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. May signals the final stretch of the school year and there are plenty of fun finds awaiting young minds as a welcome to summer vacation.
Kohl's Cares, $5, Ages 3 and up
"The RIO 2 Blu's Wild Journey Collection" books and plush toys
Until supplies are gone, Kohl's Department Stores is offering the latest line in the Kohl's Cares program. This time, the theme is a spotlight on the new film from Twentieth Century Fox "RIO 2" starring Blu the Parrot and his frog and bulldog pals. For just $5, kids and parents can pick from adorable plush characters from movie along with a hardcover book titled "RIO 2 Blu's Wild Journey" and there's even an option of a family style jigsaw puzzle featuring artwork from the film which opened last month. Visit any Kohl's store or kohls.com/cares for details.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $16.99, Ages 4 to 8
"A Boy and a Jaguar" by Alan Rabinowitz and illustrated by Catia Chien
This moving and well-told story is about a little boy who stutters and his life-long journey that includes a promise to himself and also the "big cats" at the Bronx Zoo who are four-legged friends he counts among his most valued friends. Based on a true story, this 32-page hardcover is beautifully illustrated by Catia Chien and is told with emotion and life passion, including a reminder about the importance of protecting endangered species like the Jaguar of the jungles of Central America. It is available in stores and at hmhbooks.com beginning May 6.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $18.99, Ages 10 to 14
"The Dolphins of Shark Bay" by Pamela S. Turner
When your address is "Shark Bay," in Western Australia, this surrounding swimming space to live, adapt and survive requires some important life rules for a safe existence as a dolphin, since sharks are always circling. Dolphins learn to sleep in "nano naps" shutting down half the brain for a few minutes while snoozing and still keeping the other half functioning to breath. And always resting as "a dolphin group" also assures added security from a shark attack. These are just a few of the fascinating details shared by scientist-turned-author Pamela S. Turner in her detailed and exciting 80-page hardcover. Filled with vivid photography showing everything from the wounds from sharks that dolphins must endure to fun and whimsical, captured on camera moments, this book is an educational and entertaining page-by-page valued keepsake. It's in stores or at hmhbooks.com.
EntertainmentOne, $14.98, Ages 5 to 12
"Bella Sara: Emma's Wings" starring the voice of country music star MacKenzie Porter
In this 75-minute feature length computer animated adventure, the first full adventure film based on the trading card sensation, viewers take a magical journey to "North of North," a mythical, horse-filled land where earthling Emma comes face to face with the evil Ivenna, who is out to destroy the herds, steal their magic and possession of the land. It's up to Emma to learn a lesson about overcoming odds. It's available in stores or at entertainmentone.com.
Whistlefritz, $19.99, Ages 2 to7
"FRENCH for Kids: Dedans et Dehos aka Inside and Out" from Whistlefritz Founder Heidi Stock
A 35-minute fun and educational animated DVD is ideal for young minds and talents to be introduced to a new language. Fritzi the French Mouse welcomes children to his house to learn about the French names for favorite spaces like the kitchen and living room. An engaging and interactive format holds attention while teaching everyday phrases like greetings, food names and numbers. It also includes moments of singing and dancing to celebrate new words in an exciting new language. It's available in stores or at whistlefritz.com May 13.
Whistlefritz, $19.99, Ages 2 to7
"FRENCH for Kids: Allons Danser! aka Let's Dance!" from Whistlefritz Founder Heidi Stock
There's 40-minutes of fun and educational songs, along with traditional favorites shared by Fritzi the French Mouse with the help of internationally acclaimed vocalists Marie-Louise Desage and Didier Prossaird. There are 20 songs featured, all perfectly chosen to introduce young talent to enjoy catchy tunes while learning how say numbers, parts of the body and key phrases in French. It's available in stores or at whistlefritz.com May 13.