Ben 10 Omniverse

 

Ben 10Beginning in a few months (September), The Cartoon Network will roll out another season of Ben 10, called Ben 10 Omniverse. This is the fourth installment of the Ben 10 series. In this series, Ben is a more mature 16-year-old. He actually travels back in time to assist himself as a 10-year-old boy. Both of them will be traveling side by side in the series.

Derrick J. Wyatt, who animated Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated and Transformers: Animated, designed the concept art and characters for Ben 10: Omniverse. The new cartoon style looks more like an anime character, as Ben 10’s body appears a little bit taller and thinner. This design was first unveiled at 2012 UK Toy Fair.

Ben 10 started from scratch and its popularity has grown over these past 7 years, surpassing the likes of Cartoon Network staples, including Green Lantern, Teen Titans, and Batman. Studios have been struggling for some time to reinvent these other comic book stories. However, Ben 10 is now the network’s hottest franchise, selling billion of dollars worth of merchandise and setting record ratings.

So what’s the plot line for this new series? No one knows exactly for sure, but what we do know is that Ben is able to transform into 10 aliens now. He can also drive, date, and stay out late, so parents: Watch out! He seeks to explore a secret alien city with his Grandpa Max, but must fight aliens from the past. A new enemy seeks to destroy him….and the list goes on. One question remains: Are you ready for it?

In case you missed it, a sneak peak at the new Ben 10 series aired during Ben 10 Week (March 19, 2012 – March 24, 2012)!

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Who Inspired That Cartoon?

We know our kids’ favorite cartoon or storybook characters. We can list their names, tell their jokes, possibly even remember what they are usually wearing. But, do we know what inspired these lovable characters? Some of us might assume that the illustrated object of our child’s affection was created in a darkened computer studio somewhere in Hollywood, where children are simply test subjects and demographics. This might be the case for some children’s media, but a little research shows that many of today most loved characters were created for or inspired by real boys and girls just like our own.

Some examples:

Olivia the Pig- This rambunctious piglet makes mischief and fun everywhere she goes. Her creator, Ian Falconer, created the character as a gift for his brand new baby niece. The book was eventually picked up by a publishing house that had been impressed by Falconer’s work with The New Yorker. Today, Olivia is the star of various picture books, board books and gifts. Olivia toys can be purchased at many toy stores across the nation and she has her own animated television show on Nick Jr.!

Charlie and Lola- This is yet another television show adapted from popular children’s picture books. The characters are Charlie and his younger sister, Lola. Much of the stories surround the duo’s relationship and the everyday scenarios that most brothers and sisters encounter. The author, Lauren Child, was inspired to create the series of books after meeting a young, inquisitive stranger on a train in Denmark!

Thomas the Train- Although not based on an actual child, this very popular character comes from a series of train stories told, originally, from father to son at bedtime. Those stories—published as The Railway Series books—were developed into a British television show that eventually made its way through various adaptations and into the Thomas and Friends series that we all know and love.

 

It appears that inspiration is all around us! It might only be a matter of time until your lovable child becomes the next star of his own television series!

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Hop on the Dinosaur Train with Dr. Scott

The PBS television show Dinosaur Train is enjoying a successful run as one of modern preschoolers’ favorite shows. It pairs two of their favorite things—trains and dinosaurs—and follows an adorable young tyrannosaurus named Buddy as he discovers the differences between dinosaur species. During each episode of the show, Buddy and his adoptive family of pteranodons travel on the Dinosaur Train to meet different dinosaurs and explore different prehistoric time periods. But one of the aspects of this show that makes it so great is the depth of actual scientific knowledge it offers for kids. And “Dr. Scott” has a lot to do with that.

Dr. Scott D Sampson is a paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and educator who appears as the trusted expert at the end of every Dinosaur Train episode. After Buddy and his family have had their adventures, Dr. Scott appears on the scene to help young viewers wrap up the content of the episode into a cohesive concept. With the help of a few small children who answer his science questions onscreen, Dr. Scott closes the show with a solid “take it home” element that many children’s shows simply don’t have. It’s nice have an expert on board the Dinosaur Train!

If your kids have not seen Dinosaur Train, check it out! The Dinosaur Train storybook, I Am A T. Rex, is a good introduction to the show’s concept. And, in addition to television programming, you can order a few DVDs here. What kid wouldn’t enjoy learning more about prehistoric animals with the help of both the sweet dinosaurs on the show and the resident expert, Dr. Scott? It’s only a matter of time before your kids become experts themselves and you’ll need them to explain the difference between the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous time periods!

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Have You Seen The Avengers Yet?

AvengersThe Avengers movie is out and has something for everyone in the mix.  Whether you’ve been a longtime fan of Marvel comics, or are just starting out, this movie is a must-see. Although, I have to say, if you haven’t seen any of the prequels yet, you may have some catching up to do.

The Avengers originally started out as Iron Man, Thor, Wasp, Ant-Man, and the Hulk. One by one all of the superheroes joined forces to fight Loki. After the Avengers fought off Loki, the heroes chose to continue to fight crime side by side. Wasp was the one who came up with the name “Avengers”. Eventually the Avengers added Captain America to the mix, after finding him trapped in ice and reviving him.

The Avengers of the recently released movie include Iron Man, Thor, The Hulk, and Captain America, with the addition of Black Widow and Hawkeye. Some of the individual Avengers have their own movies that have come out over the years. Catching up on these prequels will enlighten your understanding of the new Avengers movie.

What’s great about the new Avengers movie is that, not only does it appeal to men and boys, but it appeals to women as well. Joss Whedon, who wrote and directed Buffy the Vampire Slayer, also wrote and directed The Avengers, giving it enough blood and guts for the men and enough powerful women, plot, and heart for the ladies.

Comic book characters and superheroes in particular, like those from Marvel, have a long history with the toy industry. Kids love getting action figures, clothes and other merchandise associated with their favorite superheroes. Our sister company, All Aboard Toys, has an excellent selection of Iron Man toys to feed your kids’ Avengers addiction.

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A New Chuggington DVD!

Just in time for summer break, there’s a new Chuggington DVD for your kids to enjoy!

 

In “Wilson And The Ice Cream Fair,” the Chuggington trainees are embarking on new adventures, this time to an ice cream fair, the mayor’s banquet, and the ice caves! Wilson is the main character, but Brewster, Koko, Old Puffer Pete, and Mtambo make an appearance on the DVD, as well. By following along, your kids will learn lessons about cooperation, bravery, and responsibility.

The DVD is about sixty minutes long and was released by Anchor Bay Entertainment, the company that distributed Thomas & Friends videos up until a few years ago. This is the seventh Chuggington DVD they’ve released. Other releases include “Let’s Ride The Rails” and “Traintastic Adventures.” In addition to the Chuggington DVDs, Anchor Bay Entertainment also distributes childhood favorites like Nick Jr’s Wubbzy and the storybook-based Eloise DVDs.

“Wilson And The Ice Cream Fair” is available in DVD stores nationwide and can be purchased online. If you want to know more before you buy it, you can even watch the trailer!

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