22Sep/121

NCircle Entertainment – The Gruffalo’s Child, Word World, Noodle and Doodle, & Dino Dan Product Review

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My story behind working with NCircle Entertainment is a little embarrassing, and just ended up being one of pure happenstance, however I am SO glad the circumstances worked out the way they did because I have FOUR great DVD's from NCircle to tell you all about! For those who are not familiar, NCircle Entertainment is a sales, marketing, and distribution firm that specializes in Educational Entertainment. This is absolutely perfect because I have two toddlers and limited access to educational TV. We were sent four titles to review: "The Gruffalo's Child", "WorldWord: To the Rescue", "Noodle and Doodle: Noodly Doodly Things To Make", and "Dino Dan: Where The Dinosaurs Are".

"One wild and windy night, the Gruffalo's Child ignores her father's warnings and bravely tiptoes out into the snow in search of the Big Bad Mouse. She meets Snake, Owl and Fox but no sign of the fabled Mouse. He doesn't really exist... or does he?" ~ "The Gruffalo's Child"

"The Gruffalo's Child" is an animated film based on the best-selling children's picture book by Julia Donaldson and Alex Scheffler, and is also a companion film to "The Gruffalo". I have never read the books, and I have never seen either of the films so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. The 40 minute movie is full of childhood curiosity, exploration, and new-found independence while venturing away from her Gruffalo father. The music is fantastic and falls within a more whimsical and ethereal genre. It's a perfect combination of humor, vivid imagination, seriousness while learning lessons of the forbidden forest, and a loving father/daughter relationship.

The film is narrated by Helena Bonham Carter, the mother squirrel watchers are introduced to within the first few minutes. "The Gruffalo's Child", while a shorter film, captured our attention for the entire 40 minutes. We quickly fell in love with the characters, although I didn't quite understand the relationship between the Gruffalo's child and the forest creatures she met during her night time exploration. But perhaps that's because I'm unfamiliar with the books. The animation was beautiful, and both my son and daughter stopped their fussing, and their running around and watched the film with me. Additional voices included Rob Brydon, Robbie Coltrane, James Corden, Shirley Henderson, John Hurt, and Tom Wilkinson. "The Gruffalo's Child" extras included Behind the Scenes, an Artwork Gallery, and a BBC Promotional Trailer.

"Welcome to WorldWorld, where words are the stars of the show! Join Duck and Fly as they learn how to be firefighters just like their friends Firefighter Frog! To be firefighters, the gang has to keep a look out for any signs of smoke in WorldWorld... because there's smoke, there's fire! Will Duck and Fly be able to determine what's really smoke and what's not? Firefighters to the rescue! ~ "WordWorld: To The Rescue"

One of the channels I really miss having for my children is PBS Kids. I'm so out of touch these days that I had no idea this was even a show! The second the music began my daughter's attention went straight to the TV, and she spend almost an entire hour learning about words in a colorful word filled world. With episodes including "Fire Fighters to the Rescue", "Duck Saves Spider's Web", "The Best Nest", and "Caterpillar Gets a Home", my children were able to see how letters "built" words, and also basic phonics sounds. Spelling, letter recognition, word recognition, and sound recognition. WordWorld seemed like a great introduction to learning how to spell and read.

In addition to letters and words, throughout the four episodes (60 minutes) on the DVD, the characters also learned several valuable lessons including the dangers of fire, responsibility, friendship, and generosity just to name a few. All of the characters in WordWorld worked together to overcome any obstacles they faced. I love how visual WordWorld is. Just about every object, including the characters, are literally drawn with the letters used to spell them; Dog, Frog, Caterpillar, Firetruck, Sun, Ant, etc. I found it very engaging, and educational in a fun way - something just about every child craves.

"Encourage your child's sense of creativity with fun craft products and kid-friendly recipes that families can make together. Jon Sean and his friends Noodle and Doodle as they use everyday household items to craft, cook and play! Also along for the ride is Sean's dog Doggity who cooks up five special treats. All aboard the Noodle and Doodle bus!" ~ "Noodle and Doodle: Noodly Doodly Things to Make"

One of the things I've been trying to work on lately is finding fun, inexpensive projects to do with my children. "Noodly Doodly Things to Make" a show that airs on Sprout, is chalk full of crafts and recipes that are completely family friendly, and can be done by just about any age child with the help of mom, dad, or an older sibbling. Most of the crafting supplies, and recipe ingredients you can find within your own home. Noodle & Doodle also teach children about re-purposing items that are normally considered garbage including egg cartons, milk jugs, and boxes.

The DVD is comprised of five stories which include "Bake Sale", "Dance Lessons", "It's a Band", "I Love to Build", and "Puppet Show", giving kids 60 minutes of imagination inspiring ideas. Even the recipes had healthier alternatives if you didn't have certain ingredients. I've never heard of using carrots instead of chicken! The DVD also featured "Doggity's", an animated series ONLY found on Noodle and Doodle. Noodle & Doodle is a  great combination of puppets, animation, and human characters keeping your children entertained and stimulated.

"Follow the adventures of a paleontologist-in-training Dan Henderson as he imagines dinosaurs into the real world! Join Dan as he teaches a baby Triceratops defensive moves to help it get around a meat-eating Spinosaurus! Then find otu why the T-rex has such small arms when Dan and his friends embark on a sleepover adventure at the famous Royal Ontario Museum. Tour the museum and learn about real fossil skeletons, from Stegosaurus to the Tyrannosaurus rex." ~ Dino Dan: Where the Dinosaurs Are

OK, who doesn't love dinosaurs?! Out of all of the DVDs, from an adult's perspective (not just a parent's perspective) this was one of my favorite DVDs. I remember the dinosaur unit from my first grade class, and loving every single minute of it. I remember searching for fossils on my own out in my back yard, and thinking some day I'd love to be an archaeologist. Although this DVD is slightly geared toward older children (pre-school and elementary ages), I absolutely enjoyed Dino Dan myself.

"Dino Dan: Where the Dinosaurs Are", as seen on Nick Jr., was 45 minutes, and two episodes of dinosaur exploration. It was educational, and fun and sparked that desire to continue learning more. Once again, a combination of human characters and animation, encourages children to use their imaginations, and learn simultaneously. I have to say I was impressed that the children's characters could even pronounce all of the dinosaur names, and as far as I can tell, the dinosaurs were pretty realistic. It seemed as though they took great care to animate them true to size. Every child knew important information about each dinosaur instead of being talked at by the museum tour director. But, it was Dino Dan's imagination that stole the show. He could communicate with the dinosaurs, and worked to solve problems that his imaginary dinosaurs created for him in reality. I sat down and watched the episodes through twice, I thought it was THAT good.

Check out NCircle Entertainment on Facebook, Twitter, and Online!

Lucky for you, NCircle is giving away a copy of each DVD to one of my readers! When the giveaway is LIVE you'll be able to enter [HERE]. Must be a legal resident of the USA who is 18+ in order to be eligible.

* I received the previously mentioned products free of charge from NCircle Entertainment in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% mine. See Disclosure Policy.


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