Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

The American Presidents 1st-11th

The American Presidents 1st-11th

Fall 2010 DVD
Ages: 8 - 14 yrs.

Disney Educational Productions is proving itself to be the high-water-mark of educational media - and they continue to shine with The American Presidents: The First Eleven Presidents. This 45-minute DVD is a superb blend of motion graphics, animation, sound effects, sight-gags, and interviews with top-notch experts, giving kids a glimpse at our first eleven presidents as they've never seen them before.

Jacket copy says this series of educational programs was developed with a former producer of Jon Stewart's The Daily Show and The Colbert Report -- and the result is something as relevant as it is irreverent. For instance, the hard-fought election of 1824 is referred to as "Smackdown to the White House." The election of 1828 is described as a rematch between "fancy pants John Quincy Adams and regular guy Andrew Jackson," explaining the voters' perceptions of Jackson as a common man who could understand and represent their interests.

It all sounds funny… but don't brush this off as fluff. For all its music, humor, and animation, history is front and center in this series, with carefully plotted vignettes highlighting each president's accomplishments and his challenges. Expert interviews provide context and commentary, with notables ranging from Pulitzer-prize winning author Jon Meacham to political commentator Mo Rocca.

It all adds up to a fulfilling mix of political and personal information, something sure to make the characters memorable. In addition, the DVD includes an Interactive Whiteboard feature to test students' knowledge, and content is in line with National Curriculum Standards for grades 3 - 8 -- although this program's skilled combination of production value, entertainment value, and educational value is sure to hold great appeal to older kids, and even adults, who have an interest in history.

Gina Catanzarite   ©2010 Parents' Choice
Gina Catanzarite is an award-winning television producer, writer, teacher, mom and media consultant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She began her career in 1987 and counts 9 Emmy awards, 26 Emmy nominations, a Matrix award, two Pennsylvania Broadcaster's Association Awards, 8 Telly Awards, and a screenwriting grant from the Theatre Association of Pennsylvania, among her professional honors.

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Disney Educational Productions
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