Sunday, October 30, 2011

Scout & Friends Phonics Farm DVD Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
Romp with everybody's favorite Leap Frog character, Scout, as Lionsgate Home Entertainment and top educational entertainment company Leap Frog Enterprises, Inc. join together once again to release the new LeapFrog: Phonics Farm to DVD, Digital Download and On Demand this November! Featuring everyone's favorite puppy pal Scout in his very first starring role, the all-new LeapFrog release makes learning phonics even more fun as Scout ventures through a farm filled with extraordinary animals, along with his friends Violet, Eli and Penny. LeapFrog: Phonics Farm introduces the 26 letters of the alphabet along with the most common sounds those letters make enabling kids to link letters with their respective sounds - a very important learning milestone.

Film (4 out of 5 stars)

My son has some Leap Frog toys but I wasn't sure what he was going to think about a movie.  He had a Phonics Farm for our refrigerator that he hasn't played with recently so I wasn't sure what his interest level would be.  One thing about my son, he will always let you know quickly whether or not he likes something.  He won't ever just sit and watch it; he will say "take it out please," if it doesn't catch his fancy.  Fortunately this time, he was interested in watching it.
Lionsgate and Leap Frog bring you Phonic Farm on DVD.  Scout and his friends learn their letter sounds in this single disc DVD.  Scout, Violet, Eli and Penny want to learn about new animals.  Their magical toy car, Axle, whisks them away to a farm and they discover all kinds of new animals.   Your child is asked to guess what the letter is and then which animal will come out of the crate with that letter sound. 

As they make their way through the alphabet there are both lower case and upper case letters as well as adjectives to learn.  There are athletic alligators, jumping jaguars and kissing kangaroos designed to enhance the early reading skills of your 2-5 year old.  The Phonics Farm DVD focuses on the alphabet, phonics skills, and animals with a running time of 38 minutes.  

In one sitting, my three year old watched the main feature, all the special features, and then he asked to watch the main feature one more time.  At three years old the questions they asked were perfectly matched for his skill level.  When they asked what starts with the letter I, for example he enjoyed giving an entire list including the one animal they were looking for, Iguana.  A younger child may only be able to come up with the one animal.  Older children may be more able to answer the questions about the sounds the letters make.  I think this DVD is a great tool for both parents and their toddlers and my son really enjoyed playing and learning with it.

Video (3 out of 5 stars)
Phonics Farm is presented in 16x9 widescreen 1.78:1 ratio.  It is an animated educational show on DVD with fun, vibrant colors.  It is certainly nothing visually spectacular, as it is only on DVD, not on Blu ray.

Audio (3 out of 5 stars)
Phonics Farm is presented in Dolby Digital Sound and has English Closed Captions and subtitles available.  Sound quality is adequate and dialogue is intelligible although rather high pitched (intentionally) for some of the animals.  I did not have to adjust volume for the video special features or the reading of the book as you sometimes do with the children's DVDs.

Special Features (3 out of 5 stars)

This is the first kids DVD I've seen with instructional information for parents, as well as fun and informative features for children. 

The DVD includes the following special features:

Sing-alongs - Karaoke style video sing-alongs for the following songs: I’m With You Scout, The Vowel Sound, and Letter Sound Hoedown.
Sing with Us! The Band - Sing along videos for "In the Bag" and "Meg's Pet".
Curriculum Commentary for Parents - Information and instruction for parents including the following segments: Meet Dr. Carolyn Jaynes, Upper/Lower Case letters, Letter & Beginning Word Sounds, Vowel Sounds, Active Viewing, and Alphabetical Order,
Being a Puppy (The Scout Song) Music Video
A Surprise for Scout storybook - A storybook read to your child, pages turned, just as if you were doing it.

Final Thoughts  (3 out of 5 stars)
From the perspective of a three year old, Phonics Farm is a big hit.  From a parent's perspective I was glad to see that my son was interested in watching the feature more than once and it got him thinking about letters because when it was over he ran to an electronic alphabet toy and began to play with it. My son's one and only complaints was the previews before the feature.  He kept asking "is this the thing we're watching" and I would say no, this is a commercial.  After three or four of those he got really annoyed and I finally gave in and hit the menu button to skip right to the feature. The curriculum for parents is a great special feature and I learned a lot about the importance of upper and lower case letter and how to give my son more of a chance at becoming a successful reader.  I have a lot of friends with kids between the ages of two and five and I will definitely recommend Phonics Farm as a stocking stuffer this Christmas.

Order your copy today!



  1. What animal is penny!!!

    1. I was wondering the same thing. She is obviously a rodent. Judging by the tail I'd say she's a hamster

    2. I was wondering the same thing. She is obviously a rodent. Judging by the tail I'd say she's a hamster

  2. You may be right about that but I'm not sure one way or another. Thanks for reading the review though!