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Baby Einstein: On the Go - Riding, Sailing and Soaring DVD Review

Buy Baby Einstein: On the Go from Amazon.com On the Go - Riding, Sailing and Soaring

1.33:1 Fullscreen, Dolby Surround 2.0 (English, French, Spanish)
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish; Closed Captioned
DVD Release Date: October 25, 2005
Not Rated / Producer's Recommended Age: 1+ Years
Single-sided, dual-layered disc (DVD-9)
Suggested Retail Price: $19.99
White Keepcase

By Renata Joy

Simple though the Baby Einstein premise may have originally been, the result is anything but. With DVDs, books, and related toys popping out all over the place, parents of young infants who have not yet indulged in the popular series may be wondering what exactly they are missing out on,
while those who did not have the chance to partake in the phenomenon might be thinking that their child would have benefited from a few viewings at a younger age.

In the past, the Baby Einstein Company has come out with a number of items, with subjects ranging from classical music and Shakespeare to impressionistic art. Baby Einstein: On the Go - Riding, Sailing and Soaring, the most recent output and the nineteenth DVD in the line, deals with something a little more down-to-earth - planes, trains and automobiles (with neither Steve Martin nor John Candy to liven things up).

The volume begins with an introduction by Julie Aigner-Clark, founder of the highly-regarded company, promoting (surprise, surprise) Little Einsteins: Our Big Huge Adventure and the new Disney Channel series it launches. This woman seems nice enough, with her soothing voice and nicely-dyed blonde hair, but one can only wonder if her children will grow up with some sort of complex, having a mother who seems so concerned with the proper development of other people's children.

Buckle up, best friend. Elephants never forget...how to ride a bicycle.

The presentation itself is comprised of a number of clips set to tinkling music -- most by classical composers, one by some jokester credited as "Traditional." As can be expected, means of transportations are the main focus. As the subtitle provides, there are three main categories: things that go on land, things that travel by water, and things that fly through the air. All of these concepts are illustrated by means of speechless sock puppet animals, simple animation, scenes from daily life, and the obligatory shots of cute babies playing with toys, which coincidentally are usually available to buy (the toys, not the babies).

All this is completed in under forty minutes and is definitely not the worst thing to expose your little one(s) to. Nonetheless, the nature of the presentation makes it so that it will have little lasting power on any one child. While it might be true that the program is useful in way of development skills, it won't be long before the subject matter at hand is a little too babyish for the targeted viewer and it will be time to move on to something new.

This fact may not discredit the series entirely, and of course many families will have more than one baby, prolonging the lifetime of these educational features. However, this particular Baby Einstein volume feels a little bland. I do realize that I am not the target audience, and haven't been for quite a few years. But cars, boats, airplanes, etc. can get a little tiresome, especially with the slow and repetitive way in which these vehicular concepts are presented. Of course, this is the adult in me speaking, and not the infant.

It is worthwhile to point out that it is also possible to play the main presentation in both French and Spanish, although for a child just learning to speak isn't asking the kid to learn to speak a foreign language pushing it a little too far? All on-screen graphics accordingly appear in the selected language, but such innovation comes at a cost -- you can't switch languages in the middle of playback, if such an act compels you.

LOLZ DUMP! Puppets re-enact the end of "Casablanca." The Wheels on the Train I mean the Bell on the Bus I mean oh man I mess up!


The Discovery Cards segment allows for parents to further reinforce with their children the objects already seen in the main feature.
It is a bit like flashcards, and while there is the option to skip ahead to the next word at one's own pace, it also moves along automatically without pushing any buttons of the remote control variety, rendering parental interaction unnecessary.

"Guess What I'm Drawing" (4:07) is pretty much what it sounds like. Pictures appear to be drawn on the screen and it is up to the viewer to guess what the resulting image will be. This stage is followed by a brief puppet sketch pertaining to the drawing. The feature plays entirely the same upon repeat viewings, but as it is quite likely the baby viewer wasn't paying much attention the first ten times it was played, a few more showings won't hurt a bit.

Contrary to popular belief, "Let's Sing Together" (4:28) is not a spin-off of the famous song from The Parent Trap. Basically, it is a sing-along sans those well-loved lyrics that might typically adorn the bottom of the screen in such a venue. The songs are "The Wheels on the Bus" (which appears in the main feature as is) and the lesser-known "The Bell on the Train" (some might say that both songs have the same melody, although I am skeptical of that fact).

"The Toy Chest" plays as a gallery and is nothing more than a catalog of sorts, displaying toys that were prominently featured in the presentation. Honestly, the Baby Einstein company knows how to rake in a profit.

The last time I checked, "Languages" weren't generally a part of a DVD's supplementary features, but once again one has the chance to watch the all bonus features in either French or Spanish, as well as the defaulted English.

Closing the exciting extras section is a lengthy preview (5:18) for Little Einsteins: Our Big Huge Adventure DVD. This is a very important addition as it shows parents what it is imperative they buy once their child has grown out of the Baby Einstein collection.

"About Baby Einstein" (3:55) is accessible from the Main Menu and shows testimonials of parents who have apparently been trained to eat out of Baby Einstein's hands. Although a worthy advertisement, it seems useless to promote the items to such an extent to an audience who has likely already purchased at least one of the many products.

Chicco strikes gold yet again. Main Menu


The menus feature subdued music and a friendly blue sky while minimally-animated animal friends slowly drive by in various vehicles. There is the option to play the main presentation or to choose to play it multiple times. Hey, that's easier than having to deal with a babysitter, no?

The DVD comes in a lovely white keepcase. There is no slipcover of any way, shape, or form, but most will be relieved to discover an insert has not been forgotten. There is also a coupon book which allows you to save money by buying more Baby Einstein DVDs. The coupons expire a year from now, which ensures that your child will grow out of these videos well before the coupon themselves are deemed worthless.

Red-nosed boy is highly amused by little person and colorful boat. Where's your bus pass, little guy?


Baby Einstein: On the Go is a reasonable choice for parents of a very young child, with its 40 minutes of programming in addition to a decent supply of bonus features. Even so, at a suggested retail price of $19.99, the amount of time that will lapse between when the child first views the offering and when he or she is ready to move on to more mature output might not merit the spending price. Parents may be better off investing in edutainment which will provide a longer lifetime of enjoyment for the child (the likes of "Sesame Street" comes to mind). Better yet, how about taking your little one on an outing or two and letting them experience the same sights presented on this DVD for real?

More on the DVD / Buy from Amazon.com

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Reviewed October 23, 2005.

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