Book Reviews “Disney Poster-A-Page – Disney Junior: Let’s Play & Frozen: Magical Moments”

Series: Disney Poster-a-Page
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Disney
Release Date: September 2, 2014

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

Time Home Entertainment Inc has been behind a great Poster-A-Page series featuring some of the most popular Disney franchise characters recently. They feature not only our favorite character but also key story points, and memorable moments. It is what it says it is, this is literally a poster on every page along with nine supersize pull-out posters. that can function as fantastic door signs, room decorations, or background for their fantasy worlds.

Official Premise: “Disney Frozen Poster-A-Page”: Magical Moments relives the magic of the second highest grossing Disney movie of all time. With wintry scenes and cherished characters, this book follows Anna and Kristoff as they encounter Everest-like conditions, mystical trolls and a hilarious snowman, in their epic journey to find Elsa.

Official Premise: “Disney Junior Poster-A-Page: Let’s Play” features the lovable characters from one of the highest rated children’s TV series. This new book introduces us again to the whole Disney Junior team: six-year-old Doc McStuffins; Mickey Mouse and his lovable clubhouse friends Goofy, Donald, Minnie, Daisy, & Pluto; Jake and his faithful Never Land Pirates crew; and Sofia the First along with her family and friends.

“Frozen” has won over everyone in the world with its lovable characters. These are great posters. My daughter already has asked us to hang up at least five different ones. If your kids love Disney Junior, they will love seeing all their favorite characters as well. We get posters of Doc McStuffins, the gang from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, the crew of Jake and the Never Land Pirates and Sofia the First.

Book Review “Disney Junior Storybook Collection”

Age Range: 3 – 5 years
Grade Level: Preschool – Kindergarten
Series: Storybook Collection
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Disney Press
Release Date: August 5, 2014

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

I have been purchasing Disney’s Storybook Collection for many many years now. Now with a child of my own, I enjoy introducing her to these great stories but I always wished they had something aimed at the Disney Junior brand. My daughter loves the classic Disney movies but she literally watches Disney Junior EVERY single day, so she loves these characters right now much more. It is just the way it is. So we asked and Disney answered with “Disney Junior Storybook Collection”. This is THE BOOK to get if you have a kid that is answer from a Preschool to Kindergarten. A must have for any parent. This will save your life.

Official Premise: Sail the Never Sea with Jake and the crew, diagnose toys with Doc in her backyard clinic, experience royal fun with Sofia, practice your best roar with Henry Hugglemonster, visit Minnie’s Bow-tique, and join the Clubhouse’s gang all in one book! This beautifully illustrated storybook collection includes gilded pages, over 250 full-color illustrations, and 18 stories featuring your favorite Disney Junior characters and shows: Jake and the Never Land Pirates, Doc McStuffins, Sofia the First, Minnie’s Bow-Toons, and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

This is a real nice book and a great coffee table book as well for the kids. It is hardcover with some beautiful images throughout. It is not a cheap book either, it feels like it has some weight to it and I like that. There are 18 stores from all of your kids favorite Disney Junior shows. Here is hoping that this is only volume one for Disney Junior because with all the new shows that the station is cranking out. There are tons are great content just waiting to get adapted here.  Keep them coming Disney!

Book Review “World of Reading – Disney Junior Boxed Set: Pre-Level 1”

Age Range: 3 – 5 years
Grade Level: Preschool – Kindergarten
Series: World of Reading (Book 1)
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Disney Press
Release Date: August 5, 2014

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

When I get books for the past two years, I have been sticking to board and hardcover books that are toddler friendly. Watching my two year old daughter growing up I see that she needed more of a challenge with her reading. I decided it was time to turn it over to Disney’s World of Reading series. This collection is absolutely perfect for those early readers, who can’t read yet need more challenge than just pictures and colors.

To make it even better, this is a box set of six Disney Junior Pre-Level 1 books. They should appeal to any preschooler or in my case an exceptional two year old. If you love Disney Junior, all of your favorites are here from Sofia The First, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Doc McStuffins and Jake and the Never Land Pirates. Plus if all that isn’t enough, Disney is also giving you a bonus e-book, which features actually a 7th reader. I highly recommend this set and hope that Disney continues to release get box sets like this one, so my daughter can enjoy as she grows up (too quickly).

Disney Begins Production on “The Lion Guard,” an Animated Disney Junior TV Movie and Series Inspired by “The Lion King”

Disney

Disney Television Animation has begun production on “The Lion Guard,” an animated television movie and series that continues the story introduced 20 years ago in the acclaimed Disney animated film “The Lion King.” Geared towards kids age 2-7 and their families, “The Lion Guard” television movie will premiere in Fall 2015, and the subsequent series will debut in early 2016 on Disney Junior and Disney Channel.

The wildlife education experts at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park will serve as consultants on “The Lion Guard” stories, which will incorporate themes of conservation, family and community while also highlighting problem-solving, creative thinking and diversity. Author and Swahili expert Sarah Mirza is the language and cultural advisor.

Nancy Kanter, Executive Vice President, Original Programming and General Manager, Disney Junior Worldwide, said, “The story of ‘The Lion King’ has deeply touched families around the world since its original theatrical release 20 years ago. We look forward to introducing a whole new generation of kids to both the Disney legacy characters and to new friends and heroes.”

“The Lion Guard” begins as Kion, the second-born cub of Simba and Nala, assumes the role of leader of the Lion Guard, a group of the bravest and brightest tasked with preserving the Pride Lands. Instead of assembling a team of young lions to serve with him, Kion challenges tradition by calling upon friends he believes are the best choices – Bunga, a fearless honey badger; Fuli, a confident cheetah; Beshte, a happy-go-lucky hippo; and Ono, an intellectual egret. Stories will include special appearances by Mufasa, Timon, Pumbaa, Rafiki, Zazu and Kion’s older sister, Kiara, the future Queen of the Pride Lands.

Disney

“The Lion Guard” movie and series were developed by Ford Riley (“Special Agent Oso”), who also serves as executive producer. Howy Parkins (“Jake and the Never Land Pirates”) is director. Christopher Willis (“Mickey Mouse”) is the composer.

Originally released in June 1994, the Academy Award-winning animated film “The Lion King” is a Disney story with long-lasting appeal and creative interpretations across multiple Disney businesses.

The lifetime global box office total for “The Lion King” is $987.4 million; its 2011 3D re-release was #1 for its first two weeks; its Grammy Award-winning soundtrack sold over 14 million units; a Tony Award-winning musical, now in its 17th year on Broadway and with 10 productions in eight languages currently running worldwide, has been seen by over 70 million people around the globe and is the highest-grossing Broadway production in history. The North American tour and the Broadway show each surpassed $1 billion in ticket sales while global ticket sales surpassed $5 billion worldwide (from 22 productions). The Lion King is one of the biggest home entertainment titles of all time, and the direct-to-video release of “Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride” is one of the best-selling direct-to-video releases of all time. “The Lion King” franchise also includes 85 episodes of the Emmy Award-winning animated television series “The Lion King’s Timon and Pumbaa” andpopular attractions at Disney Parks and Resorts. Twenty years since the film’s release, “The Lion King” also continues to resonate with millions of fans who connect with the enduring story and timeless characters through a wide range of products, including nursery décor, bedding and junior fashion.

Marking the animated film’s 20th anniversary, a special edition of the soundtrack exploring the stories behind the songs will be released June 24 as part of Walt Disney Records’ Legacy Collection. An electronic dance music version of “Circle of Life,” by music producer/composer/DJ Mat Zo, is on the recently released DCONSTRUCTED, a collection of EDM remixes of classic Disney songs.

Kevin Kliesch talks about composing the score for Disney Junior’s “Sofia the First”

Kevin Kliesch is a composer that recently earned his first Emmy nomination for his work on the hit Disney Junior series “Sofia The First”. He has worked as a composer and orchestrator on over 100 feature films spanning the past seventeen years, including “Frozen”, “The Hangover” and “Tangled”. He also received his first Annie Award nomination for his work on the “Thundercats” series in 2012. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Kevin about his work both composing and orchestrating.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us how you got started composing for the Disney Junior series “Sofia the First”?
Kevin Kliesch: I had worked as an orchestrator on “Tangled” in 2010 and became friends with the film’s editor. After hearing my mockups and orchestrations from Alan Menken’s score, he happened to recommend me to the head of music at the Disney Channel since they were looking for a composer to score their new series “Sofia the First.” I met with the Sofia team and they liked my background, so I got the job.

MG: Congrats on your first Emmy nomination for your work on the show; what do you enjoy most about composing for this show?
KK: Thanks! The best thing about writing for Sofia is that I get to write the traditional Disney-style music that we all grew up with. The producers wanted to stay away from typical cartoon music and instead draw on the lush sound of past Disney films, which I am honored to have been a part of, having worked as an orchestrator on “Enchanted,” “The Muppets” and “Tangled.”

MG: How is it going from a show like “Sofia the First” to working with DC Comics’ animated movies like “Superman: Unbound” and “Justice League: War”?
KK: The two are musically about as far apart as you can get! I really enjoy scoring the DC films because it gives me a chance to write in a completely different genre than the Disney style. I’ve always been a fan of action scores, so it’s great to be able to call up a different palette of sounds and get my superhero vibe going.

MG: “Frozen” and Tangled” are two of my favorite newer Disney films; tell us about your involvement with these films?
KK: I was the orchestrator on both of those films. On “Tangled,” I worked with the legendary Alan Menken on bringing his score to life. He would send me complete piano sketches and I would have to take those and make complete orchestra scores from those sketches. I also had to do computer mockups of all of the music so the directors and producers could hear what the score was going to sound like before we went to record it with a live orchestra. On “Frozen,” I didn’t have to do any of the mockups since the composer Christophe Beck did his own mockups, but I did wind up orchestrating about two thirds of the score from his sketches.

MG: Switching roles from orchestrator to composer; what do you enjoy most and why?
KK: As an orchestrator, I get to work on someone else’s vision of how the score should support the film’s narrative. As a composer, I get to create that vision myself – which is eminently enjoyable. Being able to translate emotion into music is both very challenging and rewarding.

MG: How does it differ doing a score for a film than it does for a television series?
KK: There’s not much difference in terms of how I approach the story. Both genres require that the music support the drama and the characters; I always strive to give emotional weight to what’s happening on screen. There’s also not much difference in the time I have to do each project. While a DC film might have 70 minutes of music, I’m usually given a few weeks to complete it. On my television series, I usually wind up writing 20 minutes per episode, and I get anywhere from 7-14 days to do that. Both genres require that I write about 3 minutes a day to reach my deadline.

MG: I have a two year old daughter, who loves “Sofia the First”; with you also having a young daughter, does it only making working on a show like this 100% better?
KK: Absolutely! My 6-year-old comes into my studio every day and asks me what episode I’m working on. Sometimes I’ll play the whole episode for her, which she loves because she gets to watch it before anyone else! I also really enjoy watching the episodes with her when they air on tv.

MG: Being a fan of the series; I have to ask was it a daunting task to redo the theme song for the reboot series of “Thundercats”?
KK: It was daunting only for the fact that the producers wanted to compress the 2-minute original theme song down into 10 seconds, so I had to figure out how not to make the die-hard fans angry!

MG: What else do you have in the cards for the rest of 2014 and onwards?
KK: “Sofia the First” has been renewed for a third season, so that will keep me busy well into 2015. I’ve also been approached to orchestrate a new ABC/Disney television series called “Galavant” which will have original songs written by Alan Menken and an original score by Christopher Lennertz. So I’m super-excited to be working with the Disney team again!

Book Review “Junior Encyclopedia of Animated Characters”

Age Range: 6 – 8 years
Grade Level: 1 – 3
Hardcover: 144 pages
Publisher: Disney Press
Release Date: June 3, 2014

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

Being parents that are huge fans of Disney and having a two year old, there is nothing more important than getting her exposed to the world that we love with Disney and their amazing characters. I have been exposed to Disney since I was a kid and I want to do the same for my child. “Junior Encyclopedia of Animated Characters” is a fantastic way to introduce your kids to the world of Disney. To be honest, my daughter already knows tons of these characters just from watching the films over the last two years. This is a fantastic encyclopedia of characters and I recommend this to every parent who wants to introduce their kids to Disney.

The encyclopedia gives the low down on every character from A-Z or in Disney terms from Ariel to Zurg. There are over 150 Disney heroes and villains included in this. Even though my daughter knows a lot of characters already, it was great to introduce her to a few new ones as well (or actually older ones from classic Disney films). What I also love is that it isn’t just pictures of the characters, it also features fun facts, trivia, and quotes for each one. Plus this book is extremely current and up-to date with the last latest Disney and Disney*Pixar films including “Wreck-It Ralph”, “Frozen” and even the upcoming “The Good Dinosaur” and more! If that still isn’t cool enough the book jacket reverses to reveal a poster! This is a must buy!

CD Review “Disney Junior: DJ Shuffle”

Disney Junior: DJ Shuffle
Various Artists
Release Date: March 18, 2014
Number of Discs: 1
Label: Disney

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

When I saw that Disney Junior was released their first compilation CD, I figured that I already had all the previously released albums and don’t really need the same songs again…but boy was I wrong! “DJ Shuffle” is a really fantastic collection of classic and (most importantly) NEW songs that have never been released before on an album. I think that Disney Junior could have gotten away with just throwing previously released songs on this album and I am sure people would have bought it. If you are a fan of Disney Junior, they I cannot recommend this album to you anymore! It has literally been on loop for the last three days and I see no signs of it slowing down.

Parry Gripp gets the album started with the title track “DJ Shuffle”. My 22 month old daughter immediately started shaking her butt during this techno track. Then we go right into one of Disney Junior’s biggest new shows “Sofia the First”. There is the theme song included along with the fan favorite “Blue Ribbon Bunny”. Then there are two new songs that haven’t been released on an album yet “Friendship is the Formula” and “Hoppin’ Out With You”. These are great and very fun songs.

Next up we go to “Jake and the Never Land Pirates”. First we get the new Swashbucklin’ Version of their theme song, which is previously unreleased. I have been really digging this new slightly more heavier opening for the show. Then we have two of my favorite songs “Roll Up the Map” and “Bubbly Blue”. There is also a brand new song “Swamp Stop”, which is also unreleased. I love the characters Sharky and Bones. There music is always such a blast to listen to and contributes so much to the show.

“Doc Stuffins” is up right after that with all new songs. There is an updated extended take on “Time for Your Check Up”. The other new songs are “Ready for Action”, “Picture You” and “Stuffy the Great”. Personally I feel that “Picture You” really doesn’t fit in with the album since it a very slow and kind of a downer after “Ready for Action” but it is still a sweet song. My daughter was dancing like an ole fool until this track and then she got bored and distracted. Luckily she was quickly grabbed again by the next show’s songs.

Of course what Disney Junior album is complete without “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse”. In fact now that they have ceased production on this series, I have that they still continue to support it with future DVD and music releases. What kid doesn’t go crazy to “Hot Dog!” “Choo Choo Boggie” is another great track from the show. Lastly there is an extended version of the “Minnie’s Bowtique” opening from the short series.

Now the next and last two of the album are the real draw for me on this album, the first is “Henry Hugglemonster”. There is the main title included, “I’ve Got Pizzazz”, “To Monsterschool” (stay in your head ALL DAY!), “The Hugglemonster Way” (one of Summer’s better songs) and lastly “Heromonsters Whoohoo!”. This show is so great and I hope to see Disney Junior releasing a solo album for this sometime this year…hint hint!

The last show included is also the newest, “Sheriff Callie’s Wild West”. This show features great music from singer Mandy Moore and Lucas Grabeel. The theme song kicks off the set followed by “Picture Perfect”, “Amazing Lucky Scarf” and “Ask for Help”. The one song I really was hoping for was “Horseshoe Peak”, which is not here. This show has so many great songs already and has only been on the air for a short time. So like “Henry Hugglemonster”, this show deserves a solo CD as well this year, no question!

Wrapping up the CD is four additional bonus karaoke instrumental tracks. They include “DJ Shuffle”, “Blue Ribbon Bunny”, “Jake and the Never Land Pirates (Swashbuckin’ Version)” and “Time for Your Checkup”. There is still more if you put the CD into the computer you will be able to access additional special content. Keep them coming Disney Junior!

Track Listings:
1. DJ Shuffle (Parry Gripp)
2. Sofia the First Main Title Theme (Sofia the First)
3. Blue Ribbon Bunny (Sofia the First)
4. Friendship Is the Formula (Sofia the First)
5. Hoppin’ Out With You (Sofia the First)
6. Jake and the Never Land Pirates (Swashbucklin’ Version) (Jake and the Never Land Pirates)
7. Roll Up the Map (Jake and the Never Land Pirates)
8. Bubbly Blue (Jake and the Never Land Pirates)
9. Swamp Stomp (Jake and the Never Land Pirates)
10. Time for Your Check Up (Doc McStuffins)
11. Ready for Action (Doc McStuffins)
12. Picture You (Doc McStuffins)
13. Stuffy the Great (Doc McStuffins)
14. Hot Dog! (Mickey Mouse Clubhouse)
15. Choo Choo Boogie (Mickey Mouse Clubhouse)
16. Minnie’s Bowtique (Mickey Mouse Clubhouse)
17. Henry Hugglemonster Main Title (Henry Hugglemonster)
18. I’ve Got Pizzazz (Henry Hugglemonster)
19. To Monsterschool (Henry Hugglemonster)
20. The Hugglemonster Way (Henry Hugglemonster)
21. Heromonsters Woohoo! (Henry Hugglemonster)
22. Sheriff Callie’s Wild West Theme Song (Sheriff Callie’s Wild West)
23. Picture Perfect (Sheriff Callie’s Wild West)
24. Amazing Lucky Scarf (Sheriff Callie’s Wild West)
25. Ask for Help (Sheriff Callie’s Wild West)
26. DJ Shuffle (Instrumental)
27. Blue Ribbon Bunny (Instrumental)
28. Jake and the Never Land Pirates (Swashbucklin’ Version) (Instrumental)
29. Time for Your Checkup (Instrumental)

Disney Junior Orders Third Season of Hit Series “Jake and the Never Land Pirates”

Sails to New Heights as Disney Channel’s #1 Preschooler Series of All Time with 100 Episodes and New Consumer Products Line

Disney Junior has ordered a third season of “Jake and the Never Land Pirates,” its #1 series and cable TV’s #1 series among Boys 2-5, bringing the episode tally to 100 thus far, it was announced today by Nancy Kanter, Senior Vice President, Original Programming and General Manager, Disney Junior Worldwide. The series revolves around a crew of kid pirates – leader Jake and pals Izzy and Cubby – and follows their Never Land adventures as they work to outwit two infamous characters, the one and only Captain Hook and Mister Smee, from Disney’s classic “Peter Pan.” The stories emphasize teamwork and features original pirate rock music performed by Sharky and Bones of The Never Land Pirate Band.

Kanter said, “The series is connecting with kids on every level and brings them closer to characters they’re already familiar with and introduces them to new, original characters they have made their friends.” She continued, “The storytelling is adventurous and heartfelt and embeds the kind of learning that we know is important to parents. We’re pleased to be extending viewers’ experience with the stories, allowing them to play the ‘Jake and the Never Land Pirates’ experience.”

The memorable Disney stories and characters, both classic and contemporary, have connected strongly with kids age 2-7 and their parents, and that connection has also led to the creation of brand extensions in other Disney businesses. “Jake and the Never Land Pirates” is a prominent part of the popular Disney Junior Live on Stage! attraction at Disney Parks & Resorts, and is featured in a Disney Junior magazine from Disney Publishing, in a soundtrack and DVD from Disney Studios and a Disney Consumer Products line set to debut in stores nationwide in spring 2012. Included are multiple product categories: party supplies, apparel (sleepwear, daywear), room décor and plush. An exciting toy line releasing in June and showcased this week at American International Toy Fair, will feature plush, role play and accessories from Just Play and action-oriented play sets and figures from Fisher-Price, including Jake’s Pirate Ship, designed after Bucky, Jake’s ship in the series.

A hit since its premiere in February 2011, “Jake and the Never Land Pirates” is cable TV’s #1 series among Boys 2-5 and Disney Channel’s #1 preschool series of all time among Total Viewers, Kids 2-5, Boys 2-5 and Women 18-49.

The series airs daily during Disney Channel’s Disney Junior programming block for kids age 2-7 and will have a major presence on the new 24-hour Disney Junior channel launching in the U.S. on Friday, March 23. The series stars Cameron Boyce as Jake; Madison Pettis as Izzy; Jonathan Morgan Heit as Cubby; David Arquette as Skully; Corey Burton as Captain Hook; Jeff Bennett as Mister Smee and Bones and Loren Hoskins as Sharky. Many of the key creative professionals behind Disney Junior’s Emmy-nominated series, “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse,” are behind “Jake and the Never Land Pirates” including executive producer Rob LaDuca, producer/story editor Mark Seidenberg and director Howy Parkins. The series is produced by Disney Television Animation.

Disney Junior reflects the emotional connection generations of consumers have to Disney storytelling and Disney characters, both classic and contemporary. It invites mom and dad to join their child in the Disney experience of magical, musical and heartfelt stories and characters, while incorporating specific learning and development themes designed for kids age 2-7. Disney Junior’s animated and live action series blend Disney’s unparalleled storytelling and characters kids love deeply with learning, including early math, language skills, healthy eating and lifestyles, and social skills. Disney Junior launched in February 2011 with a daily programming block on Disney Channel. In its first year, Disney Junior posted the network’s biggest yearly audience in the daypart in Total Viewers, Kids 2-5, Boys 2-5 and Women 18-49 and increased by double-digit margins among preschooler demographics over year-ago levels. On March 23, 2012 Disney Junior will add a basic cable and satellite channel in the U.S.