Saturday, February 09, 2019

Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., 'The Loud House', 'Hunter Street', 'Top Wing', 'I Am Frankie' & 'LSB: Shorties' Receive Honors in Spring 2019 Edition of Parents' Choice Awards

Nickelodeon has won a raft of prestigious awards in Television category of the Spring 2019 edition of the Parents' Choice Awards!

Presented by the non-profit Parents' Choice Foundation, the Parents' Choice Awards recognize the very best products and media for children of different ages and backgrounds, and of varied skill and interest levels.

Below is a list of awards (along with reviews, where available) that Nickelodeon has been awarded in TV category of the Spring 2019 edition of the Parents' Choice Awards. A full list of winners can be found at Congratulations Nickelodeon!

Nick Jr. Super Sonic Science: Tree
Ages: 2 - 5 yrs.
Award: Parents' Choice Recommended Seal

Those clever kids at Nick Jr are at it again. Here, they've mixed Claymation with hip-hop and layered 2D animated show mascots (Top Wing, Blaze, Shimmer and Shine, Paw Patrol and Team Umi Zoomi) into a science music video that demonstrates how a seed becomes a tree. Caution: lyrics can be contagious.

Hunter Street
Ages: 6 - 11 yrs.
Award: Parents' Choice Recommended Seal

Consider Hunter Street a kind of mystery series wrapped in light-hearted family humor. Teenager Max is the new kid in a foster family with four other children, and one morning they awake to an alarming development: Foster parents Erik and Kate are nowhere to be found.

Encoded maps, secret rooms, ancient artifacts, a menacing bad guy … The kids must work together to track down and interpret clues in hopes of revealing what happened. That's complicated by the challenge of keeping up appearances so folks in the outside world believe everything is fine in the Hunter household. And just when it seems like they've cracked the case, a package arrives at their home and another mystery begins.

Set in Amsterdam, Hunter Street was co-developed with Nickelodeon Netherlands television, and produced in the Netherlands. Its adventurous tone and above-average production value make the series approachable for audiences everywhere. The foster siblings figure out how to work together, forging familial bonds as they sleuth around town. Their escapades include a fair number of physical gags and lighthearted jokes but those don't detract from the air of mystery. Young viewers who like a "whodunit" are likely to enjoy the overarching storyline in each season of the series, along with the subplots baked into each episode. As amusing and diverting television viewing goes, parents can feel good about letting kids indulge in this feel-good guilty pleasure.

Top Wing 1
Ages: 2 - 5 yrs.
Award: Parents' Choice Approved Seals

It's a common genre in television today: Anthropomorphized animals model cooperation and problem-solving skills. In the computer-animated series Top Wing, a rescue team of avian heroes "earn their wings" at Top Wing Academy, and each episode features two separate stories of their adventures.

Top Wing cadets have his or her own signature vehicle and, with the help of their mentor Speedy, they learn rescue skills and life lessons on the job. The birds range from blue jay Swift to penguin Penny, with a cast of puffins, chicks, and even a rooster thrown in for feathery good measure. Their island includes an array of other animals, too. Be on the lookout for unexpected guest appearances providing voice talent, including Liz Phair and Alanis Morissette!

In "Turtle Train Rescue," Swift is so eager to help the conductor of a stranded train that he rushes into the rescue instead of following orders. He doesn't earn a badge for the mission but he does realize the importance of following directions. In "Shirley's Sleepover Adventure," squirrel Shirley spends time with Top Wing cadets but her zeal gets in the way. At a crucial moment, though, she proves paying attention is the best way to build skills.

The formula has been seen before, from Octonauts to Paw Patrol. With vehicles, it's expressed as Thomas the Tank Engine and any of the films or spin-offs in Pixar's Cars franchise. Still, if your child is a fan of adventure and likes birds,

Top Wing is a cheerful choice.

Nick Jr Let's Count
Ages: 2 - 5 yrs.
Award: Parents' Choice FunStuff

Nick Jr Block Party: BFF Song
Ages: 2 - 5 yrs.
Award: Parents' Choice FunStuff

I Am Frankie
Ages: 6 - 11 yrs.
Award: Parents' Choice FunStuff

Whether you have braces or glasses or just feel like you don't click with any of the cliques at school, being a teen can be tough. Now imagine trying to navigate teen life when you're an android hoping to blend into the human world. That's the challenge faced by Frankie Gaines in Nickelodeon's live-action series.

Ever since Frankie was smuggled out of a military weapons facility, she's spent her time fitting in at school and eluding the people devising her capture and return. Here, serial drama mixes with lighter episodic plotlines, focused on family, relationships, and finding your place in the world; Frankie as android is a recognizable analogy for teens who feel adrift in the melee of school's social hierarchy. Actress Alex Hook does an admirable job as Frankie, conveying the confusion and surprise one would expect from an android who wasn't programmed to deal with the emotions and sometimes questionable motives of humans.

The target audience for this program is ages 6 - 11; plots are simplistic, the intrigue is easy to follow; special effects are enjoyable and judiciously used, and the "villains" are more silly than sinister. It strikes just the right tone to resonate with young viewers, who are eager to move on to that legendary next level of teen-hood, while still being young enough to appreciate the sci-fantasy twists complicating Frankie's life.

The Loud House
Ages: 6 - 11 yrs.
Award: Parents' Choice FunStuff

Life is tough for Lincoln Loud, an 11-yr-old coping with the usual tween tribulations. To make it more complicated, he's the brother of ten sisters. That results in a lot of chaos, but the family obviously abounds with loyalty and love, too, a refreshing change from other programs that rely on mean-spirited sibling spats for plot fodder.

Lincoln's problems are pretty basic: Family game night is spoiled by a sister who's a bad sport; little sis Lily gets attached to a musical toy that drives the rest of the siblings crazy; and the Loud kids try to get their dad to appreciate new technology after he puts a ban on their beloved electronic devices. At school, Lincoln lacks confidence on a woodworking assignment; and he and his sister take pity on science-class frogs destined for dissection. Lincoln's best buddy Clyde joins him in tackling these challenges, and by the end of each storyline, Lincoln's sisters help him glean positive messages about resolving conflicts and making good choices.

This series is noisy, frenetic, and peppered with mild gross-out humor. A few peripheral characters are uncomfortably stereotyped. And some parents may feel their homes are raucous enough without inviting Lincoln Loud and his crowd in via the television screen. Still, the series includes a nice nod towards respecting differences and diversity, and Lincoln's family interactions are based on the desire to resolve squabbles, not exact revenge. Consider it harmless, albeit loud, escapist entertainment.

Nick Jr Block Party: Golden Cube and BFF Song
Ages: 2 - 5 yrs.
Award: Parents' Choice FunStuff

Lip Sync Battle Shorties
Ages: 6 - 11 yrs.
Award: Parents' Choice FunStuff

This reality series premiered in 2016 but its latest iteration includes Nick Cannon as the host of a faux-concert competition featuring elementary-aged kids and tweens engaged in high-energy lip-sync battles.

Lip Sync Battle Shorties is let-your-hair-down feel-good family fun — a tuneful, colorful, and high-spirited break that will have kids and parents alike [lip] singing along. Contestants perform songs from their favorite artists so expect lots of Bieber, BeyoncĂ©, Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga, and the like. YouTube personality JoJo Siwa chimes in as Cannon's sidekick and celebrity guests join the judging panel. The stage sports plenty of eye-popping backdrops, costumes, props, pyrotechnics, and back-up dancers to support the illusion of a true concert performance.

You gotta hand it to these contestants. They display impressive stage presence without seeming overly-precocious or age-inappropriate. They "sing," bop, and interact with the crowd and judges during their songs, and pull off dynamic choreography, providing genuinely entertaining performances.

Lip Sync Battle Shorties is an enjoyable way to hit the pause button on everyday stresses. Parents, just make sure to clear out floor-space in the family room; there's a 100% chance your kiddos will want to join in the dance and song.

Additionally, Peppa Pig Magazine, based on the hit Peppa Pig animated preschool series that airs on Nickelodeon channels globally, has been given the Parents' Choice Recommended Seal of approval in the Spring 2019 Magazines edition of the Parents' Choice Awards!:

Based on popular episodes of the beloved TV series Peppa Pig, the eponymous magazine's content is meant to be shared and guided by an adult.

The colorful and seasonally themed issues have activities for learning and play: story-based lessons with positive messages, a pullout double-sided poster, and theme related crafts and games. No matter that readers are already well acquainted with four year-old Peppa – each issue introduces Peppa, her family and her friends, often sharing a theme related characteristic (Daddy Pig falls asleep in the sun, Grandpa Pig is an avid gardener who gets annoyed with the birds).

The stories can be read again and again, but unless your child uses pencil and a v-e-r-y good eraser, the coloring pages and game activities are a one time only. The few clearly marked advertisements are for other Topix Media publications, and there's a page inviting "readers" to join and follow Peppa's social media presence and newsletter. Nevertheless, at $9.99, the special interest screen to print publication is a delightful playful learning treat.

More Nick: 'Rise of the TMNT' Nominated for Award in MPSE's 66th Annual Golden Reel Awards!
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