Archives for February 19, 2016

Snowtime – Beautiful Animated Film With Great Characters and a Serious Message


This animated film seems a bit slow at times and, at first it seems that the film is simply about a bunch of kids entertaining themselves on winter school break with a major snowball fight. But, it is packed with some very powerful life lessons and messages. The characters are entertaining and their resourcefulness quite amazing. The film starts out on a frivolous note but takes a serious turn and has some consequences. However, this is when the characters learn about friendship and even more important messages. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ryan R. comments, “I appreciate this film because I love how it shows a beautiful, snowy village and the kids in this village trying to have fun in the snow.” Samantha A. adds, “Something that makes this movie stand out is its unique blend of happiness, sadness, excitement and romance. This makes the movie more interesting to watch cause you never knew what is going to happen next.” Morgan G. wraps it up with, “…there is a message and everyone will get it. It is one, which we should all know, but not one that makes you laugh or smile.” See their full reviews below.

By Ryan R. KIDS First Film Critic, Age 12

I love watching the new film Snowtime. This film is one to watch. In this film, it is winter break and Luke (voiced by Angela Galuppo) and his friends prepare for an epic snowball fight. They divide themselves into two teams. One team builds an amazing snow fort and the other team wants to win the snowball fight to claim ownership of the fort. Watch these two teams go head to head in this snowball fight to see who gets to win and claim the snow fort. Who will win? Who will lose?

I appreciate this film because I love how it shows a beautiful, snowy village and the kids in this village trying to have fun in the snow. I also like the fort the kids make in this movie. I love the characters. They are silly, quirky and sometimes bashful. I also liked their appearance and how they are drawn. The jokes are also funny; this is another great film for kids. I really enjoyed the scenery too.

The moral theme in this film is an important one. Basically, there are no winners when it comes to war. The kids end up learning this lesson. Their friendly snowball fight soon takes an ugly turn which leads to some serious conflicts and a surprise. I think there are other life lessons in this film but that is the main one that stands out for me.

My favorite character is Nicky (voiced by Liz MacRae). When Nicky shares his ideas with his friends, they underestimate him and knock his ideas down. I love that he doesn’t allow what they say to discourage him and he continues on his own and accomplishes his idea. I respect his persistence and how he collaborates so well with his friends. I enjoyed how he makes things and they turn out well. I appreciate his imagination. I can relate to him because people sometimes knock down some of my ideas too. But I continue to go forward with my ideas and prove them wrong.

I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars because the animation is great and it has an important message. I recommend this to kids ages 3 to 18. I think adults might like this as well. I also recommend this to people who like family, comedy, adventure and action movies. Mark your calendars for February 19, 2016 when Snowtime opens in theaters.

Snow Time
By Samantha A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12


Snowtime is a movie about a group of friends that live in a place that’s very, very snowy. It’s usually a girl-free zone but as winter break approaches some things change around their neighborhood and they get two new girls living next door.

Something that makes this movie stand out is its unique blend of happiness, sadness, excitement and romance. This makes the movie more interesting to watch cause you never knew what is going to happen next. Another thing that makes the movie unique are the characters in it. Each character has a personality of their own and you learn more about them as the movie develops.

In this film, we see some familiar voices playing these characters. Some really stand out and complete their characters. This includes Ross Lynch who plays Piers, a very loving and kind hearted person whose best friend is his dog, Cleo. Angela Galuppo who is the voice of Luke, the mysterious main character. They are a lot of great voices in the movie but these people really complete their characters and stand out the most.

This movie also has great animation that blew me away. The animation behind this film stands out because not only is it unique because of its mix between too realistic and cartoonish, but the animation changes throughout the movie between 2D hand-drawn animation and 3D animation.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars because it is good and I enjoyed it but sometimes the story line gets lost and it isn’t very well put together. That doesn’t happen that often so it is still enjoyable. I recommend this film for ages 7 to 15 because there are some heavy ideas in the movie but it is still a kids movie about having fun and friendship. This movie is a good one and you should definitely check it out when it opens in theaters February 19, 2016.
By Morgan B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

It is 90 degrees in Los Angeles California and 48 degrees in Colorado and it is winter for another month, with snow falling in other states. What is a group of kids to do over winter break? Have a snowball fight, of course. The group splits into two teams and away we go. The story line is great. We got a glimpse of the backstory of characters and learn what motivates them and makes them who they are.

I have two favorite characters. The first is Sophie voiced by Luchina Paris. She is the older sister and is always coming up with a plan to defeat the other team. My second is four eyes because of his crazy glasses. Many of the best parts of the movie are due to his ingenious inventions he makes to keep the fort in his team’s control. They are creative and awesome. I would have picked his team just to see the inventions he made – slides, escape hatches, automated snowball throws and traps to keep the other team on their toes. The story line has a bit of a love story angle but seems to fizzle out and is not completed. If they make a part two I hope they continue this story line and leave it with a better conclusion.

The hardest part of having two teams is the fact that they are all really good friends. There are many moments when you see them struggle because they are fighting their friends. It is all in fun but still there is a goal, which is to take the fort from the other team

I loved the graphics and animation. It is believable and easy to watch. You forget the characters are animated and look at them as if they are real people. The fort, well let’s say it is the most awesome snow castle ever and I would love to play in it.

Most children’s movies are fun, cute and quirky and leave you feeling upbeat. This movie left me feeling sad. I loved the movie but I did not like the ending. No spoilers, but I wish they had added more to the ending of the movie. But, there is a message and everyone will get it. It is one, which we should all know, but not one that makes you laugh or smile.

I recommend this movie for ages 6 and up. Younger kids might not totally grasp the story line but they will love the graphics and a good snowball fight.

I give this movie 4 1/2 out of 5 shooting snowballs. This movie is brought to you by Shout! Factory and opens in theaters March 29th. The DVD will be out in the fall of 2016 just in time for the next winter snow fun.


Animal Mouths by Mary Holland


What are some things we can learn about animals from the shape of their mouths, beaks, or bills? What can we infer about animals with sharp teeth compared to large, flat teeth? Are there any animals that don’t have mouths? In this second book of her Animal Adaptation series, award-winning nature photographer and environmental educator Mary Holland shares fascinating animal mouths with readers of all ages.

This would be an interesting and educational book for younger children ages 4-8. It is a great teaching tool for both Science and Social Studies.

Find this one at Arbordale Publishing.

Self Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book to facilitate this post.

Books of the Week!

I just love these New Books on Sewing and Fashion!

Schiffer Publishing, Ltd has recently released the following Crafter books and they are a must-read!


The Little Guide to Mastering Your Sewing Machine: All the Sewing Basics, Plus 15 Step-by-Step Projects
Sylvie Blondeau

For everyone who dreams of sewing but suffers from the common fear of how to use the sewing machine, your worries are over! Thanks to this step-by-step method, illustrated with nearly 200 photos and drawings, you’ll painlessly discover all the basic techniques, and even how to sew on a button. You’ll then very quickly be able to put your new sewing machine skills intopractice with the 15 special projects designed for beginners. This handy guide has a fold-out stand and is set up as a spiral flip book, ready to sit on your sewing table. Cheerful and encouraging, the guide walks you through the functions and accessories of the machine, along with the equipment you’ll use with it, the choosing and cutting of fabric, the different kinds of stitches, how to sew pieces together, and more. Train yourself to sew straight, to make a hem, to add bias binding, piping, and zippers. Then create a reversible hat, a sewing-machine cover, a table runner, a shopping bag…from there, the possibilities are endless.

I really like this one because it makes sewing seem so much easier!

Size: 10″ x 7″ | 198 color photos & b/w illustrations | 80 pp

ISBN13: 9780764349706 | Binding: hard cover

About the author: Sylvie Blondeau is a French artist specializing in craft and illustration. She teaches sewing classes to adults and to teens, and is the author of several sewing and craft books, including Appliqué for Little Ones.

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Bags for Fashionistas: Designing, Sewing, Selling
nani coldine

This do-it-yourself book for stylish handbags features 25 projects with more than 500 illustrations. Sewers of all skill levels will gather the information they need to create many kinds of bags, from casual to romantic, as well as ideas for jazzing up your old bags. Handbag styles include clutches, totes, makeup cases, and a roll-up pencil case. They’re made with a variety of styles, including lovely vintage, charming felt, and ’80s graphics designs. Chapters include adding accessories and prints to your bags, and each section ends with an interview with a handbag designer. A wealth of tips and information is also provided for adding zippers, making the perfect lining, developing your own variation of the handbag model, and enlarging and copying design patterns and templates. See how creating your own handbag can be fun and rewarding, and also fashion-forward.Size: 10″ x 7″ | 198 color photos & b/w illustrations | 80 pp

Size: 9″ x 10″ | 582 color illustrations | 152 pp

ISBN13: 9780764349126 | Binding: soft cover

This one has really cool projects! My teenage niece is really enjoying this book and has already completed two or three of the projects. She says that they are really easy and she loves the illustrations.

About the author: Nadine Kulis is the designer and illustrator behind the name “nadi coldine.? After completing her fashion studies in London and Antwerp, she founded the handbag label nani coldine and created the design company of the same name. Her handbags were published in InStyle and Elle, and are selling all over the world. After many years of experience in several countries with regards to production, she now manufactures her limited editions in Germany. Nadine and her team also provide many fashion companies with bag designs and trendy ideas. Her love of the craft and her passion for unusual and creative designs and bags are still her main source of motivation and balance the commercial aspects. With Bags for Fashionistas, she proves that making things by yourself is not only rewarding but also classy and chic. Nadine currently lives and works in Cologne. She runs her own bag blog: More information about nani coldine can be found on her website:

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Fashion Design Techniques: The Basics and Practical Application of Fashion Illustration
Zeshu Takamura

Covering the basic principles and the creative techniques behind making effective design drawings—the central pillar of fashion design—this guide is perfect for students as well as for professionals working in all branches of the garment and fashion industries. From hand drawing to using software applications, it explains how to create drawings that clearly and precisely illustrate the shape, material, pattern, color, and other elements of garments. Patterners, retailers, and fashion design students will rejoice in these comprehensive instructions for making design drawings understandable and expressive.

Size: 8 1/2″ x 11″ | 1,200 images | 160 pp
ISBN13: 9780764350474 | Binding: soft cover

This one is must-have for any one interested in Fashion!

About the author: Zeshu Takamura is Professor of Advanced Fashion Design and Head of the Fashion Illustration Laboratory, Faculty of Fashion Science, at Bunka Gakuen University’s Graduate School in Tokyo. A graduate of the Faculty of Education of Tokyo Gakugei University and the Department of Dress Design of Kuwasawa Design School, he is active in fashion illustration, design, and research at publishers, agencies, and apparel manufacturers. His many publications include Roots of Street Style, Fashion Design Archives, and Fashion Illustration Techniques: A Super Reference Book for Beginners.

Schiffer Publishing, Ltd. is a family-owned, independent publisher of high-quality, nonfiction books. Since 1974, Schiffer has published thousands of titles on the diverse subjects that fuel our readers’ passions. From our traditional subjects of antiques and collectibles, arts and crafts, and military history, Schiffer has expanded its catalog to publish books on contemporary art and artists; architecture and design; food and entertaining; the metaphysical, paranormal and folklore; and pop and fringe culture, as well as books for children.



The next are wonderful picture books from Sky Pony Press!

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THERE WAS AN OLD LADY WHO GOBBLED A SKINK by Tamera Will Wissinger (author) and Ana Bermejo (illustrator) is a wonderfully humorous take on the classic nursery rhyme. This story will delight children, adults, and all those who like fishing. It’s perfect for reading aloud and sure to be read (and perhaps even sung) again and again.

This is such a cute story and the illustrations are delightful! Young children will just love this one and laugh out loud!

OLD LADY: Amazon, B&N, IndieBound


PUDDLE JUMPERS by Anne Margaret Lewis (author) and Nancy Cote (illustrator) is a happy picture book that celebrates the simple, pure joy of jumping in a rain puddle. Nancy Cote’s cheerful illustrations are full of kid appeal, a perfect match to a story that captures the magic of being a child. Let your imagination take you on your own adventure the next time you encounter an irresistible puddle. With a rainy winter coming up, this is a perfect book for every child’s library!

I just love the Illustrations in this wonderful picture book! This one is a must-read for every young child!

PUDDLE JUMPERS: Amazon, B&N, IndieBound

Self Disclosure: I received copies of the books mentioned in this post. No other compensation was received.