A Day at the Beach

The latest in a series called Barney & the Backyard Gang, A Day at the Beach is the story of brother and sister Michael and Amy and four neighborhood friends. With the help of Barney, a small stuffed creature who is magically transformed into a life-size talking dinosaur, they imagine themselves enjoying a day at the beach. The next thing they know, they’re flying through the air in their wading pool, en route to the shore, singing as they go.

Many of the songs, performed by the kids with either Barney or Sandy Duncan, are old favorites (”[A Sailor Went to] Sea, Sea, Sea,” ”The More We Get Together”). The arrangements are lively and smart — definitely foot-tapping material.

The video is visually interesting, too: The sets look fake in the extreme. (”It’s fiction!” my 6-year-old cried delightedly.) In the kids’ small backyard, the Astroturf shimmers vividly green and the flowers are a burning yellow. As mom Sandy Duncan fills the wading pool and absent-mindedly sings a pretty song, you almost expect munchkins to start popping out of the bushes. Instead, her two children, Michael and Amy, come crashing into the pool and begin bickering. A Day at the Beach is a nice combination of exotica and reality, and Duncan is unexpectedly pleasing in a perky sort of way. B+

A Day at the Beach
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