Mily Miss Questions: 10 Adventures For Curious Minds! – Adorable! Perfect for Curious Kids

unnamed (3)

This collection of stories features Mily and her friends as they investigate major life questions. Mily is a funny, curious and uncertain little 9-year-old girl. Like many children her age, she has a great many questions about life, people and the world. She’s never lost for words. Whenever a particular situation raises a question, Mily is immediately on the case!  From one episode to the next, through everyday situations and without ever favoring a particular point of view, Mily introduces young viewers to the art of questioning and developing an inquiring mind. KIDS FIRST! Juror Rachael V. (Adult) comments, “This program is so adorable! It’s about an all too curious young girl who has all sorts of fun questions. I remember when my older children had non-stop questions and this show really portrays that well. It’s also really good about getting her questions answered. The animation is well done. I recommend the show for ages 5 to 11 and give it 5 out of 5 stars.” Juror Tina B. (Adult) adds, “I found it quite interesting. The stories are thought-provoking and the themes are relative to children as well as adults. The various themes include decision making, choices in jobs, rules vs. laws and ‘telling the truth and teaching responsibility”. I rate it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Dariana A. (age 11) adds, “My favorite story on the DVD is the first one because the question asked is one I would have wondered at that age. It is about where we are before we reach our mother’s belly.” Carla P. (age 12) wraps it up with, “I like this series because it teaches children to ask questions of things they are curious about.  The lead character, Mily is a girl who asks everyone questions about a variety of stuff, typical things that kids are thinking and about everyday situations. It helps get kids thinking about things that people don’t usually think of.” See the KIDS FIRST! Film Critics full reviews below.

Mily Miss Questions: 10 Adventures For Curious Minds!

By Dariana Alvarez, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

 

Mily Miss Questions: 10 Adventures For Curious Minds! is a collection of stories that are educational and teach lessons such as how to be responsible. Mily asks a lot of questions that most children Mily’s age are aware of, yet she leaves a lot of open questions without an explanation. Mily and her friends ask questions and find out the answers to them together. Each episode has a different plot, but the thing that all the stories have in common is that they all contain a question that Mily answers. When she answers, she gives a variety of options, making you have to choose your preference.

This is a French animated TV series produced by Ciel de Paris and directed by Alex Ducord in whose talented hands we get Mily. The show has excellent voice overs which I particularly enjoyed. I was a bit confused by the dog, Pop, who has the ability to speak in some stories and in others, he only barks. In the second story, he talks and Mily understands him. In the third story, Pop only barks, even when Mily is around. I was also distracted by the words not matching the movement of people’s lips. I realized that the reason is because this film’s original language is French.

My favorite story on the DVD is the first one because the question asked is one I would have wondered at that age as well. It is about where we are before we reach our mother’s belly. I didn’t like that Mily doesn’t give a clear answer to that.

There is a different message in each episode, but the overall message is to find answers to important questions that you have. I rate this film 3.5 out of 5 stars because I felt its offering new knowledge for kids didn’t go far enough and the sound dubbing is distracting and inconsistent. I recommend this film for ages 4 to 6. It is available on DVD now so, check it out.

 

Mily Miss Questions: 10 Adventures for Curious Minds

By Carla Paz, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

 

This DVD is a collection of 2D animated stories that are both educational and entertaining. I like this series because it teaches children to ask questions of things they are curious about.  The lead character, Mily is a girl who asks everyone questions about a variety of stuff, typical things that kids are thinking and about everyday situations. It helps get kids thinking about things that people don’t usually think of. The story takes place around Mily, her family, her friends and her school. In one episode, Mily wonders where kids were before they were in their mother stomach.

The show is originally from France. It was adapted for America since it was such a hit in France. I like the style of the animation. The background of each scene of the animation is an actual photo of where it takes place such as kitchen. We see an actual photo of a kitchen. The characters’ animation is over the background. I find that cool because I’ve never seen that done before in animation. It’s very unique and rare.

The message of this show is to ask questions when you wonder about things. It teaches kids to ask questions even if they seem dumb. If someone doesn’t know something, they have the right to ask.  No one should be judged for asking. It also teaches kids to be creative. In one of the episodes, Mily gets bored and doesn’t know what to do.  Her friends come up with ideas to keep her from not being bored. They get creative and make games.

Something interesting is that the show is diverse, having character of different ethnicities.

My favorite character is Mily’s little sister Lola because she nags Mily in a funny way. She annoys Mily sometimes but they love each other. I love how she helps Mily with her questions. She may be younger but she helps Mily a lot. I also liked Mily’s dog since he does a lot of funny things.  Mily’s dog helps her become curious about the world.

I give this 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 5 to 10. This DVD is available now wherever DVDs are sold so, be sure to look for it.

https://youtu.be/-Nr49e2rDmw

 

Credit: KIDS FIRST!

 

Mack & Moxy: Adventures In Helpeeland! – Helps Children Understand Some Of Life’s Complicated Issues

unnamed (2)

Join Mack, a blue moose with a heart of gold and two left feet, and Moxy, a perky pink raccoon, on four new exciting adventures! Watch Mack & Moxy rescue another Great Helpee in a far off mystical place called HelpeeLand. In the first adventure, Mack & Moxy start a lively game of foursquare at the HelpeeLand School. When a disagreement develops over who won, Trooper Sydnee suggests Rock, Paper, Scissors to settle the dispute. It works like a charm except for one problem Shelfish Sheldon (Hank Azaria) is about to snatch the Great Helpee and keep all its happiness for himself. Guest celebrity, Simone Biles (Olympic Gymnastic Gold Medal winner), helps the Heroes on their mission. Three more adventures introduce kids to subjects like autism, buckling-up for safety and eating healthy foods. KIDS FIRST! Juror Tina B. comments, “This DVD has a beautiful way of explaining and expressing important ways of helping children understand some of life’s complicated issues.” KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Rohan F. adds, “Mack & Moxy: Adventures in Helpeeland! is a great DVD for preschoolers. It teaches basic lessons that kids will need for school.” See their full reviews below.

 

Mack & Moxy: Adventures In Helpeeland!

By Tina B., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror

 

This DVD has a beautiful way of explaining and expressing important ways of helping children understand some of life’s complicated issues. Friendship, honesty, tolerance, patience, healthy eating habits, dancing, singing, playing together, solving conflicts and working together are not always easy for children to understand and the Mack & Moxy series really helps parents instill good values in their children and helps parents find ways to teach these qualities to their children in a playful, colorful yet firm way. A must for all parents!

 

The topics discussed, the music, the lyrics, the funny and unusual characters, and the vibrant colors are all spot on and will all appeal to children. Each story has a great topic and the characters are lively, honest, funny, believable and colorful. Each segment concentrates on a powerful message to help young children understand. The songs emphasize the message and make a great addition at the end of each segment. Having the words written on the screen also helps parents relay the words. The material in each segment is very relevant and is very easy for children to follow. Subjects such as honesty, proper car seats for children of different ages, healthy eating, friendship, cooperation, team work, understanding children with autism, respect and organized games at recess time, are all introduced. At the end of each segment a mention of where to find more information is listed.

 

The vocabulary is age-appropriate and the subject matter is very relevant. The songs are so lively and sing-able. The theme song which is sung throughout the DVD whenever the team is ready to go out on their mission, ‘Here We Go, Na Na Na, Off to Healthyland’ is great. I found myself singing to it too! The animation is fantastic. The colors are so bright and rich for each of the characters and each of the Great Helpees hatched is a different color! The songs are upbeat and uplifting! Having the words written on the screen helps adults learn the songs. The settings for each of the segments has lots of imagination built in and also has awesome colors. Each of the characters has their own unique costume and name. Shellfish Sheldon is a red lobster, Clicks the robot, Patches the tiger, Little Bird is Autistic as well as Trooper Charlie, who dances very well, and so many others.

 

These segments are all very interesting and colorful and playful and educational as well. One segment deals with normalizing autism and explains about the devices that help autistic children communicate with others. It stresses that ‘even though we are all different, we are all the same’. The song, ‘Each One of Us Is Different’ helps us to understand more. The theme of this segment is that children with autism can be a great friend and our differences are Okay. Yes, I love this! Recommended for ages 2 to 5 and give it 5 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Tina B., KIDS FIRST! Juror.

 

Mack & Moxy: Adventures in Helpeeland!

Reviewed by Rohan F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

 

 

Mack & Moxy: Adventures in Helpeeland! is a great DVD for preschoolers. It teaches basic lessons that kids will need for school. This colorful DVD contains four episodes that combine animation, live-action, puppets and songs. The first episode teaches how to solve and arguments using “Rock, Paper, Scissors.” The second teaches you about buckling your car seat belt. The third talks about healthy eating and the fourth is about autism. In each episode, Mack (a moose-like giant) and Moxy (a perky pink raccoon) and their friends go to Helpee Island to save the great Helpee egg? One day they meet a new friend who helps them get the Helpee Egg. Meanwhile, the show’s enemy, Shellfish Sheldon is trying to steal the Great Helpee and keep all its happiness for himself. My favorite part of each episode is when Shellfish Sheldon is about to achieve his goal but fails, usually helping Mack and Moxy get the Helpee Egg. This show contains lots of repetition. At the end of each episode, they use exactly the same script as they did at the beginning. Repetition is good for younger children but can get tedious for older kids and adults so, I recommend this film for ages 1 to 4 and give it 4 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Rohan F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12.

Credit: KIDS FIRST!

Spring time Gift Suggestion for the Little Ones who like to sing! I See Me! has the best personalized books!

unnamed (3)

Do you have a young child who likes to sing? Looking for a great Spring time gift? Little ones will love I See Me’s fun and interactive sing-along book and CD featuring songs custom to your child’s name: http://www.iseeme.com/en-us/my-sing-a-long-book-and-cd.html

I love how this one has really simple songs, delightful illustrations and a CD is included! I gave this as a gift and the little girl who received it is a family friend and she loves it! It is one of her favorite books!

unnamed (4)

There are also an array of completely customizable books for welcoming a new baby, the big brother/sister, and more. All titles come with personalization options allowing your kids to star in their storybooks.

Another favorite of mine is their Birthday book! Celebrate birthdays with I See Me’s NEW birthday book- completely personalized with your child’s name! A perfect milestone momento kids will love. Great for kids 0-6.

Check out their website for these suggestions and many more!

 

Self Disclosure: I received a free book to facilitate this media post. Photos were also provided. No compensation was received.

Coloring For Adults With Inkspirations: Art Therapy To Reduce Stress

unnamed

Just when a sympathetic heart seems like it can’t take anymore, reach for something to help quiet the mind and ease the soul. Inkspirations coloring books for adults offer a way to turn off negativity while healing the spirit. Art therapy has long proven its effects as an aid in emotional and mental restoration, and it is not news that coloring as active meditation reduces stress and quiets thoughts. From the original publishers of Chicken Soup for the Soul now comes a line of coloring books ready to encourage, inspire, and help worries fade.

Whether coloring with friends, family, or on your own, it doesn’t take much to color your day a little brighter. With moving quotes alongside unique and graceful images, Inkspirations coloring books include a wide array of themes to help express creativity and enjoy therapy through coloring. To start overcoming heartache, releasing tensions, and building positive energy, readers can visit the new Inkspirations website, www.Inkspirations.com.

One of my favorites is the inkspirations for dog lovers! This one is must-buy for all dog lovers who like to color!

Please see the new line of coloring books and greeting cards at:www.Inkspirations.com.

 

Self Disclosure: I received a free copy of the book to facilitate this post.  No other compensation was received.

Books of this week!

This first one is fairly new! It released on March 7th!

unnamed (1)

This is a delightful Children’s book and I love the illustrations!~ SoCal City Kids.

Animal Colors and More is the third book in Katie’s Animal series. Here a herd of friendly creatures teach children the different colors and patterns found in the animal world. Charming, vivid illustrations bring nature to life with both realism and whimsy. Keep an eye out for a few cheeky animals that are trying to trick you, see if you can work out who they are!

About the Author:

Katie Viggers is a London-based illustrator who studied Fine Art at university. After a few years dabbling in animation and children’s bookselling, she went on to complete an MA in Children’s Book Illustration at the Cambridge School of Art. Shortly after, Katie decided to combine her printmaking skills, passion for picture books, and her bookselling experience to create Eightbear, a small company that produces an original and witty range of animal-based books and prints appealing to kids and adults alike. Animal Colors and More is the third book in Katie’s bestselling series for POW! Kids Books: Almost An Animal Alphabet (2013) and 1 to 20, Animals Aplenty (2014).

The next one is a great read for Women!

unnamed

Troy Ball and her husband, Charlie, an engineer and real estate investor, had spent their entire lives in Texas. But after a near fatal trip to the emergency room with their mute, wheelchair-bound son Coulton, they admitted the dust and the heat were too dangerous. To save their boys, the Balls cashed out, sold their beloved farm, and moved to Asheville, North Carolina.

 

Nearing fifty, Troy thought her chance at adventure had passed. But in this booming little Appalachian Mountain city of hippies, farmers, artisans, and retirees, she unexpectedly discovered a support network and something she’d never had in twenty-five years of providing round-the-clock care for her special needs boys: the freedom to pursue her own dreams. She struck up a friendship with a legendary eighty-year-old raconteur from the mountains, met his friends, and soon found herself in a rickety country shack with an ingeniously inventive retired farmer trying to create the best recipe ever for traditional mountain moonshine.

 

But when the real estate bubble burst and the collapse of her husband Charlie’s new venture in Asheville left them deeply in debt, Troy realized her ten-year business plan for Troy & Sons Platinum Whiskey wasn’t enough. If she was going to save her family—and she was definitely going to save her family—she needed to become the most successful woman in the legal whiskey business. And she needed to do it fast, before the bank took her house, her business, and everything she’d worked so hard to achieve.

 

Full of eccentric characters and charming locations—from a “haunted” cabin in the mountains to the last farm in the world to grow heritage Crooked Creek corn—Pure Heart is a charming story of a woman who set out to find a purpose in the most unexpected of places, and ended up finding happiness, contentment, and a community of love and respect.

 I liked the characters and how well this story flowed!

You can find purchase info here.

I absolutely love this next one! It is perfect for girls, teens and even Women! 

unnamed (3)

Awesome Women Who Changed History Paper Dolls by Carol del Angel. Forget the runway. These Awesome Women Who Changed History are dressed for the battlefields, the picket lines..and the White House! I love the women they selected to feature in this book!

You can purchase this one on Amazon.com.

 

This next series is wonderful for young children!

cover-sofia     cover_Rupert

Danielle’s book series is  called Miss Danielle’s Preschoolbuds and they are must-reads for young pre-schoolers!

Sofia the Snail
Helping children overcome the fear of a dark room can be a daunting task for parents, making bedtime a nightly chore. Sofia the Snail, “The little snail who was afraid of the dark,” is a charming story that addresses a child’s fear of bedtime darkness. The colorful pages and poetic tale offers parents a whimsical way to comfort even the most nervous little sleeper.

Rupert
Teaching our children about patience, tolerance, taking our turn and being “Ok” when things don’t always go our way, can be a daunting task for parents and teachers. Rupert, The little puppy who ran out of tears is the story of a puppy who rants and raves, cries and pouts to get his way and learns that using his words is a much better way to communicate with both his teacher and his friends. He also learns that sharing, caring and communicating without his tears and with his words instead, is the way to go!

Betsie Bee
A wonderful book to help little ones who may be afraid of visiting a doctor. This bright, beautiful book, combines whimsical rhyme and a fun, engaging story to walk children through their first doctor visit.

cover_Betsie2English

I love the bright illustrations and the delightful story lines in these three books!

You can learn more about Danielle by visiting her website, DanielleLindner.com

Danielle’s new show on Amazon Prime, Miss Danielle’s Preschoolbuds just launched as well. You can view it here:
Miss Danielle’s Preschoolbuds

 

This next one is a must for Toddlers! 

unnamed

This is a book in a series for Toddlers and I love that they teach positive lessons in a delightful way! This is a series of cute board books featuring easy-to-remember rhymes for little ones featuring Max and his little sister Molly and other adorable animal characters. Written by Todd and Jackie Courtney to create a positive belief system and positive self-image, they even call the books “self-help books for toddlers!”

I think that young children will enjoy this book: Be Responsible Like Max. I had the opportunity to check it out and Max is a very likable character and the easy-to-remember rhymes will be a hit with toddlers!

Check out the books here:

https://www.inspirationalnurseryrhymes.com

 

Self Disclosure: I received free copies of the above books to facilitate this featured book posts. Photos and info were also provided.

Beauty and the Beast – A Whimsical Yet Captivating Take on the Disney Classic

unnamed

Disney’s animated classic takes on a new form, with a widened mythology and an all-star cast. A young prince, imprisoned in the form of a beast, can be freed only by true love. What may be his only opportunity arrives when he meets Belle, the only human girl to ever visit the castle since it was enchanted. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Maria G. comments, “. This live action film has made my “Top 10 List” due to its incredible singing performances, marvelous set designs and accuracy of the original Disney story. As a Disney fanatic myself, I absolutely love that this film has the power to take me back to my younger days.” Gerry O. adds, “It has been 26 years since Disney released the animated film, Beauty and the Beast. Now, we have a remake with a slightly updated story, stunning visual effects, beautiful acting and an epic soundtrack. Here is another attempt to convert an animated film into a live action film.”

Ryan R., sums it up with, “I was enchanted as I watched Disney’s live-action remake of the 1991 animated classic, Beauty and the Beast. This film is different enough and certainly strong enough to stand on its own, and much better than the remake of Cinderella.” See their full reviews below.

unnamed (1)

Beauty and the Beast

By Maria Guerrero, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

 

 

Interviews:

 

 

Beauty and the Beast, directed by Bill Condon is a whimsical yet captivating film that I highly adored watching. This live action film has made my “Top 10 List” due to its incredible singing performances, marvelous set designs and accuracy of the original Disney story. As a Disney fanatic myself, I absolutely love that this film has the power to take me back to my younger days.

 

Daughter of a wise and humble merchant (Kevin Kline), Belle (Emma Watson) is a bright and independent young lady who will be taken as a prisoner by a monstrous beast (Dan Stevens) in place of her elderly, caring father. As prisoner of the Beast in his cold dark castle, Belle soon builds a strong bond with the talking enchanted objects of the castle. Who will help break the lasting “forever curse” by bringing the Beast and Belle closer? Belle learns to look past the frightening physical appearance of the Beast and looks upon his caring gentle soul. But, will this be enough to break the lasting forever curse upon the castle and the Beast?

 

Incorporated as a live action film from Disney’s original animated film, Beauty and the Beast, the whole cast delivers exquisite performances portraying each unique and iconic character. The caring, yet brave Belle is played by the talented actress Emma Watson. Watson has appeared in numerous films including the Harry Potter films, My Week with Marilyn and The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Dan Stevens, known from Legion TV Series deftly portrays the terrifying Beast, a difficult character to play due to its temper.

 

From the songs, to the set designs, this film has it all. I truly appreciate and love that they took the 1991 Disney classic and turned it into a live action film. This is something that has not been seen before and was well directed by Bill Condon (Mr. Holmes, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 and 2, Dreamgirls). Being a huge Disney princess fan, I am highly pleased with the accuracy of this live action version. The costumes, songs, characters and plot are all very accurate. It made me feel as if I was in a Disney story book.

 

One of favorite things about this film and the story of Beauty and the Beast itself, is the message it depicts – that of looking past the physical and looking within. This is a moral that every viewer can learn from. The film is very successful in massaging this message and the audience will easily relate to the moral as the film unfolds before their eyes.

 

This enchanted, unbelievable film deserves 5 out of 5. I highly recommend it to families, young children and Disney fanatics.  Kids and adults both will enjoy watching it and singing along with the iconic songs. You can catch Beauty and the Beast when it opens nationwide on March 17, 2017.

 

Beauty and the Beast (2017)

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

 

It has been 26 years since Disney released the animated film, Beauty and the Beast. Now, we have a remake with a slightly updated story, stunning visual effects, beautiful acting and an epic soundtrack. Here is another attempt to convert an animated film into a live action film. The classic fairy tale of Beauty and the Beast is predominantly a romance and, just like the original animated film, this one also has a strong comedic take with lots of funny scenes. There are also a hand full of scenes that are quite the opposite. These are filled with heart-wrenching drama that make you either hate or love the characters and get sucked into the story.
Beauty and the Beast (2017) is pretty much a carbon copy of the 1991 animated film. Belle is a beautiful but smart village girl who goes into the woods after her father goes missing. She discovers a cursed castle full of inanimate objects brought to life and a hateful prince turned into Beast. The Beast has locked up her father and she takes her father’s place, being sentenced by the monster to live in the castle with him forever. The Beast’s curse can be removed though. All he needs to do is to fall in love with someone and that person needs to love them back. The Beast and Belle start falling in love in what seems an impossible romance at first. There are challenges, as Belle still feels she is a prisoner and the townspeople think the Beast is a monster that needs to be destroyed.

 

The previous Disney live-action remake was the classic Cinderella (2015). It suffered from the same problem as this one –  the fact that an animated film is different from a live action film. The story, musical numbers and character interaction all feel much more real in a live action film, which causes fantasy love stories to lack credibility. Cinderella suffered from this problem and Beauty and the Beast is also affected by this challenge. However, its creators did a much better attempt at addressing the issue. Instead of simply taking a story and using a camera instead of a drawing pencil, the writers incorporated more intricacies to the plot than were in the 1991 version. There are back stories about the characters which enhanced and refined their personalities and made the plot richer. This allows for a film that isn’t just a spin off on a 25-year-old animated film, but a truly enjoyable story on its own.

 

The film’s quality is superb and the acting is a big plus. Two actors who stand out the most are Luke Evans (Gaston) and Josh Gad (Lefou). They are absolutely spectacular together and Disney generously incorporates some changes to Lefou from 1991, which shows him being slightly in love with Gaston. This change adds a lot of fun and silly moments. Emma Watson (Belle) also delivers a stupendous performance as Belle, although the my favorite Belle is that played by Paige O’Hara. Emma Watson’s Belle doesn’t seem like a main character, but more of a supporting one. There is no strong presence as we saw in the 1991 version where Paige’s performance makes it apparent that Belle is the star along with the Beast. The rest of the cast performs wonderfully and bring the characters to life, with some slight changes to keep the film fresh and new.

 

The film’s  two strongest points are more technical. The cinematography and special effects are outstanding. The Beast looks very real and has immense detail, from his facial expressions, to his fur. The castle, magical servants and landscape are the pure definition of eye candy, and are the most beautiful parts of this film. This integrates perfectly with unique and spectacular cinematography that really does the film version justice. Another part that I commend the sound designers and mixers for is the music. The entire soundtrack plays impeccably with every scene and the musical numbers are extraordinary.

 

Out of all the wonderful cinematics and special effects, I would choose one musical number as my favorite scene – the Gaston number. In this scene, Lefou sings a song and gets the entire village to join in – about how great Gaston is. Not only does the song come out as entertaining, but the scene has fantastic visuals by everyone participating and truly brings justice to the scene. I prefer this version of the song over the original, which doesn’t happen often with the remakes.

 

In general, this film, from its comedy, to its story, is meant for kids. This doesn’t mean adults won’t enjoy it. The nostalgia alone makes Beauty and the Beast an entertaining film and, dozens of times in the film, there are small references that adults can truly appreciate and enjoy. I recommend this film for ages 6 to 18 and believe adults will enjoy it as well. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars because it does outdo any other film this year in visuals, acting, music, cinematography and plot, but has some weak acting and still feels a bit like a forced conversion from animation to live action.

 

Beauty and The Beast

By Ryan R., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

 

 

 

Disney has done it again! I was enchanted as I watched Disney’s live-action remake of the 1991 animated classic, Beauty and the Beast. This film is different enough and certainly strong enough to stand on its own, and much better than the remake of Cinderella. Meet Belle (Emma Watson), who is a young woman who loves to read. She feels different because no one in her village knows how to read. They choose not to and treat her as if she is the oddball because of it. All she wants is an adventure. One day, her father, Maurice (Kevin Kline), gets taken and imprisoned by the Beast (Dan Stevens) in his remote castle.  Belle searches for her father and finds him. To free her father, she exchanges her freedom for his and stays in the castle with the Beast. She starts to befriend everyone in the castle and she begins to develop a friendship with the Beast. If you want to know what else happens, you should go see the movie.

 

I enjoyed this movie because as soon as you see Emma Watson in action, you are enchanted by  how she brings Belle to life. Her portrayal of the Disney princess, Belle, is perfect.  I have never seen Ms. Watson sing before, and she sings considerably well. Dan Stevens is hilarious as the grumpy Beast. The CGIs are outstanding, especially the Beast. It is incredible how he transforms. I also like how they designed all the talking objects. Lumière, the candelabra (voiced by Ewan McGregor), Cogsworth, the pendulum clock (Ian McKellen) and Garderobe, the wardrobe (Audra McDonald) all look like real talking objects and are very comedic. On another note, the soundtrack is beautiful. I love the song, Beauty and the Beast by Ariana Grande and John Legend.

 

The only things I don’t like about this movie are the few scary scenes. Because of them, I don’t recommend this to younger kids. Some other scenes are a bit dark also. This is a know-your-kid kind of movie. Something interesting I want to point out is that one of the characters is gay (although if your blink you might miss the quick reference) and I like that Disney is trying to add more diversity in their films.

 

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars. I recommend this to the ages 8 to 18 and I think adults might like it as well.  I recommend this to people who like action, adventure, adaptations, family and Disney movies. Make sure to see Beauty and The Beast which comes out in theaters nationwide on Friday, March 17. This is definitely a must see and you won’t regret watching at the theater.

 

Credit: KIDS FIRST!

 

 

Kong: Skull Island – A Breathtaking Visual Treat

unnamed

A diverse team of scientists, soldiers and adventurers unites to explore a mythical, uncharted island in the Pacific, as dangerous as it is beautiful. Cut off from everything they know, the team ventures into the domain of the mighty Kong, igniting the ultimate battle between man and nature. As their mission of discovery becomes one of survival, they must fight to escape a primal Eden in which humanity does not belong. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Arjun N. comments, “Kong: Skull Island is a fun sci-fi movie which is a breathtaking visual treat.  I really found the direction and special effects to be fantastic in this movie. This will appeal to all those sci-fi fans.” See his full review below.

Kong: Skull Island

By Arjun Nair, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

 

Kong: Skull Island is a fun sci-fi movie which is a breathtaking visual treat.  I really found the direction and special effects to be fantastic in this movie. This will appeal to all those sci-fi fans.

This movie is about a diverse group of travelers which includes former British Special Air Service Captain James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston), an anti-war photographer Mason Weaver (Brie Larson), a government agent Bill Randa (John Goodman), a seismologist Houston Brooks (Corey Hawkins), and an army led by Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson) who head to Skull Island. Upon arriving, they are attacked by Kong, a huge gorilla, who destroys their helicopters and splits the team up. Packard wants revenge for the men he lost in the helicopter crashes and he wants to kill Kong. Conrad and Weaver realize a bigger threat known as the Skullcrawlers lurk beneath them. The only one who can protect them is Kong and only he can ensure the team’s safety in escaping the island.

Tom Hiddleston as James Conrad heroically represents a soldier. Brie Larson as Mason Weaver is very impressive as a bold photographer. John C Reilly as Hank Marlow, a war veteran, is my favorite character in the movie due to his comic relief and interesting backstory.  Samuel L Jackson as Preston Packard brilliantly expresses his revenge with his angry facial expressions.

The direction of the movie by Jordan Vogt-Roberts is unique and really captures the vibe of the 1970s. His filmmaking emphasizes on the smaller things more than the big things, and this is an interesting new concept. This is primarily used whenever we see Kong especially in the first Kong encounter. The focus is more on Kong’s face than just his whole body, and this adds tension. Also, the special effects by Chris Brenczewski really add detail to the monsters, and makes them look real. The scene that I liked the most is the final fight scene between Kong and a big Skullcrawler. It is absolutely a blast and, the fact that it is a hand to hand combat scene made it particularly fun to watch. My only problem with the film is the characterization. While all the talent gives pretty believable performances, somehow their characters feel like bland stereotypes. I didn’t find myself caring for anyone other than John C. Reily’s character who has some interesting story beats.

The movie’s message is to not mess with nature because if these travelers didn’t attack Kong’s territory, then he wouldn’t have attacked them in the first place. I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18 years. It may be too scary for younger audiences due to the intense action and language. This film opens in theaters on March 10th, so go and check it out.

unnamed (1)

Credit: KIDS FIRST!

 

 

 

 

Books of the Week!

Looking for a wonderful Picture Book for young children?

unnamed (1)

If I Were A Whale by Shelley Gill is a must-read!

From best-selling children’s author Shelley Gill comes this colorful, rhyming board book playfully featuring whales found in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Arctic Oceans. Toddlers will love to learn about whales swimming in the deep blue sea in this beautifully illustrated board book that shares simple whale facts in an imaginative way.

This is an adorable book with wonderful illustrations! Perfect for ages 2-5. ~SoCal City Kids.

Go here to purchase!

Looking for a great book for young adult or older adult? This next one is a must-buy!

unnamed

This is not your ordinary coloring book!

It is a story about an amazing Indian Love story with incredible detailed drawings that you can color! I just love the details! The book also includes a musical CD featuring songs by the artist herself which compliment the classic story.

You can purchase on B&N or on Amazon.com.

The adult coloring book features 96 unique designs found nowhere else.  All of the 12 original music pieces on the accompanying CD are sung by Amrita Sen and feature a new and unique coloring idea on every page. Beautiful India-themed patterns bring out the romance in this adult coloring book.

The Amrita Sen line of stationary products also includes a notebook, agenda, sticky notes and a companion box of colored pencils.  All items are available at Barnes & Noble and Dillard’s.

You may remember Amrita Sen as the well-known Bollywood singer that performed at the 2009 Academy Awards with music legend AR Rahman, singing “Jai Ho” from the Oscar-winning movie, Slumdog Millionaire.  And just his year, Amrita was featured on Justin Timberlake’s album 20/20Experience.

 

This next one is a must-read for all Moms!

unnamed

LESSONS FROM OUR MOTHERS: New Book Tells of Candid Reflections, in 1,000 Words or Less
A bedside project to keep her ailing mother engaged leads an author/editor to a thoughtful collection of stories involving more than three dozen sons and daughters with unforgettable life lessons, tailored to modern day attention spans.

AT MY PACE: LESSONS FROM OUR MOTHERS is a collection of 38-stories from grown children – men and women, which seeks to expand a conversation, much as the first book At My Pace: Ordinary Women Tell Extraordinary Stories (2015), only here to the topic is not our journey and whether to lean in but our mom. Each piece is approximately 1,000 words and shows complexity, appreciation, and one specific lesson that each mother gave to her son or daughter. The book is divided into three sections by age range: under 40, 40 to 60, and over 60; all of which were gathered and edited by Jill Ebstein; in addition to her own story about her mom, “My Mother’s Rolling Backpack.”
Some submissions grappled with second chances and the work that derives from repair; touching on topics like acceptance, love, and redemption. One contributor reflects on her mother as “The General,” and talks about the strain of growing up, only to turn the page, become a parent herself, then call her mom not out of obligation but out of desire. Others talk about resilience in spite of mounting personal challenges, like starting over in a new country, while clinging tightly to old ways of life. One daughter describes cutting her hair in an act of defiance – a monumental victory – until later she wins the fight against her dad to attend college and live on campus, making the earlier battle seem comparatively insignificant.

 

Many contributors shared examples of what they liked about their moms. Top of the list: walking the walk, finding unexpected strength, and the ability to evolve over time. Then there were others who focused on how their moms actions taught them what not to do. The daughter of a glamorous, highly-prestigious, Madison Avenue copywriter, learned through her mother’s low self-esteem not to focus on weakness but to embrace her strengths. Not surprisingly, in many stories where contributors shared a negative lesson, they showed great compassion and respect toward their mothers.

 

AT MY PACE: LESSONS FROM OUR MOTHERS is a celebration of the matriarchs in our lives. Full of insight and introspective tales, the book highlights the love between parent and child. The mission of the editor is to add meaning and understanding to one’s life by candidly sharing life experiences and provide ample opportunities for self-reflection, at one’s own pace.

I really enjoyed reading this one and highly recommend for Moms and Daughters too!

 

About the Editor
Jill Ebstein is the editor of the At My Pace series of books – At My Pace: Lessons from Our Mothers (Nov, 2016) and At My Pace: Ordinary Women Tell Extraordinary Stories (2015). She’s the founder of Sized Right Marketing, a Newton, Mass., based consulting firm that helps Fortune 500 companies use the customer voice to develop workable strategies that will yield results. She holds a BS from Washington University and an MBA from Wharton. Learn more at: http://www.atmypacebook.com.

I love this next one!

unnamed (2)

THE Perfect Gift Guide Creativity Title – Bestselling Designer Adam J. Kurtz’s PICK ME UP!

This one is a must for everyone! I would recommend it especially for  Teens and adults! It will definitely cheer you up when things seem bleak and I love this DIY type of book! It’s different and maybe a bit strange but it is an optimistic book that will help with positive change!

You can find out more about PICK ME UP, beautiful time lapse videos, and more info on Adam here: kit.adamjk.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

 

Adam J. Kurtz is a Brooklyn-based artist and author whose first book, 1 PAGE AT A TIME: A Daily Creative Companion has been translated into fifteen languages. In addition to personal work, he’s collaborated on products for retailers such as Urban Outfitters, Strand Bookstore, and Fishs Eddy, and made work for companies including Pepsi, Adobe and the New York Times. In 2016, he was named one of PRINT Magazine’s “15 Under 30” New Visual Artists.

The next one is great for the Kids who want to learn Scratch Coding!

unnamed

The latest release from No Starch Press, the market leader in kids programming books, offers an exciting new way to learn to code.

The Scratch Coding Cards ($24.95, 75 laminated cards, December 2016) are a colorful collection of activities that introduce children to creative coding. The illustrated activity cards provide a playful entry point into Scratch, the graphical programming language used by millions of children and teens around the world. The deck of cards makes it easy for kids to learn how to create a variety of interactive projects that connect to their interests. They can create a racing game, animate an interactive story, design a virtual pet, and more!

Each card features step-by-step instructions for beginners to start coding. The front of the card shows an activity kids can do with Scratch—such as animating a character or keeping score in a game. The back shows how to snap together blocks of code to make the projects come to life. Along the way, kids learn key coding concepts, such as sequencing, conditionals, and variables. This collection of coding activity cards is perfect for sharing among small groups in homes, schools, and after-school programs.

The Scratch Coding Cards were developed by Natalie Rusk, a lead researcher on the Scratch Team at the MIT Media Lab. “Every day we’re amazed to see the diverse types of projects that young people create with Scratch, but many newcomers aren’t sure how to begin,” said Rusk. “The Scratch Coding Cards make it easy for anyone to jump into programming.”

The Scratch Coding Cards are available in bookstores everywhere!

I like how simple these are and that kids will love to learn with them! ~SoCal City Kids.

About the Author

The Scratch Coding Cards were created by Natalie Rusk. Rusk is one of the lead developers of Scratch and works as a research scientist in the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab. Rusk co-founded The Computer Clubhouse, an international network of after-school centers where young people learn to use new technologies to express themselves creatively.

 

 

 

Self Disclosure: I received copies of the above books to facilitate this featured book post. Photos and other information was provided.