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Product Type: Video
Age: Early Elementary School Years

 


2009 Award
Treasury of 25 Storybook Classics, Fairyales, Magic & More!
(Scholastic $29.95 Score:)

A collection of 4 DVDs each with at least six picture books that are well worth sharing. Some have full animation, others are less so, but all use the original picture book art by some of the best loved illustrators in the children's book world. This collection includes the Hans Christian Anderson Collection, James Marshall Collection, Rapunzel and other Classics, and the Strega Nona stories with a bonus of two stories told in Spanish. These fairytales are narrated by such well-known performers as John Lithgow, Danny Glover, and others. We've given awards in past years to most of the DVDs in this Treasury. Now they are gathered together in a library that you can use as a resource and an excellent alternative to TV.  For readers there is a read-along feature that may help children develop eye sweep, reading with expression, as well as vocabulary. The collection is marked 3-9, but we think this particular collection is a better choice for somewhat older children, say 5 & up. 

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Award
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom & Chicka 123...and more stories
(Scholastic $29.95 Score:)

We told you about the Chicka Chicka videos when they were introduced on single disk DVDs years ago. This new entry with both Chicka storybooks on one disk is part of a bigger collection, subtitled...more stories about letters and numbers. Another great choice from the Scholastic Storybook Treasures that includes 9 other storybook classics such as Emily's First 100 Days of School, How Much is a Million?, Millions of Cats, Inch by Inch and other gems. You may want to check the full list against those you may already own. There is a lot of overlap in the various Storybook Treasure collections and some are more animated than others. That said, these are videos with some of the best loved picturebooks often narrated by well known actors. Kids can watch them as pure entertainment or switch on the words and they can read along.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Awards
Mary Poppins 45th Anniversary Edition
(Walt Disney $29.95 Score:)

A two DVD set of a loveable classic that you probably saw when you were the same age as your own kids. Along with the full length feature, this set includes a deleted song, a reunion with Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke, an animated adventure with Julie Andrews and a backstage extra of the Broadway show. Sure it will air on TV, but this is the way to see it without all the commercials and whenever a little spoonful of sugar is needed! Still a treat!

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Award
Tucker's Spooky Halloween
(by Leslie McGuirk, Candlewick $14.99 Score:)

Tucker, an adventuresome dog, wants to be something spooky for Halloween. His owner dresses him in cute costumes, but Tucker is tired of looking cute. Finding Halloween stories that are right for younger children can be hard, but this one is right on the mark. It's another charming package in the Candlewick Storybook Animations collection. There's a small book, stickers, a small poster and best of all a two-sided disk that plays a DVD animated version of the story on one side and the audio on the other side.  Ages 3-6.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2001 Awards
Goodnight Moon & Other Sleepytime Tales
(HBO Kids Video $9.95 Score:) (HBO Kids Video $9.95) Our favorite video of the year. Though toddlers might enjoy the title story, this is not a film for the very young. Through interviews with dozens of real kids, this refreshing film captures kids' typical feelings about dreams and bedtime. Viewers will find comfort in knowing that they are not alone in some of their fears. Laced throughout these wise remarks from kids are Natalie Cole narrating Faith Ringgold's Tar Beach, Billy Crystal's telling of Mercer Mayer's There's a Nightmare in My Closet, and familiar bedtime songs sung by Tony Bennett, Aaron Neville, Lauryn Hill and Patti LaBelle. Oh, yes, and Goodnight Moon comes to life faithfully with brilliant color and minimal animation, and read just as it should be with simplicity by Susan Sarandon. Save this for kids from 4-7.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2001.

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2001 Awards
Joseph: King of Dreams
(Dreamworks $26.99 Score:) It's refreshing that this animated version didn't take liberties with a story that needs no added drama. Joseph's coat is not quite as colorful as one might imagine it, but the story of jealousy, dishonesty, courage, and forgiveness is all here. Though the animation does not compare to Dreamworks' Prince of Egypt, the images, the straightforward script, and even the music bring Joseph and his dreams to life without turning them into a nightmare! 6 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2001.

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2001 Awards
Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea
(Disney $26.99 Score:) A satisfying sequel to the "happily ever after" tale of the Little Mermaid. The drama begins when Ariel's daughter Melody is threatened by the sea witch Morgana. To keep her safe, Ariel decides that her daughter should never know of her mother's past or her relations in the sea. Rebellious like her mother, Melody dives in and runs into her own set of underwater sidekicks and big-time trouble. Another happy ending, of course. The music isn't as grand, but will satisfy those looking for more adventures. Two fins up! Because the opening is particularly scary, our recommendation is to save this for 6 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2001.

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2001 Awards
Chicken Run
(Dreamworks $26.99 Score:) Like many so-called family films, this one is loaded with visual quotes from movies that kids won't know. Yet, on a very basic level, this is the tale in which the underdogs (make that the chickens) join forces and use their ingenuity to outwit the evil, greedy, inhuman humans who are plotting to turn them into pot pies. With plenty of sunny-side up chicken/egg jokes to lighten the dark side, it's "Stalag 17" and "The Great Escape" recast in fine fowl claymation. 6 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2001.

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2001 Awards
Disney Presents Annie
(Disney $19.99 Score:) If you missed this on network TV during the holidays or you wish you could see it again, here's a masterful, made-for-TV production of the musical Annie. Kathy Bates plays the dastardly Miss Hannigan to 12-year-old Alicia Morton's spunky Annie, with Victor Garber as Daddy Warbucks and Audra MacDonald as his secretary. It's better than the movie or other revivals we've seen. This is a keeper! 5 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2001.

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2001 Awards
My Dog Skip
(Warner Bros. $22.96 Score:) With the help of his dog, 9-year-old Willie overcomes loneliness, fear, and his small stature. Set in WWII, this is a good blend of humor, adventure, and the bigger issues of growing up, finding friends, and figuring out what being a hero really means. Skip's eventual death, after Willie grows up, is treated sensitively at the end, with just a voice-over. 8 & up.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2001.

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