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Product Type: Video
Age: Preschoolers

 


2005 Award
Caillou At Play
(Warner Bros. $12.95 Score:) Caillou is older than Maisy, less noisy than Elmo, and paced just right for young viewers. Playground and friendship issues like sharing and getting along are center stage here. Also recommended, Caillou's Neighborhood and Caillou the Explorer PLATINUM AWARD '02, which explored transportation from a child's point of view.

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

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New Friends: Cliffords Puppy Days
(Scholastic $14.98 Score:) There are lots of stories and activities on this DVD based on Norman Bridwell's storybooks. This animated cartoon show has plenty of positive messages packed into the mix. We could have done without the suspense of a story called the "Monster in 3B." Of course there is no monster, but why present the possibility to threes? That said, this is otherwise a pretty good video for preschoolers. 3 & up.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Strega Nona & More
(Scholastic $9.95 Score:) A collection of Caldecott award winners includes Tomie dePaola's best loved witch, Strega Nona, and her foolish helper Big Anthony, who is warned not to touch the magic cooking pot. Also, Simms Taback's "Joseph Had a Little Overcoat," the tale of a worn-out overcoat that proves through its many incarnations that "you can always make something from nothing." Similarly, Marcia Brown's "Stone Soup" is an old tale of three clever soldiers who manage to make soup from a stone. The DVD version also includes "The Tale of the Mandarin Ducks," plus Spanish versions of "Stone Soup" and "Strega Nona," and read-along text. This does not look like a Saturday morning animated feature, but is true to the spirit and art of the award-winning books. Also reissued this year, Curious George Rides a Bike & More Tales of Mischief ($9.95/$14.95) 3–8.

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

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2005 Award
Angelina Ballerina, The Show Must Go On
(HIT Entertaiment $12.99 Score:) It's Christmas in Mouseland and Angelina wanted to be the star of the show. But, alas, she dances better than she sings and ends up cast as the mean old stepmother in Cinderella. This is the first feature-length special (50 mins.) and the best of this year's Angelina videos. 4–8.

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

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2006 Award
Healthy Happy Monsters
(Sony, Sony $14.99 Score:) This is so much better than most of the piles of videos we reviewed this season. It delivers the information in a lively format that encourages kids to get up and move along with their friends from Sesame Street. Getting exercise, eating healthy—all important messages that are presented with humor that is age appropriate and not condescending in tone. Still top rated, Fiesta! BLUE CHIP (Sony $12.98 ) introduces kids to counting, colors, and familiar music with a Latin beat. Also top rated: Get Up & Dance () and PLATINUM AWARD ’97 winner Elmocize (). We have found the Elmo’s World series to be inconsistent. Our viewers enjoyed Birthday Games & More () (once they got past the first frenetic 10 minutes), but found Elmo’s Magic Cookbook () to fall below the usual high standards set by Sesame Street. We found the dumbed-down content was more irritating than inspiring.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Peep and the Big Wide World
(WGBH $29.95 Score:) A set of three DVDs from the young science show that introduces children to big science concepts, first through a cartoon and then with live-action film. For example, Peep’s New Friends focuses on the metamorphosis of a butterfly, told through a cartoon story and followed by a visit to a real butterfly pavilion. Other concepts include things that hatch, making boats that float, and a follow-your-nose smelling adventure. “Nova” for the preschool set. 21⁄2 & up.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Bob the Builder, Bob's Big Plan
(HIT Entertaiment $14.99 Score:) If “yes, we can” is big in your house, then The Live Show from this live-action stage 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. New for 2006, Bob’s Big Plan is about saving a little town from being urbanized—a pretty big concept for the preschool crowd. Also, Help is on the Way! includes a story about a movie, “The Invasion of the Giant Bug.” We guess this was designed to explain scary things away as Bob assures Spud it’s just special effects and nothing to worry about. But the images of a giant bug on top of a skyscraper may override the verbal message. We’d pass on this one. 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: 2006.

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2006 Award
Caillou's Family Fun
(Warner Bros. $12.95 Score:) Caillou is older than Maisy, less noisy than Elmo, and paced just right for young viewers. This year’s new entry centers on Caillou’s learning to take photos with his dad’s old camera and seeing photos of the family from the past. It also includes a story about meeting new people. Still recommended are Caillou at Play () —playground and friendship issues such as sharing and getting along are center stage here—as well as Caillou’s Neighborhood () and Caillou the Explorer () PLATINUM AWARD ’02, which explored transportation from a child’s point of view.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
JoJo's Circus Take a Bow!
(Disney $19.99 Score:) Designed as a think-and-move show for preschoolers, this lively DVD does get kids up on their feet and interacting, rather than just sitting there and watching—at least a bit. In each of the episodes, JoJo, a circus clown, and her friends learn some small but important lesson. In Story One, JoJo is told not to touch the button of the Clown machine, but she can’t resist and the robot clown throws pies that JoJo must clean up. She confesses, rather than lying, and learns that listening to directions is important. Each episode is followed with JoJo restating what she has learned. The pace of these stories is slow enough for the young viewer and the lessons are not so didactic as to spoil the fun. 21⁄2 & up.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Bear Snores On...and other stories to celebrate the seasons
(Scholastic $14.95 Score:) Bear Snores On was a Platinum Book Award winner in 2004 and it losses none of its charm as it is brought to life on the video screen. There is next to no animation and the pace is slow-as is the book. Just right for settling down for a cozy nap or enjoying a snowing day indoors. On ths same disk you’ll find Lois Ehlerts paper cuts taking on a new life in Waiting for Wings, the story of the metamorphosis from eggs to caterpillars to butterflies. A good early science book.Also featured here a waiting for rain story, Come On, Rain! Plus, Time of Wonder and Snow Cat.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2006.

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