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Fun on the Farm: John Deere Review by Wendy JungTM Books & Video
PO Box 279
New Buffalo, Michigan 49117
Fun on the Farm: John Deere, a 35-minute DVD, is a fast-paced but engaging trip through the growing season on farms. The different tractors used on farms are highlighted, as well as the various implements used with the tractors. Along the way, kids are also introduced to cute farm animals, the stages a plant goes through from seed to harvest, a very brief history of tractors, and a short trip through a John Deere tractor factory. The producers suggest this DVD is "Educational Fun for Kids 2-6."
I "field-tested" Fun on the Farm: John Deere with a group of four children ages 2-4 in our homeschool coop. The great photography and spunky music on the DVD instantly took in all of my testers. They loved seeing real shots of working equipment and farm animals running around. Boy and girls alike were fascinated at the huge tractors, but it was the girls who gave the loudest "oohs" and "aaahs" at the baby chicks and horses.
The program is narrated along the way by Doodle the Rooster, an animated talking rooster, and his friends Belle the Cow and Harvey the Horse. If the kids' attention waned at any point, it was when one of the animal narrators was "talking." The DVD teaches its watchers the Cloud Game in between segments, showing pictures of different cloud formations and then superimposing animal's drawings over them. My 3-year-old daughter, who was among the testers, has been playing this game ever since she first saw the show.
As a mom of five, the oldest of which is 16, I've been watching children's programs for a long time. Fun on the Farm: John Deere ranks in about the top one-third of those I've seen. I thought the photography and the information given about tractors, crops, and farms in general were excellent. The music, which was written specifically for this DVD and includes new tunes/words for old songs like "Old McDonald" and "The Wheels on the Tractor," was not my favorite. On the other hand, the music didn't make me want to stick my head under a pillow or run out of the room as some kids' music does. The animated narrators, who seemed like they were interrupting the great parts of the show, least impressed me.
All in all, Fun on the Farm: John Deere is a good-quality children's DVD. It gives a solid and interesting view of farming, especially the role of tractors in farming. However, if you have a child who loves all things mechanical, this may not be the DVD for you. In the trailer, several other DVDs by this same company were advertised as "all action" DVDs, which may better suit your purposes.