VeggieTales latest video is a great idea from Big Idea
Who ever thought that outside a salad, a tomato and a cucumber could make you feel good? But Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber are international stars who have never once dealt with dressing. They are part of the growing VeggieTales empire.
If you have not seen VeggieTales videos, books, toys, CDs or the full-length movie from Lombard-based Big Idea Productions, try them. The latest, "The Ballad of Little Joe," is enjoyable for kids of all ages.
True, the company bills itself as "the leading producer and creator of value-based product reflecting a Judeo-Christian world view in the family entertainment industry," but don't let the jargon scare you. These videos are creative and funny.
I met these guys in 1994, a year after the company started in a spare bedroom in Phil Visher's home. I was writing a video review column and dutifully wading through too many tapes, when I found, "Where's God When I'm S-Scared?" I expected I wouldn't make it past five minutes watching the computer animated video starring vegetables. I was wrong.
From all corners, my two sons and my husband were drawn by the bright songs, the Dr. Seussian humor, the original stories and the creative edge. It was unique among religious videos. It allowed that God might have a sense of humor-something we all know to be true, just look around.
And it was a video adults and children could enjoy together. We have been fans since and we are not alone-the tapes, once sold only in Christian stores, are now ubiquitous.
But even though we are devoted, my family has not enjoyed each one. "Esther" took itself too seriously. "Jonah, A VeggieTales Movie," divided our house-two for, two against.
But "The Ballad of Little Joe" is pure VeggieTale fun, right down to the pizza saloon in Dodgeball City. Perhaps it's because I am partial to the sarcastic French peas who play Joe's 11 brothers in this Western adaptation of the Biblical story of Joseph and his coat of many colors-or in this case, cool vest.
The intermission number in the 35-minute film is also great. Normally, there is Silly Songs with Larry. But here, when the allegedly popular Boyz in the Sink do the serious hit, "Belly Button," the refrain is "I need to tell you something/I don't got a belly button." It's very fun.
Simply put: How many places can you get a lesson on faithfulness and facing hardships from a cucumber in a Stetson?
-- Susy Schultz
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