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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Baby Dolittle Neighborhood Animals
Baby Dolittle Neighborhood Animals
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 27, 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 Dolittle World Animals. 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 the older toddler (recommended 1 and up) this DVD is bright, colorful and fun. It's one of the more entertaining of the series and offers tons of colorful video footage .

The main section of the DVD is the Baby Dolittle Neighborhood Animals Video. It's 24 chapters of music, puppets and animal footage that's also broken into 4 sections: Animals in My House, My Yard, On the Farm and In the River. Similar to the World Animals video, this one combines repetition with sound and color to help your child learn these everyday animals. The name of the animal is read, along with a child's drawing of it, and then it's followed by several minutes of footage. Sure to please even animal lovers, the footage is entertaining to watch with your child.

This disc also has a Neighborhood Animals Soundtrack like the others in the series. Also, like the others,12 tracks of music with no video accompaniment are played. The music is recorded by the toy instruments and sounds great, but for practical purposes, the video should play as well. As it stands, this is only good while your child is playing or doing something else and you want audio to go along with it.

The last section is the Language Lab. It's done a little differently on this disc and is quite entertaining. There are two modes available: Learn and Guess. Learn the animals presents a full screen image of 18 animals, one at a time. By using the remote you can reveal to your child the animals name. When this is done, it is read aloud and the sound associated with the animal is played. For example: a golden retriever is shown. When the Next button is pushed, the word dog is displayed and spoken, followed by a bark. The Guessing game builds on these associations. The same words are used in the same order (it would have been nice to mix them up to ensure the child isn't just memorizing the order) with only the animal's sound and images of their paw-prints (tracks) being displayed. Pressing the next button reveals the answer.

Also included are 4 short puppet shows using the animals involved on the disc. These are entertaining, but don't have enough audio associated with them. The DVD also included many of the pictures on the disc in a PDF file. These can be printed out and colored by your child while watching the video.

It's another nice addition to the series and the footage of the animals is both colorful and entertaining to watch. They show a variety of animals within each species, assuring that children will not associate just a single breed of dog with the word dog.

Video: The video on these discs is beautiful. The color and saturation has purposely been ramped up and it shows. The images practically jump off the screen and have no trouble catching the young, wandering eye. The stock footage of the animals is grainy at times, but the overall quality is still great.
Audio: The audio is a capable stereo mix that is perfectly crisp bright highs and deep lows.

Extras: There are no true extras, but they offer links to buy some of the toys that are features in the videos. The coloring book could be considered an extra I suppose, but most of the content is focused on the learning aspects and rightly so.

Overall: I would highly recommend this to parents that want to encourage their children and develop their interests at an early age. This disc does not have the wide variety of animals that the World Animals disc does, but it's done similarly. If your child enjoyed World Animals, then they will love this one as well. If I had to choose between the two, World Animals would get my vote.

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