As far as family educational entertainment goes, there is no better teacher than Sesame Street. The television phenomena has instructed generations of kids, many of whom hold dear memories of their friendships with Elmo, Big Bird, Cookie Monster and others. The Sesame Street story continues to this day, both on television and in the competitive DVD market.
Recently, Warner Brothers released Elmo’s Learning Adventures, a three-in-one series of specials featuring Elmo’s Animal Adventures, Elmo and the Bookaneers and Elmo and Friends: The Letter Quest. For adults, all three entries will be rather dull, but for children, the DVD provides more than two hours of entertainment — and a few lessons as well.
Elmo and his friends, both of the puppet and human kind, work their way through several educational settings, whether it’s reading or understanding the animal kingdom. Of the celebrity guests, Cameron Diaz, Patricia Arquette, Tiny Fey and Neil Patrick Harris all make appearances. But Sesame Street has never been about the humans, no matter how recognizable the celebrity. The television program begins and ends with its motley crew of puppet creations, most of whom have entered the American culture as bona-fide ambassadors of family entertainment.
One could easily quibble about the commercialism behind Sesame Street. After all, these educational DVDs aren’t free. There’s definitely a profit factor involved, but Elmo is the closest thing to harmless fun that American society has left. Indulge your children and give yourself over to Elmo’s Learning Adventures. It’s clever and wholesome, two words that almost never get mentioned in the same breath.
By John Soltes / Publisher / John@HollywoodSoapbox.com
Elmo’s Learning Adventures, featuring Elmo’s Animal Adventures, Elmo and the Bookaneers and Elmo and Friends: The Letter Quest
Running time: 140 minutes