Hidden Gems

Everyone's heard of Toy Story and Bob the Builder. But if you're looking for something off the beaten path -- or need a good alternative to something age-inappropriate that your kids are asking for -- this list is for you. Our editors watch, play, download, read, and listen to nearly every piece of entertainment that comes out. And while the popular stuff naturally gets attention, there's a special place in our hearts for what we call the "hidden gems" -- the movies, TV shows, games, apps, websitesbooks, and music that you may not have heard of but are truly special.

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Upbeat, quirky tale combines fanciful music and animation.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2014)
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Adorable otter makes a mess in fun friendship story.
By Sam Garton
(2014)
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Girl's simple, homegrown adventures celebrate imagination.
Network: Sprout
(2014)
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Mouse makes a ballerina his friend in charming tale.
By Jan Carr
(2014)
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Catchy art and story, all about the rhythms of farm life.
By Elisha Cooper
(2010)
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Throwback arcade puzzler with impressive scope.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Windows
(2015)
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Adorable physics platformer creates little problem-solvers.
Devices: iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire
(2014)
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Charming animated adventure is magical for little kids.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2014)
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Heroine saves the day with math in lovely, fun platformer.
Devices: iPad
(2014)
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Wacky mayhem as bumbling weasels reset doomsday machine.
By Elys Dolan
(2013)
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Fun brain games also teach the neuroscience behind them.
Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire
(2014)
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Insanely fun, weird world seamlessly integrates geometry.
Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
(2014)
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Beautiful, moving cartoon tale based on classic book series.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2014)
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Fabulous, kid-friendly docu about world's youngest golfers.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2013)
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Fascinating and creative look into how popups are made.
Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
(2010)
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Imaginative sci-fi RPG entertains as it builds vocabulary.
Platforms: Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi
(2010)
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Safer social media option for family sharing.
Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
(2015)
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Inazuma Eleven TV Poster Image
Misfit soccer team teaches perseverance, overcoming fears.
Network: Hulu
(2014)
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Enchanting fantasy turns teen into sweet, selfless princess.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2010)
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Exciting, moving WWII tale a gem; not only for horse lovers.
By Sam Angus
(2014)
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Original, accessible, fun RPG stars lots of strong females.
Platforms: Nintendo Wii U, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One
(2014)
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Captivating, moving tale with scares; best for older kids.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2014)
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Touching, beautiful drama about the magic of friendship.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2010)
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Road Not Taken Game Poster Image
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Inventive and challenging puzzler has quirky humor.
Platforms: Mac, PlayStation 4, Windows
(2014)
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Subtle message, stellar design teach empathy through play.
Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
(2014)
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Brilliant, thoughtful puzzler has a little violence.
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360
(2011)
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Poetic story about boy who doesn't want to move to America.
By Naomi Shihab Nye
(2014)
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Haunting tender ballad from viral clothing ad has sexy video
By Soko
(2013)
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Adventurous fantasy weaves Korean mythology, martial arts.
By Christina L. Farley
(2014)
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FreshBrain.org Website Poster Image
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Cool idea lab lets teens use tech tools to create and share.
URL: http://www.freshbrain.org
(2008)
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Never Alone (Kisima Innitchuna) Game Poster Image
Violent, beautiful Native tale with young, strong heroine.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
(2014)
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Inspirational docu follows a tween horror filmmaker.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2009)
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Heartwarming drama about foster teens and their two moms.
Network: Freeform
(2013)
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Stellar teen dramedy explores angst, experimentation.
Network: Syndicated
(2011)
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Dramedy mixes adult material with worthwhile messages.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2012)
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