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Monday, May 9, 2011

MonkiSee, a review

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MonkiSee was created by Krista Guerrero, a homeschooling mama to 6 wonderful kiddos who used the same methods to teach her two youngest children to read. Each MonkiSee video is designed to both entertain and teach your wee one words, colors, shapes and more, through the use of songs, skits, poems and pictures.

MonkiSee is aimed at the littlest kiddos, ages 3 months to 3 years and we recently had the opportunity to try out one of the dvds and one of the books with our littlest one, Emma (age 2).

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MonkiSee Baby’s First Words , $19.95

  • running time 30 minutes
  • includes a video Parent Guide (featuring Krista Guerrero)
  • features young children, short skits, songs, puppets, and computer animated monkeys, Howie and Skip
  • includes a word slide show with all the words introduced

Additional dvds available in the series include: MonkiSee All About Shapes and MonkiSee All About Colors.

Ms. Guerrero recommends showing your child the 30 minute video once a day, five days a week, for about a month for optimal exposure to the material. She also recommends reinforcing the words by using the word slideshow once a day. You might use the video in the morning and then use the slideshow in the afternoon.

Know Your Monkey by Krista Guerrero, illustrated by Joshua BowensKnowYourMonkey355x358, $9.95

  • paperback, featuring heavy, full-color semi-gloss pages
  • 8” x 8” carry along size
  • features lovable monkey puppets, Skip & Howie

Monkeys Like the Color by Krista Guerrero is also available.

A reading kit is also available, which includes the 3 MonkiSee dvds, 2 MonkiSee books and other resource materials.

What did we think?

The book is cute and very nicely put together. In the front cover, you’ll find a word list giving you all the words introduced. There’s a very simple narrative that is alternated with the monkey puppets, Skip and Howie, shown in poses that illustrate the words.

For instance, “Monkey mouths open and close.” is followed by a picture of the two monkeys with their mouths open (the text reads “open”) and then the two monkeys with their mouths closed (and the text reads “close”).

Emma loves books and this one is no exception. One word in the book is a bit difficult to illustrate in this way, so the monkey pose is vague (ironically, it’s “pose”) and perhaps a bit too abstract for little ones to understand, but given that Emma listens to all of our read alouds, I don’t expect her to get every word.

The video is professionally produced with high quality sound and picture, and consists of a series of short segments that each illustrate one of the 40 words introduced. Many of the words are body parts, like “knee,” and “eye,” but other common words are included. Segments include songs, little kids doing little kid stuff and puppets being silly. Words are shown on the screen, but not throughout each segment. I was actually a little surprised by that.

There are very short interludes (almost like intermissions, but at seemingly random intervals), where Howie and Skip (computer animated monkeys) come onscreen and monkey around, illustrating some of the words. I found the computer animation a little creepy and not in keeping with feel of the rest of the video. It felt like an interruption in the normal scheme, and I wish the monkeys were more like the monkey puppets used in the book.

The word slideshow is essentially just the words being flashed on the screen with a white background.

While the video is nicely produced, I can’t recommend it and we only allowed my daughter to watch it once (she loved it, by the way). I need to explain this a little, because some of has to do with Emma’s personality and her stage of development.

At age 25 months, Emma is an absolute parrot, meaning she will copy anything anyone does or says within her hearing. She’s an absolute sponge. She also has a tendency to do potentially dangerous things (more so than my other children did at this age), like wrapping things around her neck, putting things in her mouth, hitting with toys, that sort of thing. She’s a free spirit who needs to be watched with constant vigilance to keep her safe.

There are a few segments that I feel unintentionally promote dangerous behavior for kids in this age group.

In one, a young girl is wrapping a thin, decorative scarf around her neck (the word is “neck”) several times, rather tighter than necessary (not gentle loops around her neck, but wrapped right up against her neck). Not something I want my little girl doing.

In another, for the word “knee”, a little boy leans over and bites his knee and says “Bite Knee!” Of course, you know what Emma was doing less than 30 seconds later? That’s right, biting her knee and saying “Bite knee.”

In another, one puppet hits other puppet (a cow, I think) with a fly swatter while trying to get a “bee.” He actually knocks out the cow who then appears with a small bandage on his head. Let’s hope Em doesn’t get hold of a flyswatter. I wouldn’t want her to try to swat a sibling or a bee.

Now, I realize that these segments are meant to be fun and funny and with an older child, I would simply explain that while it’s funny, we don’t do those things. But children in this particular age group are so very impressionable and have no way of understanding why they shouldn’t do those things…I simply cannot recommend this MonkiSee video for that reason. I realize that children are all different (at least, all of mine are). You know your child best, I’ve given you these details so you can come to your own conclusion.

To read other reviews of this product, please visit the TOS Homeschool Crew blog.

Disclosure: As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received this product for free in order to review it. I received no compensation. The opinions expressed here are purely my own.

1 comment:

  1. Susan, I totally understand what you are saying. Thanks for your honest review.

    ReplyDelete

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