Monday, July 12, 2010

Sesame Street: Preschool is Cool! ABCs with Elmo
Review by Muchacha Motorista

It has been a long time since I watched Sesame Street, but 18-month old Sombrerito is obsessed with letters these days so he joined me in reviewing Preschool is Cool: ABCs with Elmo.  Professor Grover plays a dubiously-credentialed preschool teacher that needs Elmo’s help to get through the day’s lesson on the alphabet.  

Elmo shows up at preschool to find Grover, “your furry, lovable teacher for the day,” gathering items that begin with each letter.  He explains that this is how he preps for the lesson, though he’s having quite a time of it.  Elmo gets him through a majority of the letters, and the interaction between the two is interspersed with musical segments and skits previously appearing on Sesame Street.  You might recognize some of the celebrities appearances, from India.Aire singing the alphabet song with Elmo, to Seth Green playing a zealous delivery man from the Letter Of The Month Club.  There’s the Alphabet Town song, an episode of A’s Anatomy, and a jazzy tune of the alphabets accompanied by animated sign language.

Sombrerito’s thoughts about the show?  He had high hopes, and is still carrying around the DVD case, looking at the free Sesame Street child’s growth chart that came inside.  We had to watch the show in segments, since 50 minutes in front of the TV is a bit long for an 18-month old, even with dancing to the songs.  Around the 15 minute mark each time he started to wander off, pick up a book, or play with his toys.  

There were a few specific parts he loved.  The first was the sign language alphabet.  We’ve signed the alphabet while singing the ABCs ever since we started singing the ABCs to him, so he recognized this... and liked the jazzy tune.  His comments after this part: “More!  A, B, C, A, D, S, A...More!”  We watched it a few times before I tired of it (though he wanted even more).  He enjoyed the ABCs sung by India.Aire, dancing along with them, and asking for “more!” when it was over.

His final favorite part is at the end of the movie when Grover is finally ready to sing the ABC song to the class and he starts with the “Itsy Bitsy Spider.”  The kids all shout, “Noooooo!”  He tries again and sings “Old McDonald had an Alphabet.”  The kids again shout, “Nooooo!”  This appealed to the toddler in Sombrerito, and he yelled “Nooooo!” along with them and then... “More!”  We watched this 45-second segment about 7 times.

Other than these parts though, he was only mildly interested.  It is a little old for him, and the chaos of some of the segments (such as Hurry Up, You’re Running Out of Time! where The Distractor goes nuts to distract contestants on a game show) made me actually skip through those and watch them later by myself.  If I wanted to show my toddler jumpy, haphazard media, I’d let him watch MTV.

So you can tell by now that I didn’t like some of the chaos even for myself, and I promise you I won’t be watching this without Sombrerito on my lap.  However, it isn’t quite as hard to sit through as many of the shows aimed at young kids.  In fact, the majority of the humor is targeted at adults.  For example, when Grover can’t figure out what letter comes after “H,” Elmo says, “I.”  Grover replies, “What?  You never speak in the first person!”

Overall, if your child is an Elmo-fan around pre-school age, check this out; he or she will probably get a kick out of it.  It is more educational than many of the other kid shows, and has some fun for adults, so even if you’re not sure, why not check it out at your library or rent it and give it a try.  However, for anyone other than the above-mentioned demographic, both Sombrerito and I recommend Super Why! when it comes to learning the alphabet (and “word power!”) in a fun way.


I have a material connection because I received a gift or sample of a product for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was/am not expected to return this item or gift after my review period.

Article first published as DVD Review: Sesame Street - Preschool is Cool! ABCs with Elmo on Blogcritics.

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