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Boom Kids! – Toy Story #1 comic June 27, 2009

Posted by hatlentore in Comics/Graphics Novels.
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Today’s comic comes from Boom Kids. It’s another in their line of Disney/Pixar adaptations. This one finds the toys from the Toy Story movie dealing with a new arrival in Andy’s room.

The story starts off with Andy (the toys owner) dropping off a bag in his room before leaving the house with his mother and sister. The toys investigate and find a mysterious looking egg. They don’t quite know what to make of the egg as it doesn’t respond to them at all. The speculate what it could be.

Woody and Buzz say they should wait for the new toy to say Hello, perhaps the new toy is nervous or scared. Others, like Rex and Hamm are more worried that the new toy might take their place, so the concoct a plan to get rid of it.

The story is about not jumping to conclusions and being patient. Some of the toys don’t want to wait to find out what the mysterious stranger is and assume that they will be replaced and Andy will no longer play with them.

The art is nice and colorful, and the story moves at a good pace. Younger reader familiar with the movies will enjoy the story. Most of the characters from the movie make an appearance and play a role, with the notable exception of Mr. Potato Head. There are not scary parts so it’s an all ages book. Older kids will find the story simple and proably not that interesting. I’d say it was targetted at the under 10 age group.

Is it right for Kids? Sure is pardner. To Infinity and Beyond!

Review – Disney’s Bolt June 22, 2009

Posted by hatlentore in New Releases.
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This time I have chosen to review a movie that was released last year but is still popular in the rental market, Disney Studio’s Bolt. While an animated feature, Bolt is not a movie made in conjuction with Pixar. It’s a solely Disney production.

The story focuses on a dog named, of course, Bolt that stars in an action based TV show. Only Bolt thinks the show is real and not just pretend. Bolt is very protective of the little girl that stars in the show and when he gets left behind at the studio after filming a cliff-hanger ending, he believes the girl is in danger and sets out to rescue her.

What follows is a cross-country trek by Bolt, and the two other animals he meets along the way. Mittens, a cat that is very much interested in self-preservation and Rhino, a hamster that is a rabid Bolt fan and is willing to do anything to tag along. Bolt heads to California and has many adventures along the way. He eventually learns that the show is not real but also learns about friendship, trust and a few of the usual sort of cliche things that the hero learns from his sidekicks.

Overall the movie is very watchable by all ages. There are a few intense scences that might frighten younger kids but for the most part they are short and less traumatic then the death of Simba’s father in The Lion King. There is lots of humor and clever dialogue and the movie is well paced so it’s not boring at any parts. Parents will enjoy watching this movie with their kids.

Is it right for Kids? Yes, this is a movie the family can enjoy together.

Jeff Smith’s “Bone” Book 1 – Out from Boneville June 15, 2009

Posted by hatlentore in Comics/Graphics Novels.
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For this review I’ve chosen a series of graphic novel called Bone. It’s written and illustrated by Jeff Smith and published by Scholastic (at least in Canada).

Bone tells the story of the three Bone cousins. They have been run out of Boneville and the story picks up with them wandering the desert after having outrun the mob that chased them out of town. They become seperated and are eventually reunited in a lush forested valley at a farmstead. There they meet Gran’ma Ben and Thorn.

The story is one typical of many epic adventure tales. There are heroes and villians, action a-plenty and a story that is rich and complicated. The three ‘heroes’ are at times, funny, heroic, despicable and even romantic. Not all in one character mind you. There is Fone Bone, the heroic romantic; Phoney Bone, the con-man looking out for himself and Smiley Bone, the silly one that seems to have no clue.

I really enjoyed reading this story and found it an easy read. It should be suitable for most kids except for the very young. Part of the story could be read to them but there are some dark, scary portions that could frighten them. The monsters of the story can look a scary for younger kids. My daughter is 4 and didn’t like to even look through those parts of the book. She did find that other parts were OK and I could read those to her. I would recommend this book to kids that are at least 8 or 9 years old.

Is it right for kids? Yes, provided they are 8 or older.

The book is about 130 pages with a softcover and can be found in black and white or color version. The black and white version looks very good, the drawings are wonderful and detailed. However the color version looks even better.

Disney/Pixar’s The Incredibles #1 Comic – Boom Kids June 10, 2009

Posted by hatlentore in Comics/Graphics Novels.
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Boom Studios has been ramping up their kids line -up with lots of new releases. Their first of the bunch was The Incredibles. It was released several weeks ago but it should still be available to pickup in comic shops or book stores or wherever you might find comics.

This series will run 4 individual monthly issues and the 2nd should be out now or within a week or two. This first issues takes place sometime after the events of the movie. The Incredibles are now working as a team fighting the bad guys. In this case it’s a new one called Futurion. During the opening scene the family doesn’t work to well as a team but manages to take down Futurion. During the battle, Mr Incredible has some problems, he doesn’t seem quite as strong or invulnerable as he normally is.

Back home again, the family talks about working as a team and listening to the leader of the team, Mr Incredible. However, he says nothing about his weakness. As the story progresses, Mr Incredible, returns to the scene of the first battle, the city zoon, to find a Devolution Bomb left behind. During the fight he is unable to bend some bars to escape the lion’s den (literally) and is rescued by Frozon, his friend from the movie. At the end My Inredible confesses that he has lost his super-powers but that his family shouldn’t know. Dun-dun-daaaa…

The story in this comic is easy to follow, has some fun moments and is very much like the movie. Though with less violence. It would be enjoyed by any kids that have seen the movie and had fun with it. Older kids might not like the simpler story and lack of as much action however.

Is it right for kids: Sure thing. Up, Up and Away!

Walt Disney’s Mary Poppins – Review June 9, 2009

Posted by hatlentore in Older Movies.
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I hear you saying, “Mary Poppins? A review of a movie that’s from the early 1960s?” Sure, why not. I wanted to review movies that would be suitable for kids. This one is.And I’m sure by the time you’ve finished reading through this, you’ll be humming one of the many catchy songs.

The movie is loosely based on the stories by Pamela Travers. I chose this partly because my daughters ballet school did their year end show on Mary Poppins. And also partly becuase it’s a light, fun movie to watch. I’m sure most adults have seen it but it will be new to kids.

The quick synopsis: The story takes place in London of 1910 and focuses on the Banks family. They are in need of a new Nanny and along comes Mary Poppins. The movie is a series of short fun songs and adventures and ends with a life lesson for the Banks family that family is most important.

For kids this is a great movie. There aren’t any car chases, explosions or fights. Just catchy songs like Chim Chim Cheree and entertaining dance numbers like Step in Time. My daughter watched it a twice the first time she saw it and it’s now in regular rotation.

Is it right for kids? A resounding Yes.

You’re humming a Mary Poppins tune aren’t ya?

Disney/Pixar’s UP! June 5, 2009

Posted by hatlentore in New Releases.
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Disney/Pixar recently released their latest animated film, UP! It’s the latest in a string of successful movies by the Pixar team, following in the footsteps of such great movies as The Incredibles, Toy Story, Monsters, Inc, and Cars. I’ve always been a fan of Pixar movies, even the shorts that get shown before each feature length film.

UP! is the story of Karl Fredrickson. A widower living the house he and his wife restored and lived in. Their life long dream was to travel to South America and see a place called Paradise Falls. The movie open with a young Karl watching newsreel footage of his hero and his latest expedition. Then Karl meets a young girl, Ellie and they become friends and eventually fall in Love. The first 10 or so minutes tell the story of their lives until the present day when Karl is faced with having to leave his house. He chooses to live the dream he and Ellie had and so starts the adventure. I do have to say that the first 10-15 minutes can be a little sad. The storytellers at Pixar have done a great job with showing Karls state of mind and his motivation for doing what he does in this film.

As with most/many animated movies, there seems to be a perception that they are for kids. Pixar movies also fall into this category. A lot of the public hasn’t yet come to see animated movies as being equally legitimate entertainment as live action movies. Those people tend to see animated as being for kids. That is not always the case. As with most Disney and Pixar moves there is humor and adventure enough for most young kids and the same goes for adults. However, there are some scary parts that may frighten young kids. My daughter is 4 years, she was scared at probably 3 different parts of the movie, one of those times scared enough to leave the theatre for a few minutes. Other times she was laughing and enjoying the movie at all the right parts.

So while I would recommend this movie to just about any kid or adult, if you have kids that under 6, be aware that they may get frightened at some points. Also, if your child has any kind of fear of dogs, maybe watch the movie first without them to judge if they will be OK. Some of the ‘bad guys’ are dogs and there are some scenes that were a bit tense and show dogs briefly fighting.

Is it right for kids: I would say ‘Yes’ but only for kids that are a bit older then 5 or 6 years old.

Muppet Robin Hood #1 Comic by Boom Kids June 4, 2009

Posted by hatlentore in Comics/Graphics Novels.
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My first review is interestingly enough a new comic book title from Boom Studios new kids imprint division called Boom Kids. I picked this title for a couple of different reasons. One being nostalgia, I loved the Muppets when I was a kid, and the other reason was it was a classic tale from history. But really, it’s the Muppets. How can you not like the Muppets.

The cover art clearly shows, who is meant to be Robin and who is the Sheriff. In this case, Kermit the Frog gets the lead as the Robin Hood with Miss Piggy, of course, playing Maid Marian. Sam the Eagle gets cast as the Sheriff of Nottingham and Gonzo as his right hand… man(?) Sir Guy of Gisbourne. Of course, Kermit would be the hero but I hadn’t really thought of Sam as being the type to be the Sheriff but of all the Muppet’s he most fits the part. I can’t really see Fozzie, Rowlf or Scooter playing as the Sheriff so this works.

The introduction to the story and character is done in manner of a voice-over to a movie, all silhouettes and shadows. Kermit, uh, RobinĀ  returns home from the Crusades to find that his swamp has been turned into a mini-golf course complete with windmill. From there Robin meets the Sheriff and Sir Guy, a quick sword and golf club duel ends with Robin getting the upper hand of course and soon Robin escapes. Eventually we are introduced to the remainder of the Merry Men and that is where many of the more familiar Muppets are introduced. Scooter, Rowlf and even the Swedish Chef make an appearance.

The story follows the legend pretty closely with ample adjustment to account for Muppets and some modern references. There is some good humor and the story flows pretty quickly from one point to the next. The artwork is quite nice and does give an impression of the Muppets while still allowing them to be, dare I say, natural in the way they move and interact. There is a fair amount of reading but the dialogue is suitable for all ages. Kids that are able to read pretty well will have fun going through the story. Younger kids learning to read will find it easy as well but may need help here and there. Kids that are to young to be reading or have just started, will have fun with the pictures while having the story read to them.

I would recommend this book for parents that would like to introduce their kids to the Muppets or to comics in general or even to a great legend in a fun format. Its great for all ages.

Is it right for your child? June 2, 2009

Posted by hatlentore in General Comments.
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Hi there and welcome to ‘Is it right for Kids’.

What I hope to do is to provide you with some useful information to help you decide if something is right for you child. I plan to review movies, TV shows, books, comics, toys, and other stuff from the view point of a father with a young child. That’s because I am a father with a young child. I have been frustrated with a lack of good information for my demographic. That being a dad looking for a movie or TV show that my child can watch; a computer game that is fun for a young child; or a book or comic that we can read together.

So this will be a learning experience for me and for my child as we explore the world of popular entertainment in its many forms. I will try to focus on things that are suitable for kids, but will probably include some reviews for parents (and kids of all ages) as well. I may diverge into other topics that are relevant to parents but won’t stray far from the entertainment area. I will also endeavor to write about what I know. I welcome your input so please add your viewpoint and let me know what you think about a topic.

So here we go…..