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Tuesday 6 March 2012

Family DVD Review - Tooth Fairy 2

Ohh goodness I have to be honest with you and tell you I am going a bit potty watching a grown man parade around in his pink overalls or tutu (as he does at times).  This DVD only arrived through my door last Friday but should I tell you how many times it has been played?  OK, I am not even sure.  We watched it together Friday evening as a treat with popcorn and snuggles under the duvet.  The full works for a good family film night. We all enjoyed the film and job done as far as I was concerned.

But oh no..... I think my 4 year old twins might have been a bit tired and not quite caught it all so when I woke up and went downstairs Saturday morning, there it was again. Then we come home from a busy day on Saturday and have some tea and guess what goes on yet again?  Right, so that is 3 times so far and it has only been at my house just over 24 hours. Let's just say it must have been viewed at least another 3 - 4 times since.  We had some friends round on Sunday afternoon and of course their kids wanted to see it. I came home from work last night to find my kids and their grandparents watching it too. I got asked to put it on before school this morning and I had to say no, enough was enough!  Adults can only watch a film so many times even if it is funny.
And it was funny.... all of us enjoyed this film and amazingly it kept both my 4 year old twin girls and 8 year old son happy.  The plot did manage to span the years, of course it is not too complex but it has a love story spin thrown in there to keep the Mums happy.  It is always nice to see the regular guy come out on tops and not the smarmy, plotting politician.

A while back JJ and I watched the original Tooth Fairy movie and I was dubious if there was any more that could come from a second film, but it is different and worth a watch. You know, if you like easy to watch and a little silly family movies. Basically Larry the Cable Guy plays Larry Guthie a small town car mechanic who has lost his love to a local politician with big ideas. When Larry sees they are engaged he realises how much he loves Brooke (Erin Beute) and sets about to remind her of how good they were together as a couple. His plan is to help her at the after school program that she runs and win her heart back.  However, Larry puts his foot in it and tells a child that the tooth fairy does not exist.

This means that Larry is summoned to the sky and he meets the Head fairy Nyx who informs him he will become a temporary tooth fairy and has to collect 10 teeth in 10 days or there was be a serious consequence.  I'll leave it to the film to inform you what the consequence is and for you to find out if he meets his challenge.

The little girl that plays Head fairy Nyx (Brady Reiter) is fabulous, she has such charm and presence and creates fun whenever she is in the scene.  My girls loved that she kept zapping Larry the temporary tooth fairy with her wand and making him jump about! JJ being a typical 8 year old boy was in hysterics at one of Larry's scenes where he has to dance in a tutu.  You should see some of the dance moves coming from my house now...  or maybe best not to!

Take a peek at the official trailer -

In all this is a fun movie for all the family to watch together and I would happily recommend it as one for the Easter holidays.

Our family would rate the film 4/5 for family fun.

Rating:  Universal
Run Time:  89 minutes
Release Date:  12 March 2012 straight to DVD and Blu-ray

The DVD is available to pre-order at the moment on Amazon at the cost of £9.99.

Disclosure:  I received this DVD free of charge for the purposes of this review. Many thanks to Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainments for providing it.

Friday 2 March 2012

Oxford Reading Tree: My Phonics Kit Reviewed

Dh and I have already bred one avid reader in JJ and I am hoping to develop another two with my twin girls.  At 4 years old they are still in the first stages of phonics and in truth are not really ready to make use of this Oxford Reading Tree phonics kit yet but Miss M, my slightly more advanced reader had a jolly good go with me!

My twins are proof of just how different children can be in their abilities. Miss M knows all her sounds and can happily blend them to make 3 or 4 letter words. When she applies herself she reads a simple book well and enjoys it, the trouble we have with her is that she will get bored easily.  Miss E is a different kettle of fish, she seems to find the whole concept of reading completely unnecessary. She has already told me she will live with me and not bother to read and work as it is no fun. I still have to constantly remind her of what some letter sounds are as she just seems to forget and blending is a complex task for her. Continual praise is the name of the game as far as we are concerned with Miss E.

From the summer of 2012 all schools in England will implement the phonics screening check in school year 1 (age 6). This will ensure that those children who need extra help are identified and are able to catch up and meet the national expectation.  I am pleased to hear this, it means my little Miss E will be helped to reach her full potential with reading.

Included with the phonics kit are three A5 size phonics workbooks, all with the popular characters Biff, Chip and Kipper that my girls are familiar with from their school reading, then stickers to stick on each page as your child completes that section and also a wall chart with some stickers for the child to collect as they complete the 6 e-books that are included on a CD. Also on the CD are some good parent notes to help you understand what the school check is about and a fab set of audio sounds so that parents can ensure they are working accurately with their child.  I know from when JJ started to read and I used to always sound M as 'Merrr', where as I now understand it is 'mmmmm', these kind of parental errors can be a problem.

My favourite part of the kit was the e-book, even though my girls are too young to read much of it for themselves, they loved sitting either side of me at the laptop and using the computer to turn the pages and turn the volume on and off as the e-book read a loud. Also there were associated activities that could be completed after the book was read which helped to test their understanding and recollection skills and all in the guise of fun as it was computer based.

We have not used the actual workbooks yet. At the beginning of the books it shows a page of words such as - egg, spoon, queen, shiver etc and says that if your child can read these they are at the right stage to do the book. There is then about 13 pages of activities and each page practises between 2 and 4 of the regular phonic sounds, the children are encouraged to spot the sound on the page, match captions to sentences, read some words and fill in the gaps. The pages look bright and welcoming to use.

For the cost of £9.99 RRP I think the kit is fantastic value, the e-books alone are worth way more than that.  It is a great kit for making something which could be hard work into fun. Anything that can engage Miss E and promote her reading is a must as far as I am concerned.

Check out the wide range of Oxford University Press phonics resources for parents, which includes free e-books and advice.

Disclosure:  We received 2 phonics kits free of charge for use with my twins, I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.