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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Blaze and the Monster Machines: Race to the Top of the World is a double-episode-length feature starring the characters from the popular preschool series. As in the show, the story follows five friends' efforts to cross the finish line in a race that's sabotaged by a conniving competitor. In working together to overcome various challenges, the characters show viewers the value of determination and teamwork, and they illustrate some basic scientific concepts along the way as well. Excellent role models (including two female vehicular characters), a visually appealing global journey, and fun music round out this entertaining, interactive special.
What's the story?
In their biggest race yet, Blaze (voiced by Samuel Vincent) and his Monster Machine friends -- Starla (Kate Higgins), Stripes (Sunil Malhotra), Zeg (James Patrick Stuart), and Darington (Alexander Polinsky) -- set off for the finish line at the top of an enormous mountain in BLAZE AND THE MONSTER MACHINES: RACE TO THE TOP OF THE WORLD. But they're thrown off course when scheming Crusher (Kevin Michael Richardson) creates a whirlwind that hurls them to a far-off land. Now they must figure out a way to cross a desert, an ocean, and a jungle to get back on track, all before Crusher crosses the finish line. Fortunately for them, they encounter a helpful Sphinx (Mayim Bialik) who helps them kick off their journey, but it will take lots of teamwork to get past the notorious scallywag Pegwheel (Anthony Anderson) and his band of pirate pals.
Is it any good?
Blaze and company are the whole package; they're charming characters, great friends, and excellent problem solvers, especially when it comes to situations that involve some science know-how. Race to the Top of the World calls for them to experiment with momentum as they slide down a hill, trajectory as they trade cannon fire with some pirates, and buoyancy as they ride in a hot air balloon. All the while, this grand adventure tests their resolve and their determination to make it to the finish line.
The story's focus on social skills is equally vital to youngsters' development, and kids will find it easy to distinguish between Blaze's style of fair competition and Crusher's more devious one, each of which results in appropriate positive or negative consequences. Even though Crusher never seems to learn a lesson about cheating, youngsters will pick up on how it never works out the way he intends.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the Monster Machine motto in Blaze and the Monster Machines: Race to the Top of the World to "just keep on rolling!" When you face a difficult task, is it tempting to just give up? Have you ever done that? How does it feel? On the other hand, how does it feel to succeed at something hard?
Is Blaze a good leader? How does he bring out the best in his friends? Does being the leader mean he always has the right answer to a problem? Do you like to be a leader when you're in a group?
Why does Crusher cheat? Does it ever work out for the best? How does his negative behavior affect those around him?
- Premiere date: November 23, 2015
- Cast: Samuel Vincent, Kate Higgins, Mayim Bialik
- Network: Nick Jr.
- Genre: Kids' Animation
- Topics: Cars and trucks, Adventures, Friendship, Great boy role models, Great girl role models, Science and nature
- Character strengths: Perseverance, Teamwork
- TV rating: TV-Y
- Available on: DVD, Streaming
- Award: Common Sense Seal
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