One is a cartoon. One is flesh and blood. But both Polly and Madeline -- the stars of two specials for children this week -- are lively young girls.
You might remember Polly, played by "The Cosby Show's" Keshia Knight Pulliam, from last year's "Polly," a Disney musical special loosely based on Eleanor H. Porter's children's classic "Pollyanna." Pulliam played a girl who comes to live with her rich aunt (played by Phylicia Rashad, also of "Cosby") after her parents are killed in a car accident. The new Polly Comin' Home! continues where the story left off, with the 12-year-old heroine and her friends working to ease racial tension in her small town. In the process, Polly even helps her aunt rekindle a romance! The TV movie also stars Dorian Harewood and Barbara Montgomery of "Married People."
"Polly Comin' Home!" Sunday at 7 p.m., NBC. For families.
Madeline's Christmas is a new animated special based on the classic children's books by Ludwig Bemelmans. Here, the precocious Madeline, who lives at a boarding school in Paris, is the only girl in the school who isn't in bed with a cold. She finds herself faced with the awesome responsibility of spreading holiday cheer, but winds up getting help from a special visitor. Christopher Plummer narrates the charming tale.
"Madeline's Christmas" Thursday at 6 p.m., the Family Channel. For 2-to11-year-olds.
MORE KIDS' SHOWS
For Kids' Sake: Kids Under the Influence (Sunday at noon on KCAL looks at the problem of teen-age alcohol abuse. For parents.
Kids-TV's newest installment is "Life Without a Home" (Sunday at 7:30 a.m., Friday at 6 a.m. and 5:25 p.m. on Showtime), which teaches young children about homelessness and shows what some kids are doing to help the problem. For 5- to 9-year-olds.
The movies Short Circuit (Tuesday at 8 p.m. on KTLA) and Short Circuit II (Wednesday at 8 p.m. on KYLA) are about a talking robot who comes to life. For ages 12 and up (Short Circuit); 9 and up (Short Circuit II).
Batman meets Scooby Doo? It's true -- the Caped Crusader teams up with the cartoon mutt to battle the Joker and the Penguin in Scooby Doo: The Dynamic Scooby Doo (Thursday at 9:30 a.m. on USA) and Scooby Doo: Caped Crusade (Thursday at 6;30 p.m. on USA). Our bet: In a fight between a dog and a penguin, we'd put our money on the dog any day. For 2-to11-year-olds.
It's the day after Thanksgiving and there's nothing to do except eat, you say? Try tuning in to an afternoon's worth of outer space-themed episodes of some old favorite kids shows (Friday on Nickelodeon). Count Duckula, Dennis the Menace and Yogi Bear are just a few of the characters who travel to distant galaxies and encounter alien beings, which should keep you entertained until dinner. For all ages.
Dog lovers will wag their tails at four Disney Channel shows about our canine friends: Challenge to Lassie (Friday at 1 p.m.) stars the world's smartest collie. For all ages. In Snoopy Come Home (Friday at 6 p.m.), everyone's favorite animated beagle goes off on a high-flying adventure. For all ages. Chips, the War Dog (Friday at 7;30 p.m.) is based on the true story of a brave German shepherd during World War II. For 2-to 12-year-olds. And in The Shaggy Dog (Friday at 9 p.m.), an otherwise normal boy is transformed into a sheepdog through a magic spell. For all ages.
A Young People's Special (Saturday at 6 a.m. on KNBC), "The Edison Adventures," tells the story of Thomas Edison's boyhood. For 8-to14-year-olds and their families.