The Cat In The Hat Knows A Lot About That: Season 2 – Where Learning is Adventurous, Upbeat and Engaging

Enjoy volume one of the second season of The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! follows the adventures of 6-year-old best friends, Sally and Nick, as they are whisked off on extraordinary voyages of scientific discovery with the Cat in the Hat.  Thanks to the Thinga-ma-jigger and our friends, exploring has never been more exciting! In this season set, learn everything from space topics like gravity, what causes day and night, the planets, earth’s atmosphere to all about the human body like why do we sneeze, how and why the heart beats, why our stomach rumbles, how amazing our skin, and how important each different bone is in our body. The discoveries don’t end there though! Embark on more numerous adventures where we learn all about animals such as why animal ears come in many shapes and sizes, how different animals carry their babies, who are the fastest creatures in the world, why male crickets chirp, how polar bears survive the arctic winter, how a snow leopard balances, and so much more! So let’s go, go, go, go on an adventure, we’re flying with The Cat in the Hat today! KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Sahiba K. comments, “The Cat In The Hat Knows A Lot About That: Season 2 portrays a dream-like world where learning is adventurous and engaging! Each episode takes you on a ride to a variety of places, some are even out of this world.” Jolleen M. adds, “Everything is upbeat and entertaining plus, you learn lots of new things. Even I learned some new things from these episodes!” See their full reviews below.

The Cat In The Hat Knows A Lot About That: Season 2

By Sahiba K., KIDSFIRST! Film Critic, Age 16

The Cat In The Hat Knows A Lot About That: Season 2 portrays a dream-like world where learning is adventurous and engaging! Each episode takes you on a ride to a variety of places, some are even out of this world. The animation brings you into the realm of Dr. Seuss. I did not want to leave.

The story follows Sally (Alexa Torrington) and Nick (Jacob Ewaniuk) traveling through everyday life, curious and eager to understand the ways of the world. The Cat (Martin Short) always pops in at the right time to help them find the answers to their dilemmas. Together they hop on the Thinga-ma-jigger and fly on adventures to discover wonders.

Martin Short, the voice of the Cat, uses the perfect accent and voice to compliment the Cat’s personality. He emphasizes certain words to achieve the goofiness in his voice. Alexa Torrington and Jacob Ewaniuk are the voices of the children, Sally and Nick, who grasp the innocence and youthful spirit by their voices. Rob Tinkler voices Fish, Thing 1 and Thing 2. The way he changes the tone and pitch of the various voices is quite unique. The voices for Thing 1 and 2 are high pitched and humorous, while the voice for Fish is lower and more serious.

The animation offers a portal into Dr. Seuss’s world. The houses are crooked, yet appealing. The background hills, bushes and trees are slim and tall. The abstract Thinga-ma-jigger flies through the sky with its misshapen helicopter blades and bright red and orange colors.

My favorite part of this show is the Cat’s personality. He brings fun to learning and, when explaining different conceptions, he adds a sense of humor. For example, when explaining that the brain receives and sends signals from the nose, a phone rings in his hat asking for his nose. He is clumsy and modest about being smart. He makes the children laugh and ends each episode with a joke.

The message of this DVD is learning can happen anywhere and is always an adventure. I give this DVD 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 10. It is available now so, be sure to check it out.

The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That: Season 2
By Jolleen M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That episodes are very colorful, exciting and educational. This season is no exception! Everything is upbeat and entertaining plus, you learn lots of new things. Even I learned some new things from these episodes!

Season 2 is mostly about science topics. These episodes have lots of songs, jokes and puns, and they can travel anywhere. They can shrink or enlarge themselves to learn about everything. Also, the characters are extremely energetic, which makes you feel energized and uplifted because they are having such a good time.

The voice acting is amazing. All of the characters laugh so much and have a great time. They all sound so happy and amazed at everything they learn. Martin Short, as the voice of The Cat is perfect. His laughs are so contagious and he laughs so often. The children, Sally and Nick (Alexa Torrington and Jacob Ewaniuk) are just as ecstatic and energetic. They laugh a lot as well and are very positive kids. Short, Torrington and Ewaniuk all have wonderful singing voices that enhance the episodes.

The animation in these episodes is bright, colorful and detailed. The animation perfectly suits the educational side of these stories, because you can learn about the object, while seeing it clearly. The music and songs are quite clever and pleasing. The music is a vital part to these episodes.

My favorite episode is “Bounce” because, in that episode they teach many different things besides the topic of rubber. It is interesting to learn everything related to and around rubber.

The message of this DVD is to go outside on adventures, after first asking your parents permission (of course) as Sally and Nick do, and to enjoy what’s around you. The Cat goes to Sally and Nick’s and makes them happy every time by teaching them about their surroundings and showing them around. These episodes inspire you to learn more and shows how learning about new things is fun and exciting.

I give this DVD 5 out to 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 13. It is available now so, definitely go check it out.

 

Credit: KIDS FIRST!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black Panther – Pure Marvel Action/Adventure Steeped in Timely Political and Social Issues

After the events of Captain America: Civil War, King T’Challa returns home to the reclusive, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda to serve as his country’s new leader. However, T’Challa soon finds that he is challenged for the throne from factions within his own country. When two foes conspire to destroy Wakanda, the hero known as Black Panther must team up with C.I.A. agent Everett K. Ross and members of the Dora Milaje, Wakandan Special Forces, to prevent Wakanda from being dragged into a world war. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Calista B. comments, “Honestly, this movie is just amazing. There are so many things this movie does incredibly correctly. This might be one of the greatest Superhero movies of all time!” Kimbirly O., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror adds, “The film is pure Marvel action-adventure with a broad political and socially aware feeling. It is awake and unique. It may be a superhero film, yet it is also steeped in real political and social issues similar to those we face today, especially diversity and inclusion.” See their full reviews below.

Black Panther

By Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 14

Honestly, this movie is just amazing. There are so many things this movie does incredibly correctly. This might be one of the greatest Superhero movies of all time!

The story is about T’challa, prince of the secluded, incredibly advanced nation of Wakanda, who struggles to defeat an enemy wanting to take his throne. He teams up with some phenomenal females to secure his role as King.

This film is just visually incredible, especially the city of Wakanda. The city looks so amazing. All the buildings and creations are so cool. But that’s not all. The designs of the weapons and spaceships look very realistic and straight up awesome! Kudos to the visual effects team! I also loved the Black Panther suit. I love the idea of the suit absorbing hits into stored kinetic energy and using it as a shockwave like blast. The movie starts with a re-telling of the creation of Wakanda, but it was made out of sand. It looked so cool. In general, the aesthetic nature of this movie is just marvelous.

The nation of Wakanda also has a very interesting culture. I like that it blends futuristic technology with a tribal feel, in terms of the fashions, locations and culture. It may seem like an odd blend, but it works well. Even the music reflects this combination. Speaking of which, the music is also fantastic.

The characters in this film are multi-dimensional. I really enjoyed Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) and Black Panther himself (Chadwick Boseman). Plus, Sterling K. Brown (one of my favorite actors) is also in it and, while he has a small part, it is a key role. Hands down, the best characters are the female leads. The Future is Female! And there are some cool dudes. This movie has some wonderful female characters that everyone can look up to such as Danai Gurira, who I already love from AMC’s The Walking Dead, plays the highly skilled warrior Okoye. Letitia Wright plays T’challa’s tech-savvy little sister, Shuri and Lupita Nyong’o plays Nakia. I love these women and I’m sure many young kids will too.

This movie also has very interesting messages. The whole movie presents engaging thoughts on whether or not you should enter in other nation’s affairs and the possible consequences of doing so. This is a pretty intriguing and well done storyline. I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18. It opens in theaters February 16, 2018 so go check it out!

Black Panther

By Kimbirly O., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror

In the latest production from Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), we see the original story of the Black Panther. We were introduced to the Black Panther in Captain America: Civil War. This film depicts the story of King T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) and the Black Panther tribe.

When T’Challa returns home to the reclusive, beautiful and technologically impressive nation of Wakanda, a fictional country in Africa, he is named the new leader following the death of his father. True to custom, he is challenged by the tribesman and becomes the new King.

Elsewhere, a cousin unknown to him returns from the United States to challenge T’Challa’s reign, and chaos ensues. Warmonger (Michael B Jordan) and his political beliefs are diabolical and the opposite of T’Challa’s. As foes set forth to destroy Wakanda, Black Panther teams up with a C.I.A. agent and a neighboring tribe to prevent the country from a world war. The path from light to dark, and back to doing good in the world beyond Wakanda is refreshing.

The film is pure Marvel action-adventure with a broad political and socially aware feeling. It is awake and unique. It may be a superhero film, yet it is also steeped in real political and social issues similar to those we face today, especially diversity and inclusion.  The strong female characters – Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), Okoye (Danai Gurira) and Ramonda (Angela Bassett) are phenomenal.

I love this film! From the casting, cinematography and directing, to the special effects and female empowerment, it is fulfilling. The action is believable, many of the fight scenes are based on African martial arts, although the CGI at times is a little whack. Overall, I was displaced, forgetting I was sitting in a theater. The costumes are fantastic with attention to detail befitting royalty. Wakanda forever!

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars for the cast, social and political awareness, technology focus and female empowerment. This film will appeal to ages 8 to 18, as well as adults. I caution younger viewing due to fight scenes which may be disturbing. It opens in theater February 16, 2018 so, check it out!

 

Credit: KIDS FIRST!

 

 

Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab: Rock It to the Moon – Star Trek-ishly Informative and Entertaining

Join Angie and friends as they deal with everything from a remote control dance outfit to gravity to moon rocks and more! Hoping to get on a dance show, Von Bolt wears a remote-control dance outfit. But if he lets someone else dance for him, is he really a winner? Next, the Secret Lab Kids are ready to demo their new science song for web entrepreneur, Mook Zookerboom, when he learns that a satellite is coming down out of orbit, panics and heads for the airport. So the team must gather some data on gravity to convince him to return. Then, when Von Bolt accidentally destroys the museum’s new moon rock, the Secret Lab Kids must find a way to replace it. Guided by fun-loving Edison, Angie and friends will show kids just how fun science can be! KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Rohan F. comments, “This is a very educational show. It’s bright, colorful characters and high-level facts make it attractive to most ages.  It manages to be both informative and entertaining.” Talia J. adds, “I am happily surprised by this DVD. I was expecting these episodes to be very child-like and not very humorous. I was very wrong! The episodes kept me interested the entire time.” Damon F. wraps it up with, “

 

Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab: Rock It to the Moon

By Rohan Foxe, KIDSFIRST! Film Critic, age 12

This is a very educational show. It’s bright, colorful characters and high-level facts make it attractive to most ages.  It manages to be both informative and entertaining.

The DVD has eight episodes that follow Angie, Kent, JD and Nicky as they go on adventures using science. The episodes include Dancing Machine, Murphy’s law of Gravity, Rock it to the Moon, Act Your Stone Age, Von Drop-Out, Freaky Furry, The Monster Not Under the Bed and Nanobots Byte. In each episode the Secret Lab Kids, as they’re called, use their hologram projector to visit a scientist from the past. The scientist tells them a bit about his most famous discovery, which gives them a hint to solve the major problem of the episode. I like their decision to use some lesser known scientists such as Thales, instead of just the most famous scientists like Albert Einstein. However, they could have been more diverse in who they chose. Other than the kids, there are no female scientists in the entire episode set.

My favorite episode is Von Drop-Out. Von Bolt is my favorite character on this show. I like him because he is funny and interesting. In this episode, he feels underappreciated and quits. He gets a new job as a rescue robot and the Secret Lab Kids try to find him so they can get him to come back. I like this episode because its explanation on the science of proportion and measurement is easy to understand and is used in the most practical way that could be used by anyone in the real world. Von Bolt is voiced by Dan Russell. I really enjoyed this voice. He manages to show emotion but still keep the voice robotic.

I like how educational this series is. It teaches science, history, technology, math, vocabulary and much more. This isn’t the only thing children might take from these episodes. The educational values are almost over-shadowed by the wacky, unexplained, convenient items the Secret Lab Kids have.

The music on this show is almost better than the show itself. After each episode, there is a song. These songs teach more science than the stories, teach it faster, are equally entertaining and are amazingly well produced. They are, by far, my favorite part of this DVD and the show as a whole. Overall I give this DVD 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 through 14.

Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab: Rock it to the Moon

By Talia J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab: Rock it to the Moon is an entertaining DVD gives everyone a better understanding of science.

Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab: Rock it to the Moon is an animated series of science-themed episodes. The show is about a group of friends who find the famous scientist Thomas Edison’s secret lab. Thomas Edison has made a secret lab where he creates a virtual version of himself and a robot named Van Bolt. The friends embark on fun adventures with one another while at the same time learning valuable scientific knowledge of the world around them.

I am happily surprised by this DVD. I was expecting these episodes to be very child-like and not very humorous. I was very wrong! The episodes kept me interested the entire time. The episodes are rather short which I think is fantastic because it keeps the audience attention the whole time. The episodes are silly, but in a way that got me laughing. These episodes are definitely aimed for much younger audiences. Since I am not in that age range, I did not think I was going to appreciate the humor like a little child would. My expectations were definitely wrong. I absolutely love the little jokes and funny characters. The humor gives these episodes character.

These episodes are perfect for anyone interested in science. What surprised me the most about this DVD is that I didn’t even know most of the science related topics. Some of the topics the episodes discuss are Murphy’s Law of Gravity, fossils, and many more. It is very important for children shows to be both informative and entertaining. Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab: Rock it to the Moon definitely incorporates these two ideas beautifully. Each episode helps teach kids that science is actually fun. Perhaps one day it can inspire the next generation of scientists.

I absolutely adore the music in this DVD. There are a total of eight episodes in the DVD. At the end of each episode there is a music video about science. The music is written and produced by Stefanie and Ron Fair. I must say that I am still caught humming some of the tunes. The music is very catchy, and the music videos are entertaining to watch. In the music videos there are always five robots that are doing something crazy. In one episode they float around space and orbit the Earth. The five robots give the music videos a unique touch.

This DVD is a perfect way to introduce children to science. Each episode adds humor and silliness while including a valuable science lesson. I recommend this DVD for anyone between the age of 4 and 9 and give this DVD 5 out of 5 stars. This DVD is out now so go check it out!

Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab – Rock It to the Moon

Damon F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab – Rock It to the Moon is a DVD full of episodes about a group of kid scientists who work together on adventures in Thomas Edison’s secret lab. The series is about the group finding problems around their town and solving them by using scientific facts. I always enjoy these episode packs because I like science and they teach us a lot about chemicals and discoveries I didn’t know about before. After every episode there is a song (written by Stefanie and Ron Fair) about the episode that is sung by dancing robots. The songs are very repetitive and younger kids would like that.

The four kid scientists are, Angie (Phillipa Alexander) a modern female version of Thomas Edison, JD (Adam Long), Angie’s brother who  thinks well under pressure, Kent (Shash Hira), who has all kinds of phobias and loves all applications of science,  Nicky,  a scientific genius who is secretly jealous of Angie, and of course Thomas Edison (Livingston Taylor), a hologram of the scientist who is the kids’ inspiring mentor who  doesn’t solve their problems for them, but instead offers advice and guidance.  In the lab they have Edison’s projector which makes his hologram and a virtual reality machine which opens a portal that each episode sends them to a different scientist from the past who teaches them something that will help them solve their current problem. These lessons teach real life facts which I like. This episode pack is about a few of their problems that they solve using all they know about science.

Episodes on this DVD include, Dancing Machines, Murphy’s Law of Gravity, Rock it to the Moon, Act your Stone Age, Von Drop-Out, Freaky Furry, The Monster Not Under the Bed, and Nanobots Byte. My favorite episode is Freaky Furry which is about when Angie accidentally switches brains with her dog during a test. The group must find out what happened and switch the brains back. I like this because it is the only one about the human body which I find fascinating and because I like dogs. My favorite character is Von Bolts, the robot lab assistant, because he is a funny, indestructible machine who features in all the episodes.

The message of this show is that if you work together, you can do anything. I recommend this DVD for ages 4 through 10 because it is funny and very educational but easy to understand. I rate this DVD 4 out of 5 stars because I like to hear facts and some parts are funny. This DVD/Blu-ray is available now so go check it out. This series has its own website called, edisonsecretlab.com which you should also look at because it has a lot of added features.

 

Credit: KIDS FIRST!

 

 

 

Books for the Kids this Valentine’s Day!

Looking for Kids books for the upcoming holiday? I love these two choices!

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I LOVE YOU FOR MILES AND MILES by Alison Goldberg; illustrated by Mike Yamada (ages 2-6, on sale December 26, 2017)

  • An “I love you” book that speaks the language of the vehicle-obsessed toddler, perfect for fans of Nancy Tillman and GOOD NIGHT, GOOD NIGHT CONSTRUCTION SITE.
  • Bold and cheerful illustrations by animator Mike Yamada whose works for Disney include BIG HERO 6, and HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON.
  • Perfect for Valentine’s Day, this is an I-Love-You book that touches on themes of separation, and loving from afar. This is such a cute book with a delightful story! I highly recommend for ages 2-6!

LOVE, MAMA by Jeanette Bradley (Roaring Brook Press, January 2, 2018, Ages 2-6)

  • A modern mommy-love picture book by a debut author/illustrator about a young penguin who learns that a mother’s love is never too far away. Perfect for any child who needs reassurance when a parent leaves—whether out for a night or on a business trip.

  • This is a fresh update of a perennially commercial theme, especially poignant as 70% of women with kids under 18 have jobs in the U.S.

  • An unnamed second caregiver—who could be a parent, babysitter, grandparent, etc.—keeps the story inclusive of diverse family structures.

This book is just too sweet! I highly recommend for ages 2-6!

You can find both of these books here.

Self Disclosure: I received free sample copies to facilitate this post. Images and information also provided. 

Kids Music for Valentine’s Day! Giveaway Opportunity!

Valentine’s Day is almost here! Kids everywhere are cutting up doilies and red construction paper and scribbling out little notes to their friends and family. Many are planning class and home parties to celebrate this day of love.
Sugar Mountain PR has a playlist of sweet songs by some of the top songwriters in family music, including three GRAMMY nominees and bilingual award-winning artists.
Here’s a  link to their annual FREE streaming playlist of “Songs for Valentines
We are offering a giveaway!

  MP3s of these two songs:
Be My Baby by Lisa Loeb –  www.lisaloeb.com
Valentine (I Don’t Want To Be Yours) by Justin Roberts – www.justinrobertsmusic.com
Here’s the list:
1. Be My Baby – Lisa Loeb
2. You’ve Got Me – Sara Lovell
3. Love Your Neighbor – Ladysmith Black Mambazo
4. Loving & Kind – Aaron Nigel Smith
5. Light of Love – Brady Rymer
6. Te Amo – Cathy & Marcy with Sonia De Los Santos
7.  Recess Monkey – Lovestruck Unicorn
8. Valentine (I Don’t Want To Be Yours) – Justin Roberts
Tell us your top 2 song titles from the above list and you could win the MP3s of the two songs! There will be 3 winners. Deadline to enter is February 14th, 2018 at 9 am pst.
Self Disclosure: Credit Sugar Mountain PR. Socal City Kids will select the winners. Happy Pre-Valentine’s Day!

Peter Rabbit – Adorable, Great Acting, Extraordinary CGI

Peter Rabbit, the mischievous and adventurous hero who has captivated generations of readers, now takes on the starring role of his own irreverent, contemporary comedy with attitude. In the film, Peter’s feud with Mr. McGregor (Domhnall Gleeson) escalates to greater heights than ever before as they rival for the affections of the warm-hearted animal lover who lives next door (Rose Byrne). James Corden voices the character of Peter with a playful spirit and wild charm, with Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki, and Daisy Ridley performing the voice roles of the triplets, Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Carla P. comments, “Peter Rabbit is one of my favorite kid’s movie of the year so far. It’s an adorable film that is perfect for the whole family. I love this film because of the acting and CGI.” Morgan B. adds, “Adorable, humorous, charming and a heartwarming tale just in time for Easter and spring!” See their full reviews below.

Peter Rabbit
By Carla P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 13

Peter Rabbit is one of my favorite kid’s movie of the year so far. It’s an adorable film that is perfect for the whole family. I love this film because of the acting and CGI.

Peter Rabbit follows Peter Rabbit, Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton Tail and Benji as they get into mischief by taking vegetables from the garden next door. They take the vegetables from Mr. McGregor who tries desperately to get them out of their garden by using explosives and even an electric fence. The rabbits hang out with loveable characters like Bea. She helps the rabbits by giving them shelter when it rains and helps them get food.

Throughout the movie, we see great acting from all the actors and voice actors in the film. I love how Domhnall Gleeson acts like a soulless man with the rabbits who he is trying to kill, but with Bea, he acts like he’s in love. I found that Mr. McGregor (Domhnall Gleeson) really does seem to be in love with Bea. I also like how the voice actors portray the rabbits. Each one of them has a personality that is well portrayed in their voices and actions. For example, Cotton Tail is a memorable character because of how wild and reckless she is. The way Daisy Ridley voices her shows how wild she can be.

The CGI in this film is extraordinary. The animals look so realistic. If you really focus on the rabbits, you can see the individual hairs on them. You can also see it on the pig character that hangs out with the rabbits. During a fight sequence with Peter and Mr. McGregor, they actually look like they are fighting and not like he is fighting a fake bunny.

I rate this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 7 to 12. This movie comes out on Friday, February 9, 2018 so be sure to check it out.

Peter Rabbit
By Morgan B. Bertsch, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 13

Adorable, humorous, charming and a heartwarming tale just in time for Easter and spring! You will be hopping as fast as you can to catch up with the rabbits and all the other animals that are, once again, calculating how to get into Mr. McGregor’s Garden.

Peter Rabbit is based on the books by Beatrix Potter. Beatrix Potter lived from 1866 to 1943 and is one of the best-loved children’s authors. She wrote and illustrated 28 books and each one has been translated into more than 35 languages. They have sold over 100 million copies. This is important because one of the main goals for the director and the cast was to stay true to her vision.

The beauty of this film is that the rabbits all look as if you could touch them because the animation is so life like. The scenes with the garden and house look like places that I would enjoy living because they look like a fairytale that came alive. Of course, if you don’t share your vegetables your life will not be enjoyable.

The moral of the film is about getting along with others, telling the truth and being honest.  Everyone makes mistakes and we need to find a way to fix them.

Thump, click, crack, snap, thud –  all these noises, plus thousands of other sounds effects add to the humor of this film. The music is outstanding. I cannot wait to purchase the soundtrack. There is a combination of movie symphony music, sounds from the 80s, new original songs and a plethora of songs and sounds that will put a smile on your face.

Of course, the comical James Corden makes a perfect bunny. Peter Rabbit is my favorite character, full of sassy and classy moves and words of wisdom. His humorous and quick-witted lines made me burst out laughing when I watched the film. He also has a very kind heart, which I love. Corden brings his quirky personality that we see on his late night television show to this part.

On the other hand, I also love the adorable Flopsy (Margot Robbie). She is so cute and cuddly, knows how to fend for herself and I just love her. She is the perfect role model for kids because she teaches how you can be both smart, cute and a fighter. Margot Robbie adds a bit of quirkiness to this character because she is the one and only Harley Quinn. She is the complete opposite – serious and tough – in the recent movie Christopher Robin. I loved meeting her in person.

My favorite scene is when Mr. McGregor (Domhnall Gleeson) is electrified by the bunnies. This scene is absolutely hilarious and quirky. I could not stop laughing. Seeing bunnies figuring out how to use an electric fence was shocking.

Ever caring, kind Bea (Rose Byrne) is the sweetest. She is the hero who protects the animals at all costs. I relate to her a lot. She is funny and a bit odd. Cotton-Tail (Daisy Ridley) is one tough bunny. You know that this film is magnificent when the star of Star Wars appears in it. Cotton-Tail is young, yet very feisty and tough. It reminds me of her character in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

I recommend this film for ages 6 to 18 and give it 5 out of 5 stars. Kids will adore the bunnies and the other talking animals. The teenagers will love the hummer and fun scenes that the younger kids don’t understand. This film is a perfect for the entire family so grab a bag of carrots, radishes and turnips and head to the theaters. It opens February 9, 2018.

 

Credit: KIDS FIRST!

 

 

Family Fave Twinkle hosts Kids Club Concert Series w/special guests Andrew & Polly at Santa Monica Place

L.A. family fave, the award-winning, Peruvian-American kindie music phenomenon known as Twinkle, is the host of Kids Club, a new, free concert series for kids of all ages on the first Wednesday of every month. The next Kids Club concert will feature an hour of music by the beloved husband-and-wife duo Andrew & Polly at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, February 7 in the kids’ play area of the food court at Santa Monica Place, 395 Santa Monica Place, Santa Monica, CA.

In addition to presenting a different kindie music guest artist or band each month, Twinkle herself will perform at every Kids Club concert. Described as “like Lady Gaga for kids,” with a super pop sound mixed with a touch of Broadway belt, a sparkling soupçon of hip-hop, and plenty of EDM glam, Twinkle dances to the beat of her own drum, breaking barriers, sound and otherwise, with both her music and flamboyant, Harajuku-style presentation. With her award-winning albums, raise-the-roof concerts, and one-of-a-kind fashion and makeup, Twinkle dazzles kids and families nationwide.

The daughter of a Peruvian mom and a Brooklyn-raised, Romanian-Jewish dad, Twinkle’s first language was Spanish. With sensitivity and balance, she incorporates both Spanish and English into every performance.

Kids and families nationwide know and love the music of Andrew & Polly from hearing their songs on Sirius XM’s Kids Place Live and on Nickelodeon and Sesame Studios projects. Andrew & Polly are also the creators and hosts of a critically acclaimed podcast for kids, Ear Snacks.

Andrew & Polly connect with kids in a big way. They open all their live shows with a number that draws children and parents alike into their special brand of smart, imaginative, and bravely silly performance. Using anything from banana-concealed kazoos to Japanese synthesizers, Andrew & Polly encourage audience participation as they improvise according to suggestions from the kids. Sometimes Andrew is very shy, and he often falls asleep and needs an entire audience to roar him awake. Polly can magically lift Andrew’s extremely heavy accordion suitcase with ease, but she’ll forget the simplest lyrics. (“Are you sure that’s how the ABC’s go? A-B-C-D-E-F- …Q?”)

Enthuses Twinkle, “I’m so excited to add hosting and producing the Kids Club concert series to my very busy touring schedule! I have so many talented kindie musician friends. We all have our own styles that make us unique, but our love for kids brings us all together. How cool is it to have a mini-concert every month where kids and families can experience different genres of music and build lasting memories for a lifetime? It’s going to be a kidzapalooza fun time every single month for all the ‘lil twinklettes and rockstarz’ in SoCal.”

March 7 will bring The Hollow Trees to the Kids Club series, treating kids and families to a rousing performance of their high-energy Americana music. Twinkle looks forward to announcing her spring line-up of guest artists, but says, “fans will have to wait just a little bit longer.”

Check out Twinkle’s website HERE.

Visit Andrew & Polly’s website HERE.

Credit:  Elizabeth Waldman Frazier at Waldmania PR.

Octonauts: The Great Swamp Search – Like Mission Impossible for Young Audiences!

Dive into adventure with your favorite underwater explorers, the Octonauts! Join brave Captain Barnacles, daredevil ex-pirate, Kwazii, and medic Peso Penguin, along with the other Octonauts as they explore the world’s oceans, rescue the creatures that live there and protect their habitats – above and below the waves! On this exciting DVD, join the Octonauts as they journey to the Everglades to help Tweak’s dad, Ranger Marsh, track down several invasive species – including a Burmese Python and her babies! The adventures continue with six more exciting underwater missions! KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Arjun N. comments, “The voice acting and plots bring a unique feel unlike other animated work. This is sure to be a hit with kids who love animation.” Sahiba K. adds, “Octonauts: The Great Swamp Search is like Mission: Impossible for younger audiences! There is danger and action at every corner and unique adventures.” See their full reviews below.

Octonauts: The Great Swamp Search

By Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

This is a fun, educational, adventure-filled DVD with animals. The voice acting and plots bring a unique feel unlike other animated work. This is sure to be a hit with kids who love animation.

The story follows the adventures of an underwater exploring crew, the Octonauts which includes Captain Barnacles (Simon Greenall), Lieutenant Kwazii (Rob Rackstraw), Medic Peso (Wayne Greyson), Biologist Shellington (Keith Wickham), and Founder Grimpoteuthis (Keith Wickham). They are enticed by many adventures including the likes of returning animals to their homes, rescuing baby animals and finding the right turf for a group of hippos. Meanwhile, they discover new information about all the animals they are investigating.

Simon Greenall, as Barnicles, presents a commanding presence in leading the Octonauts, especially when choosing what a priority is. He is my favorite character because of this. Rob Rackstrawis, as Kwazii, is a fun member of the team who loves to help the animals and learn more about them. It is also interesting to see her reunion with her father who plays a big part in the first adventure. Wayne Greyson, as Peso, is an incredibly smart medic who wants to use his skills to save lives. Keith Wickham, as Shellington and Grimpteuthis, portrays two different characters that are of great importance to the team.

Darragh O’Connell directs this show with a Star Trek-esque tone of discovery. My favorite scene is the chase from the hippos because of the creative ways in which the Octonauts flee. It also feels like an extremely urgent scene. My only problem with the show is that, at times, the episodes are repetitive such as when they use the same plots with different animals.

The message of the show is to protect all animals and the ecosystem. Despite being treated unfairly by the animals, the Octonauts work around that to help them. They even give food to the hungry carnivores who threaten the ecosystem, while protecting the other animals. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 12. This DVD is available now so be sure to check it out.

Octonauts: The Great Swamp Search

By Sahiba K., KIDSFIRST! Film Critic, Age 15

Octonauts: The Great Swamp Search is like Mission: Impossible for younger audiences! There is danger and action at every corner and unique adventures. The music is engaging and made my heart race, adding to the thrilling effect. Along with the gripping stories, each episode cleverly incorporates interesting fun facts casually into the Octonauts’ conversations.

The story follows the Octonauts – Captain Barnacles, Kwazii, Peso Penguin, Dashi Dog, Shellington, Tweak and Tunip who always come to the rescue. Each episode follows an entertaining and fresh storyline where the Octonauts face peril and must use teamwork and problem solving to save the day. They help a myriad of animals and learn much from their adventures.

Every species has a distinctive voice and accent. This adds to the element of diversity and uniqueness. Simon Greenall as Captain Barnacles makes it obvious through his authoritative voice that he is the captain. Kwazii (Rob Rackstraw) is a pirate and incorporates an interesting accent to enhance his character and add humor.

The animation is quite realistic, particularly the water, shadows, clouds and colors during different times of the day. The water moves so smoothly that I felt I could reach into their world and touch it. Throughout many scenes, reflections can be seen in the water and are extremely naturalistic. The clouds move subtly across different shots and the movement is memorable. Shadows of the trees, animals and the Octonauts are beautifully portrayed. In the shadows, underwater and during different times of day, the colors change intensity which boosts the sublime qualities of the animation.

The animated cinematography is special. There are many wide shots that show the Octonauts from afar and then zoom in, allowing the viewer a chance to enjoy the scenery, light and depth of the animation. The 3D effects create a world that doesn’t seem so far from reality even though it is. It immersed me in the experience while learning about all the different species.

My favorite part is how fun facts are blended into the conversations. Even though it doesn’t feel as you are learning something, you learn many different things about hippos, crawfish and a multitude of other animals. The messages of this show are about teamwork, putting others before yourself and being kind to everyone. I give this DVD 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 12. It is available on DVD now so, be sure to check it out. It’s great stealth learning.

 

Credit: KIDS FIRST!