Monday, April 09, 2007

On the Prowl...for Good Nature Documentaries

Easter Monday finds us at home. D. had to leave at 5 am for his week-long conference. I had taken the day off from the office, which turned out to be a very good thing both because I'm exhausted and because the sweet girl has been sick with a bad cold or some sort of virus. She's been feeling miserable off and on since Saturday, and yesterday morning, had it not been Easter, I don't think I would have had the heart to drag her out anywhere. As it was, we only made it to church, and she felt so miserable that she basically curled up in my lap or her Daddy's (or sometimes stretched across both) and dozed through almost the entire church service. She perked up after a nap and enjoyed coloring easter eggs...she even made a green one with a face which she has dubbed "Mr. Eggman." (That Beatle-esque named cracked my husband up, who said "goo-goo-ja-joob" when he saw it, of course.) My favorite line of the evening was when S. admonished me, almost sternly, NOT to eat Mr. Eggman. I have a feeling he may be around for a while...

Anyway, she seemed to feel better for a while this morning, but is now lounging lethargically on the couch, her eyes looking bleary again. She has sore throat and a cough. She's been feverish, and I thought that had broken this morning, but she's warm again. I'm giving her the special treat of eating lunch (otherwise known as "picking at my food because I don't have any apetite") on a t.v. tray while she watches, for the fourth time in 24 hours, "Fuzzy Wuzzy Bears."

"Fuzzy Wuzzy Bears" is an old documentary video done for kids (I think it was distributed by the BBC and Time-Life). I picked it up for a dollar in a library sale sometime a few months ago, and once in a while, S. drags it out and watches it over and over. She's always had a real passion for bears, so it's not surprising she'd enjoy it so much. It's fairly well done. The music is hokey, and the overly enthusiastic narrator voice can grate a bit on adult ears (he sounds like the long-lost twin of sports commentator Bob Costas) but the footage is good, and a wide variety of bears presented, along with some good, age-appropriate information about each. They even throw in a bit about raccoons, whom they call the "cousins" of bears (is this true? not sure). D. insists it was just because the production had some raccoon footage they wanted to throw into the mix!

It's well-done enough that I'd pick up more in this series if I could find them, but alas, it was done so long ago that unless I find a bunch more at a garage or library sale, I doubt they'll be available anywhere.

Does anyone have any good recommendations for nature videos/documentaries for children ages 4-7? I can find wonderful books and websites for this age-group, and we were blessed with a gift subscription to "Our Big Backyard" but I have had a really hard time finding good videos for children. Maybe there's an assumption that every kid has cable, thus access to Discovery Channel and Animal Planet (but they must produce videos and dvd's, right?). I tried looking up the title to the old series S. is watching this morning "Growing Up Wild," but it turns out that name has been used in another, more recent series by Animal Planet which didn't seem to be getting very good reviews on Netflix. Before I put it in the queue to check it out myself, I thought I'd ask around.

Our library has a handful of videos, but they're either not very well-done, or they're a little bit too old for the sweet girl. I'm looking for something between *Baby Einstein* and *Eyewitness Video* (the ones narrated by Martin Sheen, which seem geared for slightly older kids and sometimes have a bit of an odd tone). Because we live in a city and don't have a yard, I am always on the lookout for good photos and videos of real animals and plants so I can try to widen the sweet girl's view of the creation. Any ideas appreciated!


Erin said...

Hehe, I don't suppose Mr. Eggman is still with you now? You know, for the first time I can remember, we didn't color eggs this year. Ah, well; we still had devilled eggs, and as far as the actually eating goes, I prefer them...

Have you ever come across any of the videos in Marty Stouffer's Wild America series? They're pretty good; I have a Family Edition four-pack that came out in 1995, and each video includes three episodes, for 90 minutes per video. The ones I have are Awesome Anatomy, Animal Oddities, Water Babies and Cuddly Creatures. Some pretty great footage there!

Beth said...

Why yes, Mr. Eggman is still a guest at our house. How did you know? ;-)

Mmmm...I love deviled eggs. I saw a bunch of deviled egg recipes the other day and while some of them were decidedly weird for my taste, I thought the ones with a lemon and basil sounded pretty good. I'm usually a very simple deviled egg maker/eater...I don't even like em' with pickles.

No, I don't think I know the Marty Stouffer videos and will have to look. They sound good, and I've been really surprised by the paucity of good material in this area. Thanks for the recommendation!