Monday, October 27, 2008

Kicking it old school with Moo and Beans

The thing I have against a lot of television shows and videos aimed at young children is that they're just too good.

And by good I mean slick. A part of me feels nervous about carefully crafted dialogue, seamless pacing and flashy production values. I'm not sure if it's because I fear Graham's developing brain doesn't stand a chance against the onslaught or if I'm simply nostalgic for the bumpy charm and hokeyness of some of the productions I remember loving in the 1970s.

Whatever the reason, when I agreed to review the DVD My Baby A to Z - Come Explore Shapes With Me I fell hard for a couple of guys named Moo and Beans and immediately hoped their homespun antics would strike a chord with Graham.

My Baby A to Z is designed to teach children their shapes and the hosts are Moo and Beans - Monkey and Tiger puppets respectively. Along with their friends they bop around in front of scenes of simple animation and real video, strings in full sight, dancing with awkward abandon to funky base lines, in search of a variety of shapes.

I was happy to see that Graham loved them as much as I did. After just a few minutes he was shouting shapes at the television and jumping on the couch trying to imitate the child actors who also appear on screen and encourage children to make themselves into the shapes.

After the DVD was over I took a minute and asked Graham to try and find some of the new shapes he'd learned in objects around the room and he did so enthusiastically.

I feel strangely gratified that a program which (obviously deliberately and cleverly) employs a less slick and more retro approach is still able to stimulate my son: parents these days are lead to believe this generation of children have attention spans so short they need state-of-the-art bells and whistles to help them learn.

My Baby A to Z proves that they don't. It proves that solid concepts, goofy engaging characters and a phat, funky bass line does the job very nicely, thank-you-very-much.

*I reviewed My Baby A to Z - Come Explore Shapes With Me for the Parent Bloggers Network which has 20 free copies to give away to lucky readers. Click here for more details on that. You can also order it from the My Baby A to Z web site and put in the special Don Mills Diva discount code - F65RQW5J - for a 20% discount off the $19.99 selling price. The DVD is also available here on Amazon.*

1 comment:

caramama said...

That sounds like a really good show. We are currently working on shapes with the Pumpkin. I'll have to check it out.