TV on DVD Review: Handy Manny: Big Race (2010)

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Handy Manny's Motorcycle Adventure

As a Disney Playhouse series, Handy Manny appeals to the same comfortable familiarity offered by its more immediately recognizable yet less intellectually stimulating offering Mickey Mouse: Clubhouse. Young fans realize that in each episode, Manny and his tools will inevitably be called to solve a problem, stop at Kelly's Hardware Store for supplies, and visit with silly Mr. Lopart complete with a few bars of a recognizable working song and a healthy dose of Spanglish.

Yet, the thing that sets it apart from not just Mickey but several other early learning programming is that in between its consistent plotting and beneficial Spanish vocabulary building, Manny manages to impart both real life “how to” wisdom.

Covering everything from auto mechanics to household repair, Manny also offers practical advice that goes beyond simple teamwork such as the case wherein the series gently teaches kids that wild bunny rabbits may be adorable but they also aren't an ideal or safe pet with which they should interact.

Using the same vibrant primary color scheme where the animation is so energetic and nearly three-dimensional it's bound to excite even the youngest viewers who may not understand the basic concepts of each episode, in the latest Handy Manny DVD from Walt Disney Home Entertainment, we're treated two three adventures including one never-before-seen offering.

Of course, the disc's titular highlight is that very big race as Manny and his tools assist video store clerk Elliot in restoring an old junkyard ready automobile into a first class race car. However, when Elliot gets cold feet that can't even touch the gas pedal, Manny jumps into compete for his friend before the Disney FastPlay title then moves to an entertaining episode broken into two separate story-lines.

Giving you the option to get in on the action and play along in two different skill levels, the DVD follows more adventures in Sheet Rock Hills as our knowledgeable hero and his mechanical friends repair Mr. Singh's vent to prevent a bunny from getting in the basement and help fix Fast Eddie's scooter in time for his restaurant business to begin meeting the demands of its new delivery service.

Endlessly appealing family entertainment with heart and humor seamlessly blended in with some valuable lessons along the way about everything from friendship to the importance of using baskets to reduce the weight on your scooter's handlebars, Handy Manny's irresistibly upbeat nature is sure to be as adhesive in your household as just the right amount of caulk to seal up your basement's vent.

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FTC Disclosure:
Per standard professional practice, I received a review copy of this title in order to evaluate it for my readers, which had no impact whatsoever on whether or not it received a favorable or unfavorable critique.