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Fast, Free DVDs: the Ocean State Library Network

CharlielolaWe all know it is not good for them, but ah…the pleasures of being able to hypnotize children into silence with television! This morning, both of us parents having overslept, I came upon my children sitting goggle-eyed before the screen, watching ladies on a chat show discuss a brassiere that, as one boy summarized it, “makes your chests look bigger because you can fill it with wine, and then you can also drink the wine through a hidden straw when you want to get drunken.” These are not the sorts of wholesome good times I had planned. But, despite warnings from public health authorities, there are some shows I am happy to have my kids watch.

Just like their parents, our kids are cable TV deprived, and so they binge on multiple episodes courtesy of the DVD-rich statewide Ocean State Library (OSLRI) system. We use the library’s internet reservation system to order the DVDs (and books too, in case you were worried) we are interested in. Sometimes there is a long wait, and other times our selections arrive faster through the library than through Netfilx.

These are our favorites, and all are readily available through the OSLRI system (anyone with a Rhode Island Public Library card is eligible to partake).

Avatar-Last-AirbenderCharlie & Lola: An English import. Charlie and his little sister, Lola, live in a world that is a pleasure to look at (beautiful colors and patterns). They confront real-life obstacles like bedtime, eating vegetables, going to school, and taking care of a dog.

Avatar: The Last Airbender: Stylized battles, beautiful animation, and the triumph of good over evil. This is a good one for school-age kids who think they’re tough, like fighting bad guys and have parents who don’t like even slightly realistic violence.

Jacob Two TwoJacob Two Two: A funny, animated show about a Jewish family in Canada whose youngest son, Jacob, is tired of being the youngest. He takes adventures such as going to get sesame seed bagels on his own.Swallows-Amazons

Swallows and Amazons: You’ll have to fire up your VCR to watch these films. Released in the 1970s, the stories take place in the 1930s. English children sail from their vacation home to a seemingly deserted island. The adventures take off from there.

Please share your kid’s favorites and your recommendations with Kidoinfo.

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  • Charlie and Lola is geared towards ages 4-8. Stories are benign.

    Jacob Two Two books are geared for 8-12 year-olds but the videos are fine for age 5 and up – some of the content may a bit more challenging to understand.

    Avatar: The Last Airbender geared towards ages 9-14.

  • Barrington Library has two fun sequels to “Swallows and Amazons.” “The Coot Club” and “The Big Six” feature a club of river urchins who operate a salvage operation and sabotage tourists who threaten their local ecology. Very empowering depiction of little kids making independent ethical decisions and forming attachments to their local waterways. (Sort of like “Hoot” if it were made in Britain 30 years ago.)

  • OSLRI used to be called the CLAN until about a year ago. Old library cards may say the CLAN on them but they still access the renamed OSLRI system.

  • Our two boys are really into “The Andy Griffith Show” and “Leave it to Beaver.” Any chance of those old-timey “family” shows on dvds at the Ocean State Library?

    By the way, BobbieB, I think the on-line library system is titled “OSLRI”, not “CLAN”–unless, of course, you were referring to a different system, which well may by the case (my apologies, if so)

  • Wow! I had no idea that I could check out DVDs through the CLAN system! I’m going to do that today! Thanks for the info, Katie!

    By the way, reading your article made me think of a favorite childhood movie of mine – “Pippy Longstocking.” Something about you reminds me of Pippy! I think its your whimsical, “devil-may-care” attitude!

  • We love the DVDs of favorite books like William Steig’s “Dr. De Soto.” There are tons of these at the libraries. Weaver Memorial library in East Providence has a really good collection (their books are great too!)