Judge Paul Pritchard is the little engine who could, but probably shouldn't.
Calling All Chuggers!
For most adults, it would be true to say that if you've seen one Chuggington DVD you've seen them all. However, this cannot be said of young children, as my son is evidence of; rather than finding the lack of diversity boring, children seem to find a certain comfort in the show's repetitive nature. Of course, this has been true of children's television since the beginning (particularly shows aimed at toddlers), and so, if your kids are going to be hooked on a particular series, the least you can hope is that it will be wholesome. Chuggington: It's Training Time brings together six "traintastic" adventures full of good clean fun, that little ones can enjoy whilst learning a moral or two for good measure.
For those not in the know, Chuggington revolves around three trainees (as in trainee locomotives): Brewster, Wilson, and Koko. Each episode sees the young engines taking on new tasks, and learning valuable life lessons along the way; six episodes are included in this set:
• "Training Time Harrison"—Harrison is forced to go back to training school when he crosses the line in order to win a prestigious job.
• "Wilson Gets A Wash"—Wilson enjoys his training, which involves learning to stop in the mud, but isn't so keen to go to the chugwash afterward.
• "Koko And The Tunnel"—Koko worries everyone when she goes exploring and doesn't tell them where she is going.
• "Watch Out Wilson"—An overconfident Wilson learns a valuable lesson.
• "Wilson's Smooth Moves"—Wilson has trouble learning to carry passengers smoothly, but is helped out by Eddie.
• "Eddie Finds Time"—The train schedules are thrown into chaos when the depot clock is broken, leaving Eddie to save the day.
The episodes whiz by at a mere 10 minutes, and combine just the right blend of laughs and lessons so as to be fun but still have something to say. The episode "Training Time Harrison" takes an interesting turn when one of the grownup trains, Harrison, who the young trainees look up to, is seen to be just as fallible as they are when his cockiness and over-exuberance proves to be his undoing. "Koko And The Tunnel," which sees the inhabitants of Chuggington panic when Koko goes off on an adventure without telling anyone, delivers a simple but effective lesson to children on the importance of not running off. A common trend in the show is the importance of friendship, as most episodes show the chuggers succeeding when they work as a team; the episode "Wilson's Smooth Moves," in which Eddie helps Wilson with a particularly tricky task, exemplifies the show's even handed approach to dishing out these lessons.
Included as a bonus episode is "Running On Time," from the Chuggington offshoot, Badge Quest. The Badge Quest episodes run at just 4 minutes each, and deal with the trainees earning a badge by completing a specific task. In the case of "Running On Time," the trainees must stick to a strict schedule to earn their Running on Time badge. The point of the task—and thus the lesson for any children watching—is to learn the importance of being punctual.
The episodes are presented in a 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer. Colors are bright, and complement a sharp, detailed picture. The stereo soundtrack is crisp, with dialogue clear throughout. Inserting the DVD into a DVD-ROM drive gives the user access to a selection of activity sheets.
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