DVD Extra: eebee’s adventures
By Harry Thomas
San Antonio Express News

San Antonio Express-News
DVD Extra: Eebee’s Adventures
By Harry Thomas

Parents rave about the “Baby Einstein” DVD series for children. Incorporating classical music, puppetry and animation, the series teaches infants and toddlers about the world around them.

Now Sony has entered that realm with the release of their three-disc “Eebee’s Adventures” series. The discs feature a central puppet baby character that has about six different skin colors and interacts with a human mother character and various babies.

The idea here is to teach babies and their parents techniques for stimulating their exploratory growth. Babies are encouraged to dump things out of their containers and put them back; feel different textures and discover colors; all the good stuff. For first-time parents, it promises to be very informative. It’s a good instruction manual.

The name “Eebee” (short for “every baby”) was chosen for the ability of babies to be able to say it. The puppet Eebee is portrayed as a baby, somewhere between 6 to 12 months. The human mother coos to and tickles it as if it were a real child.

Eebee is given different things to play with – balls, towels, bowls with blocks – and is encouraged by the “mother.” It also plays with other babies, who seem more interested in the props than the puppet.

A pulsating original soundtrack replaces the Mozart and other classical composers of the “Baby Einstein” DVDs. The idea, according to the creators, is for the baby (and the parent) to bounce along with the music. They claim on their Web site that it won’t be too irritating to listen to multiple times, but I can’t vouch for that.

Not having a child of my own yet (my wife is due in six months), I tried the videos out on my 6-month old niece Isabella. She was fussy before the video started, but once the music began, she connected with it. She doesn’t quite focus on what she’s seeing on TV yet, so her attention would wander briefly on occasion. But she did bounce along with the music.

The interesting thing was her 6-year-old sister Miranda and 5-year-old cousin Nathan watched the videos and they mesmerized them. They said that Eebee was like “Elmo’s little brother.”

Isabella’s mom wants the discs back after I finish the review. I told her I would be happy to loan them out, but I want them back in a year when my child can use them.

“All in a Day’s Play” and “Exploring Real Stuff” are aimed at the 6 months and up set; while “Figuring Things Out,” is for babies 12 months and up. At present, the videos are available only through Amazon.com or www.eebee.com. Of the two sites, I’d recommend Amazon because they offer a 30% discount over Sony’s 20%.

There’s no indication that there will be more videos in the series, but it would seem a logical step. It remains to be seen if they can take the market share away from “Baby Einstein.”