Here's our weekly showcase of the latest and greatest new selections in media for youth.

From books and games to educational toys and DVDs, there's never a dull moment for active and eager young minds.

This week, the focus is on the arrival of spring, with raindrops, animals and care for the environment all explained in every medium, from DVD to music and book format.

DVDs

Infinity Entertainment Group, $14.98, Ages 6 and older

"Critter Quest!" by Smithsonian Networks

Join host Peter Schriemer on a "backyard safari" with these three educational and entertaining episodes of Smithsonian Channel's award-winning "Critter Quest." The shows unearth an array of interesting finds, from the fuzzy and squirmy to the gilled, winged and multi-legged wonders of this world. Episodes included, each a half hour, are "Creepy Crawlers Everywhere," (bugs, spiders, worms) "Season of Change" (how animals prepare for winter) and "The Wild Side of D.C." (besides politicians, find out all the other wild critters that have been found roaming the streets of the nation's capital.) It's available in stores or at smithsonianchannel.com.

MUSIC

Rockin Out Green Media, $14.95, Ages 3 and older

"Earth Worm Disco" by Shira Kline

This CD features a collection of 11 songs created as a musical playground for children to get them up on their feet and learning about the earth's natural wonders. The songs, like "Roll Up on Your Tricycle," "Earth Worm Disco," "Farmers Market" and "Reduce, Re-use, Recycle and Rock" plant the seeds of environmental awareness in young kids while making the learning musically fun and entertaining. The lyrics are bright, fun, upbeat and inspirational. It's available in stores or at rockinoutgreen.com.

BOOKs

Lerner Publishing, $16.95, Ages 4 to 8

"Noah's Bark," by Stephen Krensky

Noah is trying to build his much-needed ark, just as the rain drops start to fall. However, as this 32-page hardcover non-religious storybook explains, way back during this time in history, animals are able to make any sound that comes to the top of their heads. So, snakes might quack, while pigs howl and beavers crow. But Noah has a plan for having each of the pairs of animals to have their own distinctive sound so he can tell them apart even when he doesn't see them. Told in an easy-to-read fable format with beautiful illustrations, children will like joining in with the familiar animal sounds described. It's available in stores or at lernerbooks.com or (800) 328-4929.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at philip.potempa@nwi.com or 219.852.4327.

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