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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this DVD, much like classic Looney Tunes, will introduce toddlers to classical music and cultural themes in fun and memorable ways. However, older kids may find the stories too repetitive and simplistic.
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What's the story?
In DISNEY'S LITTLE EINSTEINS: MISSION CELEBRATION, the quartet of Einstein tots -- June, Quincy, Leo, and Annie -- invites young viewers along on Rocket to locales from Italy to Antarctica. Classical music is the overriding theme. Each of the three episodes introduces a particular piece of music, such as Bach's "Brandenburg Concerto No. 3." The music is cleverly blended with easy, memorable lyrics that invite singing along. (See if you can resist crooning "I love, I love, I love, I love balloons" to the tune of Mozart's "A Little Night Music.") All three adventures revolve around birthday themes and embroil the quartet in innocuous missions: rescuing Annie's balloons when they blow away, helping Little Red Train recover a goody bag from the clutches of Big Jet for a party at Train Junction.
Is it any good?
Like the series, this Little Einsteins movie is tons of fun. Preschoolers learn about Mozart, Michelangelo, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and the meaning of "adagio" and "allegro" by hanging out with the Little Einsteins. The brainchild of Disney and the creator of Baby Einstein, this charming, clever, and highly interactive animated series incorporates elements such as classical music, cultural landmarks, and art into adventures that whisk the four main characters all over the world.
The characters repeatedly weave musical terms into the fun: Urging the red train to go faster or slower, they shout "allegro" and "adagio." Kids also learn to distinguish between the sounds of different instruments, like trombones, clarinets, and violins. The characters encourage young viewers to participate in the action. Little Einsteins ask direct questions to the screen ("Do you help clean up?" "When is your birthday?"), and they also get kids to "help" the missions along -- for example, by taking deep breaths and blowing to keep Annie's balloons from popping on the tip of Seattle's Space Needle. The DVD also does an interesting job of blending animation and real-life photographs and video.
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