Parents Group Finds More Bad--and More Good--in Kid Vid

The children's section at the video store often presents a dilemma for caring parents. They are familiar with certain titles--Disney productions, for example--but not with many others. And they are afraid they might pick something they'll later wish their kids had never seen.

There are solutions. One is to preview at least part of a video before handing it over to a child. Another is to read as many reviews of children's tapes as possible. And still another is to follow the recommendations of such organizations as Parents' Choice Foundation.

This foundation, headquartered in Massachusetts, reviews not only home video but also toys, games, TV shows, pop music and other media in its quarterly magazine, Parents' Choice. (Information: (617) 965-5913.) The latest issue of the magazine lists its annual awards, including several in the home-video field.

Editor-in-chief Diana Huss Green told The Times that the one word that summarizes 1987's kid vid is more .

"While there was more junk than ever last year, and some of it was really rotten--from terrible cartoons to toy tie-ins--there was also more good stuff," she said.

That good stuff included such award-winners as "Baby Songs" (Hi-Tops) for tots, "Shari Lewis' 101 Things for Kids to Do" (Random House) for ages 3-7 and "The Red Shoes" (Paramount) for kids 8 and older.

Parents' Choice's attitude toward children's video after sorting through hundreds of '87 releases? According to Green, "We love it, because it gives people a choice. It used to be that such a choice was available only to the few who could afford it." But besides the advent of cheaper VCRs, she said, "librarians have learned how to stock and use videos for kids." Many libraries hold "video story hours," she added.

Other Parents' Choice winners that dads, moms and librarians might like to add to their collection: "Gary Coleman: For Safety's Sake" (LCA), "Five Lionni Classics: The Animal Fables of Leo Lionni" (Random House), the "Perfect the Pig" entry in the "Reading Rainbow" series (Children's Video Library) and two volumes from the "Lorne Greene's New Wilderness" nature series--"Hunters of the Chubut" and "Master Hunter of the Night."

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