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 story.
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 the brain.
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 story.
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.