Top positive review
43 people found this helpful
At last.. cultural entertainment for toddlers (and older)!
on 25 July 2002
Having bought a whole handful of DVD's (Tweenies, Thomas the Tank Engine & Maisy) to keep my active 2 year old daughter occupied for more than a few minutes - this is definitely my favourite and she loves it too. And what's more I feel I am introducing her to great literature and British culture and history all at once (which, whatever their good points, you can hardly say about any of the other DVD's) . Not just great entertainment (which it undoubtedly is) but education too ie. Less guilt factor for the stressed out parent when using a DVD as a babysitter. Hurray!
The DVD consists of 3 episodes of about 25 minutes each - just long enough to have a welcome break from toddler watching but not too long to feel you are allowing them to become square-eyed couch potatoes. Each episode is clever blending of 2 of Beatrix Potter classic books for children. Tales featuring some of her best known characters are included in this DVD; Peter Rabbit, Benjamin Bunny, The Flopsy Bunnies, Mrs Tittlemouse, Tom Kitten and Jemima Puddleduck . The animation is really exquisite, with superbly witty characterisation and attention to detail, and so completely true to the originals that it is a pleasure for even the keenest Beatrix Potter fans to watch them. No disappointments or nasty surprises as with so many book-to-film adaptations. There are a few slightly scary moments to beware of for younger children (e.g when Mr McGregor chases Peter ) but once the episode has been watched a few times it loses it's scariness.
Each episode starts and finishes with a beautifully acted 2-3 minute live action introduction with Niamh Cusack as Beatrix Potter and this adds welcome variety and interest and is beautifully filmed at Beatrix Potters House in the Lake District. These bits can be skipped if desired although the fantastic scenery, great wildlife shots and hauntingly beautiful soundtrack make them well worth watching.
Other features are a short documentary on Beatrix Potter's life and how she came to write her books (they all started as letters to children she knew), a Stills Gallery of some of her original drawings and a short written account of how she came to write Peter Rabbit (slight overlap of information here). None of these are really intended for children but are fascinating for the parents. There is also a subtitles option.
The menus are all easy to use and jumping to and from individual scenes is also no problem.
All-in-all a classic DVD which will endure for many years and still capture the interest for adults and children alike even after seeing it many times. The other DVD's in the series are also to be highly recommended. ( "The Tale of Mrs Tiggly-Winkle and Mr Jeremy Fisher and other stories" and " The Tale of Pigling Bland and Other Stories").