Mighty Construction Machines VHS
Mighty Construction Machines is a simple half-hour video that's likely to get young truck lovers' wheels turning, and not just the ones on their Tonka toys. In this video, the smiling, overalls-clad teen host Jennifer serves as tour guide at a series of bona fide construction sites. First we're off to a public park project, where, after a helpful reminder from foreman Todd that strapping on a hard hat wouldn't be a bad idea, we meet a hard-at-work backhoe. Watching the tool in action is cool enough to begin with, but Mighty Construction Machines does one better: it backs up the backhoe's moment in the spotlight with a hard-rockin', especially apropos anthem. From there, Jennifer journeys to a pack of other projects, where she grills the cooperative if not overly chatty operators of a wheel loader, scraper, bulldozer, motor grader, wheel dozer, and excavator (a cement mixer and a crane also make the cut, but without the input of their drivers) about their jobs. Most enthralling is her quarry adventure; that's where the gargantuan, ground-shaking machines you don't see every day get to show their imposing, impressive stuff. Besides its educational bent, this video is likable for its inclusion of women--Kim commandeers the wheel dozer, and Peggy prizes her position at the wheel loader's helm. Buy it for anyone who's transfixed at the sight of work trucks--not only will it get their engines revving, it'll teach them a little something, too. (Ages 3 to 8.) --Tammy La Gorce
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There's plenty of well set-up shots of various construction machines, and some custom composed music that is admittedly pretty cheesy. The girl hoasting the show is perfectly acceptable and does a good job of being excited about a "Scraper" vs. a "Motor Grader," a skill that eludes me. Some of her lines make me laugh out loud for all the wrong reasons, but the point is this: my twenty-two month old son LOVES this video. On a rainy day (a rare occurence in LA) this gives him a good 45 minutes of fun while we get the little one dressed or ourselves showered without exposing him to commercials or characters pushing junk food. It's no Elmo in terms of educational value, but it's a nice diversion. Would the material be any longer it would exceed his useful attention span anyway.
I wish it were a little more child-friendly. Having nothing but adults ends up confusing him - he doesn't really understand what 26-lane highway is supposed to accomplish, or why that is impressive.
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