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Product Type: Videos

 


2005 Award
Baseball's Greatest Rivalries
(Major League Baseball $14.95 Score:) The video starts with some Red Sox fans shouting "Yankees suck!" and there are the occasional brawls—but our viewers assured me that it was great to see the old players talking about classic moments in baseball and even better when they showed those pivotal moments in America's favorite pastime. For a broader, more historical look back, we recommend Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns BLUE CHIP (PBS Home Video $149.98/$179.98) There is probably no better gift to serious fans than this nine-tape history of baseball. Burns traces the game's history back to the nineteenth century. Film clips of classic moments in unforgettable games are even more memorable as old-time players, commentators, and fans tell about historic games. Borrow this at the library if the price seems steep, but don't miss it! No better way to introduce sports-minded kids to history! 9 & up.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Families of the World Series
(Master Communications $19.95 Score:) Newest in the series, this year's video is set in Vietnam. Narrated by a child from the featured country, these are low on energy but high on information about the food, work, school, and customs, told from a child's point of view. More like social studies films for school or libraries, these are nevertheless one way to introduce kids to far-away places. Earlier videos cover, among other places, China, Thailand, Mexico, India, Korea, and Israel. 30 min.

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

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2005 Award
Look Mom! I Have Good Manners
(Thinkeroo $14.95 Score:) Based on the title alone, we expected this would be a didactic thumbs down. But with its quiz-show format, the hyper-happy show host involves viewers as players with questions that center on table, good health, playground, and school manners. Kids featured are school-aged kids—the audience for this lively and non-preachy video.

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

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2005 Award
Popular Mechanics for Kids: Radical Rockets
(Koch Vision $12.98 Score:) Two teens take kids on a visit to NASA and get to try out all sorts of equipment used to train real astronauts. This is an interesting video for kids who are taken with the idea of exploring space. We didn't like Slither & Slime, with too many moments that felt like "Fear Factor," with earthworms slithering over the kids' faces. 7 & up.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Potty Power
(Thinkeroo $14.95 Score:) Toddlers who are on the threshold of "potty power" will relate to the kids in this video who demonstrate all the things they as big kids can do—including "going potty." An amiable young woman sings and speaks along with an animated roll of toilet paper—sounds a bit hokie, but comes across as age-appropriate and not preachy. No miracles promised, but it couldn't hurt! (800) 477-7811. 2 1/2 & up. Also recommended: It's Potty Time (A Vision $19.98). Developed by the Duke University Medical Center, this "story" features kids of many ages getting ready to go to a party.

Age: Toddlers. 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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2005 Award
Elf
(New Line Home Entertainment $22.99 Score:) Starring Will Ferrell as the man who grew up at the North Pole, thinking he was an elf. He heads to New York to seek out his father, a Scrooge-inspired character played by James Caan. Ferrell is great at the physical humor that appeals to kids; adults also didn't mind this family fare with a memorable performance by Bob Newhart as Papa Elf. 9 & up.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
The Incredibles
(Disney $29.99 Score:) We first reviewed The Incredibles in a packed New York City movie theater. Parents and kids found aspects of the movie that especially appealed to them. Kids loved the fast paced adventure and were big fans of Dash's speed. While siblings could identify with the tension between Dash and his big sister Violet, parents identified with the everyday problems and frustrations of the middle aged former superheroes. Unlike many family films that are tolerated by adults, The Incredibles is truly family entertainment. The adult humor is there but not in an over the top way that would make you or your 10 year old uncomfortable. The DVD's extras are worth a look. The short, Jack Jack Attack chronicles the adventures of the youngest superhero. Kids and adults also enjoyed the behind the scenes information about the making of the film.

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

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Hiroshima No Pica
(First Run Features $29.95 Score:) Using the text and art of the award winning book, this is a film that tells the story of the events surrounding the atomic bomb. What makes the video extraordinary is the story of the husband and wife team, Tosh and Iri Maruki, who created the book and the way they collaborated. Narrated by Susan Sarandon. This is a film for older students, not young audiences. 10 & up.

Age: . Award Year: 2006.

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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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