Reviews: What's New This Week

Filed under: Media, Toys, New In Pop Culture

Here is a look at what's new this week in family entertainment as adapted from reviews and ratings by Common Sense Media. Click on the links to read the reviews in full.

In Theaters Now: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Other than the food that falls from the sky, the film adaptation of "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" bears little resemblance to the book on which it is based. In the hands of Sony Pictures Animation, the silly story about a town where weather takes the form of food becomes a cautionary tale about processed food and gluttony. Visually delicious and often funny, the film has a subtle message about being yourself as well as a warning about the consequences of greed. Rated PG, OK for Kids 6+

Barbie and the Three MusketeersDVD: Barbie and the Three Musketeers
The girl who can do anything must rely on more than charm and intelligence to overcome obstacles in "Barbie and the Three Musketeers." In order to fulfill their dreams of protecting the prince, Barbie and her pals must fight the bad guys with homemade weapons and plenty of girlish enthusiasm. They may be swashbucklers with swords, but these girls manage to fight without getting their dresses dirty or messing up their hair. Rated NR, OK for Kids 5+

TV: Mega Beasts
Kids who are curious about the Earth's past and the creatures who once walked upon it will find "Mega Beasts" highly entertaining. Using fossil evidence and computer graphics, scientists recreate the big and often scary creatures that called this land home long before humans did. Nature being what it is, you can expect to see plenty of predatory violence and even some prehistoric breeding. Rated TV-PG, OK for Kids 10+

Aliens are ComingBooks: Aliens Are Coming!
"Aliens Are Coming!" is a picture book that allows young readers to relive the public freak-out that resulted from Orson Welles' 1938 "War of the Worlds" radio broadcast. While a famous hoax may seem an unusual topic for a children's book, the story offers fun illustrations and an important lesson about not believing everything you hear. OK for Kids 5+

Music: Wake Up
French pop singer Sliimy's "Wake Up" crosses generational lines with a message that appeals to both parents and children: The fun of being a kid need not end just because you are an adult. With cheery nonsense lyrics and a synthesizer-pop sound, it's a fun way to start the day. OK for Kids 5+

Web: Webkinz Jr.
Like the original "Webkinz" site, Webkinz Jr. is accessed via a secret code found on plush toys that parents can purchase for about $25. What sets this new site apart is the amount of educational content and the fact that it was created for younger, non-reading children. Parents set the difficulty level and step back while kids care for their virtual pets and learn basic preschool and kindergarten skills. OK for Kids 4+

Ratatouille gameGames: Ratatouille
For the Leapster game system, "Ratatouille" lets players join Remy in five different games that are designed to teach reading, spelling and other skills appropriate for preschoolers through first graders. Best of all, instead of losing the game when they become stuck or answer incorrectly, players are automatically redirected to the correct answer. Rated NR, OK for Kids 4+

Commonsense Media


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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.