Cosmic Watch – An Interactive 3D Tool To Explore Sky & Universe THE WORLD'S FIRST INTERACTIVE ASTRONOMICAL CLOCK

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Cosmic Watch, It’s an app that is an interactive 3D tool. You can use it as a realtime worldclock, time travel machine, an astrolab, an antikythera mechanism, an orrey, an armillary sphere, or an astral-chart generator.

The unique thing about the clock face is its ecliptic view around the planet. The complex mechanism of telling time is at the touch of your hands with the Cosmic Watch App. A fun learning tool to explore the relation between time and the celestial dynamics.

I had my husband check this one out for me and he thought that it was pretty cool!

To Know More: http://www.cosmic-watch.com

GET THE COSMIC WATCH APP HERE

Google Play Store:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.cosmic_watch.cosmicwatch

iTunes Store:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/cosmic-watch/id971231853?mt=8

Self Disclosure: I received a free code to check out the app. Images and Info were also provided.

The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature – As Good or Better than the Original

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Surly and his friends, Buddy, Andie and Precious discover that the mayor of Oakton City is cracking one big hustle to build a giant yet quite-shabby amusement park, which in turn will bulldoze their home, which is the city park, and it’s up to them and the rest of the park animals to stop the mayor, along with his daughter and a mad animal control officer from getting away with his scheme, and take back the park. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Dariana A, comments, “With some movies, the sequel is never as good as the original, but with this movie, they are both awesome films. There is never a boring part or unnecessary scene.” See the rest of her review below.

 

The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature

By Dariana A., KIDS FIRST Film Critics, age 11

 

 

The Nut Job 2 is wonderful! With some movies, the sequel is never as good as the original, but with this movie, they are both awesome films. There is never a boring part or unnecessary scene. It keeps you wanting more and gets you really attached about the characters’ lives. The background music really helps keep the story going and makes the chase scenes more suspenseful since there are no silent moments.

 

 

 

In the film, an accident happens and all the animals who are eating at the nut shop are forced to move back to the park. Unfortunately, Mayor Muldoon (Bobby Moynihan) has some nefarious plans to destroy the park. So, Surly (Will Arnett) and his friends have to find a way to work together to save the park.

 

 

 

One of the things I care for in both of The Nut Job films is the animation. I love how you can see every single hair on all the animals and how each one is different. Another thing that I love about this film is the music. That, you can thank Heitor Pereira for. The music goes with the lines and scenes so well, that it truly enhances the story. My favorite character is Buddy because, even though he never talks, he is always there for Surly and it’s funny to see Buddy’s expressions that make it seem as if he’s talking. I also really like the backstory showing Surly and Buddy’s friendship. Another thing I really like is Mr. Feng’s (Jackie Chan) tail because it makes him more intimidating, which adds to his character. My favorite scene is when Andie (Katherine Heigl) starts singing about how the park is their home and they make a joke about how “no one can break into a spontaneous song.” Go watch it and you’ll see!

 

The two messages in this film are to work together, which this movie is all about, and that nothing comes easy. This message comes into place when the animals have to move back to the park and scrounge for food. I rate this film 5 out of 5 stars because of the extraordinary animation, plot and music. I recommend this film for ages 5 to 14 and parents and older siblings will enjoy it too. You can find this film theaters nationwide.

Credit: KIDS FIRST!

 

The Glass Castle – Excellent Acting, Top Level Cinematography And Spectacular Direction

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A young girl comes of age in a dysfunctional family of nonconformist nomads with a mother who’s an eccentric artist and an alcoholic father who would stir the children’s imagination with hope as a distraction to their poverty. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Arjun N. comments, “The Glass Castle fascinates me because of its excellent acting. The cinematography is top level and the spectacular direction captures every scene from the memoir.” See his full review below.

The Glass Castle

By Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

 

The Glass Castle fascinates me because of its excellent acting. The cinematography is top level and the spectacular direction captures every scene from the memoir.

The storyline is about a young girl, Jeannette (Brie Larson), who comes of age in a dysfunctional, yet creative family with an alcoholic father, Rex (Woody Harrelson) and a mother, Rose (Naomi Watts), an eccentric artist. The family moves from city to city, due to their nomadic lifestyle, which leads to a split in the family when Jeannette leaves for New York, as the events are told in flashbacks. Jeanette now lives with her fiancé, David (Max Greenfield), only to be reunited with her brother, Brian (Josh Caras) and her sisters, Lori (Sarah Snook) and Maureen (Bridgette Lundy-Paine). Jeanette meets her parents to reveal her engagement and they are not excited about it.

Brie Larson, as Jeannette, excellently presents her love for her father and the braveness of her character. Woody Harrelson, as Rex, is my favorite character due to how he presents his extremely vulnerable behavior of his alcoholism, as he wants to quit it with Jeanette. Naomi Watts, as Rose, brilliantly presents her enthusiasm for painting. Max Greenfield, as David, provides great comic relief with his comedic timing. Josh Caras, as Brian, determinedly pursues his career. Sarah Snook, as Lori, is independent of her brothers and sisters, when Rex and Rose are off on their escapades. Bridgette Lundy Paine, as Maureen, presents her hatred of the family lifestyle and wants to leave.

The direction by Destin Daniel Creton and the cinematography by Brett Pawlak are splendid. Innovative camera techniques are used to present the juxtaposition of the flashbacks and present day. My favorite scene is where Rex promises Jeannette that he can fulfill whatever she wants and she asks him to stop his alcohol abuse. The scene is touching and well acted. My only problem with this film is its pacing which drags at times. Also, there is a bar scene which is useless. Despite that flaw, the acting makes it worthwhile.

The message of the film is about being and listening to yourself. I give it 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18 because of its mature themes and language. The movie opens theatrically on Aug 11, 2017, so check it out.

Credit: KIDS FIRST!

 

Music from the Playground: Summer Is a ‘Swing Set’ with Jazzy Ash Jazzy Ash Releases Fourth Family Music Album Featuring Fresh Versions of African American Rhymes and Songs Swing Set. Available Now! UPDATE! Giveaway Opportunity!

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Multiple award-winning and nationally touring artist Jazzy Ash is back with her fourth album for all ages, Swing Set. Arranged and enhanced for a new generation, these 14 classic songs, rhythms and rhymes represent and celebrate a tradition handed down by African-American children, adults, and musicians from the mid-19th century to the early jazz era. Swing Set will be available from JazzyAsh.com and national music retailers on July 21; pre-orders are available now via iTunes and Amazon.

 

After years of deep research, Jazzy Ash gathers up these time-tested tunes, polishes them up, and presents them to a new audience. The songs on Swing Set are interspersed with percussive playground rhymes. Each track is at least 90 years old. Produced by Chris Schlarb at his completely analog studio Big Ego, these tracks vary from sassy clapping playground rhymes, to soulful lullabies and classic New Orleans melodies, all presented in style by Jazzy Ash, her band, with children’s voices sprinkled in to invite listener engagement. Swing Set also features Washington DC based artist Uncle Devin on “Hambone,” and tap dancer Sarah Reich (Postmodern Jukebox) on “Ballin’ the Jack.”

Some songs, like “She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain,” “Down by The Riverside” and “When the Saints Go Marching In,” are familiar; and some, like the swingy “Sister Kate” and the percussive “Head and Shoulders Baby,” are not as widely known.

“The history behind these songs and rhymes is so rich ,” explains Jazzy Ash, a longtime preschool educator as well as nationally touring artist. “As I was researching these and sharing my arrangements with my students and teachers in my workshops, I realized how many generations of people have been personally impacted by these traditional tunes. Many of these songs and games were largely carried along by little girls on the playground throughout time, and it’s not often that we celebrate the work of women. I wanted to convey the grit and soul of that grassroots heritage with these recordings.”

 

 

Jazzy Ash and the Leaping Lizards, credit Steve Lorentzen

Jazzy Ash and the Leaping Lizards

Jazzy Ash and the Leaping Lizards at Wolf Trap and More!

 

Over the past five years, Jazzy Ash has built a reputation as one of the top touring family artist in the nation. Her music has been featured by the Los Angeles Times and NPR and continues to top radio charts. Jazzy Ash and the Leaping Lizards have performed at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, Symphony Space and Lincoln Center in New York, Pilgrimage Festival and World Café Live in Philadelphia, among many other venues.New Swing Set music videos are also coming soon.
Visit www.jazzyash.com for the latest updates.

We have teamed up for a Giveaway! One winner will win a CD! To enter, leave a comment below! Deadline to enter is August 16th, 2017 at noon PST.

Credit: Sugar Mountain PR.

 

GRAMMY Award Winner (and TMBG Bassist) Danny Weinkauf and His Red Pants Band Release ‘Totally Osome!’ Release Date: August 11th!

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Danny’s Party-Friendly Album of Dance-Happy Tunes is available via Bandcamp now; coming on all music retailers on August 11

 

Danny Weinkauf, the Grammy winning longtime bassist for They Might Be Giants, will release his third album for kids and families, Totally Osome! These 16 original songs span various styles and genres, all inviting listeners to get up and move to their catchy beats and melodies.

After the national critical and radio success of No School Today and Red Pants Band, Weinkauf has been busy writing new songs and performing family concerts with his band. For Totally Osome! Red Pants Band bassist and singer extraordinaire Tina Kenny Jones takes on a much bigger role as co-lead vocalist. Once again Danny handles all the instruments and production while his son Kai and his wife Michelle add their vocal talents.

 

From the first track, “Sunshine, Sunny Sun Sunshine Day,” the energy bursts out and remains high, with a musical range that proves that Danny Weinkauf is one of the most versatile songwriters in all-ages music. Clever, high energy, pop rock is Weinkauf’s usual focus, but this time around there’s a bit more of a groovy dance vibe to every song. He introduces listeners to topics such as geology, the letter “O”, transportation, girl power, and even how to sing the alphabet backwards. Parents may get a kick out of two versions of a song challenging kids to “put down that smartphone and start a band.”

 

Four of these tracks on Totally Osome! have already been released as singles and have enjoyed rotation on SiriusXM Kids Place Live  and  other shows around the nation: “Sunshine Sunny Sun Sunshine Day,” “Super Powered Mindy” (named for one of the show hosts), “I’m a Girl (Step Aside),” and “It’s Your Birthday.” Later this month, Spare the Rock radio on PRX will debut “Transportation.”

 

Long Island based Danny Weinkauf is the man behind the wildly successful hit “I Am a Paleontologist.” His two solo albums for kids (No School Today and Red Pants Band) have won awards and national acclaim.  Danny’s songs “Champion of the Spelling Bee” and “The Moon Is Made of Cheese” also get regular spins on SiriusXM Radio’s Kids Place Live and other shows around the nation.
Danny recently wrote and produced a song and video for Sesame Street called “B is for Build” on the “Rocking Rollie” episode of season 47. He is currently recording the 20th studio album with They Might Be Giants and will be heading out on a 65 city tour with the band in 2018.

Credit: Sugar Mountain PR.

My Little Pony: Equestria Girls: Magical Movie Night

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Grab Your Popcorn, Because The Equestria Girls Are Back For A Magic-Filled Triple Feature including: Dance Magic – When Rarity finds out about a music video competition, she’s eager to convince her friends at Canterlot High to enter the contest. The girls soon learn that Crystal Prep Academy are also interested in participating in the contest. The students at CPA have many more resources and are better dancers! Will they be able to pull together and make a winning music video? Movie Magic – The Equestria Girls have been specially invited by A.K. Yearling to go on the set of the upcoming Daring Do movie and they are overjoyed. For super-fan Rainbow Dash, watching behind the scenes as her favorite heroine comes to life is a dream come true. But when a rare and important prop from the set goes missing, putting the movie on hold, Rainbow Dash’s dream becomes a nightmare. Mirror Magic – As the pages in her journal run out, there’s only one thing for Sunset Shimmer to do: return to Equestria to get a new journal! There, she meets Starlight Glimmer and agrees to bring her back to experience life at Canterlot High. But while Sunset Shimmer was away, a revenge seeking Juniper Montage finds a beautiful hand mirror enchanted with Equestrian magic. Not only can it provide a window into another land, but if you push the right button, it can also make things disappear into limbo, trapped between the two realms! KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Jolleen M. comments, “This animated film has a great storyline and important morals that I loved to watch. Plus, all of the characters have their own unique personalities, which is cool to see.” Gerry O. adds, “The episodes all teach kids about friendship, teamwork and many other positive behavior. At times, the stories concentrate more on action or drama but they are never too mature for young children.” See their full reviews below.

 

My Little Pony: Equestria Girls: Magical Movie Night
By Jolleen M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

 

This animated film has a great storyline and important morals that I loved to watch. Plus, all of the characters have their own unique personalities, which is cool to see. The animation is spot on with detailed facial expressions and body language of the characters.

The stories, Dance Magic, Movie Magic, and Mirror Magic are all about friendship, teamwork, persevering and forgiving. In the stories, the Equestria Girls work together solving obstacles that come up. They befriend, forgive and help their enemies. The Equestria Girls create peace among every one and teach others to create peace as well.

Ali Liebert makes Juniper Montage sound very determined, jealous and greedy, but also shows Juniper’s hurt side, where she is apologetic and depressed. Tabitha St. Germain portrays Rarity as very elegant, creative and calm. But at times, she is easily frustrated and very competitive. The animation for all of the My Little Pony films is really cute and detailed. I love this type of animation. The backgrounds are very detailed and the animation is really pleasing to watch.

My favorite part is when Pinky Pie’s (Andrea Libman) dream comes true when she sees a building made of pudding. Her eyes light up and you can see her pure happiness. I really love this part because it made me really happy to see Pinky Pie so excited. The pudding also looks delicious.

The message of these stories is that you should be kind to everyone, no matter what. Also, it promotes forgiving people and giving them second chances. The Equestrian Girls have their stuff and their ideas stolen, but they still forgive and become great friends even with the thieves. This collection of stories teaches children to have a good heart and enjoy life in the moment.

This is a wonderful DVD with big messages. I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 8. This DVD is available August 8, 2017, be sure to check it out.

My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Magical Movie Night
By Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 15

 

With three unique stories and beautiful animation, this DVD collection entertains younger audiences while teaching them about friendship. It has a room for improvement and is far from the best of the My Little Pony Friendship is Magic series. Like the previous shows and movies of this series, the three episodes focus heavily on adventure and comedy. The episodes all teach kids about friendship, teamwork and many other positive behavior. At times, the stories concentrate more on action or drama but they are never too mature for young children.

The three episodes start after the latest film, My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Legend of Everfree. The stories are all different, but generally focus on seven girls solving problems together. At the end, an answer comes to them and they all learn an important message about friendship.  Watching at least the previous film is helpful to the viewer since there are some references to previous plot elements. It would be very difficult to enjoy this DVD without having any prior experience with the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic series

Overall, this DVD has an enjoyable series of stories. They are bright, educational and are simple enough for younger kids to understand. Compared to the previous films and shows, the quality has dropped in some places. One of the strongest outliers to me is the comedy. In the past, the main character called Pinkie Pie (Andrea Libman) often plays a comedic role. In this collection, the comedy doesn’t come out goofy and funny as it usually does. It feels forced and almost annoying. Something else that I found lacking is the conflict in the stories. The first episode, Dance Magic, really suffers the most. The conflict in this episode focuses on the girls trying to raise money for a spring dance. Sadly, it has no good introduction and is simply explained at the beginning. This makes it not too important to the viewer and the way the characters treat this issue furthers the problem. One thing that has stayed consistent throughout the series is the voice acting and animation. Both have still maintained high quality and are one of the best parts of the show.

Out of the three, my favorite episode is Mirror Magic. The storyline is quite unique. It’s about a girl jealous of the seven friends who puts six of them in a magic mirror. It’s up to the seventh, Sunset Shimmer and her new friend Starlight Glimmer. This plays out interestingly in the show as Starlight, just like Sunset, is a villain turned good. This makes for some interesting chemistry between the two, which is entertaining.

As always, this series is meant for kids. For that reason, I recommend it for ages 7 to 13. I give this DVD 4 out of 5 stars for an overall good collection of episodes and high-quality animation, but a lack of good conflicts and a drop in quality.

 

Credit: KIDS FIRST!

 

 

The Emoji Movie – Exhilarating Storyline, Wonderful Cast, Colorful Animation and More

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The Emoji Movie unlocks the never-before-seen secret world inside your smartphone. Hidden within the messaging app is Textopolis, a bustling city where all your favorite emojis live, hoping to be selected by the phone’s user. In this world, each emoji has only one facial expression – except for Gene, an exuberant emoji who was born without a filter and bursts with multiple expressions. Determined to become normal like the other emojis, Gene enlists the help of his handy best friend Hi-5 and the notorious code breaker emoji Jailbreak. Together, they embark on an epic app-venture through the apps on the phone, each its own wild and fun world, to find the Code that will fix Gene. But when a greater danger threatens the phone, the fate of all emojis depends on these three unlikely friends who must save their world before it’s deleted forever. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Imani B.G. comments, “I love how the world of emojis in the smartphone relates to the human world throughout the film. It gives the audience a way to associate themselves in the plot.” See her full review below.

 

The Emoji Movie

By Imani Baptiste-Green, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age: 15
 

The Emoji Movie is a kid-friendly fun and exciting film for people of all ages to enjoy and connect with. I love how the world of emojis in smartphone relates to the human world throughout the film. It gives the audience a way to identify with the characters and the plot. Families will definitely enjoy this amusing motion film and may even learn from it.

 

Alex’s (Jake T Austin) smartphone is home to all of the emojis. Each has its own facial expression except for Gene (TJ Miller). Gene struggles with being an emoji with multiple expressions and is determined to become normal like all of the other emojis. Gene asks for help from his new best friends, Hi-5 (James Corden) and Jailbreak (Anna Faris),  a popular code breaker. During their epic adventure, the three face great danger and conflict with other characters. Join them on their experience.

 

I enjoyed every aspect of this film, but my favorite scene is when Gene realizes his uniqueness from the other emojis. Alex is having phone troubles and is on the verge of getting it fixed, which means the end for all things emojis. Gene steps in to make sure that doesn’t happen, which is a perk since he recognizes his worth. This scene sends a powerful message for kids to learn about liking themselves and recognizing their importance in the world.

 

The overall message of the film is to learn to accept who you are, no matter what others think of you. In the beginning, Gene has trouble figuring out who he is and why he isn’t like the rest. That leads him to wanting to be normal. Fortunately, Gene later realizes who he is, with a little help from his friends, and finally accepts himself. Kids and even adults can learn a lesson from this and apply it to their lives by building up their own self-confidence.

 

I recommend this film for ages 5 to 18. There are scenes that tweens and teens can enjoy, but it also contains some scenes are suitable for 5 to 13-year-olds. Adults will most likely enjoy this as well. It really is a film that the whole family will get a kick out of.

 

I rate The Emoji Movie 4 out of 5 because of its exhilarating storyline, wonderful cast, colorful animation and overall message. The Emoji Movie opens on July 28th, 2017 so, be sure to check it out so you can laugh along with the characters and enjoy it as much as I did.

Credit: KIDS FIRST!

Ralph’s World Presents ‘Time Machine Guitar’ Album of 12 original story-songs inspired by history is available on August 4. A 'Time Machine Guitar' YouTube series also launches

Amidst a busy summer of dozens of concerts, Ralph’s World, the Grammy nominated songwriter, performer and author, will release a new album of original story-songs, Time Machine Guitar, on August 4.

 

The new album of 12 songs reflects Ralph’s World’s “quirky lyrics and solid rock sensibility”(LA Times). Time Machine Guitar takes listeners on an imaginative musical and narrative adventure through time and space,  whether it be about “Ben Franklin’s Mole,” or “Beethoven’s Horse,”  the “Young King Tut,” or “Hummingbird Tree.” Amidst all the fun, these songs often offer socially conscious messages, as in “Toy Masters of War” (with a strong nod toward Bob Dylan’s protest song), and memorable life lessons, like “Color outside the Lines.” Ralph Covert’s ability to craft instantly accessible and singable songs is clear in each of these new tracks. As MusicBox Online noted, “He’s as close to the Beatles as they get, both in terms of sound and sheer brilliance.”

 

The album liner notes will include a booklet of biographical information on the historical figures featured on the album. Historical people come to life, as Ralph paints a picture of the boy King Tut playing with toys, or Mozart and Haydn (who were real-life friends) chat about music. Ralph, who studied classical music  while beginning his career in rock music, says, “I used the song ‘Beethoven’s Horse’ as a vehicle to demonstrate the different styles of their musical compositions by recasting the same melody as each of them might have interpreted it.”  A learning guide will be available this fall.

 

A pilot for “Time Machine Guitar” originally aired on Chicago public television, WTTW.  A series of “Time Machine Guitar” episodes is launching on the Ralph’s World YouTube channel. Fans who subscribe to the channel will be the first to view new episodes every other Saturday morning. In the show, Ralph lives in a colorful tree house with his three puppet animal friends, Rani, a squirrel, Beauregard, a dog, and Malcolm, a cat. Together they make and learn about music, and go on trips through history with Ralph’s Time Machine Guitar to visit interesting people like Dr. Martin Luther King, Amelia Earhart, and Tito Puente.

 

As Ralph explains,“The show is in the spirit of Saturday morning cartoons from our childhood. It will be a music driven show that combines educational elements with an engaging and energetic sense of fun. Our hope is that kids will be inspired to learn more, and that they will feel excited about exploring their own creativity.”

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More about Ralph’s World

 

Since his first children’s recordings in the early 2000’s, Ralph’s World has won numerous awards and critical acclaim for his 12 children’s albums and music videos (released on Minty Fresh, Waterdog Records and Disney Sound). He has published four children’s books, created scores for musical theater, and has toured the nation performing for thousands of fans at venues ranging from Lollapalooza to Austin City Limits, as well as sold-out crowds at Ravinia Festival in Chicago, Symphony Space in New York and the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. His last children’s album was Ralph’s World Rocks and Reads (2015).

Ralph Covert continues to lead the grown-up, Chicago-based rock band The Bad Examples, who still perform together frequently. He also records and performs solo shows. A Ralph Covert acoustic album is scheduled for early 2018, tentatively titled Little Bird. 

For the third year in a row, Ralph will curate the Lil’ Pilgrims family stage at Pilgrimage Festival in Franklin, TN, and he will perform there and on the main stage that weekend.

Find all upcoming concert details at www.ralphsworld.com.

Credit: Sugar Mountain PR.