s journey, she is dog napped, meets colorful companions and becomes a more inspired singer with the help of Charlie, who is on his own journey. Tiny is encouraged by everyone she meets to keep going and not give up on her dreams. My favorite part is when Tiny sings. Kaitlyn Maher’s voice over and singing of Tiny is outstanding and all 13 original songs are so strong melodically that I found myself humming along to the song Blue Skies after watching it. Additionally, the various voice over and singing talents for all the other dogs are equally impressive.

 

The message of this film is never give up and follow your dreams. Tiny faces many challenges and tries her hardest to persevere and reconnect with her loving family.

 

The talking and singing dogs are created with amazing special effects. Their mouths move in perfect harmony with the words and lyrics. Also, I love the rich and emotional music composed by Brahm Wenger which draws you in from the get go. I recently had the privilege to interview the writer and producer of Pup Star, Anna McRoberts and she mentioned that this is the biggest cast of talking and singing dogs ever in one movie –  31 total. Bow Wow!!!

 

Out of all the Air Bud Entertainment movies, this is my favorite. We can all relate to following our dreams no matter what they are and cheering for the underdog. I recommend this film to kids age 5 to 18 as well as anyone who loves dogs – kids and adults alike. With so many wonderful things to love about this family friendly film movie, I give it 5 out of 5 pup stars! I want to share one more thing: throughout this entire film, I actually forgot that dogs don’t really talk… or do they?

Credit: KIDS FIRST!