This is a review of two new release Shalom Sesame children’s DVDs called Be Happy, It’s Purim and It’s Passover, Grover! These products are Volumes 6-7 of a twelve part series teaching children about Jewish life and culture. I was provided review copies of the Shalom Sesame DVDs by SISU Home Entertainment, but wasn’t under any obligation to recommend them. My observations are my own.
Synopsis of the Shalom Sesame Children’s DVD Be Happy, It’s Purim (Volume 6)
Anneliese van der Pol helps get a talent show organized with her friends (then emcees it) to celebrate the Jewish holiday that was inspired by the accounts in the Book of Esther. Viewers learn about the roots of Purim, where people dress up in masks and costumes and give treats to others. In between the story, the Shalom Sesame characters have their bits, including Count von Count highlighting the Hebrew number for three, and Elmo hangs out with Natalie Portman while disguised as an elephant, while Grover gives a brief rundown on the resort city of Eilat in his “Postcard from Grover” vignette. The extras include a couple of short videos from an animated ball and Elmo talks about mustaches with Jonah Hill for “Grover’s Monster Video Player.” The episode is 34 minutes long and the extras are 23 minutes in duration.
Synopsis of the Shalom Sesame Children’s DVD It’s Passover, Grover! (Volume 7)
The gang readies to celebrate Passover, which includes a lot of good food, but there’s a problem. There’s no horseradish to be found, which causes Grover and Avigail to have horrendous fits until they find some for the Seder Plate – from an unlikely source. In between the story, children in Israel share their experiences with the Jewish holiday and Count von Count highlights the Hebrew number four and Grover visits the Sea of Galilee for his “Postcard” vignette. The extras include a sing-along (with a karaoke option) of a Passover-themed tune, and “Grover’s Video Player” sees Elmo playing a superhero who helps Grover find out why his dog won’t obey a command. The episode is 26 minutes long and the extras are 25 minutes in duration.
I recommend these two children’s DVDs because kids will get an introduction to aspects of Jewish culture and history, but the yummy food they see featured just might get their appetites in high gear! The programming is engaging and will keep children interested.
The Suggested Retail Price of each of these two Shalom Sesame children’s DVDs is $14.95, and is available at retail outlets like Amazon.com. The DVDs are in English (except for the Hebrew-featured pronunciations/words). For more information about this series, go to Shalom Sesame’s website here.