Picks and Pans Review: Living Dinosaurs

updated 12/04/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/04/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

What a cheat! "It's not dinosaurs. It's lizards," says Kate, 7. Yes, packaged to look like a documentary about our fine prehistoric friends, this tape is actually about their contemporary relatives. A narrator-guide, coyly named Ms. B, takes along what she calls research assistants (we call 'em kids) as she ventures through what appears to be someone's backyard. Except it has all these lizards in it. "This is stupid, Mom," says Nick, 3. Yes, indeed. (Ms. B's World Productions, 3619-C Midway Dr., San Diego, Calif. 92110)

FISHER-PRICE GRIMMS' FAIRY TALES: BRIAR ROSE

Ha! Can't get anything by this family! "This is Sleeping Beauty," Kate informs. "But not as good as the Disney one,"

Mom suggests. "Sure it is," Kate says.

"But it's for ages 2 to 5, Kate."

"So?" she says.

"I liked it, but I wasn't watching it," adds Nick.

A better bet, from an adult point of view, might be the Fisher-Price Hansel and Gretel or Little Red Riding Hood, wherein the animators have fun by creating a fat-tummied, gentle, unthreatening wolf. "But I like Briar Rose," argues Nick. Go figure. (Media, $14.95)

THE CAT IN THE HAT COMES BACK

By the standards of the TV specials based on Seuss stories, this tape is disappointing. Despite a few graphic tricks, it isn't really animated. Rather it is a series of pages from Seuss books, with a voiceover reading the text. (In addition to the Cat's return, this 30-minute tape includes There's a Wocket in My Pocket and Fox in Socks.)

Moms and Dads may also not want to forgo the pleasures of reading these stories, with all their calming nonsense and rhythmic whimsy: "Through three cheese trees three free fleas flew/ While these fleas flew freezy breeze blew."

With those reservations, it's still true that Seuss's tales are irresistible in any form. Let no one tout this tape as a replacement for a book and a parent, but as a change of pace (or, let's face it, baby-sitter), it is useful. (This tape is one of four in a series of packages of Seuss stories.) (Random House, $9.95; 800-733-3000)

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