When his childhood friends called Judge Mike Pinsky "Baby Einstein," he had no idea they meant Bob "Super Dave Osborne" Einstein. But it might have explained why they kept dropping large objects on his head.
"All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them."—Galileo Galilei
The real test of any children's video, especially the educational ones, is how the child reacts. In that case, Baby Galileo: Discovering the Sky, Disney's star-faring installment in the Baby Einstein collection, is a hit. My daughter has no idea what outer space is, but she thinks Baby Galileo is brilliant.
Okay, so the NASA footage is a bit lost on her at this stage, and she has yet to learn the words attached to each segment's theme (sun, clouds, moon, Mars, etc.). But as with all the Baby Einstein discs, she is entranced by the footage of happy children playing with toys to cleverly arranged classical music. Most of all, she loves Baby Galileo himself.
This installment in the series features the stargazing Galileo, a little joey, and his kangaroo mother, who provide the transitions between the show's themed segments. My daughter laughs and laughs at Galileo. In fact, Galileo's antics rival the Baby Neptune disc for popularity in our house, and for anything to rival splashing water for fun has to be a major accomplishment.
When Disney bought the Baby Einstein Company from founder Julie Aigner-Clark in 2001, there was some speculation that they might tamper with the formula, insert Disney toys or music, or otherwise muck up the fragile blend of music and visuals that has made the Baby Einstein series more successful than the ton of other toddler videos. Fortunately, Baby Galileo should lay these fears to rest once and for all. Sure, Aigner-Clark's kids are no longer center-stage (they are no longer toddlers), and the editing and puppetry lack that raw, homebrewed quality of the original shows. But the series seems to have lost none of its heart, and all the essential pieces are still in place.
Baby Galileo: Discovering the Sky includes video flash cards, a DVD-ROM coloring book, and a collection of puppet scenes with Galileo and friends, including several cut from the final show. The visuals are filled with eye-popping primary colors, but the audio mix is only 2.0. Oddly, it seems to have a bit more depth than on the Baby Neptune disc from earlier the same year.
As my daughter gets older, I expect Baby Galileo is a disc we will continue to explore in order to learn about science and the environment. If she enjoys looking at the stars this much now, who knows what she can become?
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