Here's our monthly showcase of the latest and greatest new selections in media for youth.
From books and games to educational toys and DVDs, there's never a dull moment for active and eager young minds. And this month, the new year starts off with great and entertaining options for the cold winter months.
Entertainment One, $14.98, Ages 3 to 6
"The Adventures of Scooter the Penquin" by Spark Plug Entertainment
Featuring lessons of acceptance, honesty, teamwork and understanding, this new 80 minute CG-animated feature is fun and family friendly. Scooter is a unique little bird from a lost colony of penguins known for their amazing speed and strength. Abandoned before he was hatched, Scooter is taken in by a family of silver penguins who encourage his talents. Still, Scooter feels he doesn't belong. But his life changes after learning lessons of love and self worth when he returns to his village to save the day. It's in stores or at eonehomevideo.com.
HIT Entertainment, $14.98, Ages 2 to 6
"Angelina Ballerina: Dancing Around the World" by Lionsgate
More than just pink mouse, Angelina is always ready to learn something new. For this 60 minute adventure, she is traveling around the world to discover how dance trends and traditions differ in various countries, while also sharing some very common aspects. It includes five-episodes that are perfect for preschoolers to learn about how dance can be part of a healthy exercise routine. It's in stores Jan. 8 or at angelinaballerina.com.
HIT Entertainment, $14.98, Ages 2 to 5
"Thomas & Friends Muddy Matters" by Lionsgate
It's full-speed ahead for 2013 with five action-packed episodes of Thomas & Friends and three bonus features. Despite garbage, mud or mess, nothing can stop this persistent train and his friends as they learn sometimes hard work results in getting dirty before making a "clean finish." The bonus features includes a game, puzzles and even a Thomas karaoke music video. It's in stores Jan. 15 or at lionsgate.com.
HIT Entertainment, $14.98, Ages 1 to 4
"Barney: Let's Go to the Moon" by Lionsgate
Just in time to watch the skies for the Feast of Epiphany this weekend, celebrating how the astrologers of biblical times followed a shining star, on Jan 8 a new feature puts Barney the purple dinosaur among the stars. With a homemade spaceship, the gang tries to reach Mars and learns some important lessons about outer space along the way. It's in stores at at barney.com.
Houghton Mifflin, $19.95, Ages 8 and older
"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Visual Companion" by Jude Fisher
The new feature film version of "The Hobbit" has audiences of all ages discovering a new and strange world. This 80-page hardcover shares more than 100 color photos from the film to help explain who's who and where is where in this landscape of trolls, elves and goblins who live in Middle-Earth, along with dwarfs and heroic beings. It includes a foreword by Martin Freeman. It's in stores or at hmhbooks.com
Allergy & Health Alert Line, $6.99, All Ages
AllerMates Asthma Wristband with Puffer
Parents with children who have asthma can now breathe easier knowing their children have a little help with letting other know about breathing concerns. "Puffer" is a fun invented character featured on rubber wristbands that serve as an alert to others that a child has asthma. The Allergy & Health Alert Line also includes 14 other "characters" designated as the warning faces for other conditions like reactions to peanuts, shellfish, pollen, bee stings, gluten, eggs and other factors. Its available at Walgreens or visit allermates.com.