12 November 2009

Review: Richard Scarry's Busytown Mysteries

Let's start this review with a little bit of honesty: I HATE kids' shows. Hate. With particular vitriol for those shows that are designed for the very young. Once we get into cartoons that are age-appropriate for, say, 10-year-olds? My preteen sense of humor kicks in and I can get behind it. But a show for a preschooler? Shoot me dead.

So, now that we have that bit of business out of the way, let's talk about Richard Scarry's Busytown Mysteries. The series, which airs on CBS on weekend mornings, follows Huckle and his friends as they encounter and solve various mysteries around Busytown.

Richard Scarry is a very popular guy around our house. We have well over a dozen Richard Scarry books old and new, and they are almost always story time favorites. Gabriel is familiar with the characters, and LOVES the illustrations, particularly the attention to detail.

So this show? Gabriel LOVES IT. We got two episodes to review from the One2One Network, and they're the only thing he's watched since they arrived over a week ago. He thinks it's laugh-out-loud funny, he gets up and dances for the opening song, as well as the 'who/what/when/where/why/how' song they do. This DVD has become my single greatest piece of leverage.
The series is age appropriate, introducing preschoolers to concepts like analyzing data, teamwork, and critical thinking. The characters always treat one another respectfully and courteously.
I find it annoying, but Gabriel ADORES it, so he wins.

There is also a Busytown Mysteries website, BusytownMysteries.com. Here, kids can explore different neighborhoods in Busytown, interact with the Busytown characters and play 14 games and activities designed for preschoolers, including interactive games, a Fan Club and “My First Email,” which lets little ones email their progress to pre-approved friends and family addresses.

Gabriel and I did not explore the website, as he is not yet allowed to use my computer (macbook is my life's blood and small children may not touch). I imagine this would be a good site for slightly older kids, or even kids Gabriel's age with access to a family computer.
Some disclaimer facts: I received this DVD free of charge, and was not compensated for my review.

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