Make Tracks for the New ‘Chuggington’ DVD, Released Feb. 8

Chuggington_LetsRideTheRails.JPGSix episodes of chuggers Wilson, Koko and Brewster come together on today’s Anchor Bay Entertainment DVD release Chuggington: Let’s Ride the Rails, along with some fun extras in a memory game and a coloring book. The appealing stars may look like train engines, but they act even more appealingly like children: eager to learn new skills but not quite getting them right on the first try or not quite remembering all the instructions.

The playfulness of their world’s pastel coloring and simplified sets disguises the factual information presented as play.

“Braking Brewster” builds up from a short lesson in how a hopper car works … subtly establishing what a “hopper car” is in the first place. Education at its most effortless – almost by osmosis. The lesson Brewster and Wilson are supposed to learn – that it’s “always harder going downhill with a heavy load” – is driven home by showing what happens when that warning is ignored. And what saves the day is taking an observation of action in an earlier situation and applying it to the new one.

Box cars are the train lesson of “Clunky Wilson.” The behavioral one centers on Wilson’s attempt to ignore the squeaky sound in his wheels and the shimmy that keeps getting worse. It’s an easy parallel to people not wanting to ask for help because they’d first have to admit there was something wrong. And although young kids may not know what a “suspension spring” is, just hearing real-world terms helps give them a basis on which future learning can be built. (A quick repair took care of Wilson, and he learned that needing a repair is a perfectly normal part of his life.)

It’s all simple and straightforward, in short tales suited to the young – short – attention spans of kids age 2-5. And not a hint of condescension.

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