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Holly jolly video delights
By Ranny Levy
Let it snow - or not!
The Teletubbies revel in the wonder and mystery of their first snow and get to see what the holidays are like in places where Christmas is not white. Teletubbies: Christmas in the Snow has the characteristic Teletubby charm and pace. Tinky Winky, Po, Dipsy and Laa-Laa venture cautiously into their winter wonderland, build a snow Tubby and take a peek into how children around the world celebrate Christmas. For tiny ones about to witness their first snow, or for tots already old enough to know what Christmas is all about, this video is a delightful holiday treat that will open new horizons for them - white or otherwise.
Recommended for ages 2 and younger
Party with the twins
It's Christmastime, and Mary-Kate and Ashley want to bring your youngsters into their home to share their holiday traditions. Just tell them, "You're invited to Mary-Kate and Ashley's Christmas Party", and you know they will have good, wholesome fun, although you might want to be prepared to bake some Christmas cookies afterwards. The twins go skiing and play in the snow, and Santa makes a surprise appearance as the delivery man.
Recommended for ages 5-8
A different look at Christmas trees
Even the youngest kids know what a Christmas tree looks like, but how many of us know how the tradition started? You and your family will learn that and more in The Big Christmas Tree. Narrated by a child, The Big Christmas Tree puts a new spin on a very old custom, without delving into the real meaning of Christmas. Lots of interesting information on trees is presented by combining whimsical animation with live footage, such as helicopter shots of the Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting Celebration. A good choice for some substantial viewing to balance out too many holiday sweets.
Recommended for ages 5-8
VIDEO PICK OF THE MONTH
Playing reindeer games
From Matt Groening, creator of the Simpsons, and featuring the voice of Drew Barrymore, Olive the Other Reindeer will work a little holiday charm on even the most jaded viewers. As you might expect from the irrepressible Groening, the characters in this offbeat but sweet animation run the gamut from adorable to shady and from helpful to downright mean. Olive the dog becomes Olive the Reindeer when she goes to the North Pole to stand in for the injured Blitzen, thereby saving Christmas for everyone. Olive's commitment to helping Santa is inspiring, and the supporting characters are funny and credible. Anyone old enough to enjoy Bart is old enough to enjoy Olive.
Recommended for ages 10 and up
Ranny Levy is president of the Coalition for Quality Children's Media. KIDS FIRST!¨, a project of the Coalition, evaluates and rates children's videotapes, CD-ROMs, DVD, audio recordings and television programs using a volunteer jury of child development professionals, teachers, parents and children of diverse geographic, socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds.