Kids' Vids

To be seen & heard

I cannot decide whether young children are gainers or losers now that they have been ghettoized by popular culture. When so much of TV and film is scabrous, parents rightly want to control what their youngsters see and, in response to this need, the world of Kid Vid has emerged. So there are thousands of videos in stores and libraries meant exclusively for children, and that’s good, isn’t it? But most of them will turn the brains of your offspring into the sort of gray matter found inside the head of a gerbil, and that’s bad, isn’t it? Worse, many small children insist on their parents’ watching with them. The Teletubbies have their fascinations (are those creatures babies or aliens, or does it make any difference?) but you don’t want to spend three hours watching six Tubby videos in a row, do you? So, maybe parents are the real losers when it comes to the entertainment ghetto of Kid Vid.

For the sake of parental and grandparental sanity, I submit the following list of videos that won’t destroy sanity or insult taste. Not on it are theatrical releases such as Shrek which have already been seen and judged on the big screen. Rather, these are films made either directly for video or drawn from TV programs that have been skimpily reviewed and advertised. They are all works of art that can be seen over and over again by adults as well as children. I speak from experience.

Abel’s Island, directed by Michael...

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About the Author

Richard Alleva has been reviewing movies for Commonweal since 1990.