Parents can easily dread the DVD player in the car when the kids in the back refuse to wear headphone. Can an adult handle two hours of the same TV show aimed at the kindergarten crowd while dodging careless drivers on the road? The moment the closing theme wraps up, the opening theme kicks in. You’re trapped in a Möbius strip of cheery fun. What can you do? It’s not like the old days when you could record a bunch of shows off a cable channel on DVD-R. You opted for a DVR that isn’t known for portability to the car. Luckily Nickelodeon understands a desire for thematic variety with their latest batch of DVDs. Let’s Learn: ABCs, Let’s Learn: 123s and Rootin’ Tootin’ Wild West provide over two hours of Nick Jr. shows minus the promos in between.
Let’s Learn: ABCs begins with Team Umizoomi‘s “To the Library.” The team must race to the library to check out a book for a little girl. This makes a fine introduction to how a library works for kids who might confuse them with bookstores. Dora the Explorer‘s “ABC Animals” puts Dora and Boots inside an alphabetical animal book. They must help an Armadillo find his pals. Blue’s Clues‘s “Blue’s ABCs” makes kids understands letters in relationship to the foods baby Paprika eats. Go, Diego, GO!‘s “Linda the Librarian” involves stocking the shelves at a remote library. Ni Hao, Kai-lan‘s “Kai-lan’s Big Play” involves the Monkey King. Wonder Pets!‘ “Save Humpty Dumpty!” / “Save the Itsy Bitsy Spider!” is a nursery double feature. They go inside a book to rescue the egg. They have to figure out why the spider keeps getting soaked.
Let’s Learn: 123s goes straight for the numbers. Team Umizoomi gets twice the play with “Counting Comet” and “Super Soap!” “Counting Comet” involves a little comet falling from the sky. The only hope it has of going home is hitching a ride on the Umi City rocket. The Team has to sneak onto the base to make this happen. Dora the Explorer‘s “Pepe’s School Day Adventure” sticks her in a classroom with a pig. They sit through math class. Blue’s Clues‘ “Numbers Everywhere!” pretty much is covered in numbers. Go, Diego, GO!‘s “Three Little Condors” unites the baby birds with their new parents. Diego must bring them together before nightfall. Wonder Pets! “Save the Old White Mouse!” traps a rodent in a cuckoo clock. This episode allows a kid to understand time as well as numbers.
Nickelodeon’s Rootin’ Tootin’ Wild West! brings together episodes bound to please any youngster that likes to run around in a cowboy hats and boots. Bubble Guppies‘ “The Cowgirl Parade” brings the tiny mermaids into a world of ropin’ and ridin’ for a Old West parade. Team Umizoomi‘s “Shooting Star” isn’t the follow up to Counting Comet. Shooting Star is a tiny horse. She needs to find four magical horseshows with the help of Milli, Geo and Bot. Dora the Explorer‘s “Pinto, the Pony Express” slides cowboy boots on Boots the Monkey. They have to keep a shipment of cowboy cookies from Swiper. The Fresh Beat Band‘s “Hip Hop Hoedown” put the pop band into the world of country music. They don’t quite go Hee Haw in 30 minutes. Go, Diego, Go!‘s “The Great Roadrunner Race” gets the speedy bird ready for the competition. Wonder Pets!‘s “Save the Pony Express” is another horse tale of the short lived delivery system. While “Help the Groundhog!” has nothing to do with cowboys. But it’s good adult viewing when the team saves a singing groundhog voiced by Mandy Patinkin (The Princess Bride and Homeland). Rootin’ Tootin’ Wild West! is a Walmart exclusive.
These three sets can be a great help when you’re driving around the car with the preschooler in the backseat. The variety of shows can help an adult maintain a touch of sanity by not hearing the same voices for two straight hours. You can take my word or ask my kid what she thought of the DVDs.
The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The shows look as good as when you watch them on Nick Jr. The audio is Dolby Digital Stereo. Things sound clear for when kids want to follow along with the numbers or letters. The episodes are Closed Captioned.
There are no bonus features.
Let’s Learn: ABCs, Let’s Learn 123s and Rootin’ Tootin’ Wild West provide parents with samplers of Nick Jr. programs tied together by a theme. Any of the sets should appeal since small kids like numbers, letters and cowboys with an equal passion.
Nickelodeon and Paramount present Let’s Learn: ABCs, Let’s Learn 123s and Rootin’ Tootin’ Wild West. Starring: Bubble Guppies, Dora the Explorer, Blue’s Clues, The Fresh Beat Band and Team Umizoomi. Boxset Contents: 7 episodes on each DVD. Released: January 15, 2013. Nickelodeon’s Rootin’ Tootin’ Wild West, Let’s Learn: ABCs and Let’s Learn: 123s are available at Amazon.com.
Joe Corey is the author of "The Seven Secrets of Great Walmart People Greeters." This is the last how to get a job book you'll ever need. He was Associate Producer of the documentary "Moving Midway." He's worked as local crew on several reality shows including Candid Camera, American's Most Wanted, Extreme Makeover Home Edition and ESPN's Gaters. He's been featured on The Today Show and CBS's 48 Hours. Dom DeLuise once said, "Joe, you look like an axe murderer." He was in charge of research and programming at the Moving Image Archive.