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June 6, 2008 Edition

Fraggle Rock: the Complete 3rd Season

Revisit your childhood or introduce your own kids to the magic of Jim Henson’s Fraggle Rock with this 5-disk, 24-episode extravaganza. The fraggles live behind a rock in the wall of an inventor’s lab, and while he is oblivious to the strange but friendly creatures who have tunneled in, his dog certainly isn’t. With the help of Uncle Travelling Matt, the fraggles keep track of the goings-on in the human world and their own world, whether it’s the discovery of a fizzy water fountain or the identity of a radish-bar thief. Henson’s magical world lives again!

Garbage Monsters

Try these out on kids who are fascinated by heavy machinery. “Garbage Monsters” follows the neighborhood trash truck to a landfill, a recycling facility, and a green waste site where loaders, compactors, and other big trucks take over. “Dirt Monsters” shows bulldozers, loaders, and diggers at work on a construction site. And “Fire Monsters” will entrance young wannabees with firefighting gear, loud sirens, long ladders, and of course, huge trucks. Each title has a little “educational” content, for instance, naming the shapes that make up trucks and doing a little alphabet recognition, but really, young viewers will be joyfully focused on trucks, trucks, and more trucks!

Fire Monsters

Dirt Monsters

Pixar Short Films Collection

Pixar, known for its exquisite and groundbreaking computer graphics, has collected thirteen of its short films here on one disk. Most have been seen on the big screen as openers for Pixar’s longer films; the early films were featured in specialized animation festivals. Often, these shorts were created to allow animators to experiment with new ideas, such as in “Red’s Dream,” where the loneliness of a 50% off unicycle in a bike store is set in one of the first night scenes in a digitally animated film. It’s interesting to watch the progression from the now clunky-looking, but still delightful, “Tin Toy,” to the most recent, beautifully-textured “Lifted,” and I’m pleased to say that my favorite, Pixar’s iconic “Luxo Jr.” hasn’t aged a day.

Chuck Jones’ Collection

Here’s another lovely set of movies that will send adults reeling back to their childhoods: Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, the White Seal, Mowgli’s Brothers, Yankee Doodle Cricket, The Cricket in Times Square, and A Very Merry Cricket are all here on one disk just begging to be introduced to new viewers. Cover your eyes as Rikki-Tikki-Tavi fights Nagina in a blur of mongoose motion. Coo over Kotee as the seal pup learns how to live in the ocean. Discover how Mowgli came to live in the jungle. And follow the adventures of Chester the cricket as he reenacts the Revolutionary War, moves to New York City, and celebrates Christmas with friends.

Big Brown Bear’s Up and Down Day

Three short stories from David McPhail have been made into a delightful movie, read by the author himself. In the first story, find out how Big Brown Bear and his friend Rat first met and became friends. Then find out how Big Brown Bear helps Rat keep dry when it rains in his open-top car. And finally, go to a surprise party for Big Brown Bear and have a water adventure in this gentle dvd picture book.

Good Night Sesame

Sing and dance your way to bed with Bert and Ernie, Big Bird, Herry, Prairie Dawn, Cookie Monster, and other Sesame Street favorites. In addition to the disk of classic Sesame Street skits and songs, there’s a cd-rom disk here with interactive games. The mix of loud and quiet activities means there’s something here even for those who don’t think they’re quite ready for bed yet.

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