Author FAMILIES OF ISRAELArden Med Arden Media/Master Communications $19.95 (800) ISBN 1-888194-36-7

This engaging, award-winning educational series, which allows viewers to observe a day in the life of children from other countries and cultures, makes its home-video debut. But educational does not mean dry in the case of the two beautifully shot segments here. Narrated by a child and filmed from that child's point of view, this video is like going on a play date with an interesting new friend, not a social studies lesson. Nine-year-old Inbar describes her family's communal life on a kibbutz in the Red Sea Desert in southern Israel, while six-year-old Yoad shares what it's like to live in Jerusalem. As they move through daily routines (getting ready for bed, doing chores, going to school) and even some special celebrations (both families look forward to Friday evening meals in honor of the Sabbath), the children are genuinely welcoming and seemingly unaware of the camera. Brief mention is made of the past wars and current tension and conflicts that plague the country, helping young viewers to place Inbar's and Yoad's experience in the context of contemporary world events. The result is intriguing family viewing that's bound to be a discussion starter. Ages 5-11. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 08/06/2001
Release date: 00/00/0000
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