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KIDS EXTRA VIDEO

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December’s selections feature new Muppets, a Mark Twain mainstay, and the brothers Mario. (All reviews by Kenneth M. Chanko.) AGES 2 TO 5 BASIL HEARS A NOISE (1993, CTW/Republic, unrated) A musical adventure starring a never-before-seen troupe of Muppet characters. The timid title creature goes on a camp-out but can’t fall asleep. So his friend tells him the epic tale of a bear who screws up his courage, saves the forest animals, and becomes a hero. Added attraction: Sesame Street’s Elmo makes a cameo. B+

RICHARD SCARRY’S best LEARNING SONG VIDEO ever! (1993, Random House, unrated) Even toddlers unfamiliar with the author’s popular characters will get a kick out of this tape, an animated collection of every 2-year-old’s top tunes -from ”Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes” to ”If You’re Happy and You Know It.” Another rock-solid tape in the Scarry video series. B+

AGES 5 to 9 SUPER MARIO BROS. (1993, Hollywood, PG) What can you say about a movie, based on a video game, that will have kids bored and reaching for their Game Boys? A convoluted plot muddles things up, but Mario Bros. is probably still better than a film inspired by Mortal Kombat. C-

The Secret Of The Seal (1993, Just for Kids Home Video, unrated) This cut-rate Free Willy, an English-language tale from Japan, features animation that ranks a notch below Jonny Quest. But the story of a young boy who must protect two seals is awash in high adventure and warm-the-heart sentiment. B-

AGES 9 and up THE ADVENTURES OF HUCK FINN (1993, Disney, PG) The most recent film adaptation of the Mark Twain classic strikes a pleasing balance between faithfulness to the original novel and the demands of today’s commercial market. Kids will appreciate Twain’s musings about the true nature of freedom and see the quick- witted Huck as a hero. B+

LIFE WITH MIKEY (1993, Touchstone, PG) Michael J. Fox is perfectly cast as a talent agent who gets his pocket picked by a street-smart, cute-as-pie 10- year-old girl. The two bond in formulaic fashion (a food fight, a wrestling match), but kids will enjoy watching the girl become a star. B-