In our house, many non-fiction videos are watched (perhaps because the guilt is less extreme when the children are being "educated" by the television). It all started back when 6yrold was a 3 yr old, and I got him an animally National Geographic to watch. From then on there was no looking back. He explored the non-fiction video holdings of our library, developing some odd favorites--"Oh Mama! Let's get out Avalanche, the White Death! And Asteroid, Deadly Impact!" he would plead in his sweet baby voice. (I did draw the line at Killer Bees: When Swarms Attack. We don't live in the shadow of snowy mountains, and asteroid devastation is not that frequent around here either, but we do have bees. I also drew the line at Quicksands: deadly life engulfing pools of horror, or something like that, just because).
So I thought that to add Structure here at my blog, each Thursday I might review one or two non-fiction videos that are perhaps off the beaten child track (the beaten track of children? the child's beaten track?). But to get things started, I picked a video aimed specifically at children--Sea Nasties, a National Geographic video narrated by Leslie Nielsen.
Do you think the seaside is a nice place to take the kids? Wrong! It is full of deadly creatures, such as box jellies, sea snakes, and lion fish, all out to get Nielsen! A friendly mermaid takes Nielsen on tour of these "sea nasties," clarifying the facts (lots of them are darn toxic) and providing a corrective to his wacky hysteria (lots of them aren't all that bad, if you just leave them alone). There is considerable great footage of the nasties, and my kids enjoy the dark humor. At the end of Nielsen's sojurn with the mermaid, he has come to accept that not all dangerous sea creatures are monsters. The video ends with a visit to Sting Ray City, where tourists swim with rays. (Although thinking about it, after what happened to the Crocodile Hunter, I wonder if this still works as a peaceful human/deadly animals happy together scenario). Added bonus: this video is a great source of future cocktail party conversation: "Did you know that the venom of a sea snake is so deadly that one drop can kill 60 elephants?" etc. etc. (or something like that. I haven't watched it enough to keep my venom doses straight). Highly recommended for kids who do not already have Ocean Anxieties!