Our family is familiar with the work of the claymation animators behind the comical Wallace and Gromit, but Shaun the Sheep another of their creations is new to us. Entirely British in setting and humor, Shaun the Sheep takes us to a British small-holding complete with a stone farmhouse, rock walls, and green pastures, not to mention the requiste cast of mischief-making sheep, and an incredibly frustrated barnyard dog.
A Wooly Good Time includes six animated shorts: “Washday,” “Tooth Fairy,” “The Farmer’s Niece,” “Helping Hound,” and “Big Top Tommy” that make up a total running time of 40 minutes. Strangely, the images and copy on the DVD case have little to do with the shorts that are actually included in this release. References are made to cooking up fun with the naughty pigs next door, but said cooking experience never appears, and no pigs are to be seen in this release.
No worry however, if what you’re looking for is a collection of funny farmyard hi-jinks. Shaun and his comrades are always up to mischief – getting into the farmer’s laundry, trying to help the barnyard dog pull out a rotten tooth, trying to minimize the damage resulting from the visit of the farmer’s dangerous niece (think Darla from Finding Nemo,) and much more.
You wouldn’t think that a collection of shorts entirely without dialogue (sound effects and grumbling noises are used to convey communication) would prove to be so entertaining, but this collection is full of laughs for both young and old viewers. My children never seem to tire of this DVD.
Parents should note that there is some mild ‘potty humor’ from time to time, such as a reoccurring gag about laundered underwear sailing through the air to land on the heads of various characters, but the humor is generally slapstick, and good-natured. There’s nothing truly mean between the sheep and dog, they actually have a fairly good working relationship – it just seems to be the nature of the sheep to get into trouble. Shaun himself is a fairly innocent straight man, while the dog is more often than not, a long-suffering guardian.
The DVD includes an autoplay option for busy parents, as well as standard episode selection navigation, and bonus features including a sing-a-long of the series theme song and a “Mini Making of Shaun” segment, a micro look behind the scenes that is only three minutes long (isn’t the claymation process fascinating?)
Shaun the Sheep: A Woolly Good Time is certainly a charming collection, and a bit of a change in our children’s viewing schedule from the standard animated fare. I know that they’ll be keeping their eyes open for future releases.