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Barney, 'King and I' Show Kids the Wonders of World of DVD

July 29, 1999|SUSAN KING | TIMES STAFF WRITER

DVDs are not just for adults these days. In fact, two new discs are strictly kids' stuff.

After starring in his own popular PBS series, "Barney and Friends," headlining his own feature film and appearing in several videos, the Great Purple One, a.k.a., Barney the Dinosaur, stars in his first DVD, "Let's Play School" (Lyrick, $25), which offers more than two hours of fun for youngsters. However, depending on their tolerance for Barney, adults may want to run screaming from the room.

The core of "Let's Play School!" is a 50-minute educational program--featuring such old favorite songs as "One Two, Buckle My Shoe"--that follows the 200-year-old dino and his little human pals as they have a fun-filled day of surprises at "Baby Bop's School."

If the little ones want to sing along, parents can click to a track so they can join in singing six songs from the video. Children of reading age can also follow the lyrics karaoke-style.

The "Barney's ABC Animals" feature is the first electronic book on DVD. Kids have the option to listen to Barney read a 32-page book about animals and the alphabet. Parents and caregivers also have the option to read the book to their children.

The disc also is used as a promotional vehicle for other Barney products. It includes seven songs from the new "A Great Day for Learning" audio CD and there are trailers for all the current Barney videos.

For parents, there are biographies on the stars of "Barney," as well as of the creative team behind the show. The "What We Learned Today" feature illustrates all the educational elements of the disc.

For those who have DVD-ROM capability, the disc includes five games, including "The Memory Game" and "Let's Count and Paint the Dots."

Spanish-speaking children can also listen to the disc in Spanish and the program is subtitled in English and Spanish for the hearing-impaired.

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New on DVD from Warner Home Video is the wide-screen version of the animated musical "The King and I" ($25). Based on the classic Broadway musical written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, this version didn't exactly burn up the box office and received mixed reviews at best.

But the goodies featured on the DVD make it worth watching.

"The Creative Room/Animation and Music Evolution" feature includes an interesting documentary on the recording of the music and interviews with the conductor and the film's director. The best fun, though, is using the angle button on the remote to watch several of the musical numbers evolve from their rough animation form to the full-scale completed version.

The disc also features a track that highlights the lyrics as you watch the movie. There's even a karaoke function so you can sing along with the film.

The "Sizzle Reel" features mini conversations with the singing stars of the movie, Christine Noll and Martin Vidonic. One can also watch the film dubbed in French and English.

For DVD-ROM owners, there's a game that gives children the opportunity to enter an online contest to win movie collectibles.

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