It All Speaks to Kids
Shakin’ a Tailfeather. Music for Little People. CD: $15.98; cassette: $9.98. (800) 346-4445. Old songs sparkle anew with irresistible blues, doo-wop, a capella and rock ‘n’ roll rhythms in this delightful album, a Grammy nominee for this year’s best children’s recording, memorably performed by Taj Mahal, Eric Bibb and Linda Tillery and the Cultural Heritage Choir, who are guaranteed to get kids and grown-ups rockin’ to the beat. A sampling: “Jim Dandy,” “Little Sally Walker,” “Shortnin’ Bread,” “Beans and Cornbread” and the title song. “Follow the Drinking Gourd” is the soulful windup. Instrumentals are tops, too.
Goosebumps: Attack of the Mutant. DreamWorks Interactive. $39.95. Microsoft Windows 95/Windows NT 4.0. Ages 7 to 13. It’s not just fans of R.L. Stine’s hugely popular “Goosebumps” Scholastic Inc. books and TV show who’ll enjoy jumping into this well-made, color-ful 3-D action adventure. Players join forces with the “League of Good Guys” to stop the Masked Mutant from destroying the world as we know it: The purple villain wants to turn it into a comic book. As the countdown to destruction continues, you’ll explore the bad guy’s multilevel headquarters, navigating through corridors filled with elevators, doors and secret passageways that lead to nifty rooms and mazes. Sound effects and spooky music are nicely done, and the perils aren’t overly intense; parents don’t have to worry that kids will be exposed to blood-and-guts hyper-violence. Also available: “Goosebumps: Escape From Horror Island.”
Water . . . Close Up and Very Personal. Stage Fright Productions. 30 minutes. $14.95. (800) 979-6800. Countless nonfiction kidvids explore the hows and whys of everything from fire engines to photosynthesis, but few are as sensitively crafted for beauty as this tribute to one of life’s necessities. Without words, producer and filmmaker David Phyfer demonstrates his respect for young viewers with gorgeous, soothing scenes of swift-moving rivers, crashing waves, waterfalls, foaming rapids, streams and tranquil lakes. Creative close-ups turn water into abstract art, creating intricate patterns out of motion and reflections; tiny darting fish resemble animated calligraphy; a sculpture of circles is really a mound of stacked water pipes. Phyfer’s vision is perfectly complemented by John Lindenberg’s original score.