During high school and college, I did get more first hand experiences with other cultures. I have had a few great pen pals in foreign lands during those years, and was fortunate enough to become an exchange student myself. I’m hopeful that I can pass this intrigue of the cultural differences, as well as the similarities we all share, to my children. More importantly, I hope they gain a respect for all cultures.
I was recently introduced to a children’s animated DVD series from Organa Kids. The two DVDs that I was offered to review are titled Castle Farm and Happy Valley which are geared to the preschool crowd. These titles are scheduled to be released on August 30th on DVD and by Digital Download. The Organa Kids mission is to “introduce American families to stories, characters and cultures from around the world through multicultural stories with universal themes. Inspiring kids to have an awareness of the world as a whole.” This seemed like a perfect series to introduce to my children.
When I first saw the graphics for the DVD, I was honestly not sure if it would engage my children. The animation is described as “a child’s drawing brought to life” which is exactly right. My hesitation about how receptive my boys would be for this DVD was because of the animation – would it hold the attention of boys that were used to the digitally enhanced and vibrant colors of today’s animated shows? Would they enjoy seeing more of an old-school animation?
The answers are Yes and Yes!
I was amazed at how both Happy Valley and Castle Farm held their attentions. Each episode on the DVD is about 10-15 minutes long, a perfect amount of time to hold their attention with each storyline. In fact, when one show ended, my three year old would ask, “is it coming back on, Mommy?”. He was completely drawn into the show and we used this DVD for our long trip to Cape May last week – we definitely had a captive audience that we needed to appease and this show helped pass that long ride!
Castle Farm Overview
Castle Farm is a gentle series from England full of color and colorful characters. Join Farm Girl, Piggy, Leonard, Farmer and all the barnyard animals as they solve mysteries, fix things, get chores done, play games and learn lessons about friendship, responsibility and having fun. Each vignette is filled with its own tiny adventure that will engage youngsters again and again.
Castle Farm Volume 1 includes the episodes “Snails,” “The Carrot Thief,” “Ball Games,” “A Windy Day,” “Amber,” “The Prickly Flower,” “Bubbles,” “Trophy” and “Waiting for Winnie.” Volume 2 includes “Muddy Farm,” “Little Bo Lost,” “Stinging Nettles,” “The Twirly Spinner,” “Talking Trouble,” “Woodlice,” “Pumpkin on the Loose,” “Blackberries” and “Eight Legs.”
Happy Valley Overview
Happy Valley, a charming series also from England, is set in a beautiful countryside by the sea. Using traditional and contemporary nursery rhymes and songs, each episode tells a story about the children who live in the valley as they learn about the world around them. Whether taking a school trip, visiting grandparents, or a simple walk in nature, the tales are endearing and captivating and appeal to even the youngest of viewers.
Happy Valley Volume 1 contains the episodes “Rain is Tumbling,” “There You Are, Blackbird,” “Tree on the Hill,” “Where Are You Hiding?,” “Autumn Leaves,” Gee Up Little Horsie,” Wakey, Wakey!,” “Far, Far Away” and Little Donkey.” Volume 2 contains the episodes “Cosy Little House,” “Have You Ever Been Sailing?,” “Robin Redbreast,” “Going to See the Doctor,” “Scarecrow,” “Cars,” “Shopping,” “Valley Farm” and “Sun Cream.”
Both DVDs are recommended for children ages 2-5 and are available for $14.95 each. For more information about these and other titles, visit www.organakids.com.
*Disclosure: I was provided advance copies of both DVDs to facilitate this review. No other compensation was provided.