Lionsgate’s Latest Literary/Cinematic Adaptation Leads Phil’s Picks 2016 Top 10 New Family DVDs/BDs List

Courtesy: Lionsgate Premium

Courtesy: Lionsgate Premium

The realm of family entertainment is as vast when it comes to DVDs and Blu-rays as it is in terms of musical offerings.  That’s a powerful statement. And it has proven true once again this year.  Between PBS Kids, Hasbro Studios and Shout! Factory, and other outlets, the number of family friendly offerings released this year has been impressive to say the least.

The content contained therein has been just as impressive as the DVDs and BDs themselves.  It is really what makes them so impressive.  From education to entertainment, this year’s crop of new family offerings has been quite balanced.  That balance has made choosing just a select list of the year’s best anything but easy.  Keeping that in mind, this critic has assembled a list of the year’s top new family DVDs and Blu-rays, which is presented here.  Topping this year’s list is a new offering from Lionsgate titled based on an equally well-known children’s novel.  Also included in this list are the 9th season of Curious George, a small handful of new titles from PBS Kids and a number of titles from Hasbro Studios and Shout! Factory.

As with each Phil’s Picks list, this list features the Top 10 new titles in the list plus five honorable mention titles for a total of 15 titles.  Without any further ado, here for you is Phil’s Picks Top 10 New Family DVDs and Blu-rays.

 

PHIL’S PICKS TOP 10 NEW FAMILY DVDs/BDs

 

  1. The Great Gilly Hopkins

 

  1. Zootopia

 

  1. Curious George Season 9

 

  1. Goosebumps

 

  1. Ice Age: Collision Course

 

  1. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Daniel Goes To The Doctor

 

  1. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Daniel’s Winter Wonderland

 

  1. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Daniel Goes Camping

 

  1. Transformers Rescue Bots: Heroes of Tech

 

  1. Transformers Rescue Bots: Adventures In Time and Space

 

  1. Transformers Recue Bots: Bots Battle for Justice

 

  1. Pound Puppies: Showstopping Pups

 

  1. Pound Puppies: A Rare Pair

 

  1. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Super Daniel

 

  1. WordWorld: It’s Time For School

 

 

 

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PBS Kids’ New ‘WordWorld’ DVD Is A Great Set Any Time Of Year

Courtesy:  Public Media Distribution/PBS/PBS Kids

Courtesy: Public Media Distribution/PBS/PBS Kids

School is officially out for summer.  Even with families taking their vacations, children’s education should not take a vacation, too.  Enter PBS Kids and its vast array of DVDs being released throughout the summer.  One of those DVDs, WordWorld: It’s Time For School, is one of those new DVDs.  The fittingly titled compilation will be released Tuesday, July 26th, just in time to start getting kids young viewers a head start on the new school year.  The DVD features eight more episodes from the family friendly vocabulary-building series.  The episodes are in themselves a key element to this compilation.  That will be discussed shortly.  The lessons that are presented within each of the episodes are just as important in their own right to the collection.  That will be discussed later.  The bonus material included with the collection rounds out the collections most important elements.  It is the set’s finishing touch.  Together with the collection’s featured episodes and the lessons contained therein the whole of the collection proves to be yet another collection that will be welcome in any family’s home.

WordWorld: It’s Time For School is yet another collection of WordWorld episodes that will be welcome in any family’s home.  That is due in part to the episodes that make up the body of the collection.  The collection is made up of eight from episodes from the series.  Audiences will note that the episodes are lifted from all three of the series’ seasons.  What’s more at least a pair of the featured episodes—“The Best Nest” and “Tick Tock Space Clock”—has in fact been previously released in another WordWorld DVD released a few years ago by NCircle Entertainment.  The others may or may not have been previously released when NCircle had distribution rights for the series.  Regardless the very fact that once again PBS Kids has included eight episodes (versus four put into each collection from NCircle) is in itself impressive.  What’s more not everybody out there has all of the WordWorld DVDs previously released by Ncircle Entertainment.  To that end, the episodes may in fact be new to many audiences.  Keeping that in mind the episodes presented in this collection show in their own way to be a collectively important part of the collection.  They are not the collection’s only important element.  The lessons that are incorporated into the episodes are just as important to the collection’s presentation as the episodes themselves.

The episodes that make up the body of PBS Kids’ new WordWorld DVD are in themselves a collectively important part of the collection’s presentation.  Previously released or not, the episodes are important because not every viewer has seen these episodes before.  Keeping that in mind, they remain a collectively important part of the DVDs overall presentation.  They are not the set’s only key element.  The lessons that are incorporated into the episodes are just as important to the DVD’s presentation as its episodes.  That is because the episodes feature more than just the standard vocabulary building lessons.  The DVD’s lead episode “Sharks First Day Of School” is one of the episodes that presents multiple lessons within its own body.  On the surface, the standard vocabulary building lessons are there.  Along with those lessons is the lesson about overcoming that all too common fear of the first day.  Not every child goes through this situation even on the first day of school.  But more do than don’t.  The writers address the situation by having Duck, Cat, and the others at school show Shark that school is a good place to be.  They are completely supportive of Shark along the way, showing him all the good things that school has to offer.  For those parents that are getting ready to send their children off to kindergarten, this is a great way to help their children overcome those potential first day jitters.  On another level, an episode such as “Welcome Home, Duck” teaches an important lesson about friendship alongside its vocabulary lesson.  It does so by Frog showing his excitement at Duck coming back from vacation.  Frog wants to show how much he missed Duck and appreciates him as a friend.  That message of friendship is just as important as the lesson centering on overcoming first day jitters.  It is not the only other lesson presented in these episodes, either.  Some might call it a stretch but in “Duck at Bat” it could be argued that the writers incorporated the lesson of perseverance.  No matter how many times Duck kept making the wrong word and using the wrong items as a bat, he kept trying.  He did finally get the right letter to make a bat.  And he even got a hit when he went up to the plate.  To that end, one could argue that the writers were teaching the lesson to the show’s young viewers that they should not give up on anything, especially not on anything worth doing.  There’s even a lighter lesson about teamwork incorporated into the episode for good measure.  Between these lessons and the episodes’ vocabulary building lessons it is obvious that there is plenty to be learned in these episodes.  All things considered the lessons that are incorporated into the episodes in this set prove in the long to be just as important to this DVD’s presentation as the episodes themselves.  They still are not its only important elements.  The bonus material included with the DVD rounds out the set’s most important elements.

The episodes that make up the body of PBS Kids’ new WordWorld DVD and the lessons contained within each are all important elements in the DVD’s overall presentation.  Each does its own part in making this new DVD another enjoyable presentation from PBS Kids.  They are not the DVD’s only important elements.  The bonus material that is included in the DVD is just as important to the collection’s presentation as its episodes and their lessons.  Just as with PBS Kids’ previous WordWorld compilations this set includes a trio of vocabulary building activities that the whole family can do together and that even teachers can do with their students in class.  One involves matching words on index cards to make compound words.  Another involves matching rhyming words with their related pictures.  Another is a game of hide-and-seek of sorts.  Except in the case of this game, there is no chasing around.  Rather in the case of this game, children have to identify the sound that they hear and where it comes from in order to get a turn.  As an additional bonus, PBS Kids has also included in this DVD’s case an activity booklet for children.  This is something with which PBS Kids has only experimented in its previous WordWorld DVDs (and other series’ DVDs).  So to see it full blown like this for the first time is impressive.  The activity booklet includes coloring pages, word searches, maze games, matching games and even a kid friendly crossword.  Parents can take the coloring pages, copy them and save them to their computers before their children color them in the book.  That way they [parents] can print them out any time they want for children to color.  Teachers can do the same with any of the other activities so as to use them each year with each new class.  Keeping all of this in mind, the activities and complimenting activity booklet included in this DVD are true bonuses.  They are activities that serve to drive home the lessons presented in the disc’s episodes.  They also serve to entertain young children.  They are in essence a fitting final touch for the DVD’s presentation.  Together with the disc’s episodes and their lessons, all of the noted elements join to make WordWorld: It’s Time For School a disc that is great for families any time of the year.

WordWorld: It’s Time For School is a great watch for the whole family any time of the year.  Whether ahead of the new school year or even during, this DVD proves itself to be another impressive collection of WordWorld episodes.  That is evident in the episodes that make up the body of the DVD.  The lessons that are tied into each of the episodes play their own part in proving this.  The bonus material that is included in the DVD’s case rounds out its most important elements.  In regards to that material not only has PBS Kids outshined NCircle in regards to its handling of the series’ DVDs, it has outdone itself this time around, too.  Considering this, the bonus material included in this collection is a fitting final touch to the DVD’s presentation.  It joins with the DVD’s featured episodes and their lessons to make this DVD, again, another welcome collection of episodes from PBS Kids’ beloved family friendly vocabulary building series.  It will be available later this month both in stores and online and can be pre-ordered online now via PBS’ online store.  More episodes of WordWorld are available online now along with more WordWorld games, activities, and much more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.wordworld.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WordWorld

 

 

 

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WordWorld Takes Kids Back To School This Summer

Courtesy: Public Media Distribution/PBS/PBS Kids

Courtesy: Public Media Distribution/PBS/PBS Kids

School’s officially out for most families across America.  But that doesn’t mean that the education should be done.  And thanks to Public Media Distribution, parents will have another resource to both entertain and educate their children this summer.  The resource in question is the latest WordWorld DVD WordWorld: It’s Time For School.

WordWorld: It’s Time For School will be released Tuesday, July 26th.  It will be released exclusively on DVD.  It will feature eight more episodes from the hit animated vocabulary building series.  “Shark’s First Day of School” is just one of those episodes.  As its title states, it’s Shark’s first day of school in this episode.  And Shark is quite nervous.  So it’s up to Duck, and some gentle encouragement from his teacher Cat to help ease his nerves and help him settle in.  In “The Best Nest” Duck wants to bring his nest to school for show-and-tell.  But when he accidentally breaks his nest he has to find all of the letters that make up his nest so that he can show it to all of his friends.  “Sandbox Surprise” finds Duck and Dog discovering compound words when they are playing in the sandbox.  After discovering the word, they have to break apart as many compound words as possible before things get out of hand in WordWorld.  In one more of the collection’s episodes, “Duck At Bat,” Duck loses the “B” in his baseball bat.  So he has to hurry to find letters that could help re-assemble his bat.  Though, he soon learns that only one letter can properly re-form his bat.  These are just half of the episodes presented in WordWorld: It’s Time For School.  There are four more episodes for the whole family to discover together this summer.  Families can discover those other four episodes, along with lots of word fun and education when WordWorld: It’s Time For School is released this summer.

WordWorld: It’s Time For School will be released Tuesday, July 26th.  It will be available exclusively on DVD and will retail for MRS of $9.99.  It can be pre-ordered online now via PBS’ online store.  More information on this DVD is available online along with lots of WordWorld activities and more at:

 

 

Website: http://www.wordworld.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WordWorld

 

 

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PBS Kids Announces Release Date, Specs For Latest WordWorld DVD

Courtesy:  PBS Kids/PBS Distribution/PBS

Courtesy: PBS Kids/PBS Distribution/PBS

PBS Kids and PBS Distribution have another brand new collection of Wordworld episodes on the way next month.

PBS Kids and PBS Distribution will release the brand new WordWorld DVD WordWorld: Planes, Trains, and Trucks on Tuesday, March 8th. The DVD eight more entertaining and educating episodes for the whole family. In “Race To The Spaceship,” Frog and Robot want to play spaceship tag. But the only way that they can is to get to the top of WordWorld’s tallest mountain. It’s up to Frog to help Robot get to the top of the mountain so that they can build the word “spaceship” and play spaceship tag. Along the way, they also learn how to make a car, a boat, and even a bike go faster. It’s just one example of what audiences have to look forward to in this new DVD.

It’s Insect Air Show Day in “Flying Ant,” another of the DVD’s featured episodes. This episode sees Ant wishing he could join his flying insect friends in the day’s festivities. The problem is that unlike them he can’t fly. So Pig comes to his aid and helps him find a way to get airborn and be the hit of the show.

From the sky to the water, WordWorld takes audiences on yet another fun-filled adventure in “The Race To Mystery Island.” This episode sees Pig and Frog learn a very important and invaluable lesson about working together as they race their way to Mystery Island. It all starts off with a friendly competition to outdo the other. Things eventually grow to the point that the pair ends up in a race to the island, trying to slow the other down as they make their way there. The end result is that all-too-important lesson about teamwork, and of course an equally invaluable vocabulary-building lesson, too. It’s just one more example of what audiences have to expect in PBS Kids’ and PBS distribution’s latest collection of episodes from WordWorld. The complete episode listing for this DVD is noted below.

 

WordWorld: Planes, Trains, and Trucks Episodes

Duck’s Family Reunion

Back on Track

Pl-Pl-Plane

Race To Mystery Island

Wee Little Whale

Rocket To The Moon

Race To The Spaceship

Flying Ant

WordWorld: Planes, Trains, and Trucks will be available on DVD Tuesday, March 8th. It will retail for MSRP of $9.99. It can be pre-ordered online now direct via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=88677596&cp=&sr=1&kw=wordworld&origkw=WordWorld&parentPage=search. More information on this and other episodes of WordWorld is available online now along with loads of WordWorld games, activities and more at:

Website: http://www.wordworld.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WordWorld

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

WordWorld: Halloween Fun Spells F-U-N For The Whole Family

Courtesy:  PBS/PBS Kids/PBS Distribution

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Kids/PBS Distribution

Next week is the last full week of September. At first glance that might not mean much to most people. On another level, though it means that in only a matter of days, the countdown to the unofficial start of the annual holiday season will really begin. What that means is that many people will start making decisions on their costumes for this year’s festivities very soon. They will also start making plans for the festivities themselves. There are plenty of events for grown-ups out there and just as many for younger revelers, too. However for some, they would prefer to enjoy the big night at home. That means even more planning especially for those planning parties for the younger revelers in question. Thankfully PBS Kids has made things at least a little easier for those individuals with the release of the new WordWorld DVD Halloween Fun. Only the second Halloween-themed collection of WordWorld episodes to be released to date it is a good fit both for those home-based children’s Halloween parties. The main reason for that is the list of episodes featured in this collection. That will be discussed at more length shortly. It is only part of what makes this new release so enjoyable. The work of the show’s writers is also to be commended as part of the collection’s overall enjoyment. Not only are young viewers taught wonderful vocab building skills through each episode thanks to the writing but they are also taught at least one or two extra lessons not directly linked to their language skills, too. That will be discussed more thoroughly later. Last but hardly least of all worth noting of the DVD is its collection of bonus lesson ideas included inside the DVD’s case. That, too will be discussed at more length later. It is, along with the previously noted elements, one more part of a whole that makes for a great addition to any family’s Halloween party this year and any year.

PBS Kids’ latest DVD offering from its hit series WordWorld is a great addition to any family’s Halloween party this year and any year. The DVD, Halloween Fun is so enjoyable primarily due to the list of episodes featured in the new release. Two of the episodes—“A Kooky Spooky Halloween” and “Sheep’s Halloween Costume”—were both lifted from NCircle Entertainment’s previously released WordWorld DVD A Kooky Spooky Halloween. That DVD featured only the two noted episodes. PBS Kids and PBS Distribution saw NCircle Entertainment’s offering and raised it with three additional episodes for this DVD. Those episodes are “Dog’s Camping Adventure,” “One Hat Fits All,” and “Nightlight.” Now while those three extra episodes are not necessarily Halloween-themed episodes in the most direct sense that doesn’t take anything away from them. The very fact that their subject matter can at least be loosely connected to the disc’s two main episodes is enough reason to have them added to the overall presentation. Speaking of the content of those episodes, the content of all five episodes, or rather the writing behind each episode, is another reason that viewers of all ages will enjoy this collection.

The episodes that make up the body of WordWorld: Halloween Fun give viewers of all ages plenty of reason to add the DVD to their personal collections. That is because they each present similar underlying connections. This includes the episodes whose stories are not necessarily directly related to Halloween. On a directly related note, the writing behind each of the disc’s episodes is just as important to the whole of the presentation as the episodes themselves. The writing behind the disc’s primary episodes, “A Kooky Spooky Halloween” and “Sheep’s Halloween Costume” is a prime example of the importance of the episodes’ writing. In the first of the episodes audiences get a fun, family friendly story that sees Pig inadvertantly scaring his friends when he ends up sleepwalking around WordWorld, covered by a sheet. Of course the sheet covers him wholly by accident. But because this all takes place at night, Pig’s friends don’t realize it is him. That is they don’t realize it is him at first. Of course everything turns out alright in the end. but the execution of the story will have viewers of all ages laughing and smiling from beginning to end. “Sheep’s Halloween Costume” is an especially important example of how the writing succeeds in these episodes as it actually presents not just its central story but an important secondary lesson about individualism and being creative at the same time. Sure those are big concepts especially for the show’s generally younger viewers. But the writers do a good job of translating that lesson on a level that the audiences in question can easily grasp. “Nightlight” is another good example of the importance of the episodes’ writing because it, too does more than just presenta a fun story. It actually uses the story to teach young viewers its own important lesson. The lesson in question here is that there is no reason for said viewers to be afraid of the dark. Every parent will agree that getting children past their fear of the dark is an important part of any child’s development. So that lesson about not fearing the dark becomes an especially important part of the writing behind “Nightlight.” “Dog’s Camping Trip” presents a similar lesson when Dog, Pig, and Frog go on a camping trip together. It’s just one more example of the importance of the writing behind the episodes featured in PBS Kids’ new WordWorld DVD. That is not to ignore “One Hat Fits All” either. The set’s final episode, it presents its own enjoyment as Sheep’s hat flies around WordWorld and becomes something different for each of her friends. The lesson taught here is just as deep as those presented in the set’s other episodes and in turn shows even more why the writing behind each of the disc’s episodes is just as important as the episodes themselves.

The episodes that make up the body of WordWorld: Halloween Fun and the writing behind each episode are both equally important in their own right to the overall enjoyment and success of WordWorld: Halloween Fun. While both elements are of the utmost importance to the set’s overall presentation, they are hardly all that viewers will appreciate about this disc. The bonus “lesson plans” included inside the DVD’s case round out the reasons for the DVD’s enjoyment. There are only two “lesson plans.” But both are still equally great additions to the DVD’s overall presentation. The first of the lessons ties in to “A Spooky Kooky Halloween.” It encourages parents and educators to have children search for words that begin with a specific letter just like Pig did in his search for more B’s to make more bags to collect candy. It is a great way to develop vocab skills whether during the days leading to Halloween or any other time of the year. That is because not only does it help teach words but aso drives home the letters of the alphabet. The second of the featured bonus “lessons” is just as important as the first. That is because helps children develop certain skills as they build their own candy bags with the letters B, A, and G. On another level, it serves as yet another starting point for parents and educators to interact with children and build those all-important bonds with the children in question. That time spent (especially with parents) and encouragement to build said skills is perhaps more important than anything else. That is because it brings everything full circle and can help build children’s interest in the lessons taught through each of the set’s episodes. That being the case, this “lesson” and its fellow bonus “lesson” work together with all of the DVD’s previously noted elements to make a presentation that will be fun for the whole family not just on Halloween but during any time of the year.

WordWorld: Halloween Fun is not the first Halloween-themed DVD to be released from PBS Kids’ hit vocabulary building series. It is also hardly the first holiday-themed collection to be put to DVD, too. Despite this, it does a number of things right, improving quite a bit on NCircle Entertainment’s previously released WordWorld DVD “A Kooky Spooky Halloween.” It adds in three more episodes that while not necessarily Halloween-themed, are still fitting additions to the DVD in their own right. It also presents five stories that not only entertain but educate and help young viewers to grow developmentally and emotionally. This is done both through the DVD’s main episodes and through the bonus “lesson plans” featured inside the DVD’s case. Each element in itself proves a valuable singular part of the DVD’s whole. Collectively, all three elements present the DVD to be yet another great release from PBS Kids and PBS Distribution, and one that audiences of all ages will enjoy not just on Halloween but any time of the year. WordWorld: Halloween Fun is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online direct from PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=66322796&cp=&kw=wordworld+halloween+fun&origkw=WORDWORLD+HALLOWEEN+FUN&sr=1. More information on this and other WordWorld DVDs is available online now along with lots of WordWorld games and news at:

Website: http://www.wordworld.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WordWorld

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” It. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

PBS Kids Set To Give Kids Lots Of Tricks And Treats With Its Latest WordWorld DVD

Courtesy:  PBS/PBS Kids/PBS Distribution

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Kids/PBS Distribution

Fall is just around the corner. That means temperatures are soon going to begin turning along with the leaves on the trees. It also means the growing anticipation for the annual holiday season beginning with every kid’s favorite holiday, Halloween. In celebration of the big night, PBS Distribution has announced that it will release a new WordWorld DVD next month to both get kids excited for Halloween and educate them at the same time.
PBS Distribution will release WordWorld’s new DVD Halloween Fun on Tuesday, September 1st. The DVD features five Halloween-themed episodes from the family favorite PBS Kids series including: “A Spooky Kooky Halloween,” “Sheep’s Halloween Costume,” “Dog’s Camping Adventure,” “Nightlight,” and “One Hat Fits All.” In the collection’s opener–“A Spooky, Kooky Halloween,” it’s the night before Halloween and Pig is sleepwaking. This leads his friends to think he’s a ghost. In “Sheep’s Halloween Costume,” Sheep has a problem. Her friends all say they need pieces of her costume for their own. So it’s up to Sheep to solve this dilemma and still have a costume for herself. Bear’s friends help her deal with her fear of the dark in “Nightlight.” And in the disc’s final episode, “One Hat Fits All,” Sheep’s magician’s hat is blown away on a blustery day. Every time that one of Sheep’s friends come upon it and fix it, it takes a different shape that perfectly fits their own personalities. This leaves Sheep and her friends to wonder could her hat in fact be…magical?

WordWorld: Halloween Fun will be available in stores and online on Tuesday, September 1st. It will retail for MSRP of $6.99 and can be ordered online direct from PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=66322796&cp=&kw=wordworld+halloween+fun&origkw=WORDWORLD+HALLOWEEN+FUN&sr=1. More information on this and other WordWorld DVDs is available online now along with lots of WordWorld games and news at:

Website: http://www.wordworld.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WordWorld

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” It. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

WordWorld Birthday Party! Is Its Own Gift Throughout The Year

Courtesy:  PBS Distribution/PBS/PBS Kids

Courtesy: PBS Distribution/PBS/PBS Kids

PBS Kids’ released the latest installment of its family friendly series WordWorld on DVD last month.  The DVD–Word World: Birthday Party!–is a great fit for any family with young readers and readers to be.  The DVD features five more episodes from the vocabulary-building-based series that the whole family is sure to enjoy.  Families will enjoy the presented episodes for more reasons than they might think. Audiences will note in watching all give episodes that they teach more than just vocabulary-building skills. The show’s writers have also incorporated some important life lessons, too.  And they aren’t done in an overly preachy manner, either.  That is just one part of what makes this collection of episodes so enjoyable. The collective run time and pacing of the episodes presented here makes the overall viewing even more enjoyable for audiences of all ages. Also worth noting of this DVD is the material included as bonus material. Included in the DVD are four printable activities for parents to enjoy with their children as well as six separate printable coloring pages featuring each of WordWorld’s inhabitants. Each element on its own plays its own part in making WordWorld: Birthday Party! enjoyable. All three elements taken into consideration together show it to be yet another enjoyable piece for audiences of all ages and one more welcome compilation for families regardless of how many or few of the series’ DVDs said families may or may not already own.

WordWorld: Birthday Party! is not the first collections of the series’ episodes released by PBS Kids and PBS Distribution. That aside, it is no less enjoyable for audiences either. This is regardless of whether or not said audiences already own any of the series’ previously released compilations, too. One reason that it is just as enjoyable as its predecessors is the work of the series’ writers. The writers continue the series’ long-running tradition of incorporating both basic word-building skills and important life lessons into each episode. The word-building skills are taught in much the same manner as in The Electric Company and even certain episodes of Sesame Street. The DVD’s opening episode “Happy Birthday Dog” teaches young viewers about some of the words associated with birthday parties including the all-important word “Cake.” At the same time, the writers include an important social lesson as both Pig and Dog are reminded about sharing the cake rather than hogging it (no pun intended) for themselves). “The Rainbow Birthday Cake” presents a subtle yet important lesson about recycling and caring for the Earth as Duck tries to get Frog’s cake to his birthday. And in the DVD’s closer “Bugs to the Rescue,” young viewers are taught a variety of words as the bugs try to save Dog. At the same time, those same viewers are also taught all too necessary problem solving skills along the way. Those looking mainly for those word-building skills will appreciate the lesson presented in “Bit By Bit.” It teaches viewers that big words aren’t so scary when learning them. It teaches young viewers that in order to handle big words, they need to just break them down and handle them “bit by bit.” And it uses the word “banana” as an example of how to do that. Simply put, it teaches young readers to work out big words by taking them one syllable at a time. It is another great tool to teach children whether they are already in school or getting ready to start for the first time. Together with the already noted other vocabulary lessons (and their companion life lessons), all of the lessons crafted by WordWorld’s writers show clearly once again why their work is central to the success and enjoyment of this latest collection of episodes.

The word-building lessons and the important everyday life lessons incorporated into each of this DVD’s episodes are central to its overall success and enjoyment. While they are the key point of focus, they compose only one part of the disc’s success. The collective run time and pacing of each episode is just as important to the whole as the lessons themselves. Each episode comes in at roughly twelve minutes. At five episodes, that comes to a total of one full hour of educational and entertaining content for young viewers. On the surface it might seem like that is pushing it a little with the viewers’ attention spans. But thankfully for the work of the writers, the pacing of each episode is just enough to keep said viewers’ attention from start to finish. Thanks to that expertly balanced pacing, not only do those roughly twelve minutes pass by with ease but young viewers will remain engaged right to each episode’s end. The resultant effect of that engagement is that those same viewers will be more apt to catch the concepts presented in each episode and more apt to retain said concepts, too. It is yet another way that WordWorld: Birthday Party! proves itself another enjoyable addition to any family’s home DVD library regardless of whether or not they already own any of the series’ previously released DVDs.

The lessons presented in each episode of WordWorld presented here are themselves key to the DVD’s success and enjoyment among audiences. In the same vein, the work of the writers to provide a solid pacing in each episode will keep the show’s target audiences engaged from start to end. In doing so, said viewers won’t even realize that a full twelve minutes have passed as they laugh and learn. All of this taken into consideration, WordWorld: Birthday Party presents audiences plenty of reason to pick up this DVD. If the already noted elements aren’t enough, then perhaps the proverbial icing on the cake (bad pun fully intended) that is the disc’s bonus material will be enough. The material included on the disc as bonus material includes four printable activity pages and six printable coloring pages. The activity pages act as extensions to the presented episodes as each one teaches word-building skills in its own way. There is a connect-the-dots activity that spells out one of Dog’s favorite treats. There is also a word search that encourages young readers to finish building the words presented on the sheet. And there is even a word search and riddle game that each teach word-building skills in their own way. The printable coloring pages each feature one of the inhabitants of WordWorld. To an extent, young viewers could even use the printable activity pages as coloring pages at the same time since they are presented largely in black and white save for the word-building riddle game. Again here is one more way in which WordWorld: Birthday Party! proves itself to be yet another enjoyable collection of episodes from the family favorite PBS Kids series. By itself it offers its own share of enjoyment. When partnered with the episodes’ writing, their run times, and pacing, all three elements show clearly why every family will enjoy this latest collection of episodes just as much as any previously released WordWorld compilation disc.

WordWorld: Birthday Party! boasts plenty for audiences of all ages to enjoy. The series’ writers have crafted five more episodes that combine word-building skills with important life lessons to make each one educational and entertaining. The collective run time and pacing of each episode guarantees that viewers will remain engaged and will even potentially retain some of the presented lessons if not all of them. The bonus material included on the disc adds even more enjoyment as they allow young viewers to build their vocabulary skills while they’re not watching the DVD. They can also color their favorite WordWorld character(s). Each element on its own proves its value to the DVD in whole. Collectively, all three elements noted here make WordWorld: Birthday Party a clearly welcome addition to any family’s home DVD collection. WordWorld: Birthday Party! is available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct from PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=57493336&cp=&kw=wordworld+birthday+party&origkw=WordWorld+Birthday+Party!&sr=1. More information on this DVD is available online along with all of the latest WordWorld news, games, and more at:

Website: http://www.wordworld.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WordWorld

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