KidVid: Let’s Monkey Around with Monkey Monkey Music: The Videos
One especially attractive aspect of Monkey Monkey Music: The Videos, a new DVD of music videos for kids 2 through 8 from Meredith LeVande, is its homemade look and feel. Many of the backgrounds and sets look hand-drawn with washable markers, props are kid projects made from paper plates and brown paper lunch bags, and the children who comprise the “dance crew” are real kids—not plasticky professionals, they smile, giggle, and sometimes look self-conscious. Instead of a highly polished big-bucks production, Monkey Monkey Music: The Videos is a playdate.
LeVande’s songs cheerfully reinforce a child’s sense of self-worth while involving the child in active participation. Some songs, like “Jump High,” have the kids off the couch and moving—jumping, twisting, and dancing to the music. Most of the videos were recorded in the studio, but “Chinatown” is a fun visit to New York’s Chinatown and an exploration of some of the best food in the world (rivaled only by its neighbor, Little Italy). Kids (and adults) love visiting Chinatown, and the reasons are clear in this video.
There are fifteen videos on Monkey Monkey Music: The Videos, beginning with “Hello” and ending with (I’ll bet you’re ahead of me on this one) “Goodbye.” Although not overproduced, there are clever animations and effects, including a couple of videos that feature a cartoonized Meredith LeVande (the cartoon is as adorable as the real LeVande).
Monkey Monkey Music: The Videos is a positive force that encourages children to feel good about themselves and to move. There should be a space for it on the shelves of every home with young children and every preschool classroom. Making the Monkey Monkey experience even more interactive are sing-along subtitles that can be turned on or off.
Bottom Line: Would I buy Monkey Monkey Music: The Videos? Yes, it’s certain to be enjoyed by the youngest members of the family.