Paramount // 2005 // 111 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Lacey Worrell (Retired) // September 14th, 2005
Visit the beach! Meet new friends! Discover a lost city and a magical playroom! There's so much to do with Dora, Blue, Sportacus, Little Bill, Max & Ruby, and Oswald!
This DVD collection features episodes of well-known Nickelodeon favorites Dora the Explorer, Blue's Clues, and Little Bill, along with the lesser known Oswald, Max & Ruby, and the new kid on the block, LazyTown.
The six episodes included on this DVD are:
* "Dora the Explorer: The Lost City"
Dora is a spunky young girl who, along with her trusted pal Boots, follows a trusty map and finds adventures in their colorful world. In this episode, when Dora, Boots, and Swiper lose treasured items, they must travel to the Lost City to recover them.
* "Blue's Clues: The Legend of the Blue Puppy"
Blue, a little computer-animated dog, and his live-action friend, Joe, find clues around the house in order to solve riddles. Here, Blue and Joe try to solve the mystery surrounding Moona the moon fairy's gift.
* "LazyTown: Sports Day"
LazyTown is a colorful world where a young newcomer to town must try to make sense of all the strange and wacky goings-on. In this episode, superhero Sportacus is outsmarted by villain Robbie Rotten on Sports Day. It is up to the rest of the residents of LazyTown to save the day.
* "Little Bill: Little Bill's Adventure with Captain
Little Bill, the brainchild of comedy icon Bill Cosby, lives in an urban neighborhood, much like his predecessor, Fat Albert. Little Bill gets the opportunity to meet his hero, Captain Brainstorm, and show him a story he has written, but he might just choke up from nervousness at being in the presence of his hero.
* "Max & Ruby: Max's Work of Art/Max Meets Morris/Ruby's Scavenger
Max and Ruby are rabbits who are brother and sister, and who experience the usual frustrations of sibling rivalry. In these three stories, Max tags along after his older sister as he learns to make friends and stay out of Ruby's way when she and her friend are painting or participating in community activities.
* "Oswald: A Day at the Beach/Sand Sculpture Contest"
Oswald is a cheery octopus who lives in Big City with his pet dachshund Weenie, his peppy flower friend Daisy, and a grouchy penguin named Henry. In these episodes, Henry overcomes his fear of the water, and the friends compete to make the best sand castle, only to find that sometimes a combined effort brings better results than individual competition.
I usually cast a jaundiced eye at any program that claims to educate children, as "educational" programming frequently varies wildly in terms of value and quality. I also think that sometimes entertainment for entertainment's sake is perfectly fine; every single moment of a child's existence does not need to be a "lesson." These offerings from Nick Jr., however, rival PBS Kids and Discovery Kids when it comes to sheer quality for the six-and-under set. The stories are highly entertaining, but they manage to be positive and educate at the same time.
Out of all of these, Oswald is clearly the standout. Based on the beloved series of books by author Dan Yaccarino, the gentle storylines and enchanting, vivid animation are simply captivating. Oswald is voiced by Fred Savage of The Wonder Years; listen closely to the nasal tones of Henry, and you may recognize Laverne and Shirley's David "Squiggy" Lander. Additional characters, such as the odd twins Eggbert and Leo, and the Barry White-esque Johnny Snowman, only add to the entertainment in this wacky little world.
Speaking of wacky worlds, what doesn't work as well is LazyTown. Although kids are likely to be delighted by it, adults may be left scratching their heads. The characters are prone to breaking out into techno-driven songs, and they are a mix of real people and creepy looking puppets. The little girl who is the central character wears a hot pink wig for seemingly no reason, and Robbie Rotten, the bad guy, is sufficiently scary to create nightmare in very young viewers.
Staples such as Dora and Blue's Clues are always welcome, but keep in mind that these shows have extensive DVD collections devoted completely to them. That said, the very strength of Nick Jr. Favorites Vol. 1 is the sheer variety offered by the disc. There is enough to please everyone, from toddlers to kindergarteners, and it will definitely bear repeated viewings. The other strength of this collection is the diversity of characters such as Dora and Little Bill; it ensures that most children watching will be able to relate to and identify with the characters, an example studios like Disney could stand to emulate.
Judgment in favor of Nick Jr. Favorites Vol. 1 on the grounds that it gracefully walks the line between education and entertainment and will inevitably be loved by not only boys and girls, but by parents as well.
Review content copyright © 2005 Lacey Worrell; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 111 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Nick Jr.