The star of the popular children's home video series "Barney & the Backyard Gang" now has his own PBS television series. "Barney & Friends" premieres Tuesday and will continue to air weekdays at 7 a.m. on KCET Channel 28.
In case 5-year-olds of your acquaintance haven't introduced you, Barney is a big, clunky, spongy-looking dinosaur body puppet. A purple, touchy-feely, goggly, giggly reptile with yellow toenails and game-show host teeth.
His clumsy appeal often mystifies adults. Kids, however, have no such hang-ups, judging from their enthusiasm at concerts and their desire to sit through the videos over and over and over.
If you watch the show closely, though, you'll spot the gold in the goofiness. In a Mr. Rogers-ish way, Barney creates a safe, snug world for young children--ages 2 to 6--and reassures them that they are special and capable people.