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The latest in kid's videos

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The latest in kid’s videos

It’s a zoo out there: ‘Toon dinos take Manhattan, a small mouse talks big, and animals get back to nature.

AGES 2 TO 5
WE’RE BACK! A DINOSAUR’S STORY (1993, Universal, G)
With Jurassic Park off-limits, preschoolers now have a Spielberg movie they can call their own. Unfortunately, they won’t want to. The plot — something about dinosaurs visiting New York — is hard to follow, and despite the voices of John Goodman, Walter Cronkite, Jay Leno, and Julia Child, the animated tale never comes to life. C-

MOUSE SOUP (1994, Golden Book Video, unrated)
In this adaptation of Arnold Lobel’s children’s book, a mouse (voice of Buddy Hackett) tells a series of tall tales so as to avoid becoming a weasel’s first course. The story has its beguiling moments, but the real appeal here is the whimsical stop-motion animation, which will render toddlers spellbound. B

AGES 5 to 9
REALLY WILD ANIMALS (1994, National Geographic Television/Columbia Tristar, unrated)
Expanding into kidvid, National Geographic has produced this series (Swinging Safari, Wonders Down Under, Deep Sea Dive) with classic footage, bouncy tunes, and glib narration from Dudley Moore. The tame clips of beasts in their environs are perfect for kids not ready for nature’s more gruesome moments. B

ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK? (1994, Nickelodeon, unrated)
The stories on this tape — The Tale of the Frozen Ghost and The Tale of the Shiny Red Bicycle — offer classy frights from the Nickelodeon series of the same name. A clever Tales From the Crypt for 8- and 9-year-olds, these stories are sure to bring on goose bumps — but not nightmares. B+

AGES 9 and up
FATHER HOOD (1993, Touchstone, PG-13)
An unconvincing Patrick Swayze plays a thief who takes his two kids on a joyride to his next heist; meanwhile, the cops, the FBI, and the press are in hot pursuit. Somewhere along the way, Swayze sees the light and transforms himself from deadbeat dad to Dan Quayle poster parent. Father Hood manages to be both 100 percent predictable and totally unbelievable. D

KING OF THE HILL (1993, Gramercy Pictures, PG-13)
Acclaimed director Steven Soderbergh’s vivid coming-of-age period piece follows a sharp but vulnerable 12-year-old boy as he fends for himself during the Great Depression. An unqualified triumph, King of the Hill also boasts the best performance by a child actor (Jesse Bradford) in recent years. A

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