The ever-expanding Scholastic Storybook Treasures library just got even bigger, with the three latest DVDs — Giggle, Giggle, Quack, Runaway Ralph, and He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands — adding 14 stories and roughly three and a half hours to the already formidable stack of books that have been given the “read-along DVD” treatment.
If that sentence made you feel a little funny, you’re not alone. Given that some kids already need quite a bit of encouragement to read instead of watch TV, and given that many of the DVD segments in the series don’t do much besides add voiceovers and karaoke-style text overlays to still art from the books, it can be hard not to wonder just what purpose they really serve, other than helping exceptionally lazy parents avoid reading to their children.
Maybe that’s just cynicism, though. As parents, we’re so used to being inundated with pitches for more crap, and so accustomed to being disappointed by people who are supposed to have our children’s best interests at heart, that something like the Scholastic Storybook Treasures series can seem like a dirty trick even when it isn’t. There’s definitely something a little off-putting about a book publisher porting children’s titles to DVD, but that doesn’t really take away from the fact that these are wonderful books, and if you’re the type of parent who doesn’t see anything wrong with television in moderation, then having the option of letting your kids watch literature instead of Cartoon Network is fairly appealing. Continue reading