($29.99) Give this bonus-features-packed, two-disc set to your small fry and they'll happily go fishing for hours. There's even an option that allows you to turn your TV screen into a virtual aquarium.
($64.92) "The easiest way to draw Bugs Bunny is to draw a carrot and then hook a rabbit to it," says legendary animator Chuck Jones in one of the many entertaining mini-documentaries that are sprinkled in among the 56 classic Looney Tunes 'toons in this impressive four-disc set.
($49.99) Originally conceived by creator Stephen Hillenburg, a former marine biologist, as "Jerry Lewis under the sea," Spongebob is the guileless hero of the hit Nickelodeon cartoon. This three-disc set contains all 40 episodes from the first season plus 90 minutes of bonus material, including a look at the actors-behind the voices.
($26.99) Along with this animated adventure about the pirate Sinbad (voiced by Brad Pitt
) come cool games and a bonus cartoon in which kids can choose a character to follow.
($18.95) First published in 1993, this elaborately illustrated kid's-eye view of Manhattan is narrated by a young girl who introduces readers to the landmarks and traditions she loves. In this edition: new paintings, foldout scenes and a poignant update on the Twin Towers.
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll; pop-up adaptation by Robert Sabuda ($24.95) Alice returns to Wonderland in an ingenious 3-D book affording readers splendid views down the rabbit hole and into the Queen's rose garden. Truly breathtaking and engaging.
The Wolves in the Walls by Neil Gaiman; illustrated by Dave McKean ($16.99) An artfully rendered (but too dark for the very young) tale of a girl's nightmare come to life, written by the creator of the haunting Sandman comic-book series.
A well-researched, child-and parent-friendly compendium of simple desserts, offering traditional recipes for religious and secular celebrations—everything from Purim to the Fourth of July.
The porcine pre-school charmer is back for some sibling rivalry and a lesson in not holding grudges.
A fictional scientist's exhaustive reference guide to the fantastic reptiles. Who knew that dragon dung is a skin tonic?
Diary of a Wombat by Jackie French ($14) A lovely story about the way an irrepressible wombat works his way into the lives of a human clan. The perfect choice for young readers curious about foreign culture.
MUSIC AND AUDIO
These double-CD sets are, in their way, delightful—David Hyde Pierce's over enunciation is perfect for "Hop on Pop." Even without Seuss's whimsical pictures, these are a fine way to pass the time on car trips.
A three-CD boxed set collects 63 tunes sung by Sesame Streets cast and star musicians. Creatures like Cookie Monster and Michael Stipe (whose R.E.M. performs "Furry Happy Monsters") will get your kids singing.
Spongebob takes on robots that have seized the underwater village of Bikini Bottom. It's a comic adventure with cartoon interludes, best for fans of the TV show.
This hilarious contest, for one player or many, gives you the mike (included with the game) and challenges you to make like Kelly Clarkson
. Sing well and get cheers and points; miss too many notes and you'll get booed.
In the latest adventure in this excellent series, an orphan dog, Pep, is thrown a surprise party by Putt-Putt. This lively game for kids 3 to 6 teaches kindness and acceptance.
Players can arrange musical flowers to decorate the forest as. The characters give encouraging feedback in a gentle, short, noncompetitive game.
Drivers try to win by hurling banana peels and sliding turtle shells in this raucous contest. Perfect for kids, but, car-loving adults will have a blast too.
Players help Solar Boy avenge his father's death in this complex game, parts of which (owing to the solar sensors on the cartridge) are best played outdoors.
>The 9-year-old star of The Cat in the Hat talks about her top kids' movies on DVD: Finding Nemo "My favorite part was the sea turtles." The Sound of Music "My grandmother was from Germany, so every time I see that movie I think of her." A Little Princess "I want to be in that whole fantasy." Benji "I was sobbing through the whole thing." E.T. "I loved Drew Barrymore
and all the actors."
>The Eye Toy
The Eye Toy ($49.99) lets players literally get into the game. A tiny video camera (right) connects to PlayStation 2 and then zaps your image onto the screen. Your movements then affect the action. Along with zany (but not overly violent) fighting games like Kung Foo (left), players can get virtual with the quieter—but oddly hypnotic—Wishi Washi and Bubbles.