Getting the best of TV--for parents willing to take some trouble. Unlike Winn (The Plug-in Drug) and Moody (Growing Up on Television), who essentially advocate no TV as good TV, the authors take the position that the electronic box is here to stay, that it can be used to stimulate children's learning and creativity, and that children can be taught to be selective television consumers. Based on their work at the Yale Family Television Research and Consultation Center, the book provides a wealth of concrete information and activities, most of which were originally used in a school-based instructional program. After a brief but comprehensive review of the effects of TV viewing, and a question-and-answer chapter addressing parents' concerns, nine chapters provide ""lesson plans"" on virtually every aspect of television. The plans are thorough and easy to follow, and include background information for parents, diagrams, goals for the instruction, specific activities, vocabulary lists, and related readings. The sequence of topics is particularly seductive, beginning with what the children do watch (without judgment) through how TV works, the magic of special effects, what is real and what is fantasy, and the like. Then, activities on characterization, stereotyping, violence, and commercials take advantage of preceding lessons to focus children's attention not only on the content of the programs, but also on how the various effects are achieved. Notable, too, is the authors' attention to verbal as well as physical aggression, along with activities which ask children to think of alternative problem-solving strategies, plots, and characters. To gain full benefit parents will have to plan on at least a two-month commitment to working with their children--not a small investment of time and energy. Young children will probably gain most from conversations with their parents about TV; only those comfortable with paper and pencil (probably eight and over) will be able to keep the records and notes that the activities require. But if this handbook brings the family together to watch and talk about the Tube, that in itself will be laudable.