Phonics 4 Babies

Despite Miss Dub's affinity for Baby Einstein, I promise that I don't care if she's a genuis.

I mean, she appears to be one, but I'm not forcing it on her. She's clearly smarter than most eight-year-olds, but it's all natural.

I'm not insisting on sign language or dual language immersion or, down the road, tutors and private preschools.

A competitive edge, however, is fine by me. I'm happy to help her learn to read early, something I did before starting kindergarten, and which I credit with making me a more intellectually balanced individual.

So I was thrilled when PBN sent me an advance copy of "Phonics 4 Babies," a DVD featuring Mallory Lewis and the Tummy Tots singing about words and sounds to encourage early speech in babies and toddlers.

I wasn't totally thrilled, however, when it dawned on me who Mallory Lewis is. No offense to the deceased, but her mother is Shari Lewis. As in, "Lamb Chop" Shari Lewis, known for her children's ventriloquist act. Also known to me as one of the most annoying shows on television during my childhood.

But once I realized that Mallory was actually ventriloquisting (is that a word?) for the puppets and not awkwardly holding her mouth ... I kind of got over it. And Miss Dub could have cared less about who was doing the voices. She seemed genuinely excited about the puppets and songs, even though I felt the material was a little bit advanced for her. (I would recommend it for ages 1 and up.)

Miss Dub is saying a lot these days. I don't know if it's normal for her age, or because of the DVD. But I would definitely recommend the Phonics 4 Babies series if you're looking for an educational video for your little one. The songs are cheesy, but they're great for teaching basic sounds and words.

And I must admit that Baby Einstein is a little more soothing from a parental perspective, but this DVD is more blatantly educational. Plus, it's less annoying than the Teletubbies.

Then again, a root canal is less annoying then the Teletubbies.

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