Elmo’s World: All About Animals DVD Review: Great For Toddlers, Obnoxious For Everybody Else

It may surprise some, but Elmo the Muppet has existed since the early 1970s. In those days he was nothing more than a background character on Sesame Street. Various puppeteers picked him up and tried to create a character, but nothing materialized. It wasn’t until 1984 that Kevin Clash raised him up and created the beloved character we know today.

Since then, Elmo has become one of the most popular puppets in the world. In 1996 a plush toy, Tickle Me Elmo, was introduced and quickly became the Toy of the Christmas season causing near riots in malls when supplies of the doll ran low. It was reported that it was being resold for as much as $1500.

In 1998, he got his own 15-minute segment, entitled Elmo’s World, closing out Sesame Street each day. The segment was part of a revamping of the entire show to help raise the sagging ratings and conform to the changing viewing habits of toddlers. It is hosted by Elmo and is broken down into smaller sections. At the beginning, Elmo introduces the day’s theme be it a word, or concept, or even an animal. He talks to his pet fish about the theme, then raises the window shade to get Mr. Noodle (Michael Jeter) and sometimes Noodle’s sisters to help him understand the theme. Mr. Noodle and his family never speak, but rather mime their conversations and are dressed a bit like old school clowns.

Next, Elmo’s computer informs him that he has mail, which typically consists of a short video clip from one of the other Sesame Street characters discussing the day’s theme. This is followed by another helpful clip from Elmo’s television. The segment ends with Elmo singing a one-word song set to the tune of “Jingle Bells.”

Elmo’s World: All About Animals presents eight different segments with each one’s theme being a type of animal. They are: frogs, fishes, cats, dogs, wild animals, horses, birds, and penguins. The segments are shown in their entirety and run for about a total of two hours. The only special feature is a printable PDF activity book.

Before I ever had children,, I had heard all sorts of things about Elmo. It seemed like every child loved him and every parent hated him. Now, with a three-year-old, I have certainly seen the little red monster more than my fair share. My daughter loves Sesame Street and Elmo and so we watch them pretty much every day. I like the show very much and have never minded Elmo all that much. He’s cute and cuddly and yes, a little bit annoying after awhile. But he’s loads better than any children’s show you are going to find on cable, so I’m happy to let my daughter enjoy.

All About Animals is a nice collection of segments from the show that pretty much any toddler will no doubt love. I wish they had included some other segments from Sesame Street that included Elmo and/or animals as nothing but Elmo’s World gets rather tiresome rather quickly. Even my daughter who normally sits enthralled by Elmo walked about after about the fifth segment. Of course you don’t have to watch the whole thing in one sitting and can easily access the menu to play only the segments you want, but it would have been nice to see a little more variety.

You likely know if this disk is for you. If you have toddlers and they enjoy Sesame Street, then this collection is a nice addition to your library and will surely help out when the kids need a distraction whether on a road trip, the doctor’s office, or just stuck inside while its raining.

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Mat Brewster

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