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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Baby Shakespeare
Baby Shakespeare
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment // Unrated // February 26, 2002
List Price: $19.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Phillip Duncan | posted June 25, 2002 | E-mail the Author
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(The beginning text of this review is reprinted from a review of another Baby Einstein video and is an explanation of the series itself. The text in bold is the review of the specific disc.) I'll start this off by saying that I don't have children. It's something that's being talked about more and more these days and that's one reason I requested this title (along with several in the series), but no kids are on the horizon just yet. With that out of the way, I managed to still watch this in its entirety and had the help of a borrowed baby for some of the time.

This series is based upon the Mozart Effect, which is based upon the following principals:
· The use of music and the arts to improve the health of families and communities
· The general use of music to improve memory, awareness, and the integration of learning styles
· The innovative and experimental uses of music to improve listening and attention deficit disorders
· The therapeutic uses of music for mental and physical disorders and injuries
· The collective uses of music for imagery and visualization, to activate creativity, and reduce depression and anxiety
This by no means represents all the uses and aspects, but presents a good overview as to the theories behind the entire series of Baby Einstein videos. A series of images (still and moving), music, sounds, and spoken languages are repeated in an effort to induce the desired results.

There are opponents to this series of videos, ones that feel that introducing children at this young of an age (they're intended for 1 to 18 months) is wrong no matter the content. After watching the reaction of the "borrowed baby" while this video was playing I would disagree. These videos are presented as nothing but the 21st century equivalent of a musical mobile that entertains your child.

Now, on to the specifics concerning this title in the series, Baby Shakespeare. Like the other discs in the series, this one contains over an hour or interactive and education video for you baby and toddler. Aimed at toddlers (recommended 1 year and up) this DVD has the same bright and entertaining images and video that all of the others in the series have. The variety on this disc is overwhelming. Your child will get a lesson in vocabulary using common and short words like train, apple and cat. These lessons are taught with accompanying music from Beethoven (this could have easily been Baby Beethoven) and reading of poems and sonnets from the likes of Shakespeare, Yeats, and Wordswoth. Like the Baby Van Gogh, the material here is quite varied, but still focused on a goal.

The main section of the DVD is the Performance section. This is where the video and music are combined. As I described above, the selections of music and poems are heard over the colorful video. The images in this are less real world objects and more puppets and toddler toys. While still as colorful and interesting, they're not as vibrant as the usual animals, plants, and other video in the series. A word, such as apple, is spoken and then a poem or musical selection accompanies the video relating to that word. It's learning through visual stimulation and repetition.

Like most of the discs, the Concert for Little Ears is present as well. On this disc though, the selection of music is enormous. Nearly 20 selections from Beethoven have been translated to the tiny and soothing musical instruments that are present in the baby orchestra. They are divided into three sections. The largest is the main concert for little ears and it has 19 tracks that range from Fur Elise to Minuet in G. The next selection picks selected, soothing tracks from those and groups them into a Beethoven for Bedtime section. Perfect for playing when baby needs a nap. Last, the remaining lively selections are grouped into a section called Beethoven for Playtime that is perfect for listening while your child is active.

Video: Like all the DVDs in this series, it's a great selection of video. Bright and colorful clips explode with vibrancy from your television. This is perfect for capturing young and roaming eyes. Sharpness and other quality issues are not perfect, but do interfere with the viewing at all considering the audience.

Audio: The audio is a good stereo mix. It's bright and even at all times with crisp highs and lows.

Extras: There are no true extras on this disc.

Overall: The frustrating menu's are still around but this is another excellent entry in the series. Like Van Gogh, the educational content is broadening with more focus on literature, art and music. While not my favorite, this is definitely one to watch often.

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