Browsing articles in "Kids’ Panel"

Angus reviews Read Up

Feb 3, 2016   //   by Angus   //   Age 4-8, Kids' Panel  //  Comments Off on Angus reviews Read Up

Check this out:

Angus Reviews Read Up.

Angus reading a book

Kids’ panellist Angus reads one of the books he picked up at the Read Up book club.

Why it’s cool:

Every Tuesday I go to this book club in our neighborhood.

Sheliah Currie runs this club at a community centre near me called Read Up.

What happens when you go to the book club?

You get books. I lineup and they give me books at my reading level. What happens when I find the books to easy? They test me to see if I need to go up a reading level.

They give me a bag with three books and then I wait at colouring table. Then someone reads with me. So they read with me and I read to them.  Sometimes we read Sheliah’s books, Pesky Rooster. I love these books.

You bring your bag back every week and then get new books and a sticker. I have 13 stickers!

Why is this a good book club?

It is a great book club because it can teach me how to read and get better at reading. You get new books every time.

Is this entertaining, educational, or both?

It is educational, I like taking new books home every week and I like get better at reading.


Emily checks out Chirp Magazine

Jan 27, 2016   //   by Emily   //   Age 4-8, Kids' Panel  //  Comments Off on Emily checks out Chirp Magazine

Emily gives you a tour through her most recently received issue of Chirp Magazine.


Griffin reviews Un Lun Dun by China Miéville

Jan 20, 2016   //   by Griffin   //   Age 9-15, Kids' Panel  //  Comments Off on Griffin reviews Un Lun Dun by China Miéville
Un Lun Dun by China Miéville

Un Lun Dun by China Miéville

I recently finished reading Un Lun Dun, a fantasy novel by one of my new favourite authors, China Miéville. It begins with the main character, a girl named Zanna, supposedly being part of a prophecy, calling her to an “ab-city” called Un Lun Dun with her friend Debba. However, half way through the book, it is revealed that the “person” who foretold the prophecy is actually quite often wrong. It is then shown that Debba is the one in the prophecy and that Zanna should never have been involved.

Un Lun Dun is quite a complicated story. There are lots of twists and believe me, if you do read it, you will be quite surprised by it. The book is set in London, in probably the 1990s, but also takes place in Un Lun Dun, the ab-city version of London. The book mentions other ab-cities including Naw York and Tokyno. The difference between ab-cities and normal cities is that in ab-cities, anything can happen. For example, the London Eye, London’s giant Ferris wheel, is the Un Lun Dun Eye, a huge water wheel that supplies power for the entire ab-city.

In an ab-city, there’s a thing called moil, which recycles thrown away objects from London and the Un Lun Doners recycle them to create homes. In an ab-city, you could live in a castle built of typewriters, or in a small cottage made of cardboard boxes, or (my personal favourite), you could live in a giant mushroom.

Un Lun Dun is a very good fantasy/adventure novel for anyone who enjoys cobblestone streets, urban adventure and two-headed, three-eyed, triple-legged creatures and such! It is an imaginative way of looking at cities we might think we already know.


Isabel checks out Vine

Jan 13, 2016   //   by Isabel   //   Age 16-19, Kids' Panel  //  Comments Off on Isabel checks out Vine

Vine is an app for devices that allows the user to watch, share, comment, and create short six-second videos. Vine was created in 2012 and was intended to be a video-sharing app on iOS devices. Later in 2012 Vine was bought by Twitter for $30 million. In January of 2013 the app was officially launched for iOS devices, and later on in June of 2013 the Android version of the app was released. Finally in November of 2014, the Windows version was released, and since then Vine has over 200 million active monthly users.

I really like this app because it allows people to showcase their talents in a short time period, so you can watch multiple vines in the time it would take to watch one YouTube video. I also like the variety that is available with the videos on Vine. The app allows you to follow the users that create videos, and that way, when you log onto or open the app, your feed will be filled with videos that the people you follow have posted or re-vined (shared) while you were not on the app.

This app allows you to be as anonymous as you wish to be. If you do decide to film and post videos on the app you do not have to show your face if you choose not to. Also, when creating your profile, you don’t have to use your name. You can choose any user name that you like. The app does allow you to link to some of the other types of social networks such as: Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook to make sharing your videos between networks possible however, it is not necessary that you connect them.

I personally like to use the app to post clips of me singing covers of songs in hopes that I will be discovered like some other Vine users have been in the past. However, when I’m not posting videos I enjoy watching the vines posted by people in the comedy category as well as vines in the art category. I find it simply amazing how many people use this app, and how so many people are gifted in incredible ways. I recommend downloading this app if you like laughing and seeing all of the amazing talents people have within just six seconds.


Mac checks out I Funny: A Middle School Story

Jan 6, 2016   //   by Mac   //   Age 9-15, Kids' Panel  //  Comments Off on Mac checks out I Funny: A Middle School Story

Check this out:

I Funny: A Middle School Story by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein (©2012 by James Patterson, Illustrations by Laura Park. Little, Brown and Company); Book One of a thee-book series.

Why it’s cool:

I Funny: A Middle School Story is a book about what it would be like to be a comedian in a wheelchair in middle school.

Jamie Grimm lives with a family with his step mom and step dad and cousins.

The biggest bully in the school is his adopted brother, and he has three funny friends. He falls in love with Suzie, who is from his school.

Jamie enters a contest because of his uncle Frankie, who owns a seafood shop by the sea. Uncle Frankie showed Jamie a newspaper ad announcing “The Planet’s Funniest Kid Comic” contest because he thought Jamie was funny enough to win.

Just by looking at the title, you know the book is funny. And, if you really want to laugh, do read it.

Is this entertaining, educational, or both?

I Funny: A Middle School Story is entertaining because, every 15 pages or so, you get a laugh from one of the jokes.

For some people, it is educational because you learn how to be funny, and what things are funny, but some people don’t think that can be educational.

So, really, it just depends on your point of view.


Maryam Takes the Cake!

Dec 30, 2015   //   by Maryam   //   Age 9-15, Kids' Panel  //  Comments Off on Maryam Takes the Cake!

Yolanda Gampp is a professional baker, who was in a show on Food Network called Sugar Stars. She makes specialty cakes, and desserts.

Yolanda is on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and YouTube too. She posts YouTube videos every Tuesday, at 11 a.m.

You can find her in this video, which is a tutorial on how to make emoji cakes. 🙂 🙂 🙂

Her YouTube channel is called How To Cake It, and her website is

Every week she has a new tee (t-shirt) that somehow coincides with the cake she is baking that week.

Yolanda is very funny, nice, and always has extravagant ideas for her cakes.

My favourite cake that she has baked is her minion cake! Bananaaaa! I love minions, and Yo put so much effort and detail into it.

If you want to know how to make this cake, please check out this video:

Yo always has great tips and advice to make the cake easier to make.

If I could meet her, I would be very excited! 🙂

If I could make a tee, I would make one saying: I <3 YOLANDA! <3


Seth reviews The Martian

Dec 23, 2015   //   by Seth   //   Age 9-15, Kids' Panel  //  Comments Off on Seth reviews The Martian

Aside from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I was not really exited for any other movies this year. Therefore when I decided to go see The Martian on a whim, I was very much surprised by just how thoughtful and well crafted this movie is.

The Martian follows the story of the Ares 3 team on Mars, until a Martian dust storm forces the team to abort their mission. However a piece of the satellite communications radar breaks off and impales astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon), and presumed dead by his crew, they depart without him. Little do they know however, that Watney survived, and stranded on the barren wasteland that is Mars, he must use his knowledge as a botanist to survive until rescue. Once the team at NASA discovers he is alive (courtesy of satellite imagery), they immediately plan a rescue mission. The story hinges on the theme of survival against all odds.

At the forefront of the film is leading showman Matt Damon, with the terribly difficult role of playing Mark Watney. However, he pulls it off with flying colours. Throughout most of the film Matt Damon is alone on set, and he is about 75% of the film. Damon manages to play the perfect balance between botanist and survivor that the role so desperately relies on. This never sets him back and he delivers an unparalleled performance that carries the film all the way through.

The rest of the Ares 3 Team (Jessica Chastain, Michael Pena, Kate Mara, and Sebastian Stan), give very strong performances as well. There is one scene where the crew finds out Watney is alive, and Jessica Chastain delivers a very strong performance in this scene to help drive the emotions. Some other good performances come from the team at NASA (Sean Bean, Aksel Hennie, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Donald Glover, Mackenzie Davis, and many more), who help carry the plot when Matt Damon is not around. The plot can drag on a bit as the film makers tried to flesh out every character. That being said, the filmmakers did a phenomenal job at characterizing and fleshing-out all of the characters, including the supporting characters, as they all have their own important roles and all get their time to shine in the film.

Another thing that should be mentioned are the visual effects. The film opens with a breathtaking pan of the barren planet Mars and sets the bar for what this film will accomplish. The entire film is visually amazing. Mars looks fantastic and the Hermes (the Ares 3 space ship/station) all look very real and awesome. The film really has a realistic feel where the video journal entries Watney logs look very real, and the technology also looks very advanced from our current day and age but at the same time, it still looks like it would actually function, and may not be to far from what we can accomplish today. Ridley Scott should be commended for his work.

The film is also very scientifically accurate with formulas and other details accurate to the information from NASA. After doing some research, everything follows the science on Mars. It is nice to see the filmmakers put so much attention into details. The only thing is that the dust storm at the beginning of the film was over-exaggerated and would not have done nearly as much damage as it did.

If you have read the book (like I have), you will be pleased to hear the film is an excellent adaptation of Andy Weir’s The Martian. Entire scenes and lines, word for word, are taken from the book, with the plot very closely following that of the book’s, without many deviations. The movie also manages to retain the book’s signature sense of humor, from the video journal entries where Watney talks to himself, to the awesome one-liners and more. I was very surprised that this movie is so faithful to the book it is based on.

The Martian is a must see film of 2015, it is also one of the best book-to-movie adaptations I have seen in a long time. It has phenomenal pacing with fully fleshed out characters, it is a fantastic adaptation of the book as well. This movie is phenomenal.


Jolie checks out Jem and the Holograms

Dec 16, 2015   //   by Jolie   //   Age 9-15, Kids' Panel  //  Comments Off on Jolie checks out Jem and the Holograms

Check this out:

Check out the movie Jem and the Holograms.

Recently, my friend and I went to the premiere of the Jem and the Holograms movie.  My dad’s friend got us passes to the see the movie before it was even released at the theaters!  It was really exciting to get the chance to see it before anyone else.

This is a story about a shy girl named Jerrica.  She loves to sing and play the guitar, but not in front of other people.  Since her parents passed away when she was a little girl, she lives with her aunt, her sister and her two cousins, who she also considers sisters.

One day, she records a video of herself singing, but then right away tries to delete the video, which she thought she did.  But her sister finds the video and secretly uploads it to the Internet and Jerrica becomes ‘Internet famous’ under a secret identity by the name of Jem.

Jem got contacted by a recording studio in LA and she decides to join them, along with her three sisters who perform with her.  She goes to LA and brings along the robot that her dad made for her before he passed away.  That night, the robot comes alive and starts beeping and flashing its lights.  The robot gives the girls a clue to find parts that are missing from him – almost like a scavenger hunt.  This starts Jem down a road of making decisions regarding her family, friends and music.

I won’t give it all away here – it is worth checking it out!

Jem and Holograms is a sad, cute, adventurous and an awesome movie – all rolled into one.

Is it entertaining, educational or a little of both?

It’s mainly entertaining, but there is a little bit of education mixed in!  It tells you how it is okay to be yourself.


Angus Raves about Raffi

Dec 10, 2015   //   by Angus   //   Age 4-8, Kids' Panel  //  Comments Off on Angus Raves about Raffi

Check this out:

I went to see a Raffi concert at Roy Thompson Hall. I went with my mom and some friends.

My mom said Raffi was around when she was a kid, he must be old!

In Roy Thompson Hall we could see the CN Tower very clearly from the windows.

I was surprised that Raffi had a little head but I expected him to have a beard.

He asked us “Are you ready to sing?” I said yes, I was ready to sing. I liked singing with him.

We were sitting on a balcony near Raffi. I could see him close.

He was wearing black jeans and had a bunch of bananas on his chair. I knew he was going to sing ‘Bananaphone’. I liked that.

Why it’s cool:

He sang: ‘Baby Beluga’, ‘Down by the Bay’, ‘I like to Eat Apples and Bananas’, ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’, and ‘Tingalayo’ and many other ones. Everybody knew the words.

Is it Educational or entertaining, or a little of both?

Completely entertaining! It was so fun to sing with him.


Emily Loves The Dinsosaur Express

Dec 2, 2015   //   by Emily   //   Age 4-8, Kids' Panel  //  Comments Off on Emily Loves The Dinsosaur Express

Three-year-old Emily’s favourite book right now is All Aboard the Dinosaur Express by Timothy Knapman. Check out her more detailed review!


The Kids' Panel

Meet our kids' panel: a savvy group of kids with a strong point of view about the media and the culture they consume. Culturally diverse, a range of age and interests, they'll provide you with an insight into kids' media ... what works, what doesn't and why. Check back often for new reviews. We think you'll be inspired! @storyartscentre