To celebrate the upcoming Halloween season, Disney presents its third "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" DVD thus far: the eagerly anticipated "Mickey's Treat."
Suffice to say, this DVD is well worth the current sale price. In this DVD set, there are three 'Mickey' episodes: the title episode(with the standard 24-minute length), the previously seen "Goofy the Great" (Goofy ineptly performs magic tricks with Mickey's help), and "Dr. Daisy," (the gang pretend to have boo-boo's for pretend Dr. Daisy), with the bonus of a cute "Little Einsteins" Halloween episode thrown in for added measure. Instead of a music video this time around, there are some kiddie cooking recipes and a CD-ROM interactive feature as the special extras.
In the first-rate title episode, Mickey & friends (Donald, Daisy, Minnie, Goofy & Pluto) are in costume for trick-or-treating at which time they are invited to attend troublesome pal Pete's party. The episode subsquently shows the gang attempting to reach in time the decorative Trick-or-Treat Tower for the party before the Tower's gates lock per the magic Halloween moon (which acts as a clock of sorts). As usual, Mickey's mouseketools are needed for their journey, including an amusing bit near the end where Mickey displays his resourcefulness once again after Pete actually charges them 'admission' to his own party (even though no one else bothers to show up).
Overall, I would rate the title episode as perhaps one of the finest so far in the "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" series, in terms of wit, charm, and the implied message that sharing with others does matter (even at Halloween time). The other two "Mickey" episodes and the "Little Einsteins" Halloween episode are above average. While we would rate "Dr. Daisy" as probably the weakest of the bunch, it is still better any time than having to endure an episode of "Spongebob Squarepants." Further, let's give Disney some well-deserved credit this time, unlike the previous "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" DVD's, this DVD actually sticks to a generally consistent theme, and the presented episodes were still relatively new.
As parents, if you are not already familiar with "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse," we also suggest checking out the regular program first on the Disney Channel to see if purchasing "Mickey's Treat" is a smart choice for your family. Having watched this program regularly with our infant son for more than a year now, our take on "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" is that it is a solid (and educationally safe) program for the youngest children to view, in part because it introduces various problem-solving skills (in the form of 'mouseketools').
Unlike many children's shows floating around on television, the computer-animated "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse," despite outward appearances, is not simply mindless entertainment. To its credit, the show is designed for interactive participation (where the characters ask the viewers for help) allowing youngsters to join in on the activities. Now, while the science depicted is not even remotely realistic at times (which the intended audience obviously isn't going to care about), the show's true aim is to get youngsters to grasp the simplest concepts like counting numbers, reading alphabet letters, understanding basic logic, being nice to others, etc. Frankly, considering other potential animated 'role models' provided for children today, Mickey Mouse still remains a positive influence you can trust. "Mickey's Treat" exemplifies that trust.
At the time of this writing, the sale price for the DVD is $14.99, which is an exceptional bargain. Paying full price ($19.99, maybe more someday) for it might require some further thought, we think. Still, regardless of whatever the price is, at least with "Mickey's Treat," unlike all the other Halloween goodies out there, you won't have to worry about your kids getting cavities from it.
(Amended on 9-12-08)