New VeggieTales mixes Bible, Mother Goose
Video review: ‘VeggieTales: The Little House That Stood.’ Big Idea Inc. About 49 minutes. Not rated.
Bob the Tomato, Larry the Cucumber and the other edible folks from VeggieTales are back in another silly/cute story, hopping and singing and trading bad puns (meaning, of course, good ones). And, of course, weaving in moral and spiritual lessons.
VeggieTales: The Little House That Stood neatly merges two storytelling genres: a Mother Goose fairy tale and a biblical parable: in particular, the Three Little Pigs with the parable of the Two Houses.
In this deft blend, Bob stars as a building contractor who specializes in wood; Larry prefers to stack walls with straw; the gourdlike Mr. Lunt uses bricks. Only Bob, though, takes time to pour a solid foundation.
Into town drive the Three Little Pigs (including a prissy sow who says “moi” like the Muppets’ Miss Piggy). They each hire a different veggie to build a house, with consequences that show clearly when a flash flood hits the valley.
That story lasts only about 20 minutes; it’s followed by “The Good Egg of Gooseville,” casting Bob as Humpty Dumpty, a lazy mayor who doesn’t want to do anybody any favors. He doesn’t care if Goldilocks is hungry for porridge, or Bo-Peep has lost her sheep, or Jack and Jill fell down the hill. Eventually, of course, Humpty’s selfish façade cracks, along with his shell.
The story mashups are enough challenge for most people, but try doing it with computer animation — and characters that lack arms and legs. But Phil Vischer and Mike Nawrocki have been doing such things since their first VeggieTales in 1993.
An advantage of going direct to video is being able to mention Jesus and Bible verses by name. When NBC bought VeggieTales episodes for Saturday morning TV in 2006, the network started snipping out such references — even the innocuous VeggieTales slogan, “God made you special and he loves you very much” — getting a well-deserved black eye in the media. NBC and Big Idea parted ways in 2009; the latter now majors in DVDs and streaming via Netflix.
Other features on the DVD are familiar with VeggieTales fans, including singalongs and Larry’s requisite Silly Song. And you can find still more on the video’s website, including a .pdf discussion guide and four pictures to download and color.
Also available are some free games on the homepage. Try “Find the Penny.” I thought I did good at 6,800 points, until I saw that a lot of players maxed the score at 14,400.
Oh yeah. The promoters of the video still say I have to add this paragraph . . .
“Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: ‘Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.’ “
… as if I’d recommend something I didn’t like.
James D. Davis