Judge Paul Pritchard feels smarter for having watched this DVD.
Mighty Math Powers!
"Two, four, six, eight, everybody crazy shake!"
Facts of the Case
Team Umizoomi: Journey To Numberland features three adventures for the tiny superheroes; offering up math-based fun for the little ones.
• "The King Of Numbers!"—In this double-length episode, Team Umizoomi travels to Numberland, at the behest of their friend, The King of Numbers. Numberland is a magical realm, where everyone loves numbers, except, that is, for the dastardly Wizard, Zilch. When Zilch kidnaps the King, the Umis must come to his rescue.
• "Picnic"—Milli, Geo, and Bot are preparing to go on a picnic when their friend, Anna, calls them. Anna has arrived at school, only to realize she has lost her lunch. Team Umi must retrace Anna's route to school and locate her missing snacks.
• "The Dinosaur Museum Mishap"—When a thunderstorm causes the dinosaurs at the local museum to run away, Team Umi must locate the giant creatures and return them home before a group of schoolchildren arrives.
There's much to admire and recommend with Team Umizoomi: Journey To Numberland, an edutainment series aimed at young children that neither patronizes nor panders to them.
The series revolves around "the smallest superheroes ever": Team Umizoomi. The group consists of Milli, an eight-year-old girl who is able to change the pattern on her dress using "Pattern Power"; this ability grants Milli the ability to quickly learn and understand patterns and sequences. Geo is a twelve-year-old boy whose specialist field is shapes. Using his utility belt, Geo is able to create anything the group might need by creating a blueprint of it, and building it by putting together the numerous shapes that make up the object. Bot is a robot, who has a "belly, belly, belly screen" which allows the group to view pictures, as well as receive video calls on from friends in trouble. The final member of the group is you, the viewer, and this level of interaction is integral to Team Umizoomi.
It would be all too easy for adults to leave their toddlers alone to watch Team Umizoomi while they get on with other chores, but to do so would be a mistake. As I found through watching the DVD with my son, it is worth sitting with your child and encouraging them to get involved with the show. Before long, with only a little help, my son was helping to solve simple math problems, and finding the missing color in a sequence. Of course, like all the best educational shows, Team Umizoomi is sly, in that my son hadn't realized he was learning, for him it was just a fun show featuring a colorful cast of characters.
Talking of the cast, much like the colorful CGI landscapes they inhabit, they have a simple yet elegant design that will appeal to the Wii generation. Along with the other animated characters, Umi City is populated with live-action people who often go about their business apparently unaware of the dinosaurs and other oddities that frequent their streets. It all comes together to create an instantly appealing show that will draw in its young audience quickly.
Each episode generally follow the same format as the last, meaning my son was quick to pick up on the songs that frequent the series, as well as the various catchphrases. Each episode sees the Umis receiving a problem, such as the King of Numberland being kidnapped, and setting out to solve the problem using math. For example: in the episode "The Dinosaur Museum Mishap," the Umis must get to the top of a building to rescue a stranded dinosaur, using the numerous elevators around the building to do so. Each escalator has a series of colored buttons that follow a sequence, and each sequence is missing one button. Thus, to get to the top, the Umis must work out which colored button is required to complete the sequence. Simple, and yet all the best things in life, its simplicity is the very reason it works so well.
Team Umizoomi: Journey To Numberland comes to DVD with a colorful 1.33:1 transfer. The stereo soundtrack is solid, with crisp, clear dialogue. The sole feature is a trailer.
Team Umizoomi: Journey To Numberland is a joy. From personal experience, it has instant appeal for toddlers, and really does get them involved in simple math and problem solving. The fact that all this education is wrapped up in an entertaining package should be considered a massive bonus.
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