This DVD collection features episodes of well-known Nickelodeon favorites Dora the Explorer, Blue's Clues, and Little Bill, along with the lesser known The Backyardigans, Max & Ruby, and new kid on the block, LazyTown.
The six episodes included on this DVD are:
* "Dora the Explorer: Meet Diego!": Dora is a spunky young girl who, along with her trusted pal, Boots, follows a trusty map as the two friends find adventures in their colorful world. In this episode, Dora's cousin, Diego, who just happens to be an animal lover, tries to rescue Baby Jaguar.
* "Blue's Clues: Joe's Surprise Party": Blue, a little computer animated dog, and his live-action friend, Joe, find clues around the house in order to solve riddles. Here, Blue plans a surprise party for Joe's birthday by inviting young viewers to solve clues to make the party special.
* "LazyTown: Soccer Sucker": LazyTown is a colorful world where a young newcomer to town must try to make sense of all the strange and wacky goings-on. Sportacus tries to rally the residents of LazyTown to defeat the Soccerbot 6000, a creation of the evil Robbie Rotten.
* "Little Bill: Same Moon, Same Sun, Same Star and All Together Now": Little Bill, the brain child of comedic icon Bill Cosby, lives in an urban neighborhood, much like his predecessor, Fat Albert. Little Bill experiences a sense of loss when Mrs. Shapiro, his next door neighbor, announces that she is moving to Hawaii. A special gift from Mrs. Shapiro helps to ease the loss. In "All Together Now," Little Bill decides to run away after having an argument over his nap.
* "Max & Ruby: Ruby's Pajama Party/Baby Max/Bunny Scout Brownies": Max and Ruby are rabbits who are brother and sister, and they experience the usual frustrations of sibling rivalry. In these three stories, Max wants to crash Ruby's slumber party when he sees all the goodies the girls are getting to eat, Ruby and her friend want to make Max into a baby, and Max comes close to ruining Ruby's brownie profits when he wants them for himself.
* "The Backyardigans: Race to the Tower of Power": The Backyardigans focuses on five technicolor friends who use their backyard and vivid imaginations to construct elaborate stories and songs. This episode pits the Super-Heroes against the Super Villians as the race to the Tower of Power.
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 the offerings of Nick Jr., Oswald is clearly the standout, which is why it is a shame that Oswald was omitted from this release. Based on the beloved series of books by author Dan Yaccarino, the gentle storylines and enchanting, vivid animation are simply captivating. It would have been nice to see it included here.
LazyTown is a pretty wacky show, and 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 enough to create nightmare in very young viewers.
Little Bill is a simple, reassuring show about the concerns of preschool aged children; it handles topics such as loss with dignity and grace. And I dare you to try to get the songs from The Backyardigans out of your head. I'm ashamed to say I've been known to walk around the house singing "Riding the Range," from a different episode than the one included on this disc. It's been stuck in my mind for oh, about six months now.
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. 3 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.
The picture quality on this DVD is excellent; the colors are vivid, the picture is sharp, and it will truly draw in little viewers. As if they need to be glued to the television any more than they already are!
Presented in Dolby Digital sound, this disc's sound quality is adequate. It won't knock your socks off, but it's fine for what it is.
No extras here, sorry! This is a staple of children's DVDs, so it borders on the unforgivable. Past Nick offerings have had slim pickings in this area, though, so it is not really a surprise.
Nick Jr. Favorites Vol. 3 gracefully walks the line between education and entertainment and will inevitably be loved by not only boys and girls, but by parents as well. At a generous 149 minutes, it is well worth your DVD dollar.