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Product Type: Video
Age: Toddlers

 

Caillou's Neighborhood
(Warner Bros. $12.95 Score:) Caillou is older than Maisy, less noisy than Elmo, and paced just right for young viewers. In this new video he is spending the day with Grandma and visits her friends; a family with twins moves in, providing two new friends-not just one; the neighborhood has a rummage sale. Good, but not as good as Caillou the Explorer, PLATINUM AWARD '02, which explored transportation from a child's point of view.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2004.

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Blue's Big Treasure Hunt and ABC's And 123's
(Paramount $ Score:) These two videos mark a turn in the road for blue-not necessarily a desirable one for programming targeted to old toddlers and preschoolers. The happy thing about Blue was how smart kids felt as they shouted to Steve and tried to show him the clues they saw before he seemed to. Now, the climate has switched to quizzes that undermine kids' sense of smarts with questions they should not be asked, or know the answer to. The letter P is introduced-the sound of paw, and pop, and the next thing we see is a sign for phone-but no one mentions that "ph" sounds like "f," not "p." Further, kids are supposed to follow reading clues and rebus pictures, but without left-to-right readiness cues-initial sounds for the word k-e-y are introduced and the word is spelled from top to bottom instead of left to right. All in all-a treasure map? reading for preliterate kids? Sorry-it's off track, Blue!

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2000.

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2003 Award
Blue's Clues: Meet Joe
(Paramount $12.95 Score:) Steve, the original host, is gone. In his place, his younger brother Joe takes on the job of putting preschoolers through their paces, trying to find Blue's Clues. We're not sure how new viewers will be with old videos featuring Steve. Of the old series we liked Blue's Clues Rhythm and Blue, PLATINUM AWARD '00; and Blue's Clues Story Time, PLATINUM AWARD '99 Closed-captioned. 2–5.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2003.

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Kipper Imagine That! & Amazing Discoveries
(HIT Entertaiment $9.99 Score:) Based on the books by Mick Inkpen, the newest videos have fallen into the usual "kiddie" show themes of pirates, magic acts, and costume parties-far from the original stories that were so on target for toddlers. Here Kipper and his pals hunt for scary creatures, befriend a hungry robot, follow dinosaur prints, play spaceshipm and take off to outer space with a balloon-driven bench. Stick with some of the earlier Kipper videos. 2 & up.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: .

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2003 Award
Caillou: I Want to Grow Up
(Warner Bros. $12.95 Score:) Caillou is older than Maisy, less noisy than Elmo, and paced just right for young viewers. Caillou doesn't want to go to daycare and both his parents need to go to work. His very patient father takes some extra time to show him all the people that work in their neighborhood, including his teacher! Not as good as last year's Caillou the Explorer PLATINUM AWARD '02, which explored transportation from a child's point of view.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Award
Elmo's World: Wake Up With Elmo
(SonyWonder $0.770656370656371 Score:) Elmo, Mr. Noodle, and the rest of his gang give tots tips on sleep, getting dressed, and taking care of their teeth. Live action film of a first visit to the dentist is especially useful. 2 & up.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2003.

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Barney's Musical Castle
(Lyons Group $14.95 Score:) If your child has ever been to or dreamed of going to a Barney show, Barney's Musical Castle 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, if you are over three! Still recommended, Sing & Dance with Barney (four). Depending on where you stand, this 56-minute reunion tape featuring 27 Barney hits will be either a preschooler's dream come true or your 9-year-old's worst nightmare. New for 2004, Barney Best Manners (two), all original songs about manners (e.g., "Keep Your Sneeze to Yourself"), left us wanting for more standard Barney songs. 2-6. (800) 791-8093.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: .

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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
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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