Chris Proud reviews Dora for all her fans. Check out his thoughts
Dora has some exploring to do and she’s not too proud to let you join in too. With an action packed DVD, a fun filled magazine and a poster one I’m sure to keep—after all I smell antique.)The DVD
On this whirlwind of a DVD there were three which I was drawn into watch. However, when it says on the cover ‘three great episodes’ do not be taken in. Admittedly, ‘The Big Red Chicken’ does have its moments, and I would personally love to meet such a huge chicken and walk over it like a hill, the plot was a little predictable.
The second of the three episodes does show a little more originality. This episode looks into what happened when Dora and her monkey friend Boots ‘find’ a little blue bird. This bird in a shocking twist turns out to be Spanish, and thus from this chance happening the audience can learn some Spanish words themselves. However beware as many children from here on in will be calling each other little blue or Azul Arbol. I know this may sound far fetched but I have been calling my friends this ever since. However, despite this little gem that will drive you crazy with glee, I did feel that the supposed ‘helpful scarecrow’ had more sinister intentions.
The final episode ‘Grandma’s house’ certainly leaves you hanging on the edge of your seat for more, but this is only due to the fact that grandma looks like she would cook you a nice meal. Apart from this, Dora’s performance is a little wooden. Acting lessons may be needed.The Magazine
After watching the three helpings of Dora on DVD, I was keen to see what the magazine would offer to me and more importantly a small child. The front cover I felt was warm and inviting and made me feel like Dora would become quite a friend to anyone from any bouncing baby to any grumpy granddad within seconds. The prospect of matching up ‘colour pairs’ also excited me.
The contents page is very polite and inviting with Dora welcoming us by saying in what I guess would be a cheery voice, ‘Hola! Will you come and explore with me?’ this is felt would be quite warming to many a child, however if I was a small child I would find Dora to be a little creepy and I would definitely end up crying for hours with fright.
However, on a positive side this page lays out clearly what to expect, teaches you how to say hello in Spanish ‘Hola!’ as well as providing you with a challenge—remembering to say cluck cluck every time you see the Big Red Chicken, unfortunately sometimes I fell foul L.
The first exciting gift that the magazine provides the audience with is the story of the Big Red Chicken, which is the same story as on the DVD. Some people may find this a little upsetting and disappointing, but wait step away from the cliff—don’t jump, as I found reading the story shone it in a new light. I found the colourful pages insightful, despite being a tad roughly sketched in places.
However, despite these vivid pictures providing some much needed colour I did find the story itself was a little rushed in places. This happened on several occasions—here are a couple
1) at the bridge: planks are missing the toucan says I’ll fix it and without seeing him fix it—its done—where do the planks come from?
2) Swiper (the villain of the tale) steals a key a very important key—which will now b impossible to find—not at all have they found it within a second — very unrealistic.
These instances are a little disappointing, however I feel that younger children will not worry about how much of the story is missing like I do. All in all, this story has the essentials a beginning, middle and an end as well as a villain (Swiper) boo hiss boo, and a hero, Dora, hooray! Just what the Doctor ordered.
Following on the magazine continues with some brilliant inventive games for the children to enjoy, such as; find the key and colour the chicken along with new Spanish words to learn. Your children WILL be busy for hours. So lock them in their rooms with this magazine and have a night at the cinema, they’ll never know.
The story ‘lost and found’ arrives next (again from the DVD), and again it offers a pleasant read. Many children will love the heart warming story of how Dora and her monkey friend (who reminds me a lot of myself) boots save the little chick, while others will just think that Dora is poking her nose in a little too much. The new Spanish words will be a little confusing to start with but in the end even I got the hang of them. A key observation to this story though is that Dora can speak to animals, any child would be impressed. But beware your child and your dog will soon be chatting non-stop. You have been warned.
Altogether the magazine is pleasant and offers some fun activities that any child will be glad to have the chance to do. The colours are bright and attractive and at the end reading the magazine, your child will get a certificate for completing the task. Mine is on my wall as we speak …a proud moment. However, despite the magazine being compelling on many levels, nothing can match the free alphabet poster. I love it.