Archives for February 2020

How to Encourage Creative Expression in Young Kids

Photo by Senjuti Kundu on Unsplash

Painting

Kids love colours and water, and painting is the best amalgamation of the two mediums. According to a reputable research, painting is an excellent way to encourage creativity in your child. Colours exude a lot of positive energy and vibrance that acts as a mood uplifting therapy for kids. Besides that, free hand painting allows the kids to use their imagination and bring it on paper. The splash of colours and the brush strokes not only improve their motor skills, but also help themselves express their moods and thoughts.

Crafting

Crafting is yet another fun and therapeutic activity that offers great learning opportunities along with encouraging creative expression. You can let your kids play with a number of different materials to create and recreate new things. From greeting cards to gifts to models, there are endless avenues to explore in the world of crafting. You can also use crafting to teach recycling and upcycling junk into new things.

Dancing

Dancing is excellent for mind and body coordination and development. It is classified as performing arts and the face and body movement is used as a medium of expression. It also offers excellent physical activity and allows muscle development in growing kids.

Music

Music has been used as a medium of expression and therapy for ages. Sounds and melodies have been used since ancient times as a means of relaxation. You can introduce musical instruments to kids and allow them to explore different sounds produced by combinations of keys, nodes, strings and beats. Kids can use these sounds to express themselves. There are many beginner friendly instruments such as basic keyboards, pianos, banjos and flutes which are good choices to start with.

Story Telling

Little kids love to chatter and make up stories. You can exploit this trait and push the, to make their own stories so that they come out of their shells and express themselves freely. Children have an ability to make stories about literally everything under the sun. They will have a story about the tree on the way to nursery and the fan on the ceiling. Ask questions as they come up with the stories to lead them on. You can use this activity with kids as soon as they learn to communicate verbally.

Pretend Play and Role Playing

We often wish to dig in and inquire kids about what went on behind our backs or what are they thinking at a given moment, but little kids generally never answer straight. Pretend play and role-playing are not only an excellent way to teach important stuff to kids in a fun way, but it also gives you a chance to get in their heads. Use pretend play toys such as kitchen sets, doctor sets, and salons and allow your child to play different roles and strike a conversation. Kids express themselves more openly that way.   

Cardi C, February 27th Pet of the Week!

“C” may come after “B,” but 3-year-old Cardi C is not a follow-up act. She’s more of a companion piece! Like the hip-hop artist of nearly the same name, she has big, sparkling dark eyes, a talent for scampering around, and a loving nature for her fans—her humans! She’s a stunning steel gray and will steal your heart! Be Cardi C’s biggest fan—meet her at the Companion Animal Village at 7700 East Spring St., (562) 570-PETS. Ask for ID#A627959.

(This rescue encouraged by the usual suspects.)

Credit: Courtesy of the Companion Animal Village.

Books of the Month-Celebrate Black History Month with these books!

BLACK IS A RAINBOW COLOR by Angela Joy and Illustrated by Ekua Holmes: A poignant and powerful picture book that gives children the language and exposure to discuss ethnicity/race/culture and incline them to curiosity and not fear; self-love and not shame.
This is a beautiful picture book for young children! I highly recommend it for ages 3-6 years old.

WOKE by Mahogany L. Browne and Illustrated by Theodore Taylor III: A collection of poems to inspire kids to stay woke and become a new generation of activists.  This one is perfect for the little older kids!

Find both books and more at https://us.macmillan.com/mackids/

Self Disclosure: I received free copies of both books. Cover images were also provided. No other compensation was received.

Book of the Day: Three Paws, an inspirational picture book about a grizzly bear with a disability that learns how to adapt and overcome.

Four ways to dream your best life and then live it to the fullest
By Karen Struck, RN and author of Three Paws

So much has been written about living our lives to the fullest, but what does that really mean?  Mark Twain summarized it succinctly – “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the things you did.”  Let’s face it, life is a roller coaster.  We all face ups and downs throughout our journey.  Challenges abound.  It’s how you focus your thoughts, positively or negatively, that will determine your perception of your current path.

Do you view challenges as obstacles that appear to be insurmountable or as an opportunity for growth and personal empowerment?

Here are four ways to dream your best life and then take steps to live it to the fullest:

Overcome “fear of failure” by taking action
.  This is one of the biggest fears that we all share.  Fear holds us back from enjoying our lives and expanding to our highest potential.  Michael Jordan, one of the greatest basketball players in the NBA said, “I can accept failure, everyone fails at something.  But I can’t accept not trying.” During his sophomore year in high school, Michael did not make the varsity basketball team.  The coach felt Michael was too short to play at that level.  Determined to play basketball, Michael joined the junior varsity team and practiced his skills for hours a day until he honed his skills and became an NBA star. During high school, Michael did not make the basketful team, because the coach felt Michael was too short to perform well. Determined to play basketball, he joined a less competitive team and practiced his skills for hours a day until he honed his skills and became an NBA star. To Michael, failure was a motivator to better himself.  Fear of failure is the brick wall between you and your goals.  Define your goals and begin taking baby steps by setting small goals. Each time you accomplish a small goal, your self-confidence will improve, and you will continue down the yellow brick road toward success.

Study success stories.  History has taught us that some of the most outstanding achievements have been realized by people with disabilities. Sudha Chadran, actress and dancer, was accepted into one of the best dance schools in India at age five.  By age seventeen, she lost her right leg in a car accident and was told she would never dance again.  Her passion for dancing helped Sudha overcome her physical challenge.  She learned to walk again after years of hard work and eventually received an artificial leg. After many failed attempts at dance, Sudha pushed herself and returned to professional dancing.  Her first public performance sold out.  All of us deal with various struggles in one way or another.  Never give up!  Challenge yourself by trying new things. There are a multitude of programs and resources to pave one’s path toward realistic goals.   Try not to compare yourself to others.  Set your own goals and celebrate each small success and enjoy the journey.

Find your purpose in life and practice gratitude.  What do you love to do? What makes you happy? What makes you feel good?  Think about what you are good at and focus on your positive attributes. Feeling positive is a choice. We can use difficult times as a teacher understanding that they can also lead to brighter days ahead. “Every cloud has a silver lining” gives us hope that the dark clouds will pass and the sun will shine again. Learn to practice gratitude on a daily basis.  Be thankful for the life you live by appreciating those around you.  Treat people with kindness and respect.  Create a gratitude journal and reflect on what you are most thankful for so you may feel more happiness in the present moment.  Consider the benefits of meditation – a process of training your mind to focus your thoughts and achieve mental clarity and peacefulness.    Dr. Matthew Thorpe, MD, PhD, author of the “12 Science-Based Benefits of Meditation,” summarizes that people who practice the art of meditation “develop other beneficial habits and feelings, such as a positive mood and outlook, self-discipline, healthy sleep patterns and even increased pain tolerance.”  YouTube offers meditation music to guide you toward peace and calm. 

Visualize your life the way you want to live it. There is an old saying that goes, “We need to see it in order to achieve it.”  When we are feeling out of sorts, visualization is an effective way to refocus our energy toward achieving the life we desire.  How do we visualize? Close your eyes and sit in a quiet place.  What is your dream? Envision your dream as if you’ve already achieved it.  Be as detailed as possible. Set aside a little time each day to visualize your achievement.  Vision boards are another form of visualization where pictures from magazines are cut out and placed on a board that represents your goals.  Media Mogul, Oprah Winfrey, used vision boards to achieve her dreams.

Oprah says it best.  “Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life, because you become what you believe.” 

Credit: Karen Struck.

KAREN STRUCK is a registered nurse and works in the aesthetic industry.  She discovered the joy of children’s literature as she read to her daughter each night. She was inspired by the Harry Potter book series, and decided to take writing courses through the Institute of Children’s Literature. Three Paws is the first book published in the Three Paws Series. She resides in Los Gatos, California, with her husband and three children. 

Three Paws is available through Amazon and other major booksellers. 

Emma * A Cheerful Adaptation of Jane Austen’s Beloved Novel

Jane Austen’s beloved comedy about finding your equal and earning your happy ending, is re-imagined in this film. Handsome, clever, and rich, Emma Woodhouse is a restless queen bee without rivals in her sleepy little town. In this glittering satire of social class and the pain of growing up, Emma must adventure through misguided matches and romantic missteps to find the love that has been there all along. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Arjun N. comments, “Emma is a cheerful adaption of Jane Austen’s beloved novel. Readers of Jane Austen can rejoice as her characters come to screen.” See his full review below.

Emma
By Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 18

Emma is a cheerful adaptation of Jane Austen’s beloved novel. Readers of Jane Austen can rejoice as her characters come to screen. Others might not find this to be their cup of tea.

In this adaptation the “handsome, clever and rich” matchmaker Emma Woodhouse (Anya Taylor Joy) pursues her adventures through matches and romanticism to find love.

Anya Taylor Joy, as Emma, gives the best performance. Anya has grown from a being newcomer and this demanding performance proves that, allowing for eloquent speaking and characterization. Her conversations with other characters are straight out of the classic Victorian tale; keeping in mind, she is American. Her love interests are Johnny Flynn as Mr. Knightley, a dashingly critical friend, and Callum Turner as Frank Churchill, a rich gentleman. I also enjoyed Mia Goth as Harriet, as she helps Emma find her match.

Director Autumn de Wilde is artistic, but the pacing could be tighter. This is a slow movie as several scenes are long, drawn-out conversations. I feel this aspect is best achieved in books, though some movies can capture the audience’s attention like that. This movie really must be your forte for it to be enjoyable. The character’s parlance is always olden English, and there is a loss of stakes. The score by Isobel Waller-Bridge is authentically Georgian capturing the grounded roots of genteel women living in England.

The message of this film is to not rush love, as Emma and Harriet let time prove its worth after hasty pursuits. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18, due to brief nudity, even though younger kids might not be interested in watching this. The movie releases in theaters on February 21, 2020, so check it out.

Sonic the Hedgehog * Based On A Favorite Game Character, This Hits It Out Of The Park!

Sonic tries to navigate the complexities of life on Earth with his newfound best friend — a human named Tom Wachowski. They must soon join forces to prevent the evil Dr. Robotnik from capturing Sonic and using his powers for world domination. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ethan P. comments, “I like this movie because is based on one of my favorite game characters… The graphics in the movie are excellent and, with the new sonic design, it looks like Sonic is real.  The new design works better than the Sonic design Paramount Pictures had before redoing this movie.  The special effects are impressive too, such as Sonic’s blue lightning which also looks real.” Zoe C. adds, “I’ve never played Sonic the video game and was never a really big fan of the character but I really like this movie. It is very well done and great for the whole family. I like the animation and I love the acting. The story is very human and has very little to do with video games. It is about friendship and friends that become a family.”  Tiana S. contributes, “I really love this movie! Sonic the Hedgehog’s team nails it creating a movie based on the SEGA video game of the same name. There are amazing special effects from the beginning to the end.  I love how it includes parts from the SEGA game, such as Sonic running in vertical loops and his spin attacks. I felt as if I was watching a live version of the actual game!” Ian C. wraps it up with, “Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog was the first non-educational video game my mom allowed me to play. I was five years old, and making Sonic speed through worlds was awesome! This film lives up to my expectations—it’s funny and just as exciting as my first time playing the game.” See their full reviews below.    

Sonic the Hedgehog
Ethan P., KIDS FIRST!, Film Critic, Age 11

I like this movie because is based on one of my favorite game characters. Sonic the Hedgehog is a live-action film—except for Sonic who is a CGI character (Ben Schwartz)—based on the global blockbuster video game franchise from Sega.

The story of Sonic the Hedgehog follows Sonic, a small blue hedgehog who has super-speed powers.  When Sonic was younger, his owl guardian gave him a bag of rings to help him escape to different planets in case anyone discovers and kidnaps him because of his powers.  One night, after he comes to Earth, he is playing baseball by himself and he gets upset because he realizes he is very lonely.  Sonic runs in circles as fast as he can because he is upset.  He is so fast that blue energy comes out of his body causing the whole town to black out. 

This power outage causes big problems for Sonic who is pursued by a crazy military man named Dr. Ivo Robotnik (Jim Carrey) or Dr. Eggman, as Sonic calls him. Fortunately for Sonic, the town’s sheriff (James Marsden) catches him and helps protect him from Dr. Robotnik.

The graphics in the movie are excellent and, with the new Sonic design, it looks like Sonic is real.  The new design works better than the Sonic design Paramount Pictures had before redoing this movie.  The special effects are impressive too, such as Sonic’s blue lightning which also looks real.  Ben Schwartz did and very funny voiceover for the Sonic character.  He is really full of energy.

The moral of this movie is that you are never alone in the world.  There will always be someone for you to be your friend, to talk to and to be by your side when you need it.  When Sonic is feeling alone, Sheriff Tom, or The Doughnut Lord, as Sonic calls him, takes Sonic to protect him and help him get to the Mushroom planet where Sonic needs to go.

Sonic the Hedgehog is filled with a lot of action and fun.  I give this film 5 out of 5 stars.  If I could, I would give this movie 100 out of 100 stars.  I recommend it for ages 5 to 18 plus older adults. Sonic the Hedgehog comes out in theaters on February 14, 2020. 

Sonic The Hedgehog
By Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

I’ve never played Sonic the video game and was never a really big fan of the character but I really like this movie. It is very well done and great for the whole family. I like the animation and I love the acting. The story is very human and has very little to do with video games. It is about friendship and friends that become a family.

Sonic the Hedgehog is about a blue hedgehog that ends up on earth and he’s trying not to be discovered. He lost a ring that helps him transport to places. When humans find Sonic, he has to run away (something he does well because he moves at super sonic speeds). Sonic feels lonely and wants a friend. When he meets Tom, a police officer (James Marsden), they develop a great “bromance,” but they have to face Mr. Robotnik who is obsessed with everything fast and wants to experiment with Sonic. In their journey, both learn they don’t have to run away from their problems.

I love all the characters! Dr. Robotnik is so funny and pleasing to watch. He is played by Jim Carrey, who is one of my new favorite actors. His performance is amazing and he is definitely a fascinating villain. He is graceful, entertaining and full of life. I also love the character Sonic; even though it is an animated character he really looks realistic. I could really see all the details in Sonic and I felt like he was pretty much a stuffed animal, opposed to a virtual digital character. Sonic is played by Ben Schwartz, an amazing voice actor who gives the character a great personality.

It’s so amazing to see a character that was made about 30 years ago continuing to fill children’s hearts with joy. I think Sonic is 100% absolutely adorable and all the characters are so fun to watch. There are a lot of action scenes and wonderful colors in the film as well. The music adds so much energy; it is catchy and upbeat. Finally, I like all the jokes and they definitely made me laugh. To add to that, I love how Sonic gives everyone their own special nickname. That gives the movie its own special touch and I guess I’ll nick name this film “Blue Speedy Furry with Heart.”

I give Sonic the Hedgehog five out of five stars and recommended it for ages 4 to 13. The message of this film is that friends in our lives bring us the most joy and they are the family we chose. Another message is that humans will always be more important than technology. Dr. Robotnik keeps trying to make technology a greater power than humans, but Sonic and everyone proves that our simple life and connections are what really matter. Sonic the Hedgehog opens February 14, 2020. Look for it!

Sonic the Hedgehog
Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9

I really love this movie! Sonic the Hedgehog’s team nails it creating a movie based on the SEGA video game of the same name. There are amazing special effects from the beginning to the end.  I love how it includes parts from the SEGA game, such as Sonic running in vertical loops and his spin attacks. I felt as if I was watching a live version of the actual game!      

Sonic the Hedgehog is about a blue, fast and funny hedgehog named Sonic (Ben Schwartz) who has to escape his home in another world and ends up on Earth. He accidentally causes a power outage and has to hide out in Green Hill, Montana. The government tries to hunt him down and hires Dr. Ivo Robotnik (Jim Carrey) to capture him. Sonic meets a cop named Tom Wachowski (James Marsden) or Donut Lord, as Sonic calls him, and Tom agrees to help Sonic, find his rings and defeat Dr. Ivo Robotnik, who wants to use Sonic’s power to take over the world.

The lead characters are Sonic, Tom Wachowski and Dr. Ivo Robotnik. It is very clever that the movie takes place in Green Hill, Montana, since the first level of the actual SEGA game is called Green Hill Zone. My favorite character is Sonic because he is funny. I love how he is made to have lives, just like he does in the SEGA game. One of my favorite scenes is when Dr. Ivo Robotnik has a virtual reality screen behind him and it shows a dinosaur running after him. Jim Carrey uses his flexibility to lower his head to make it look like the dinosaur bit it off. The movie is filled with special effects, such as explosions and lightning when Sonic runs. Sonic’s CGI perfectly match his character in the video game. This is something the producer went back to correct before releasing the film. The music ties into what happens for each part of the movie; however, I was a little disappointed that the song Super Sonic used in the trailer is not in the movie.  

The main message of Sonic the Hedgehog is that you should consider home wherever people that care the most about you are. There isn’t much to be forewarned about besides Dr. Ivo Robotnik uses some minor foul language.   

I rate Sonic the Hedgehog 5 out of 5 rings and recommend it for kids ages 6 to 18. Adults, especially gamers, will also love this movie. Since it’s based on the Sonic the Hedgehog video game by SEGA, it may remind them of their own childhood. It’s a great action-packed, family movie. Catch Sonic the Hedgehog in theaters starting February 14, 2020. Be sure to stay for the credits.

Sonic the Hedgehog
By Ian C., KIDS FIRST!, Film Critic, Age 11

Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog was the first non-educational video game my mom allowed me to play. I was five years old, and making Sonic speed through worlds was awesome! This film lives up to my expectations—it’s funny and just as exciting as my first time playing the game.        

In Sonic the Hedgehog, a talking alien hedgehog, Sonic, uses magic rings to get to Earth. Here he hides from those that would seek to use his powers for bad. Sonic, (Ben Schwartz), is extremely lonely, and one day his emotions get out of control. He accidentally causes a huge power outage that gets the attention of the U.S. government. The government calls in a psychotic inventor named Dr. Ivo Robotnik (Jim Carrey) who is chasing Sonic to perform experiments on him.  Sonic tries again to use his rings to run to another world, but a startled local sheriff (James Marsden) causes Sonic to lose his rings. The sheriff decides to help Sonic find his rings and escape Dr. Robotnik.

The cast of this film makes it 99 minutes of hilarious excitement.  Choosing one favorite part was difficult. I tossed a coin between the super crazy bar fight and Dr. Robotnik’s dance breakout. Jim Carrey dancing to his “Tunes of Anarchy” playlist won the toss. My stomach hurt from laughing.

The message of this film is eventually you have to stop running and face your fears. Otherwise, you can’t get the things you want out of life.

Sonic the Hedgehog has minimal violence and profanity. I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18. Adults will enjoy it as well. You can find Sonic the Hedgehog in theaters February 14, 2020.

The Call of the Wild * An Amazing Film, Based on Jack London’s Book, Some Disturbing Images

Buck is a big-hearted dog whose blissful domestic life gets turned upside down when he is suddenly uprooted from his California home and transplanted to the exotic wilds of the Alaskan Yukon in the 1890s. As the newest rookie on a mail-delivery dog sled team, Buck experiences the adventure of a lifetime as he ultimately finds his true place in the world. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ruby A. comments, “My feelings about this movie are quite mixed. On one side, the use of CGI helps to portray the strong emotions of the dogs. On the other hand, there are many scenes containing brutal animal abuse that many audiences will find disturbing and unsettling.” Jolleen M. adds, “The Call of the Wild has such wonderful sets, cinematography and CGI. Although the film is pleasing to watch, the plotline itself is predictable and redundant. There are so many films out there about a man’s best friend and there is nothing in The Call of the Wild that sets it apart from them.” Damon F. wraps it up with, “The Call of the Wild is an amazing film based on a book with the same name by Jack London that follows the story of a massive, clumsy dog named Buck, who gets taken away from his master, is forced into slavery and struggles trying to discover his true destiny.” See their full reviews below.

The Call of the Wild

By Ruby A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

My feelings about The Call of the Wild are quite mixed.  Mainly because of how effective the CGI is in portraying the strong emotions of the dogs—that is fine except when the dogs are abused, and that could be disturbing and unsettling for some audiences. However, overall the storyline of the movie is incredibly well-structured and detailed.

The Call of the Wild is about Buck, a fearless, strong dog who has been through so much in his life. After being shut out on the porch of his California home, Buck’s name is called and he finds himself in the hands of a dog seller, who locks him inside of a box for transport. A while later, he is recruited to pull a dogsled that delivers mail in Alaska. After a journey full of twists and turns, Buck discovers a whole new world with someone he loves and trusts by his side. 

Some of the lead characters include John Thornton (Harrison Ford) Perrault (Omar Sy) and, of course, Buck. What really stands out is the CGI that is essential to express the emotions of the animals. It is really effective—the dogs look almost human! With such emotion in their eyes, and their actions, there is barely anything that humans can’t relate to. (Except for the furriness!) The difference the CGI makes is in the emotional impact and how it helps the audience feel attached to the characters, and love for them, too. It improves the quality and aesthetic of the film, which makes the viewing experience vivid.

The Call of the Wild strongly conveys a message of how perseverance can make anyone a stronger, more intelligent person who can take on more difficult challenges than ever before. The film is successful in signifying this empowering lesson through symbolism and emotion. Audiences should beware of some aggressive behavior toward animals, and between other characters. Several weapons are used, such as a whip, a bat, and guns. Minimal amounts of blood are shown. There really isn’t any bad language, however.

I give The Call of the Wild 4 out of 5 stars, and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. You can find The Call of the Wild in theaters on February 21, 2020.

The Call of the Wild

By Jolleen M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

The Call of the Wild has such wonderful sets, cinematography and CGI. Although the film is pleasing to watch, the plotline itself is predictable and redundant. There are so many films out there about a man’s best friend and there is nothing in The Call of the Wild that sets it apart from them.

Based on the novel by Jack London, the storyline follows a dog named Buck who is stolen from his home on a ranch. He is sold to become a sled dog to deliver mail. Buck has many encounters with a man named John Thornton who eventually becomes Buck’s owner. They become very close and John takes him on a trip to the other side of the mountain in honor of his late son, because it is a trip that he would have loved. Unfortunately, another man named Hal, whose judgment is clouded by greed, believes that John is taking this trip because he knows where the gold is. Hal follows him with ill intentions. Because of this whole journey Buck, in the end, finds where he belongs.

Harrison Ford, who plays John Thornton, embodies his role and shows the audience the bond that Thornton develops with Buck. It’s almost as if he sees Buck as his own son. The dog that plays Buck is named Buckley. He was a stray dog in Kansas and director Chris Sanders and his wife adopted him because he was the same breed as the dog in the novel. Buckley went from being on the streets to starring in a movie where he gives an amazing performance.

The story is set in Alaska where the scenery is quite beautiful. They capture the majesty of the frozen mountains and even the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. The CGI for the dogs is photorealistic. It is super cute how they show the dogs’ emotions by their facial expressions.

My favorite parts of this film are the various shots of the scenery. It really looks so beautiful in both the daytime and nighttime shots. I loved seeing it and it makes me want to visit those places.

The message of this film is about realizing that life is a journey and will be full of challenges, but through these challenges you will find your place. If Buck wasn’t kidnapped from his home on the ranch he never would have truly been happy. Without the challenges that he faced, he would have never gotten his freedom in the wild. Everything happened for a reason, from being tortured to meeting John Thornton.

I give this film 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18. Even adults might enjoy this film. The Call of the Wild comes out in theaters on February 21, 2020, so check it out!

The Call of the Wild
Damon F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

The Call of the Wild is an amazing film based on a book with the same name by Jack London that follows the story of a massive, clumsy dog named Buck, who gets taken away from his master, is forced into slavery and struggles trying to discover his true destiny.

When the movie begins, Buck is taken away from his home and must adapt to his new environment in the wilderness. I really like the way the movie shows him changing to fit in. They use a giant, black, shadow of a wolf with glowing, yellow eyes. Every time Buck needs to make an important decision, the wolf is there leading him to the best path.

The animation and CGI in this movie are great; all the dogs look incredibly realistic. There is a dog fight between Buck and another dog that is very intense and the dogs act just like normal dogs act when fighting each other. The cinematography, with the visual effects, is really outstanding. Each different landscape has thousands of small details that showcase the amazing power of Mother Nature, which is exactly what the movie wants to show to us.

My favorite character is Buck the dog; he is playful, kind, funny and all-around relatable character. Buck is the main character in the movie, even though he doesn’t talk. My favorite scene is when John Thornton, Buck’s final owner, is trying to drink his bottle of whiskey and Buck keeps knocking his glass out of his hand. Eventually, Buck steals the bottle and buries it in the yard. This scene was hilarious and it made me think that Buck was saying, “no drinking.”

There are two different messages that this movie offers. One is, “you don’t need to hurt people to be a leader; be kind and you will get your best team.” The second is, “Mother Nature is powerful, don’t try to take too much from it, only take what you need so the world can stay as beautiful as it is today.”

I rate this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to18 because some jokes most kids won’t understand. This film comes out in theaters February 21, 2020. Look for it.

Bella, Feb. 20th Pet of the Week!

If Bella seems sad-eyed and sorrowful, there’s a reason. Bella was a much-loved cat of a nice family. One of the family members became tragically ill and is now in hospice care. They can no longer care for Bella and couldn’t find anyone who’d take her in. They had no choice but to leave her with us. Bella’s a lovely brown tabby, only 6 years old and playful and affectionate. She belongs with people, in a home. Please, meet Bella on the shelter side of the Companion Animal Village at 7700 East Spring St., (562) 570-PETS. Ask for ID# A578151.

(This rescue encouraged by the usual suspects.)

Credit: Courtesy of the Companion Animal Village.