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

Celebrate the World - The

Celebrate the World - The "Hey Wordy!" Movie

Fall 2017 DVD
Ages: 2 - 10 yrs.
Publisher: Hey Wordy

The "Hey Wordy" series, originated by David Burke, a multilingual author, musician, and voice artist, stated purpose is "dedicated to creating global 'Kidizens' by introducing children to foreign languages and cultures." To do so, a young dictionary named Wordy receives a 'round-the-world tour courtesy of songs, graphics, and live-action performances. This movie-length DVD is a collection of 10 different segments with original songs featuring lyrics in French, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Italian, and Arabic. Brief scripted sequences between the songs provide a loose narrative involving Burke, Wordy, and other animated characters.

The mix of live action and animation works largely due to interesting art direction, Burke's exuberant personality and cast of amusing characters he portrays. Burke's original songs and lyrics highlight vocabulary words and facts from various countries sung to a very up-tempo beat, with music that's sophisticated and complex—harkening the days of fully orchestrated Broadway-style songs. Text-on-screen graphics may help to reinforce certain words and the lyrics may generate interest in learning more about other cultures but in order for that to happen young viewers would need some advanced reading skills and they'd need to read quickly because the up-tempo beat drives some very quick editing and that text flies by. The presentation style, pace, and text-on-screen devices seem more suited to children in upper elementary school grades than preschoolers. Parents will especially delight in Burke's standout performance in the French segment where he uses vocabulary to teach manners; his clever Chinese segment uses clouds formations to illustrate the Chinese Zodiac signs.

Quirky, creative, and warmly appealing, Celebrate the World - The Hey Wordy Movie is lively family entertainment to serve as a playful introduction to different cultures.

Gina Catanzarite   ©2017 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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