Reviews: What's New This Week

Filed under: Books for Kids, Books for Parents, 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: "Life as We Know It"
After the death of their mutual friends, a couple who can't stand each other are named guardians of an orphaned child in the romantic comedy "Life as We Know It." The outcome is predictable, but the journey is fun as the new parents learn to love their child and each other. Rough language and lots of sexual situations make this film inappropriate for younger audiences. Rated PG-13, OK for kids 14+

DVD: "How to Train Your Dragon"
A 3-D adventure featuring a young Viking boy who dares to be different, "How to Train Your Dragon" is a heartwarming story about looking beneath the surface and being true to yourself. Despite the fantasy violence and dragon attacks, the film is ultimately one about unconditional love between family and friends. Rated PG, OK for kids 8+

TV: "Pound Puppies"
Although the name is the same, the new "Pound Puppies" bears little resemblance to the original 1980s cartoon. This one features a pack of well-meaning canines working from a secret command center to match up homeless dogs with new owners. Although the dogs sometimes get up to a little mischief, the show is sweet and has a positive message about trust and loyalty. Rated TV-Y, OK for kids 4+

Books: "Trash"
Three boys living in a garbage dump are featured in "Trash," an adventure story by Andy Mulligan in which poverty, corruption and social injustice figure prominently. After discovering a mysterious wallet, the boys find themselves racing against the bad guys to uncover a treasure that could change their lives. Although there is some violence and scenes involving underage drinking, the book has a powerful message appropriate for young teens. OK for kids 13+

Music: "Bottoms Up" by Trey Songz featuring Nicki Minaj
Parents who would rather their kids not associate alcohol and violence with being cool would do well to avoid "Bottoms Up," the latest release by R&B artist Trey Songz. It's all swagger and sex and sends a dangerous message to impressionable kids. Iffy for kids 16-18

Games: "Just Dance 2"
An active multiplayer game for Nintendo Wii, "Just Dance 2" is a great way to get kids off the couch and exercising. Unfortunately, many of the tunes included contain suggestive lyrics and the onscreen dancers are far too sexy for younger kids. Rated E10+, iffy for kids 10-13

Web: Girls Life
An online magazine for teens, "Girls Life" is full of helpful information about issues related to growing up, getting along and staying healthy and safe during the teen years. Visitors will find age-appropriate advice about boys, bodies and health, along with entertainment news, games and fashion tips. OK for kids 13+

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