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Product Type: Video
Age: Preschoolers

 


2004 Award
Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type
( $9.95 Score:) Farmer Brown's cows and hens are on strike. They want electric blankets, or else no milk or eggs. A prize-winning story translated to the screen, narrated by Randy Travis with down-home music. Also on this video, two other farm stories: "The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash" and "The Pig's Wedding." Still top-rated from this series, Chrysanthemum , PLATINUM AWARD '03, Meryl Streep, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Mary Beth Hurt narrate three wonderful picturebooks by Kevin Henkes. 4-7.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2004.

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Good Night, Gorilla
(Scholastic $9.95 Score:) Peggy Rathmann's storybook narrated by Anthony Edwards is a charming good-night story about the animals at the zoo who keep escaping to go to sleep with the zoo keeper and his wife. Surprisingly, "How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night?" loses most of its humor when translated to video. The tape also includes the classics "Happy Birthday, Moon" and "The Napping House." 4-7.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2004.

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2004 Award
Kipper Fun in the Sun
(HIT Entertaiment $9.99 Score:) This series seems to be back on track for the two-and-up crowd with the simple stories and adventures of Kipper, the dog and his friends, Tiger and Arnold. Seven short stories include "The Rescue," "Clouds," "The Farm," and "Crazy Golf." We'd pass on last year's Kipper Imagine That! (three), which included a hunt for scary creatures and other more Saturday-morning-ish cartoon cliches. 2 & up.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2004.

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2004 Award
Little Bear: Feel Better, Little Bear
( $9.99 Score:) This series continues to be one of the best for preschoolers with age-appropriate stories about friendship and family. Feel Better, Little Bear includes four stories about getting the mumps, a pretend picnic, having the flu, and eating too many sweets. Still top rated, Little Bear's Band; Summertime Tales; A Kiss for Little Bear; Friends; Winter Tales; and Goodnight, Little Bear (five). Forget Little Goblin Bear (two), a seasonal attempt at a safe scare with several dream sequences that may be edgy for some viewers. PLATINUM AWARD '03. 3 & up.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2004.

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2004 Award
Toby the Truck
(em-bry-on-ics $12.99 Score:) An animated truck explores the world of trucks. He gets a tour of a firetruck, a concrete truck mixing and pouring, a garbage truck, inside an ambulance, tow trucks and more. The information part is live action and moves slowly enough for young viewers to follow. Doesn't rely on slapstick pratfalls to entertain. 2-5.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2004.

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2005 Award
Barney Movin and Groovin
(Lyons Group $16.95 Score:) A new Barney meant to encourage your kids to get up off the sofa and dance along. Nothing groundbreaking here, but a classic style Barney video about making your own music that will appeal to fans of the purple dino. Still top rated, Barney's Musical Castle. If your child has ever been to or dreamed of going to a Barney show, the new Barney's Colorful World! will be the next best thing. We have to be honest—we had to mute part of it. Seventy minutes is just too much Barney. These tapes may be preschooler's dream come true, or your 9-year-old's worst nightmare. 2–6. (800) 791-8093.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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Blue Talks
(Paramount $12.95 Score:) It would have been better for Blue to remain speechless. More importantly, the stories about "moon fairies" and far-out fantasy are way beyond the understanding of young preschoolers. The strength of the original Blue concept was right on the mark for preschoolers who loved the magic of helping the host finding the clues. These episodes empowered kids, making them feel very smart. We find a disconnect between the new stories and the audience, who are still sorting out real and make-believe. We also have trouble with Blue's Clues: Blue Takes You to School. Our problem is that the featured color is chartreuse, and the shape of the day, a pentagon. How about starting with green and a triangle? A much better choice is Blue's Clues Shapes and Colors. Joe and Blue play a lot of shape-hunting games with some licks of color thrown in.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: .

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2005 Award
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly & More Stories That Sing
(Scholastic $9.95 Score:) The art from Simms Taback's version of There Was an Old Lady comes to life through brilliant animation. Parents (and kids) will enjoy Cyndi Lauper's narration and singing. The other two stories to sing: a chorus of penguins in Antarctic Antics by Judy Sierra and the noisy hippo, Musical Max, by Robert Kraus. 4 & up.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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Angelina Ballerina: The Magic of Dance
(HIT Entertaiment $12.99 Score:) Many Angelina story lines have been "notched up" with more tears, squeals, and edgy moments than usual this season. It's not terrible, but less would have been more. In "William the Conjurer," William uses his father's magic box and thinks he has made Angelina disappear! In "Angelina and Grandma," a special tutu that Miss Lilly wore when she was a girl gets ripped by accident. Mother is away, and Grandma is busy getting ready for a friend's party and impatient with Angelina. In "Miss Lilly Comes to Dinner," Angelina is worried about impressing her teacher. Finally, a special day is almost spoiled, thanks to many unpleasant exchanges between sneaky Sammy and gullible William, in "Angelina's Valentine." Between the stories there are live-action clips of young dancers. The new Lights, Camera, Action video has the same unnecessary contrived fear and nastiness in two episodes—one with a witch, and another with mice who exclude William. Still top rated, Angelina Ballerina Friends Forever and Rose Fairy Princess, both PLATINUM winners. (866) 587-1778.

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

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2005 Award
Bob the Builder: The Live Show
(HIT Entertaiment $14.99 Score:) If "yes, we can" is big in your house, then this live-action show will be a hit. When the talking trucks first make an appearance, it is pretty neat. It's a lot like Barney—if you're four, it's really great fun; if you're forty, you'll want to bang your head against the wall. There's also the new Snowed Under where Bob and gang go the Bobblesberg Winter Games (we kid you not!) and still top-rated Building Friendships. Bob and his crew of talking building machines are featured in four little stories that focus on cooperation, have a small dose of tension, and are not scary. 3 & up.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2005.

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