Pete's A Pizza, published by the Scholastic Video Collection, is obviously
geared towards younger viewers as it presents three different stories - Pete's
a Pizza, Doctor De Soto, and The Amazing Book. Also, in
the "extras" section, there are bonus stories - consisting of The
Three Robbers, The Great White Man-Eating Shark, and Moon Man.
Each of the stories are accompanied by fun illustrations that help add to the
The three main stories, along with the bonus stories are all quite fun to
watch. Pete's a Pizza provides a fun story to go along with a rainy
day as both the parents and the child can have fun acting out the story
contained within. Doctor De Soto brought back some really old
memories for me - I remember reading the book when I was much younger, however,
I never had such a nice video to go along with the story. The nice thing
about the stories on the DVD is that you can turn captions on, but as Scholastic
calls them, "Read Along," they provide a nice bonus so the child can
hear the words being spoken while reading along at the same time.
The Amazing Book, similar to the first two stories is a gem. The
story is fun to watch, and the video, while not the absolute best quality, is
appropriate for children and will not elicit any complaints. While the
stories are quite simple, they all provide something for the children to think
about once they're over and are a nice change from shows that offer nothing for
All the stories are narrated with a soothing, male voice and are accompanied
by a nice musical score and plenty of sound effects. This will certainly
keep the children busy for quite a while, and I'm sure they'll want to watch the
stories over and over again.
Video: The video is pretty nicely done. It's presented in 1.33:1
television ratio and while the illustrations are choppy at times and not as
sharp as we're used to on DVD, it's exactly as the illustrations were meant to
appear - they go well with the stories and are colored nicely. The short
video, "Getting to Know William Steig" features a crsip picture as it
is live-action, not illustrated.
Sound: Presented in stereo, the stories obviously don't need surround
and the stereo works well with the effects and voices. The narrator is
easy to understand and the sound effects never prevent you from hearing the
Special Features: Aside from the three bonus stories, there's also a
short documentary of sorts entitled, "Getting to Know William Steig."
Mr. Steig is the author of the books, and the illustrator (although it's unclear
if he illustrated the moving images - we know that he illustrated the
books). He gives a short interview, providing some backstory to his life
and why he decided to start writing children's books, and quite ironically, he
reveals that the part he likes least about writing the books is the illustration
process. Also included in the extras is a so-called, "Trailer,"
which is nothing more than an advertisement for other Scholastic Videos (which
you've probably already seen since it plays before the menu appears).
Scholastic has done a fine job with this DVD. The six stories are all
engrossing with very good stereo sound and the short interview with Mr. Steig is
a nice addition to the disc. There's no doubt that the kids will love
every story on the disc (as I did as a child) and they will likely keep this DVD
next to the player for quite a while.