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Saturday, October 3, 2015


Once again, Sesame Street's esteemed mini-monster Elmo comes to the rescue of us preschoolers (okay, I'm not officially a preschooler anymore, but I often think like one) who want to learn basic life hacks for little kids in an entertaining way. 

In the new DVD entitled SESAME STREET: ELMO CAN DO IT! from Warner Home Entertainment, our favorite little red fuzzball and his friends, both human and Muppet, help us novices in the game of life deal with all kinds of first-time problems. 

This time it's all about friendship and helping others.  In fact, it's "Friendship Day" on Sesame Street as we find some of our favorite characters such as Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Oscar the Grouch, and Snuffleupagus making cameo appearances amidst all the preparations for the big celebration. 

The first problem occurs when Elmo gets his feelings hurt as he tries to learn the "Friendship Dance" and Zoe calls him the "worst dancer in the world."  Zoe doesn't even realize what she's done until magical fairy Abby uses her magic wand to show her an instant replay of the remark.  After the usual lessons learned and some very dramatic acting (by Muppet standards) by all involved, Elmo finally forgives a repentant Zoe and they do their dance for everyone with great (ehh) success. 

More fun comes when Chris, who runs the late Mr. Hooper's store, reads a storybook about Rico the Helpful Robot to Elmo, Telly, and a bilingual Muppet named Rosita.  Havoc ensues later as the three return while Chris is going about his business in the store, only this time pretending to be "Help-O-Bots" like Rico and making a mess of everything.  This is a fun segment that everyone should enjoy, especially when the custard pies start flying.

Chris' patience gets another workout in a segment with Elmo wanting to write a letter to Abby and enlisting Chris' aid.  Once again the harried shopkeeper takes time out from store business to help and ends up writing the letter himself since Elmo doesn't know how.  As it turns out, Abby can't read anyway but she's thrilled to get her first letter. 

This is followed by a cute rural-themed music video with some kids acting out the 1935 song "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter", all of which might actually spark a new interest in snail mail for the kids who are watching this.

The capper comes with another visit from venerable gameshow host Guy Smiley when he hosts "Calm Down and Think", with nervous contestant Elmo trying to win a bike horn by answering three questions.  Elmo's a nervous wreck until human friend Alan coaches him on how to relax in a tense situation by (a) hugging himself, (b) taking a deep, calming breath, and (c) using his "focus binoculars."  Betcha didn't know you had those!  I'm using mine right now. 

The calming theme continues when Common and Colbie Caillat show up to sing "Belly Breathe", a pretty catchy song about, you guessed it, belly breathing.  (Earlier, Bruno Mars contributes his musical talents, with the Muppets as back-up singers, to a song about not giving up.)

But the fun doesn't end with the DVD's feature attraction, because the bonus menu contains two more selections that offer over an hour's worth of material.  An episode of the colorful, crayon-hued "Elmo's World" explores even more ways to help people on a level specifically aimed at preschoolers.

This includes a visit from Elmo's neighbors, Mr. Noodle (comedian Bill Irwin) and his sister Miss Noodle, who help each other get dressed, and a running gag about Super Grover swooping in to offer help even though nobody needs it--not even Elmo's goldfish Dorothy.  I like the Noodles and of course it's always nice to see our old pal Grover.

Finally, there's about an hour's worth of assorted Sesame Street stuff including Elmo trying to help Curly Bear overcome her pacifier addiction by telling of how he kicked the habit himself.  Then we see how Baby Bear's fear of going to the barber for his first haircut results in him having to deal with a seriously bothersome hank of hair hanging in his face and preventing him from leading a happy and productive life. 

He can't even eat a bowl of just-right porridge around this dangling hair-menace, for Pete's sake.  But with the help of Papa Bear and Telly, he finally submits to a clip job and finds it to be a breeze.  And if that's not enough, there's a suspenseful finale in which Abby learns how to ride a tricycle!

The DVD from Warner Home Entertainment is in standard TV format with Dolby sound and subtitles in English and Spanish.  Total running time is 122 minutes. Also included are trailers for several other related titles.

Needless to say, SESAME STREET: ELMO CAN DO IT! is an ideal way to entertain little kids while teaching them a valuable lesson or two. As for me, I like to watch something every once in a while that's just dripping with positivity and affirmation.  And you're never too old to brush up on some of those basic life hacks.

Buy it at the
Street date: Oct. 13, 2015


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