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Product Type: Video
Age: Late Elementary School Years

 


2005 Award
The Miracle
(Disney $22.99 Score:) In the tradition of "The Rookie" and "Remember the Titans," this is the latest feel-good sports movie from Disney. While most of the current family movies revolve around teenage starlets, "Miracle" is one of the few films that will keep your sons engaged. It's also fun to revisit a moment most parents remember vividly. Kurt Russell stars as Coach Herb Brooks, who dared to believe that the amateur US team could win the Gold Medal in Hockey. 8 & up.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Shrek 2
(Dreamworks $22.99 Score:) Can you live happily ever after? Shrek and Princess Fiona put the famous fairy tale ending to a test when they go home to meet Fiona's parents, played by Julie Andrews and John Cleese. The anxiety-ridden premise of meeting your in-laws appealed to the grown-ups in the audience. Antonio Banderas as Puss in Boots got high marks from both young and older viewers. An engaging sequel that will be playing in living rooms, over and over again. 5 & up.

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

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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
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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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
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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