Archives for April 18, 2017

Kikoriki: Legend of the Golden Dragon – Fun, family-friendly DVD



The lovably simple residents of peaceful Kikoriki Island are thrown kicking and screaming into big adventure when their resident scientist invents an amazing device (a helmet called “the Improverizor”) which takes personality traits from one person and swaps them with someone else’s! But when spineless young Wally tries to use the untested device to cure his cowardice, he ends up even more spineless: by getting accidentally body-switched with a squirmy little caterpillar. Now he’s got more to fear than he ever dreamed, and so do his fellow villagers, as they’re dragged into a madcap adventure packed with plane crashes, mistaken identities, erupting volcanoes and angry natives on the warpath. Boy, do the Kikoriki crew wish they could switch places now: with anyone!



Kikoriki:  Legend of the Golden Dragon


By Tristan Tierce, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14



Kikoriki:  Legend of the Golden Dragon is a family friendly animated film based on the television series GoGoRiki.  Directed by Dennis Chernov and originally voiced by Russian actors, this film is one of two DVDs that are being brought to American audiences by Shout! Kids Factory.


The story begins with the local scientist creating a machine called the “Improverizer” which swaps people’s personalities.  But something goes terribly wrong when a young coward, Wally, gets ahold of the device.  Wally’s friends and other Kikoriki residents go on a journey to help him return to his original body.  It is a tale of finding yourself, learning to trust your own instincts and not rely on silly mechanisms like an “Improverizer” in order to change and grown and friendship.


The animation is done in CGI (Computer Generation Images) and is colorful and aesthetically pleasing.  Each of the characters are based off of animals and their personalities are very fitting.  Their bodies are egg-shaped and the DVD actually includes an egg decorating kit so you can make your own Kikoriki villagers at home.  The animation is cartoony and fun, but some times I did feel it was a bit slow.  As an illustrator myself, I found the landscaping and various imaginative backdrops were my favorite part of Kikoriki.


My favorite character is Wally.  Wally started off as a coward and tried to use the “Improverizer” to change his personality.  But in the end he learned that bravery comes from within.  I found myself laughing several times during the film.


I feel Kikoriki:  Legend of the Golden Dragon is appropriately rated PG for rude humor and mild peril.  It also includes a few adult references and jokes, but nothing so noticeable I feel a younger child would pick up on.


I recommend this film for ages 6 to 12.  I give this film 3 out of 5 stars.  Available now on DVD so, check it out.


Kikoriki: Legend of the Golden Dragon

Rohan Foxe KIDS FIRST! film critic, Age 11




Kikoriki: Legend of the Golden Dragon is a funny animated film featuring lots of bright and hilarious characters. I like how it has lots of jokes referencing other films. It is a very interesting film with a cool animation style. I like how it includes lots of zany contraptions that make me laugh. It has an entertaining story filled with prophesies, volcanoes, treasure and jokes.


In the story, a young sheep named Wally gets tired of being a scaredy cat so he uses one of the town’s scientist’s inventions to get courage. He trips and accidently misuses the device and ends up in a caterpillar’s body. Meanwhile, the other residents of Kikoriki Island are taking a plane trip when their plane crashes and are lost. They find the native chameleon’s village and discover that Wally’s caterpillar-controlled body is worshiped as the golden dragon spoken of in a prophesy. Wally gets the same information from some hilarious treasure hunters and both groups try to get his body back.


This film is very funny and has very colorful characters. The story has many twists and turns that keeps it exciting entire time. I especially enjoyed how they have a slow buildup of action throughout the film, not all in one place. This film’s moral is to think highly of yourself. They also emphasize how you can do anything if you believe, friendship is important and good always comes out on top. I feel these are important morals because they teach a lot about self-respect.


My favorite part of the DVD is when what characters are playing happens in real life. This is hilarious and shows that the writers have great imaginations. I also strongly enjoyed the part where Wally becomes a caterpillar because it is like a Rube Goldberg machine which I find very entertaining.


I really enjoyed this film. It is very entertaining and funny. I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 15. I also think parents will enjoy this. It is available now on DVD so, check it out.




Explore And Celebrate Socal’s Coast At Aquarium’s Urban Ocean Festival APRIL 29-April 30, 2017

urban ocean art contest

The Aquarium of the Pacific will host its eighth annual Urban Ocean Festival on Saturday and Sunday, April 29-30, 2017. The Pacific waters off Southern California host an array of industrial and recreational activities and provide habitat for a diverse group of animals. Visitors to this festival can learn more about and appreciate our urban ocean. The festival will include art exhibitions, the Trashin’ Fashion Show and contest for designs using recycled materials, mural painting, poetry readings, booths, live band performances, educational activities, sustainable seafood tastings, and more. The Urban Ocean Poetry boat cruise will also be available during the weekend at an additional cost and Urban Ocean Cruises will occur monthly throughout the summer.


WHEN:          Festival: Saturday and Sunday, April 29 and 30, 2017, from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.


WHERE:        Aquarium of the Pacific, 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA 90802


COST:            The festival is free to Aquarium members and included with general admission for the public. General admission: $29.95 adult (12+), $26.95 senior (62+), $17.95 child (3-11), and free for children under age three and Aquarium members. Additional cost for cruises. Poetry Cruise and Urban Ocean Cruises are additional and can be purchased in combination with Aquarium admission or à la carte.


INFO:                         (562) 590-3100



Credit: Aquarium of the Pacific: The nonprofit Aquarium of the Pacific is a community gathering place where diverse

cultures and the arts are celebrated and where important challenges facing our planet are explored by scientists, policymakers, and stakeholders in search of sustainable solutions. The Aquarium is dedicated to conserving and building nature and nature’s services by building the interactions between and among peoples. Home to more than 11,000 animals, Aquarium exhibits include the Ocean Science Center, and Molina Animal Care Center. Beyond its animal exhibits, the Aquarium offers educational programs for people of all ages, from hands-on activities to lectures by leading scientists. The Aquarium has won a 2015 Travelers’ Choice Award for Aquariums, as awarded by TripAdvisor® travelers. The Aquarium offers memberships with unlimited FREE admission for 12 months, VIP Entrance, and other special benefits.

Photo: Courtesy of the Aquarium of the Pacific.

National Dog Bite Prevention Week

This quiz was compiled by our Dog Bite Prevention Coalition members — the Postal Service, American Veterinary Medical Assn., American Humane, Insurance Information Institute and State Farm Insurance.


Dog Safety Quiz 


  1. Is it okay to open a door and let dogs out when a letter carrier drops off mail? Yes OR No


Answer: NO

If a letter carrier delivers mail or packages to your front door, place your dog into a separate room and close the door before opening the front door. Dog owners should remind their children about the need to keep the family dog secured. Parents should remind their children not to take mail directly from letter carriers in the presence of the family pet as the dog may see handing mail to a child as a threatening gesture.



  1. Does an angry dog wag his tail? Yes OR No


Answer:  YES

People often assume that a dog with a wagging tail is a friendly dog, but this is far from the truth. Dogs wag their tails for numerous reasons, including when they’re feeling aggressive. A tail that is held high and moves stiffly is a sign that the dog is feeling dominant, aggressive, or angry.



  1. Do dogs like to be kissed and hugged? Yes OR No


Answer: NO

We humans like to touch and hug people and things when we express happiness. Dogs don’t. Some dogs are very tolerant and will allow hugging and kissing while some try to get away. A dog may tolerate or even enjoy a hug on his terms, but sometimes he will not be in the mood. Think about it, when hugging a person you wrap your arms around the other and hold them in place for a few seconds. That alone is bad news to a dog since they on average do not do well with restrain. They generally don’t like to be held in place. This alone is enough to generate feelings of anxiety as well as a sense of unease and insecurity in your dog.



  1. If you know a dog, is it okay to reach through a car window or a fence to pet it? Yes OR No


Answer:  NO

Dogs, even ones you know have good days and bad days. You should never pet a dog without asking the owner first and especially if it is through a window or fence. For a dog, this makes them feel like you are intruding on their space and could result in the dog biting you.



  1. If a dog is chasing you, should you try to run away? Yes OR No


Answer: NO

Never run from a dog! The dog may think you are playing a game and start chasing you if you begin to run away. Don’t shout or wave your arms as this will either encourage or frighten the dog. Remain calm and still and talk to the dog using a soft voice. Loud, angry-sounding words and screaming only make the dog nervous and upset.



  1. Is it important to ask an owner for permission before you pet their dog? Yes OR No


Answer: YES

ALWAYS even if it is a dog you know!

First get the “OK” from the owner.

Hold out your hand, fingers closed, palm down, slowly toward the dog. Allow the dog to approach your hand and sniff it.



Wait for the dog’s “OK.” If he wants your affection, he will lower his head, perk ears, or even come closer to you. If the dogs puts his ears back, flat on his head, or growls, or cowers, don’t pet him!

Pat the dog on the top of his head, or along his back. Avoid touching his belly, tail, ears, or feet.



  1. Is it okay to pet a dog while it is eating? Yes OR No


Answer: NO

Do not try to take food or toy away from a dog. NEVER bother a dog while he is eating. The most common situation where a dog bite occurs is while a dog is eating because they are protecting their source of food.



  1. Is it okay to hit or yell at your dog if it doesn’t listen to you? Yes OR No


Answer: NO

When we hit or yell at a dog, we are applying pain and scaring the dog. For dogs, a natural reaction to being hurt or frightened is to bite. A fearful dog doesn’t trust people and can lead to aggression.



  1. Is a scared dog as dangerous as an angry dog? Yes OR No


Answer: YES

When animals and people are afraid of something, they prefer to get away from that thing. They try to defend themselves from the scary thing. An angry dog is just as dangerous as a dog that is afraid because both will be defensive and bite.



  1. Are there only certain breeds (or types) of dogs that bite? Yes OR No


Answer: NO

ALL DOGS are capable of biting. There’s no one breed or type of dog that’s more likely to bite than others. Biting has more to do with circumstances, behavior, and training.



  1. Do dogs use their body to tell you how they feel? Yes OR No


Answer: YES

Dogs have a language that allows them to communicate their emotional state and their intentions to others around them. Although dogs do use sounds and signals, much of the information that they send is through their body language, specifically their facial expressions and body postures. You can tell how a dog is feeling (sad, tired, happy, angry, scared) by looking at the position of a dogs’ ears, mouth, eyes, and tail.



  1. Does a good dog owner leave his dog chained up outside all day? Yes OR No


Answer: NO

Dogs are social animals who crave human companionship. That’s why they thrive and behave better when living indoors with their pack — their human family members. Dogs that are tied up or chained outside are frustrated and can become aggressive because they are unhappy. They can also become very afraid because when they are tied or chained up, they can’t escape from things that scare them.


Thank you, USPS for sharing this with us!

Go WILD FOR THE PLANET at LA Zoo from Earth Day to Endangered Species Day Daily, April 22 through May 19, 2017, with Special Programming on Saturdays and Sundays 10 am to 4 pm Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens


The Los Angeles Zoo’s annual WILD FOR THE PLANET celebration kicks off on Earth Day, Saturday, April 22, 10 am to 4 pm, and runs through Endangered Species Day on Friday, May 19, 2017, and features activities, fun and information that spotlight the importance of protecting the environment and its creatures.  This year’s event promises to be more festive than ever, as the Zoo marks its 50th Anniversary with “ZooLAbrate!,” an all-new, spectacular acrobatic show presented on weekends.

At Wild for the Planet, adults and youngsters can enjoy a day at the Zoo, home to a diverse collection of 1,100 animals representing 250 different species, many of which are rare or endangered, with special opportunities, entertainment, information and tips about everyday ways to sustain and preserve.  All activities — including weekend entertainment and presentations on April 22 and 23, April 29 and 30, May 6 and 7 and May 13 and 14 — are free with paid Zoo admission.  The full Wild for the Planet schedule is available at  Sponsorship support is provided by Disneynature’s “BORN IN CHINA,” which will be released in theatres on April 21.

Wild for the Planet’s opening weekend launches with a variety of activities, among them an Earth Day education station as well as fun and games from Disneynature’s “BORN IN CHINA” to connect visitors with animals in the Zoo’s care that are native to China such as snow leopards, which are featured prominently in the film.  A Disneynature team will be on hand to share information and giveaways related to the film.

Every weekend during Wild for the Planet features “ZooLAbrate!” performances (11 am, 1:30 pm and 3 pm), special animal feedings and keeper talks at 1 and 2 pm and Conservation Stations throughout the grounds spotlighting efforts to protect and restore species in the Zoo’s care.  Children and families can also learn how to make a positive impact on the environment during an interactive puppet show presented by Swazzle (10:30 am, 12 pm and 2:30 pm) starring a brave — and clever — environmental superhero Ricky Raccoon.  Ricky’s quest to save a California condor with the help of the Green Rangers – a.k.a the audience — is inspired by the L.A. Zoo’s own efforts to bring condors back from near extinction.  Also offered is a Planting for Pollinators Station highlighting the importance of pollinators and providing the opportunity to plant California poppies and yarrow, plants native to California, to attract pollinators. At the Planet Promise Station, visitors can learn what actions Zoo staff take to minimize their environmental footprint and declare a promise of their own.  The “Rascal the Raccoon” character makes special appearances each weekend.

An Earth Expo, with vendors on the weekends of April 22 and 23 and May 13 and 14, and mobile stations April 29 and 30 and May 6 and 7, emphasizes local conservation efforts for the planet and animals with booths from organizations such as Bee Catchers Inc., Bolsa Chica Conservancy, LA Stormwater Public Education Program, Earthwatch, Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific, Channel Islands National Park Service, Heal the Bay, Theodore Payne Foundation, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Farm Fresh to You, Los Angeles County Fire Department-Forestry Department, River Rover, and Ranger Troca.

Every day of the week, visitors receive a #SavingSpecies Guide with details on the Zoo’s efforts to protect endangered and threatened species here at home and all over the world.  Also daily, guests can participate in the L.A. Zoo’s electronic device recycling program by donating an unwanted cell phone, smartphone, iPod, iPad, tablet or MP3 player at the green ECO-CELL bin the Zoo’s Entry Plaza.  Each contribution directly benefits animal conservation programs and reduces the demand for mineral mining that threatens the natural habitats of endangered animals such as the western lowland gorilla.

Programming is subject to change.

The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens marks its 50th anniversary with a yearlong “ZooLAbration” of its November 28, 1966, opening that spotlights not only its key role as a world-class destination and an important community asset but also its critical successes in conservation, quality of life and premier care for animals.  Having recently completed a $172 million master plan which significantly improved the Zoo facility, the 50th anniversary coincides with the early planning stages of a new Master Plan for the future.  The landmark Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, drawing nearly 1.8 million visitors each year, is home to a diverse collection of 1,100 animals representing 250 different species, many of which are rare or endangered, as well as a botanical collection comprising over 800 different plant species with approximately 7,000 individual plants.  Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), whose members meet rigorous professional standards for animal welfare, the Zoo has achieved renown as an international leader in the preservation of endangered species and a conservation center for the care and study of wildlife.  Its responsibility toward wildlife conservation not only encompasses safeguarding the animals in its care but also actively participating in the preservation of some of the world’s most critically endangered species and their habitats.  Its many conservation successes include having led the charge in saving California condors from extinction and restoring populations of these critically endangered animals to their native habitats.  The Zoo’s lush grounds on 113 acres feature Rainforest of the Americas, an extraordinary collection of endangered and exotic mammals, reptiles, fish and amphibians living in spaces that exemplify their natural habitat in the rainforest biosphere; Chimpanzees of Mahale Mountains, home to one of the largest troops of chimpanzees in the United States; Red Ape Rain Forest, where visitors can walk among orangutans; the LAIR (Living Amphibians, Invertebrates, and Reptiles); Elephants of Asia; Campo Gorilla Reserve; and one of the largest flocks of flamingos in any zoo in the world.  Among other highlights are an extraordinary, hands-on Hippo Encounter and face-to-face Giraffe Feedings; the Winnick Family Children’s Zoo and Muriel’s Ranch animal contact area; the Tom Mankiewicz Conservation Carousel; a variety of daily opportunities to learn more about animals, including close-up visits, special feedings and intriguing talks; and much more.  The private, non-profit Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA), which has supported the Zoo in partnership with the City of Los Angeles for more than five decades and provides funding for and operates seven essential Zoo departments, has 60,000 member households representing more than 240,000 adults and children.  As evidence of the Zoo’s popularity, GLAZA attracts one of the largest membership bases of any cultural organization in Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles Zoo is located in Griffith Park at the junction of the Ventura (134) and Golden State (5) freeways.  5333 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles, CA  90027.  Free parking is available.  For additional information, contact (323) 644-4200 or visit

Credit: The Los Angeles Zoo. Photo Credit: Jamie Pham.

Floogals – Exploration and Critical Thinking Made Fun and Exciting for Preschoolers!


Join the Floogals on a mission of discovery as they explore Earth and the funny “hoomans” who live there! Captain Fleeker, First Officer Flo, and Junior Boomer are pocket sized alien adventurers on a mission to observe and experience a new and exciting world Planet Earth! Arriving in their spaceship from the distant planet of Floog, the Floogals are on a mission to document everything around them in the peculiar world of the “hoomans”. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Lara M. comments, “I love how this show demonstrating the power of exploration and critical thinking. Floogals is a children’s TV show that mixes animated and real life images, exciting characters and unique episodes.” KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror Rachael V. comments, “This show follows three little explorers observing the hooman (human) world in a way that we can only observe by watching a show like this. All the stories are fantastic…” See their full reviews below.


Floogals: Destination Planet Earth!

by Lara Marcus, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15



I love how this show demonstrates the power of exploration and critical thinking. Floogals is a children’s TV show that mixes animated and real life images, exciting characters and unique episodes. Young children will enjoy the adventures the Floogals embark on.


This special Floogals DVD has eight episodes, stars Captain Fleeker, Officer Flo and Junior Boomer – aliens who have come to earth to explore the human’s objects. Episode #1, Project Caterpillar, explains the process of metamorphosis to the Floogals as they watch and wait for the Hooman’s caterpillars to change into butterflies. Episode #2 is Project Balloon, where the Floogals discover what a balloon is, how it works and why they are needed. The next Episode, #3 is Project Baby. The Floogals discover what a baby is exactly. Episode #4 is Project Bubbles. Along with discovering what a bubble is made of, the Floogals learn to work together to blow bubbles. In Project Hamster, the Floogals have to catch the Hooman’s hamster that escapes the cage. In Project Robot, they take Hooman’s son’s robot to rescue officer Flo. The episode Project Garden Hose has them finding out that the hose is turned on by a lever and learning that hoses are used to water plants. The final episode is Project Magnet where the Floogals’ learn what a magnet is and how it works. In each episode, kids learn the use of objects in our world.


My favorite character is Junior Boomer. Boomer’s adolescent character and curiosity is fun to watch throughout every episode. Of course, the other characters are exciting to watch too. Officer Flo’s intelligence and Captain Fleeker’s leadership qualities greatly enhance the show. In addition, I enjoyed the live elements incorporated into the show. In Project Hamster, I like how a real hamster is in the show along with the animated Captain Fleeker, who are both in the hamster’s cage.


Each episode teaches something different. Project Caterpillar teaches the audience about Metamorphosis. Project Balloon shows how balloons float. Project Baby demonstrates how we grow. Project Bubbles shows us what bubbles are made of. Project Hamster teaches about live animals and how to keep them in a cage. Project Robot shows how electronics work and how they run on batteries. Project Garden Hose demonstrates how a hose is used and how it works. Finally Project Magnet shows us how magnets work. As each episode teaches kids how ordinary objects in our world work, the Floogals’ comedic characters and unique adventures make the show enjoyable. I recommend Floogals for ages 2 to 6 and give it 5 out of 5 stars. This DVD is available now wherever DVDs are sold so, go check it out. You’re missing out if you don’t share it with your preschoolers.


The Floogals: Destination Planet Earth

By Rachael V., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror




This show follows three little explorers observing the hooman (human) world in a way that we can only observe by watching a show like this. All the stories are fantastic, but the one I like the most is Project Garden Hose. Due to the size of The Floogals, something like a garden hose is a behemoth to them (which becomes adorably obvious in Project Hamster). They are skating down the hose and it looks like this neat little jungle. It’s very fun. Something about this program that had me worried at first is that it mixes animation with live action. The Floogals and their belongings are shown in CGI, but the world in which they explore is all shown in live action. I’ve seen this before and didn’t care for it. I was not looking forward to watching it because of that. But The Floogals really pull it off! I can honestly say that the exploration would not be nearly as entertaining without the brilliant visual media mix along with the fun writing. I look forward to showing this to my son when he gets a bit bigger. I recommend this for ages 2 to 5 and give it 5 out of 5 stars!