THE AISLE SEAT - by Mike McGranaghan
"ELMO AND FRIENDS: THE LETTER QUEST & OTHER MAGICAL TALES"
One thing I've learned: when you become a parent, the quality of children's programming becomes very, very important to you. That's why "Sesame Street" has endured for so many decades. Parents can count on it to be both educational and wholesomely entertaining. And as the proud father of a two year-old, I can attest that the "Sesame Street" DVDs are frequently pulled out of the storage cabinet. This brings us to the latest release, Elmo and Friends: The Letter Quest and Other Magical Tales, which is now available for purchase. Don't just turn it on for your kids and leave the room; sit with them and enjoy some top quality family-friendly entertainment.
The disc is broken up into several stories, all of them funny, all of them designed with educational goals in mind. In one story, Elmo, Telly, and Abby imagine themselves as knights and set out on a quest to learn about the letter Y. As you might imagine, all sorts of verbal humor (a la "Who's on First?") abounds. Later, Cookie Monster is granted a magical wish: for everything he touches to turn into a cookie. Lo and behold, the wish turns out to be less satisfying than he expected. It's hard to have friends when they turn into a cookie the second you brush up against them.
The highlight of the DVD, though, finds Neil Patrick Harris hilariously guesting as the "Shoe Fairy," who tries to help Telly find the exact right pair of shoes. Turns out the Shoe Fairy is not the most competent guy in the world. The story concludes with an elaborate song-and-dance number that the cast performs brilliantly.
Elmo and Friends: The Letter Quest and Other Magical Tales is both funny and witty. What I mean is that kids will laugh at the intentional silliness of some of the jokes, while adults will laugh at the subtle intelligence hidden underneath them. My son enjoyed this disc immensely, as did my wife and I. The "Sesame Street" gang continues to pump out terrific all-ages fun.