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Successful Dinosaur Pursues Options

<i> Associated Press</i>

Barney, the purple tyrannosaurus character known to millions of preschoolers as the star of the PBS television’s “Barney & Friends,” is releasing his first album.

Waldenbooks and J.C. Penney are among the retailers that have ordered a combined 1 million copies, according to Daniel Glass, president of EMI Record Group, which will release the album Aug. 31. “Because of the wide appeal of Barney, we’ve been able to place the album in outlets besides record stores,” Glass said.

The Lyons Group, headed by Barney’s creator, Sheryl Leach, was to receive a “seven-figure” advance, Glass said.

The deal calls for at least one album per year for three years.

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The 27 songs on “Barney’s Favorites Volume 1" include “Barney Theme Song,” “Peanut Butter” and “Looby Loo.”

Some critics have attacked the TV series, saying its facile nature and repetition of lyrics doesn’t challenge children to think on their own.

But the appeal of the rotund tyrannosaurus lies in his lack of sophistication, according to Leach.

“Barney is very simple. We’re proud of that,” Leach said in a statement. “At first the press didn’t understand. They still don’t understand.”

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