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DVDs that entertain and teach

Once upon a time, parents had to pour over the TV listings for something vaguely educational their kids could watch. Now the only problem is choosing from the dizzying array of shows available on DVD. We scoured a wide selection of programs that are both fun and edifying and found that some of the best offerings are still the classics.

By Chris Colin

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Chased by Dinosaurs DVD

Chased by Dinosaurs

Chased by Dinosaurs
All ages, $20

Got a kid deep in a brachiosaur phase? He or she will drool over this collection of 30-minute episodes in which charismatic zoologist Nigel Marven travels through time to tour seven prehistoric eras. The digital effects are surprisingly decent, and the science is compelling enough for novices and aspiring paleontologists alike.

The bottom line: There are a lot of dinosaur DVDs out there, but this is one of the best.

Chris Colin is the author of What Really Happened to the Class of '93 and writes the "On the Job" column for the San Francisco Chronicle as well as stories for the New York Times, Mother Jones, McSweeney’s Quarterly, and GOOD magazine. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and daughter.