Mimi & Sam: Melodies of Nature

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Mimi & Sam: Melodies of Nature is a fun DVD for kids under three who love stunning visuals along with music. Even our oldest son, an autistic four-year-old, absolutely loves it. He loves to see various shapes changing into other shapes, and the animal footage is pretty fun for him as he tries to name everything that's going on. You see colorful birds, a tiger, elephants, orangutans, various small mammals from around the world, and lots of other animals. The nature visuals range from mountain waterfalls to beaches to the desert canyons to flowers (with stop-motion filming as a flower blooms). Shapes and colors are interspersed among nature shots in Sesame Street fashion (though without the flashy commercialized feel), and you see some repeating characters popping up to do fun things, either through computer animation or puppets. There's a pretty fun penguin with a hat and sunglasses who keeps popping up, and the stuffed bear is a favorite with our kids, especially when it dances to the funk beat. That always gets a giggle. Children pop in here and there as well. One really cute scene has a girl falling asleep as she's eating, with stuff all over her face.

In a few parts, a girl's voice says the name of a shape or an object being drawn, but there's not much in the way of words. There's a music soundtrack throughout the whole thing, with classical and original compositions, using a wide range of timbres. Our oldest son drums along with the soundtrack as he watches and calls out the names of things as they come up. The special features allow you to watch just the puppet portions, just the scenes with the computer-generated boy and girl who are pictured on the front cover, or just the parts involving the naming of shapes, fruits, letters, and colors.

One of the original goals of the husband and wife team who created it is to display the beauty of the world God has created while stimulating children's senses. They've succeeded. Some of the visuals are really beautiful, and kids love it. It's got a half-hour running time, and our kids are fixated for much of that time. The creators of this video, Baby Ventures, have children in the age group this is intended for (0-3 years), and they certainly know what kids in that age group enjoy and what will facilitate learning some of the basics. I highly recommend it.

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