Brenda Brave. First Run Features. 30 minutes. $19.95. (800) 488-6652. The English dubbing is unfortunate at times in this Swedish import, but the unusually gentle tale of the love between a little girl and her elderly adoptive grandmother overcomes that flaw. Written by "Pippi Longstocking" author Astrid Lindgren and directed by Daniel Bergman (son of Ingmar), the film chronicles a child's courage and heart when Grandmother is hurt and can't get to the village marketplace to sell her homemade candies. Cherubic little Brenda, determined to help, cleans up their humble little cottage and takes her grandmother's place in the market. In the end, she receives a longed-for gift. The tale is told with simplicity and care, and the affection between the two is deeply felt. A lovely film.
Joe Scruggs: Live From Deep in the Jungle. \o7 Lyrick Studios. 51 minutes. $14.95. (888) 905-5200. \f7 If you haven't caught up with quirky Joe Scruggs, or if your kids are only now the right age (preschoolers and kindergartners) for Scruggs' trademark brand of musical silliness, don't miss this video re-release with the round-faced, mustachioed singer and sidekicks Peter Markham and Jeanie Runion. The highlight is Scruggs' award-winning signature song, "Bahamas Pajamas," in which a pair of mischievous bird puppets get the lyrics wrong. Scruggs, singing soulfully: "I bought a guitar, to play under the stars, in the Bahamas." The birds: "He bought some cigars, and started chasing cars, in his pajamas." The kid-pleasing antics continue in variations on "Old MacDonald" and the spooky "Talking Toybox" and a witchy "Goo-Goo, Ga-Ga." There's lots of viewer participation, too.
The Rainbow Fish. \o7 Sony Wonder, 30 minutes, $12.98. (800) 221-8180. \f7 Two stories are adapted from Marcus Pfister's popular children's books featuring illustrations with shiny holographic foil stampings. That effect is recreated here in the title story about a vain, glittery fish who finds happiness in sharing with friends and in "Dazzle the Dinosaur," about a timid young dino who finds his courage and faces down a mean "dragonsaurus." The animation, save for the glitter effect and nice watercolor backgrounds, is pretty ordinary; the strengths here are the charming voicings and the gentle, positive messages, reinforced in song.
A Child's Celebration of Rock 'n' Roll. \o7 Music for Little People. CD: $15.98; audiocassette: $9.98. (800) 346-4445, Ext. 104. \f7 Sure, they're oldies, but they're new to kids who can share these rock 'n' roll funny-bone pleasers with parents and, yep, even grandparents who were rockin' in the '50s. Among the 15 silly songs--all original recordings by the original artists--are "Alley Oop" by the Hollywood Argyles, "Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavor" by Lonnie Donegan, "Yakety Yak" by the Coasters and, naturally, "Purple People Eater" by Sheb Wooley.