Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Leapfrog Scout & Friend Numberland DVD Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
Join Scout and his friends for another exciting learning adventure from the world of LeapFrog.  When the pals long to learn about numbers, their magical car, Axle, whisks them away to Number Land.  With the help of a new friend, Max, the pals meet all the numbers in the land and build early numeracy skills. Then it's time to help the residents of Number Land plan a surprise birthday party for Max.  It all adds up to plenty of fun and adventure as kids sing and count their way through Number Land with Scout & Friends!

Film (3 out of 5 stars)

Scout and Friends need to learn about numbers and how to put them in order so they can plant a numbered garden. Their friend, the car, Axle takes them to a place called Numberland where they can do just that.  In Numberland, numbers hang from the trees, numbers talk and jump on trampolines (in numerical order).  The gang meets a monkey named Max who introduces them to more numbers, showing them around while singing a song.

Max has a broken down bus and Axle helps by towing the bus into town.  This is another opportunity to count the passengers - numbers one through ten. Max has to repack all their numbered baggage as well and the friends help get it all in order.  Next it’s time to throw a surprise birthday party for Max. Max is turning 10.  The numbers are running out of time and the friends help to make the party happen.  This involves putting numbered chairs in the right order with help from the viewer.

The Leapfrog movies are geared for small children so adults won't get as much enjoyment out them but the important thing is that the movies do help children learn.  My son always learns from them and enjoys them as well.  While I'd rather watch a Pixar or Disney movie personally, I know that he really isn't learning anything from that as it's just simply entertainment.  The Leapfrog movies have helped my son learn the alphabet and phonics and now he is very excited that this new DVD has arrived so he can learn more about numbers.  I'm not sure how much he will learn as he knew his numbers long before his letters, but it will probably still be entertaining and be a nice opportunity to keep it fresh.

Numberland is full of songs which definitely makes counting fun for a preschooler.  The DVD stresses numeracy skills of all kinds.  The show puts numbers everywhere, and the viewers are not only asked to count sequentially from 1 to 10, but also put the numbers back in order. For my son, who will soon turn four, this was all information he mastered long ago, but he still enjoyed it.  The DVD case says it’s for ages 2-5 and in his case it would have been perfect for him at age 2.  Since he is way beyond numbers 1 through 10 it would have been better for him if it had been counting by tens or something like that.

Video (3 out of 5 stars)

Leapfrog Scout & Friends Numberland is presented on DVD, in widescreen 16x9 1.78:1 ratio.  The colors are bright and vivid and the presentation is good overall, for DVD.  It's not the sharpest animation I've seen but I didn't expect a lot from an animated learning DVD for children.

Audio (3 out of 5 stars)

Leapfrog Scout & Friends Numberland is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 sound.  The dialogue is clear and consistent although the cheery little character voices can get to you.  The music also sound fine and most kids will enjoy the songs.

Special Features (3 out of 5 stars)

It's helpful to be able to select songs individually, as my son did want to hear Counting By Twos a few times. Some of the special features are recycled from other Leapfrog movies.  I do always appreciate the curriculum commentary.
  • Sing Alongs - Karaoke style sing alongs for the following songs from the movie: "I'm With You", "Numbers 1-10", "Sorting Song", "Order of Magnitude", and "Counting by Twos"
  • Curriculum Commentary for parents - Topics can be selected individually or with play all function: Meet Dr. Jody Sherman LeVos, Number Recognition 1 to 10, Counting Objects, Number Line & Fair Sharing, Order & Magnitude, and Skip Counting by Twos
  • "Being a Puppy (The Scout Song)" Music Video
  • Sing With Us! The Band - Music videos for "Kiss" and "Gus Naps."

Final Thoughts  (3 out of 5 stars)

While the information presented was below my son's current learning level, he did enjoy the DVD. He sang along with the songs and sat intently for the entire 35 minute running time.  Numberland did address counting by twos but overall I would consider it a very basic number introduction.  When it was over he asked for more so that's a pretty glowing review from a three year old. 

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