Saturday, September 10, 2011

Play the game on

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Sunday, September 4, 2011

On Stranger Tides

TFK Kid Reporter Taylor Pannell with actor Geoffrey Rush, who plays Captain Hector Barbosa.

In Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, the fourth of Disney's Pirates adventures, Johnny Depp returns as the hilarious Jack Sparrow. The swashbuckling sequel finds Captain Jack aboard the Queen Anne's Revenge, the ship of the most infamous seafarer ever: Blackbeard. The evil pirate needs Jack's help to find the elusive Fountain of Youth. He'll stop at nothing to get to it, even if it means threatening to kill his own daughter (and Jack's old flame) Angelica, to get Jack to cooperate.

Now a prisoner, Jack must deal with not only the fearsome Blackbeard, but also a creepy crew of zombie men and eerily beautiful mermaids, who lure sailors to their watery graves. Will they make it to the Fountain of Youth alive? Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides opens in theaters today.

Getting Their Sea Legs

TFK Kid Reporter Taylor Pannell traveled to Beverly Hills, California, to interview Geoffrey Rush, who plays Captain Hector Barbossa, and Astrid Berges-Frisbey, who plays the mermaid Syrena. In this installment, Rush's Barbossa returns with a peg leg. His wooden limb and Syrena's mermaid tail both had to be added into the film later on.

How did the special effects team do it? Berges-Frisbey explains: "[I wore] a pair of shorts that were digitally recreated using computer graphics [to look like a mermaid's tail]." During filming, the actress also wore special dots on her legs to track the way she moved. This helped filmmakers transform the bottom half of her body into creature form.

While the other pirates in the movie weren't required to wear tracking dots, they certainly didn't have light and airy costumes either. "I still can't figure out why, in all the heat of the tropical islands, that pirates still wore really long hair, heavy front coats, big hats and long leather boots," Rush observes. "Pirates should have invented shorts and crew cuts! They would have been much better off."
Kid Reporter

A Rising Talent

Most people would be intimidated working on a big film with big stars such as Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz and Geoffrey Rush. So, how was it for a Hollywood newcomer like Berges-Frisbey on the set? "I was afraid of what I would find," the actress admits to TFK. "But everyone made us feel comfortable." She adds: "Because Johnny truly loves his part, and he's had so much fun playing Jack Sparrow all of these years, he shares that energy with the people on the set."

In fact, Depp was so supportive of the cast and crew that he even did some clean-up work, says Berges-Frisbey. "I had to be in the water a lot [for my part]. Sometimes it would get dirty, and Johnny was even in there cleaning the water for me!" she recalls. "It is possible to be a big star and still be really humble. It's inspiring. I feel really lucky to have worked with them."

Nature's Way

This summer, thousands of visitors are walking through a garden in the sky—right in the middle of New York City. They are enjoying a beautiful, new park called the High Line, which was constructed on old railway tracks.

After the railway was abandoned in 1980, wild plants, grass and trees began to grow between the tracks. A few people looked at this natural garden and saw something amazing. They worked to preserve the area when others wanted to tear it down. Today, the High Line attracts up to 2 million visitors per year. This summer, the new part of the High Line opened, almost doubling the park's size to one mile.

A Place to Play

The design of the park is unique. The new section includes many activities for children. Young people can use building toys, including wood planks, wheels, ropes, gears, pulleys and tools, to create one-of-a kind structures. The toys don't come with instructions. Instead, children use their imaginations to fashion forts, creatures and machines.

Children also enjoy a part of the park called the "flyover." The flyover is made of metal grating, which has been raised over the elevated tracks. Trees grow under and around it, giving you the feeling of walking through a jungle.
Kid Reporter

Let's Get Together

"Everyone supporting the High Line project wanted the park to embrace the city," says Danya Sherman, director of public programs for the Friends of the High Line. The Friends of the High Line is the group that saved the railway from demolition. Sherman believes that public spaces such as the High Line have the power to bring communities together.

The park also gives visitors a chance to experience nature in an urban environment. The designers have allowed the park to keep the overgrown feeling that it had when it was an abandoned track. If you visit, you can see birds, butterflies and many plants native to the northeastern United States.

The Friends of the High Line hope to expand the park even further, over an area that is still used as a rail yard. The High Line has also inspired projects in other cities, including Philadelphia, Chicago, and Amsterdam, where people hope to build new parks on old railway tracks.

Judy Moody Hits the Big Screen TIME For Kids gives you a sneak peek of the thrilladelic movie about America's favorite third grader

Judy Moody, the character from the wildly popular series by author Megan McDonald, is hitting the big screen. Readers know Judy Moody as snarky, witty, loving and, yes, a smidge moody. On June 10, fans can see Judy and her little brother, Stink, in the movie Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer. Mega rare!

"It all started because I wanted to tell some funny stories about growing up with all of my sisters," says McDonald of the book series. "Fans will be so excited because they'll see Judy's whole world in the film."

What's the Story?

After school is let out, Judy (played by Jordana Beatty) gathers her friends and tells them her awesome summer plan for them all. To her dismay, her closest friends are leaving for other adventures, including a circus camp and a mysterious island. The one friend who stays behind with Judy is too scared to do any of the things Judy had planned, such as tight-roping across the river in the forest near her house. It looks like another boring summer for Judy Moody.

Judy is even more bummed when she finds out her parents are going to California and she has to stay home with her Aunt Opal. Lucky for Judy, Opal turns out to be the aunt every kid wishes to have. Like Judy, Aunt Opal can turn an ordinary day into an extraordinary adventure. She is a free spirit who comes up with fun activities for the kids and her to do, such as going to look for the mythical monster, "Bigfoot," in the woods.

Book vs. Movie

Author Megan McDonald wrote the movie's screenplay. Still, there are some differences between the movie and the books. In the books, Judy is a bit more sarcastic and quick to judge. In the movie, however, Judy is more dramatic than snarky or rude. She's much sweeter in the movie too. Another big difference between the movie and book series is Judy's brother, Stink. In the book, Stink is the boring little brother who gets in the way of a good time. In the movie, however, Stink is Judy's sidekick. He helps his sister whenever she needs it.

Parris Mosteller plays Stink in the movie. "As the movie started filming," Parris told TFK, "I helped to make the character's role even bigger by adding my own take to Stink's fun."

At a recent preview of Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer, audience member Clarice Mulvey, 9, gave the movie a big thumbs-up. "I really liked it!" she said. "It was so funny and I would recommend it to other kids."

Can Judy Moody fans expect a sequel? Says Parris, "I think the next movie should be called the Stink-quel!"

Friday, September 2, 2011

Starting your Child on an Exercise Program

In today’s world, it would seem that more and more people tend to put exercise on the backburner in favor of more fast paced results to our desires. In recent years, there have been a significant number of diet pills claiming the “true” scientific way to lose weight and gain muscle definition. Unfortunately, it would seem that this kind of mentality has been passed on to our kids, and that they are finding less motivation to exercise.

Exercise programs for kids are hugely important. America holds the not so illustrious title of the fattest nation in the world and this moment, our kids are poised to inherit that title. That is something that all parents would not find as a particularly comforting thought.

For those of you not yet convinced that an exercise program for your kids isn’t a priority: The American Obesity Association states the single largest factor in childhood obesity is lack of physical activity and excessive sedentary behavior—that is to say, watching too much TV and playing too many video games.