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Product Type: Videos

 


2006 Award
The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash
(Scholastic $14.95 Score:) This collection might have been subtitled, “Tales out of School.” Steven Kellogg’s illustrations come to life in this lightly animated version of one of the zaniest class trips in children’s books. It’s one of those tall tale stories that grows as the narrator goes on and on. Other stories on the video include “Shrinking Violet,” narrated by Calista Flockhart, and “Will I Have a Friend?” which is much younger than the other stories. DVD bonus stories are “Wings: A Tale of Two Chickens” and the marvelous Canadian film, “The Sweater,” about a boy who receives the wrong sweater through a mail order mix-up and is an outcast on his hockey team. 6 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Nova: Welcome to Mars
(WGBH $19.95 Score:) With all the attention to Mars’ recent close encounter with Earth, this film gives you a chance to land with the Mars rovers and get a look around. The drama of off-again/on-again robotic communication gives us a sense of the frustrations and triumphs of those who explore the distant frontier of space. 10 & up.

Age: Later School Years. 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
Pollyanna
(WGBH $19.95 Score:) Anytime you need a good old-fashioned three-hanky movie, Pollyanna awaits! A Masterpiece Theater production starring Amanda Burton as Aunt Polly and Georgina Terry as her orphaned niece. Taught as a child that one can always find a good side to any adversity, Pollyanna teaches everyone the “glad game” and manages to cheer just about everyone but her dour aunt who has been unhappy in love. But when disaster befalls Pollyanna, a silver lining does appear! Beautiful to look at with a fine supporting cast! 100 min. 8 & up.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
The Incredibiles
(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.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Ice Princess
(Disney $29.99 Score:) How about a movie about a super-smart math and science student who becomes a great skater applying what she knows about physics to her own skating? While it may take a leap of faith to get the same girl to the Nationals, it is a fun leap. Michelle Trachtenberg (of “Harriet the Spy”) is allowed to be smart and beautiful. Kim Cattrall plays her coach and Joan Cusack plays her mother (and they make her look upsettingly matronly). The behind-the-scenes look at the cutthroat world of figure skating may be eye-opening to many young skaters. 6 & up.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Ken Burns American Lives Collection
(PBS HOME Video $139.99 Score:) Here is an outstanding set of seven biographies and stories of Americans and the historical events in which they played a leading role. Burns’s stories begin with his memorable 1997 program “Thomas Jefferson” and conclude with his newest work, “Lewis and Clark,” “Frank Lloyd Wright,” “Not For Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony,” “Mark Twain,” “Horatio’s Drive,” and “Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson.” 24 hours, 40 mins. Titles are available separately. 10 & up.

Age: Later 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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