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Winnie the Pooh - Shapes and Sizes DVD Review

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Winnie the Pooh - Shapes and Sizes


Program & DVD Details
Director: David Bossert

Writer: Carter Crocker

Voice Cast: David Ogden Stiers (Narrator), Jim Cummings (Winnie the Pooh, Tigger), Peter Cullen (Eeyore), Travis Oates (Piglet), Ken Sansom (Rabbit), Andre Stojka (Owl)

Songs: "The Shape of Things", "Big Small Wonderful Wood"

Running Time: 30 Minutes / Rating: Not Rated
1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, Dolby Digital 5.1 (English)
Subtitles: English; Closed Captioned
DVD Release Date: August 1, 2006
Single-sided, single-layered disc (DVD-5)
Suggested Retail Price: $19.99
White Keepcase

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By Michael Miller

Disney Learning Adventures is apparently a profitable line for Disney.
The educational series was initiated in October 2004 with two “Pooh” stories. Following a wave of didactic Mickey DVDs last year there are now two new DLAs: Winnie the Pooh: Wonderful Word Adventure and the subject of this review, Winnie the Pooh: Shapes and Sizes. Two additional Pooh discs are expected in the line some time in the future.

Rabbit has a dilemma! He needs to acquire containers and baskets in several different shapes to hold his produce when harvest comes around. The task is overwhelming for Rabbit to handle so he enlists Winnie the Pooh for help. Now, if you recall, our favorite bear is one of Very Little Brain, so he is going to need someone to teach him about sizes and triangles, squares, circles, and rectangles before he can give Rabbit assistance. This cute tale chronicles Pooh and his discoveries until the harvest is complete.

The most impressive thing about this story from the Hundred Acre Wood is not merely the geometry lesson. Disney storytellers took the opportunity to teach more important principles. Along the way, Pooh learns lessons about responsibility (the hard way). Also, Tigger and Piglet demonstrate selfless friendship. The charm of The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh can be felt here, even if you already happen to know your shapes and sizes.

It's mealtime and the main course is Edutainment du Pooh. Déjà vu: Pooh goes for an educational kite ride.

VIDEO and AUDIO

The opening title sequence is delivered in the Academy Ratio, but the feature itself is in a delightful 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. The picture looks fantastic and the animation is consistent with the original Pooh shorts.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound is well utilized in this “Learning Adventure.” Each of the speakers is used when appropriate.

Can you put Roo back together again? When Pooh comes marching in, I want to be in that number. (The Main Menu)

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, and PACKAGING

Falling under the EasyFind designation "Game Time", lone bonus “Pooh’s Pop-Up Puzzle Game”
gives participants an opportunity to wrack their brains identifying and matching shapes. The objective is to finish the partially completed puzzle that pictures a character from the world of make-believe. If you err, you must start over. Upon completion, the character is animated for about three seconds.

If you choose FastPlay, the disc opens with previews for The Little Mermaid: Platinum Edition, Little Einsteins: Mission Celebration!, the next installments of Pooh's Disney Learning Adventures (Good Day, Good Night and Time to Rhyme), and Disney Princess: Enchanted Tales - A Kingdom of Kindness. From the menu, one can access these and additional previews for Meet the Robinsons, The Fox and the Hound: 25th Anniversary Edition, Brother Bear 2, and two Playhouse Disney programs, "Little Einsteins" and "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse."

The widescreen-enhanced menu is initiated by an enthusiastic narrator who introduces the potential for learning all about shapes. Pooh marches across the screen, back and forth, followed by Tigger. They don’t seem to mind: Pooh is merely stuffed with fluff and consequently he probably doesn’t suffer from the redundancy and Tigger is just having fun bouncing. Those who are frightened by such behavior needn’t worry, because this DVD is equipped with Fast Play.

The insert doesn’t list chapter titles; it merely replicates the information on the back cover except for a few ads for future DVDs. Those interested in “40 pages of fun” can seize the opportunity to order the “Disney and Me” magazine, a publication of stories and activities for children.

Let's boogie amidst hallucinogenic shapes. A wingspan of shapes.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Winnie the Pooh: Shapes and Sizes is a delightful little story that teaches young children the basics of geometry (along with inadvertent moral lessons). Adults will be charmed by the likeability of the characters. A learned crowd will find this cartoon provides light-hearted entertainment and escapism from the reality of daily life. The SRP of $19.99 is certainly a deterrent from acquiring this DVD but a good sale will likely soften the hearts of interested customers.

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Related Reviews
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Pooh's Heffalump MoviePooh's Heffalump Halloween MoviePiglet's Big Movie
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (25th Anniversary Edition) • Sing Along Songs: Sing a Song with Pooh Bear and Piglet Too
Baby Einstein: Baby's Favorite PlacesLittle Einsteins: Team Up for Adventure!
Winnie the Pooh: Springtime with RooWinnie the Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year

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Reviewed August 25, 2006.