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Product Type: Videos

 


2011 Award
Storybook Treasures featuring Chrysanthemum...and more whimsical stories
(Scholastic $18.99 Score:)

In this three DVD set you'll find 17 stories with narrations by Meryl Streep, Sarah Jessica Parker and more. The title DVD includes Owen, A Weekend with Wendell, The Caterpillar and the Polliwog, Hondo and Fabian, and Mouse Around. The 2nd DVD titled, Rapunzel includes The Elves and the Shoemaker, The Talking Eggs, The Three Billy Goats Gruff, Lon Po Po, and Princess Furball. The 3rd DVD titled Is Your Mama A Llama?, also includes Each Peach Pear Plum, Noisy Nora The Little Red Hen, Reading to Your Bunny. This is a great choice for hours of entertainment that also build reading skills.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Award
Good Night, Gorilla and more wacky animal adventures
(Scholastic $20 Score:)

You'll find many, many worthwhile stories to share on this three DVD set with 16 animal tales that have stood the test of time. Along with Good Night Gorilla there is Happy Birthday Moon, The Napping House, The Rainbabies, Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin, and Elizabeth's Doll. These are all good choices for bedtime viewing. The second disk leads with that old favorite, Danny and the Dinosau and includes The Island of Slog, T is for Terrible, and Stanley and the Dinosaurs. The third DVD includes several gems: THe Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash, Dr DeSoto, FLossie and the Fox, First the Egg, What Do You Do With a Tail Like That? and Joey Runs Away. As a bonus there are author and illustrator interviews that will interest older viewers and several of the stories are done in both English and Spanish. All together you are getting close to three hours of entertainment that you can dole out as a special treat. Built into the stories are reading skills and science concepts.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Awards
Treasury of 100 Storybook Classics 2
(Scholastic $99 Score:)

You'll find this online for a lot less than the retail price and if you are looking for a library of storybook videos to share with your kids, this is priceless. There are 17 DVD's in the set and each has several storybooks on a disk. Even if you buy it at list price, it's $1 a story. You will want to check the titles in this collection against the ones you may already own. We say this all the time about the Storytime Collections. They are the gold standard of videos for young audiences and work well for beginning readers since you can turn on the read-along option that they can follow. Narrators in this collection include such big names as John Lithgow, Mia Farrow, Cyndi Lauper, Abigail Breslin and many others. Here are the titles of the DVD in the package:

• GOODNIGHT MOON
• CORDUROY
• THE WHEELS ON THE BUS
• GOOD NIGHT, GORILLA
• THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS
• IS YOUR MAMA A LLAMA?
• GIGGLE GIGGLE QUACK
• THERE WAS AN OLD LADY WHO SWALLOWED A FLY
• THE HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN COLLECTION
• THE JAMES MARSHALL FAIRYTALE COLLECTION
• HE’S GOT THE WHOLE WORLD IN HIS HANDS
• THE TEACHER FROM THE BLACK LAGOON
• MISS NELSON HAS A FIELD DAY
• ANTARCTIC ANTICS
• CRAZY HAIR DAY
• SO YOU WANT TO BE PRESIDENT?
• A VERY BRAVE WITCH

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Awards
Halloween Stories Collection
(Scholastic $20 Score:)

You'll have 18 not-too-scary stories in a 3 DVD collection. Many are classics, such as Where the Wild Things Are, A Very Brave Witch, and Georgie. This set allows for a themed but quiet time break if you're planning a Halloween party. Some of these are not exactly Halloweenish -- we'd say more like mysterious - with an absence of ghosts, bats, and goblins. But that is all right. For sure, kids (and you) will need some chill out time in this season of sugar and spooks. As always you may find some overlap in this Storybook Treasure Collection with others you own. Here are the other titles: In the Night Kitchen, Alligators All Around, One Was Johnny, Chicken Soup with Rice, Pierre, By the Light of the Halloween Moon, A Dark, Dark Tale, The Witch in the Cherry Tree, The Three-Legged Cat, The Three Robbers, Little Tim and the Brave Sea Captain.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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Why We Don't Recommend Videos for Infants
( $ Score:)

Developmentally, babies learn from active, real-life experiences rather than being 'plugged in' to passively watching others at such an early age. We believe a mirror would be more interactive and age-apropriate than a video screen. Reading books and talking about pictures, or interacting as you sing songs and recite rhymes, will do more to build language than plugging them into the TV to look at pretty pictures with music. For kids under two (and for all kids), less is more! We are delighted that the American Pediatric Association has agreed with our position.

Age: Infants. Award Year: .

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2010 Award
Come On, Let's Go!
(Susie Tallman, Rock Me Baby Records $15.99 Score:)

Each of the classic songs is produced with a small "story" that is either danced or illustrated with animated images and sung by Susie Tallman. The collection is made up largely of familiar songs such as Puff the Magic Dragon. Fie Little Ducks, I've Been Working on the Railroad and other such favorites. They are no over done, yet there is just enough action to entertain. The opening number, Let's Go is probably our least favorite and some kids may not like the "clown" type fellow in high hat and funny makeup who recites some nonsense verses, but you can just skip over the ones you don't love. All in all this is a good music DVD for preschoolers. 3 & up.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2010.

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2010 Award
Disneynature, Oceans, Combo Pack
(Disney $39.99 Score:)

Stunning film footage of the sea and the creatures that live below. Narrated by Pierce Brosnan, this is a bit on the slow side and he sounds sort of like a minister with that solemn sound. The music is rather hypnotic and though it is somewhat varied, it is no match for the film footage which is spectacular. This might be a perfect choice for budding oceanographers or for settling down together for quiet time. March of the Penguins, it is not. In one scene where a school of fish is hunted from below by dolphins and above by sea birds, the drama is apparent, but this event simply goes on and on. Similarly, when baby turtle scurry to reach the sea they are snapped up by sea birds, but the snatching of the hatchlings feels like it will never end. That said, it is probably worth a rental and you can fast forward from time to time. Available in a combo pack with blu-ray and a regular disk.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
Disneynature: Crimson Wing - The Mystery of the Flamingo
(Disney $39.99 Score:)

Like their new release Oceans, there is magnificent film footage but the editor needed to cut some of it down a bit. It is a gorgeous film that follows the life cycle of the flamingos of Tanzania. But the narration by Melanie Finn has a solemn sound that is way slow and unvaried. Sounds a little like church or temple talk. For young viewers this is way long. Though there are similarities to the March of the Penguins, but this just doesn't have the vitality that made the Antarctic mating grounds and coming of age come alive as a story. That said it held interest to older viewers. A scene with time lapse photography showing the formation of a salt island where the nests are built is stunning and when it is deserted it has the look of a lunar landscape. If only it could be edited down and the voice could be enlivened this would have been a platinum. That said, it is still worth a rental. This is a two-Disk Blu-ray/DVD Combo. It can also be purchased as a single DVD at a lower price. 10 & up.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
Families of Afghanistan
(Master Communications $29.99 Score:)

One of a series of films that introduce children to families from distant lands. Told by a 12 and 13-year girls, one in Kabul, an urban setting; the other in a rural village. In both instances, the chores each are expected to do, the schools they attend, and their day to day lives present a real contrast to each other and an even more dramatic contrast to the lives of young American viewers. This feels more like a school film than home entertainment, yet, the stories here are interesting. Given the fact that so many young people have family and friends who are serving in Afghanistan and it is so much in the news, this may well be a film worth sharing. Although the film makers were no allowed to film schools the children attended or many street scenes, the information and material they did film will likely interest young viewers who are curious about this troubled and troubling place where it seems war never ends. They say 5 & up, we'd say this is more appropriate for 7 & up.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
Families of Kenya
(Master Communications $29.95 Score:)

One of a series of films that introduce children to families from distant lands. Told by two 11-year old boys, one in Nairobi, an urban setting, one in a rural setting who lives on a farm. In both instances, the chores each are expected to do, the schools they attend and their day to day lives present a real contrast to each other and an even more dramatic contrast to the lives of young viewers. This feels more like a school film than home entertainment for home, yet, they are more interesting than so much of the fare directed at young audiences. This includes some footage from a game preserve with African wildlife, as well as dances and some footage on how the families earn their living. They say 5 & up, we'd say this is more appropriate for 7 & up.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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