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The Baby Einstein Collection

There's absolutely no way I can fairly judge the content on each of these Baby Einstein discs, as they've clearly been created with the intent of appealing solely to (of course) babies. A more suitable approach would seem to involve me describing the content of each of these discs, allowing parents to judge for themselves whether or not they're appropriate viewing for their kids.

The first DVD, Baby da Vinci, features 32-minutes of education on basic body parts - ie shoulders, knees, etc. Puppets and drawings are used to illustrate the differences, while soothing classical music is played in the background. The disc also includes some extra features, such as cards that reinforce the disc's teachings, a brief look at the five senses, three puppet shows, a narrated story called "Mimi's Toes," and a catalogue showcasing some of the various products available from babyeinstein.com.

Next up is Baby MacDonald, which revolves around the various animals that can be found on a farm. The 30-minute feature also includes descriptions of chores that must be completed to keep a farm running, as well as the different kinds of tools that are used. In the "bonus features" section of the disc, you will find cards that contain a lot of the same images that were in the feature, a sing-a-long of "Old MacDonald Had a Farm," five minutes worth of puppet shows, and that toy-showcasing catalogue.

The next disc is entitled Baby Monet and it teaches viewers about the differences between the four seasons. Running just over 33 minutes, the disc uses puppets and pictures to explain just what makes Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter unique and individual seasons. Not surprisingly, Vivaldi's Four Seasons is used as background music. The bonus features include the expected cards and catalogue, while an extensive 12-minute addendum is also included. Finally, the disc contains three separate puppet shows.

The fourth disc, Baby Noah, introduces viewers to all sorts of different wild animals that can be found across the globe. This is the longest of the five Baby Einstein discs, running almost 40 minutes, and in addition to the puppets and pictures, the DVD also includes some actual footage of the animals being described. In addition to the cards, catalogue and puppet shows contained in the bonus features, the disc includes two games that invites kids to guess the animal (both by picture and sound) and a narrated story book.

The fifth disc, Numbers Nursery, teaches kids how to count from one to five (and runs around 28 minutes). The usual puppets and drawings are used to drive the point home, while expectedly relaxing classic music plays in the background. Bonus features include discovery cards and that ubiquitous catalogue, along with three count-along activities, a game that invites kids to guess "how many," and a counting book (which is, of course, narrated).

Disc number six, Baby's Favorite Places, teaches babies twenty new words using "verbal and nonverbal communication. Marlee Matlin even pops up to deliver a short lesson in sign language, though it's doubtful her hand signals will mean a whole lot to toddlers. Puppet shows and Mozart are expectedly employed to drive the point home. Bonus features include discovery cards, a "Twinkle, Twinkle" sing-along, a Toy Chest, and more.

The seventh disc, Baby's First Moves, attempts to encourage the little ones to move around (ie clapping, jumping, dancing, etc) via a series of puppet shows and real-world images. The DVD also includes three separate language tracks (English, Spanish, and French), a set of discovery cards, an appearance by pilates instructor Michelle Dozois, a Toy Chest, and more.

Disc number eight, Baby Beethoven, employs music by Ludwig van Beethoven in an effort to "inspire your baby to laugh, move and play." As such, the disc comes equipped with a trio of activity modes - "Play," "Dance Together," and "Quiet Time" - that effectively complement the expected Puppet Shows and Discover Cards. The disc also includes "Tips for Moms" - "Enhance Together Time With Your Baby" and "The Baby Einstein Story: Behind the Scenes with Founder Julie Clark."

The ninth disc, Baby Mozart, uses the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to allow the viewer to "discover the joy of classical music together with [one's] baby." As such, the disc comes equipped with a trio of activity modes - "Play," "Dance Together," and "Quiet Time" - that effectively complement the expected Puppet Shows and Discover Cards. The disc also includes "Tips for Moms" - "Enhance Together Time With Your Baby" and "The Baby Einstein Story: Behind the Scenes with Founder Julie Clark."

The tenth disc, World Music, "introduces you and your little one to beautiful sounds from every continent, bringing a fresh, new experience of music and culture that is the perfect complement to Baby Einstein's classical music DVD line." As such, the disc employs - among others - African, Latin, and Celtic music as a means of teaching small children a series of valuable lessons. The disc also includes "a second viewing mode as baby grows," an option to watch segments of just five or ten minutes apiece, discovery cards, and puppet shows.

The eleventh and final disc, World Animal Adventure, allows parents to "bring animals from the seven continents home to your baby." This includes Asian pandas, Australian kangaroos, and Arctic snow monkeys - all of which have been filmed in their natural habitats. The disc includes two ways to watch: "Grow With Me" (includes a 2nd viewing mode with added words for parents to use with baby) and "Select-A-Segment (watch convenient segments of 5 or 10 minutes or just fun puppet shows). Finally, the dvd comes armed with something called the "World Animal Song."

It's clear that a lot of effort has gone into each of these discs, and there's no doubt that the intended audience will likely get a lot out of them.

 

© David Nusair