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SHOWS FOR YOUNGSTERS AND THEIR PARENTS TOO : Here's one cool cat that CBS Video brings home for a sing-along

July 24, 1994|N.F. MENDOZA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Theodor Seuss Geisel, who will always be known simply as Dr. Seuss, revolutionized early reading when he wrote alternatives to the Dick-and-Jane primers. Children's access to his 1957 "The Cat in the Hat" increased by leaps in the '70s, when television--with the good doctor's help--adapted the humorous tales of the striped-hatted cat.

Now, on Wednesday, CBS Video repackages Seuss with lyrical songs, releasing Dr. Seuss Sing-Along Classics. The four-video set includes The Hoober-Bloob Highway, The Lorax and Green Eggs and Ham and Other Stories.

"Dr. Seuss' stories are just incredible, since he was such a wordsmith and a punster," says Mindy Pickard of CBS-Fox Video marketing. "He loved language, and that's what lasts throughout all these years. Hopefully that love of language will rub off on youngsters."

Offering five to eight songs per half hour, the videos are "upbeat, very funny and offer a very different kind of music," Pickard says. "You get to see the lyrics at the bottom of the screen and it can help learn to read, if the kids are in that stage. Adults enjoy the playfulness of the language."

The "bouncing ball" that accompanies the lyrics in each video becomes a green egg or a hat or a tree in the sing-alongs.

Seuss' stories, Pickard says, convey "lessons for every age, and they work despite the changes in society--they're the basic things in life, the basic morals.

"Dr. Seuss was way ahead of his time. They really stand up to time and are hip."

The "Dr. Seuss Sing-Along Classics" (CBS Video, $10) is available in stores Wednesday. For ages 2 to 8.

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Nick fans will be happy to know that they can own their favorite series with the release of Are You Afraid Of The Dark?, Nightmare Tales, The Adventures of Pete & Pete: Classic Petes, Clarissa Explains It All: Enslaved by the Bell, Double Dare: Super Sloppiest Moments, GUTS: All-Star Special, and The Ren & Stimpy Show: More Stinky Stories. All available now from Sony Wonder, $13. For ages 5 and up.

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There might not be any familiar cuddly Muppet types in Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal (Jim Henson Video, $15), but there's plenty of myth, mystery and adventure. The all-creature feature took five years to make. For ages 7 and up.

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Featuring "edutainment" at its best, popular PBS shows are now available on video: Ghostwriter--Into The Comics and Who Burned Mr. Brinker's Store ($15), Cro--It's A Woolly, Woolly World, Adventures in Woollyville and Have Mammoths, Will Travel ($10), Mathnet--Case of The Unnatural and Treasure in Monterey Bay ($10), and Square One--Video Jukebox ($10). From Republic Pictures. For ages 6 to 12.

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With Disney's "The Lion King" roaring up the movie charts, Sony Wonder has released the animated The Jungle King ($15), about another lion king and his unambitious twin. For ages 2 to 8.

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Showtime offers a weekly dose of Robert Munsch. Now his Pigs; Murmel, Murmel and Something Good (Golden Book, $13) have just been released on video. Each title features two stories. For ages 2 to 8.

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Spot Goes to School (Walt Disney Home Video, $15) is the latest in the award-winning "Spot" series, with five short episodes about what to expect on the first days of school. For ages 6 and under.

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Based on the books of Arnold Lobel, Uncle Elephant and Mouse Soup ($13) are the newest stop-animation titles from Golden Book Video. For ages 2 to 6.

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Complete with a video and a doll, Maurice Sendak's classic Where The Wild Things Are (Wood Knapp $25) offers a fun summer gift. For ages 2 to 10.

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