Leo Lionni is a master story-teller and illustrater. My children and I loved to read these stories when they were young. Each one has a nice plot, with engaging animals characters, who deal who must deal with and resolve a conflict. Each story turns out nicely, each has a message--simple, but not "preachy". The illustrations are charming and original. I like how colorful and dreamy they are.
For example, in <Fredrick>, all the mice work hard to store up food for the winter, and they critize Fredrick for not helping. Fredrick, who seems to be lost in his own world, replies "I AM working". He is gathering the warmth of the sun rays, the colors of the flowers and the magic of words. As the cold of the winter confines the mouse family to their little den in the rock wall, their food supplies begin to run low, the other mice ask Fredirick about the things he has storied up for winter. To their delight, Fredick shares the the sunlight and colors and words with them in a vivid and personal way. Fredrick becomes a poet. And he knows it!
This is a lovely DVD, but I must add, that I DO NOT think it should replace Leonini's books. The reason that I think that, is because READING picture books like these TOGETHER is a very, very important activity for parents and their children. Nothing can replace the experience that families share when their small children sit on their laps to hear the story in their own parents' voice, read especially for them. I recommend that you buy the books, too, or check them out from the library. The DVD can supplement this. It would also be nice to play for a group of toddlers or pre-schoolers.
This brings me to the point of the three "bonus" picture stories. First is a rhyming "I Spy" poem, the next a singing of the folk song "Hush Little Baby" accompanied by pictures by Aliki, and the last a cute live-action story of two children trying to lure their cat into their wading pool for a bath. The last story is wordless, so the whole thing is told by the actions facial expressions of the boy and the girl trying to catch the cat. Fun and cute! <Each Peach, Pair, Plum> is nice because of the soft, colorful drawings, and the voice of the narrator. She pronounces the lucious words slowly and clearly, with a happy note in her voice. The voice of Buffy Allen, the singer of "Hush Little Baby" is also very pretty. Here, again, I must add, that I believe that this is the kind of thing that is better as a shared parent-child activity. Many parents probably think that they "can't sing", but the child does not care how well his mom or dad sings, but it makes a huge difference IF mom and dad sing to the kids. I read tons and tons of books to my kids, but,if I had it to do over again, I would have sung them more songs and lullabies. (Sorry for the preaching; just some ideas I want to share with you review-readers.) Or how about holding the child while you watch "Hush Little Baby" together, and sing-along?