Imagine a classroom with a pretty blonde teacher and three little creatures (Muppet-like monsters). Now if you’ve imagined these four characters as puppets, you’ve got an idea of what Dwizzle Dee, a video for preschoolers, offers. The cast of characters includes Ms. Ashley, the teacher; Gifford a very furry, red creature who likes to eat trees; Lenny a not-so-furry, red creature with black antennae; and Penny, a pink, furry creature with a pet squirrel named Squizz. Squirrelphobics need not worry; Squizz does not make an appearance.
Recommended for two- through five-year-olds, Dwizzle Dee is interactive. Ms. Ashley pauses to give viewers a moment to introduce themselves, and also to answer some of the questions she poses in the classroom. Lessons are about identifying primary colors, differentiating among sizes (small, medium, and large), and counting. There are some simple animations, and young children will enjoy learning through repetition and basic problem-solving.
The cast ventures outdoors to look for flowers, and comes across a ladybug and a honey bee. This allows an introduction to insects. There are sing-alongs set to familiar melodies (“She’ll Be Comin’ ‘round the Mountain,” “Pop Goes the Weasel,” and “This Old Man,” a/k/a Barney’s theme song), and children are encouraged to pretend to be flowers and bees.
The entire production is extremely low-key. Miss Ashley is a model of enunciation; pre-schoolers won’t have problems understanding her (although her slow delivery might bug their parents). It’s difficult to rate a program like this, so we’ll have to use the crayon scale.
On the crayon rating scale, programs are rated from one to ten crayons, with ten being the best. To be a ten, a production should be equivalent to the gold crayon, Sesame Street. A one would be awarded to a sock-puppet production video-taped in the basement by a six-year-old and two younger friends. If Sesame Street is awarded ten crayons, and Barney gets six, what about Dwizzle Dee?
Children will be attracted to the bright colors and cuddly characters in Dwizzle Dee, and they will like the interactive aspect in which they get to participate in the lessons. Most two- and three-year-olds, and many four-year-olds, will want repeated showings. However, it’s a little too unsophisticated for five-years-olds (kindergarten-age). Parents will appreciate the chummy respect the characters show for their young audience, and Dwizzle Dee’s leisurely pace (there are numerous other programs that can get kids wound up, if that’s what’s desired). Based on these observations, the rating awarded is a solid five crayons.
Extras on the DVD are a sing-along comprised of the songs included in the story, with lyrics sub-titled at the bottom of the screen (mostly wasted on the intended audience), and a preview of a children’s book, El Gato. Dwizzle Dee is now available from Amazon.com and FilmBaby.Com; national roll-out is scheduled for May 25.
Bottom Line: Would I buy Dwizzle Dee? Yes, for two- or three-year-olds.