Puppy Plays the Classics (DVD Review)20 Jul, 2008 By: Holly J. Wagner
Prebook 7/22/08; Street 8/19/08
Pretty much everybody loves puppies, so unless you're fighting the “Can I have a puppy?” battle with your child, this could be a fun introduction to classical music.
Geared for preschool-age children, this program stars golden retriever pup Ollie sneaking into the elementary school music room after school. As he encounters each instrument, we fade to “puppy tales” — short puppy pantomimes centered on themes such as puppy love, adoption and friendship. They also strive to teach a little about values such as not being judgmental and the Golden Rule.
The dogs, and their accompanying animated special effects, are cute and should catch children's eyes. However, the storylines may be a little hard for the target age group to follow just from classical soundtracks, puppy pathos and a few animated tricks.
That said, most toddlers should enjoy 45 minutes of gratuitous cuteness set to classical music. The program may even encourage attention spans, since the storylines are not explicitly told by the soundtrack.
Musical selections are some of the most recognizable classics — “Carmen,” “Swan Lake,” “Peer Gynt,” “Ride of the Valkyries” — and it can't hurt for youngsters to hear music they will recall and identify later.
Bonus features include puppy pointers from the Humane Society, a behind-the-scenes featurette with the puppy trainers and cast (also set to music), and an extra puppy tale (beware, the box says three).
There's no real illusion of teaching music here, but the other lessons are fine for any age child. And after all, if you're going to have a song stuck in your head because the kids play the video over and over, wouldn't you rather hear Mozart than “This Old Man”?