Bearing the titles of a series of children’s books by husband-and-wife team Kate and Jim Mcmullan, this double DVD pack features 12 stories by a variety of authors: “I’m Dirty!”, “Burt Dow: Deep-Water Man”, “The Paperboy”, “Stars! Stars! Stars!”, “Fletcher and the Falling Leaves”, “Johnny Appleseed”, “I Stink!”, “Trashy Town”, “Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel”, “The Remarkable Riderless Runaway Tricycle”, “The Beast of Monsieur Racine”, and “Arnie the Doughnut” (a personal favorite). The pack consists of two DVDs with a read-along feature, which functions something like a karaoke track, allowing children to follow the narration by reading the subtitles that light up in time with it.
There’s really no criticism to be leveled against these adaptations of popular children’s books. You have your celebrity narrators: Steve Buscemi, Andy Richter, Forest Whitaker, none of whom stand out but instead just buckle down and deliver a great read. The animation differs from short to short (each book gets about 10-20 minutes of screen time), but it’s very enjoyable all the same. Occasionally, the story will be told along non-animated frames but it works all the same – what parents may find a source of joy in is that the story aren’t dumbed down for the younger viewers/readers, but rather a breath of fresh, taking old morals for a ride.
There’s also a sly sense of humor running through the whole thing, warm hearted and decidedly immature, but if you’re an adult and it doesn’t get you to occasionally smile, get your inner child checked out immediately. “Arnie the Doughnut”, which this writer enjoyed the best, is a story of a doughnut that has no idea he’s been created to be eaten. How he and the man who buys him resolve this issue is a little crazy, plenty sweet and handled with enough momentum so as not to bore the little ones.
DVD Bonus Features
Two interviews, one with the McMullans and another with author Julia Rawlson, who wrote “Fletcher and the Falling Leaves”, are included.
""I'm Dirty!" & "I Stink!"" is on sale June 28, 2011 and is not rated. Children & Family, Comedy. Written by Kate Mcmullan, Jim Mcmullan. Starring Andy Richter.