Winnie the Pooh came to life through the works of A.A. Milne, who started to write a series of books about his son, Christopher Robin, the boy's favorite toy, a stuffed bear, and their imaginary friends who all live in the 100-Acre-Wood. Other characters, such as Eeyore, Piglet, Tigger, Kanga, and Roo were also based on stuffed animals belonging to Christopher Robin, while some such Rabbit and Owl, were based on animals that lived, like the swan Pooh (that Winnie owes his last name to), in the surrounding area of Milne's country home; Cotchford Farm in Ashdown Forest, Sussex.
The Pooh-books had been favorites of Walt Disney's daughters and it inspired the animator to bring Pooh to film. Disney made a series of shorts that were bundled together and theatrically released, but the first true feature-length animated film "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh" was released in 1977. The Walt Disney Company acknowledged that Pooh Bear is second only to Mickey Mouse in their portfolio of the most-loved and trusted characters known to millions of people all over the world.
Disney's My Friends Tigger and Pooh, a new addition to the Disney Playhouse television block is geared for toddlers and preschoolers and has arrived on DVD. With never before seen episodes and featuring a new female addition to the 100 Acres Wood, Darby, the show has Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, and their friends working together to solve mysteries, following clues and interacting with the animals that live in the forest.
Each of the stories has a different tale to tell and has the audience interacting with Darby, Tigger, and Pooh. Similar to Nick's "Blues Clues" the interaction between Darby and the children watching makes it fun to watch. A bugle alerts the Super Sleuths that there is a case to solve. They break out into the Super Sleuth Song, looking through a telescope towards the flag post for the necessary clues they need to proceed and hop on their scooters in search of their next adventure. In the first of six tales Darby Solo Sleuth, we watched as she gained confidence in herself when she went at it alone to find a special ingredient for Kanga's famous cure -a-cold soup. In the second episode, the team help give Darby a tail, and in Doggone Buster, Darby, Pooh and Tigger go on the case to solve the mystery of the missing Roo and Buster.
My first thought when I popped in the DVD was; "Where was Christopher Robins??" and" When did he have a little sister?" I have always seen the duo together and finding it odd that he was not apart of the storyline. My daughter asked the same question. So now the ...question is.... : "Who is Darby and how is she related to Christopher Robins?" Most of all how did Darby, for these adventures befriend the inhabitants of the 100 Acre Woods?"
While those questions are never answered Darby is very likable and grows on you in no time. Pooh's new companion is a female version of Christopher Robins always calm and figuring things out.
The show is produced using CGI, and the same techniques used to add special effects to blockbuster films really makes Pooh and his companions seem almost real. Viewing the characters of Winnie the Pooh come to life in CGI was a real treat for my daughter and it shows how far things have come along since the original movie "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh." This program is ideal for children of all ages, but it's mainly aimed at preschool children.
The Episodes on this disc are:
Darby Solo Sleuth: She sets out on her own to find a special ingredient for Kanga's cure a cold soup.
Doggone Buster: the Super Sleuths' are on the case searching for Buster and Roo.
Darby's Tail:Darby feels awkward that she doesn't have a tail but is shown by Lumpy that she is perfect just the way she is.
Tigger's Delivery Service: Tigger get an idea from Rabbit to open his own delivery service and finds out its too much for him to handle alone.
Pooh-Rates of the Hundred Acres Wood:Roo and Lumpy find a treasure map inside a jar of honey and gather up everyone in search of the gold.
Tigger's Hiccup Pick Up: Tigger's pot luck lunch turns out to given a bad case of the hiccup and its up to Darby and the others to help cure them.
Audio/Video: Tigger & Pooh Friendly Tales is presented with the original 1:33:1 full frame. The colors were very bright, sharp, and had no consistent digital defects and no compression artifacts. It is presented in 2.0 Dolby Digital Surround Sound which reproduces the voices and songs very well. The songs Think.. Think.. Think, and the Super Sleuth motto are designed for pre-schoolers and toddlers alike to interact with Darby and her friends. It can also be seen in French and Spanish Languages with subtitles.
Extras: Darby's Super Sleuth Challenge Game is a three step game to prove that you have what it takes to become a Super Sleuth. In the fist stage of the game a puzzle is shown with missing pieces and you musy figure out who it is. Part two leaves the clues behind, three question marks were you must figure what item belongs to whom, and the third has you looking for items hidden in the front of Piglet's house. The one thing that I found to be a bit tedious, is that the preschoolers would find it frustrating at first, is when it came down to looking for the items hidden in the surroundings around Piglet's house.
Final Thoughts: My Friends Tigger & Pooh is a wonderful interactive title for both parents and children to enjoy alike. I can see parents sitting with their children singing along with them. Even though Christopher Robbins isn't a part of this series, there is still much fun to be had with the rest of the inhabitants of the 100 Acre Wood. Each of the stories last roughly about six minutes filled with laughter and sing-along's. The bright colors and the perfect animation which Disney is so well known for continues in this children's series. I enjoyed the silly songs that Darby and her friends sang and even went as far as asking my daughter if she thinks her younger cousins would enjoy the DVD. Of course she said "Yes".
My Friends Tigger & Pooh is currently on the Disney Channel part of the Disney Playhouse geared for the little toddlers and preschoolers in the house. Disney also has a website dedicated to My Friends Tigger and Pooh that has more adventures for your preschooler to enjoy with you.