This is a great time to talk with children both about your values and traditions and about those of other people. This month’s video selections will help. An action-filled Christmas adventure featuring Davey and Goliath also does a great job of honoring the importance of Hanukkah and Ramadan. Take time out to enjoy the changes in the natural world with "Bear Snores On." The Care Bears and My Little Ponies will help channel strong feelings in a positive direction.
THE CARE BEARS BIG WISH MOVIE, not rated, 2005, $19.98 VHS and DVD; age 2-4.
This film succeeds in bringing new faces to the Care Bear family. Wish Bear is the niece of Wish-a-Lot Bear and is also a lucky bear. She has direct access to making her wishes come true, thanks to her friend Twinkers. Wish Bear ends up taking advantage of this genie-like pal while trying to impress a trio of new friends, Too-Loud Bear, Me Bear and Messy Bear, who exhibit the traits described in their names and mistakenly believe wishing can replace working. Equilibrium is restored with cute scenes and musical numbers.
The movie falls short because attempts to appeal to older viewers—such as with a joke about acid reflux—don’t work.
Sylvia says: B+. I know the Care Bears may seem sweet enough to give a grown-up a toothache, but they are just right for the preschool set.
DAVEY AND GOLIATH’S SNOWBOARD CHRISTMAS, not rated, 2005, $16.99 DVD; ages 5-10.
This movie represents a great comeback for the lovable duo. The ski slopes provide a hip setting for the action, and the holiday season is the backdrop for a universal message about accepting the beliefs of others and not letting our egos get us in trouble.
Davey is excited when he receives a snowboard. That early Christmas gift brings Davey to Sam, a hotshot snowboarder who celebrates Hanukkah, and Yasmeen, who observes Ramadan and out performs the male competitors on the slopes. Davey gets a little jealous when, as often happens in life, his vision of his skills don’t match his actual ability. Davey lets his ego egg him on to take a dangerous route back to the ski lodge and he gets caught in an avalanche. Goliath saves the day—but not before an action-filled adventure.
Davey and his dog, Goliath, have been around since the 1960s when the show was brought to network television by the Lutherans. The message was always about a certain value system, with lessons and morals anyone could relate to.
Sylvia says: A+. Davey is not perfect and that’s what makes his adventure more realistic. The message of acceptance and appreciation of others is there, but never in a preachy way.
BEAR SNORES ON … AND MORE STORIES TO CELEBRATE THE SEASONS, not rated, 2005, $9.95 VHS, $14.95 DVD; ages 2-5.
The softer side of winter comes through as Mouse gets comfortable in a sleeping bear’s home and, like many a bad guest, takes advantage of his host. Bear reminds me of myself—dozing on the couch while my children played around me, sleeping through their noise and games until I was awakened, crabby and disoriented, by some random sound. Mouse drinks tea and eats popcorn with other interlopers, having a grand old time while his unknowing host sleeps. When Bear awakes, everyone is in for a surprise.
The title includes two other stories that celebrate the seasons. "Waiting for Wings" is visually very different, with stellar scenes of the phases of a butterfly. "Come on Rain!" is the charming story of a high-spirited girl looking to beat the summer heat. There are also two bonus stories, "Snow Cat" and "Time of Wonder."
Sylvia says: A+. This is like a fine picture book come to life.
MY LITTLE PONY: A VERY MINTY CHRISTMAS, not rated, 2005, $9.95 VHS, $16.99 DVD; ages 2-7.
On a recent visit to see my sister, Colette, I had to clear the tub of multiple, many-hued versions of My Little Pony each morning before I could shower. They are a real hit with my niece, Avery. "My Little Pony: A Very Minty Christmas" is a hit, too. Minty is adorable but extremely clumsy. Minty and her best friend ever, Pinkie Pie, have to save Christmas. After an unfortunate fumble, Minty breaks the beacon that guides Santa to Ponyville. Yet she learns lessons along the way and it all works out in the end. The enchantment comes from the colors and the kindness, the music and the high energy of Minty and her pals. This little pony is generous and a creative problem solver.
Sylvia says: A. This is sure to be a holiday favorite.
Sylvia M. Ewing is a mom and a writer. She also is a producer at WBEZ Chicago Public Radio.