Small-Screen Summer

Sunday, June 17, 2007

"School's out!" launches the season of lengthy road trips and plane rides -- journeys that parents can make more manageable by packing entertaining options for the kids. So before you saddle up the station wagon a la the Griswolds, check out some of the season's new children's DVDs, which feature educational fare, animated favorites and more. After all, you can only play the license-plate game for so long, right?

-- Holly E. Thomas

[ANIMATED] Arnie the Doughnut . . . and Other Fantastic Adventure Stories (Scholastic Media: DVD $14.95; not rated): In this offbeat tale narrated by Michael McKean, a doughnut does his best to avoid being eaten. The DVD includes four other stories, one of which is read by Sean Hayes.

[ANIMATED] James Marshall's Cinderella . . . and More Beloved Fairy Tales (Scholastic Media: DVD $14.95; not rated): Actors Kathy Bates and Patrick Stewart lend their voices to this set of five classic stories, including "Hansel and Gretel" and "The Three Billy Goats Gruff."

[LIVE ACTION] Bridge to Terabithia (Walt Disney Video: DVD $29.99; rated PG): The beloved young-adult novel by Katherine Paterson comes to life in this CGI-enhanced retelling. Josh Hutcherson and AnnaSophia Robb star as Jess and Leslie, an unlikely pair who bond over their love of make-believe.

>>[LIVE ACTION] Flight 29 Down: Volume One (Genius Products: DVD $14.95; not rated): The 'tween favorite that takes a cue from "Lost" stars an ensemble cast including Corbin Bleu and Hallee Hirsh. Originally airing on Discovery Kids Channel, the first four episodes of Season 1 are presented as a feature-length movie.

[MUSICAL] A Treasure in My Garden (Secret Mountain: DVD $14.97; not rated): This collection of 13 music videos, highlighting children's songs by Gilles Vigneault, is animated by artists at Tooncan, the Canadian studio that produced the Oscar-winning feature "The Triplets of Belleville."

>>[MUSICAL] Gustafer Yellowgold's Wide Wild World (Little Monster Records: DVD $16.99; not rated): Illustrator and singer-songwriter Morgan Taylor adds music to tales about Gustafer, a friendly creature from the Sun who settles in Minnesota and befriends a dragon, an eel and others.

[MUSICAL] Sesame Street: Kids' Favorite Country Songs (Sesame Workshop: DVD $14.93; not rated): Elmo and his cousin Elmer host a jamboree of new and classic songs performed by the likes of Faith Hill, Lee Ann Womack and Tim McGraw.

<<[TV ON DVD] Charlie and Lola Volume 4: It Is Absolutely Completely Not Messy (BBC Video: DVD $14.98; not rated): The charming British siblings face the ups and downs of being kids, such as cleaning their rooms and being afraid of the dark, in seven episodes.

[TV ON DVD] Nick Jr. DVDs (Paramount Home Entertainment: DVD $16.99; not rated): Nickelodeon's morning block of preschool programming gets the DVD treatment with four-episode collections from "The Backyardigans," "Blue's Room," "Go, Diego, Go!" and "Max & Ruby." The first two sets include music videos and bonus featurettes on shapes and colors.

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