I have always adored the quality of the television programmes on CBeebies, in my opinion they are worth the license fee alone! Sometimes I have a little quibble about the scheduling, but 98% of the programmes are absolutely fantastic and we really enjoy watching them together.
This year's there's been a wealth of quality new shows starting on the channel and one of them is Tree Fu Tom. I looked forward to it starting and was sorely disappointed, and surprised, when The Boy didn't take to it. I don't think it helped that in the first episode there was a giant (slightly alarming) mushroom chasing some of the characters. Since then he's refused to watch it.
That was until earlier this week when he didn't bellow quite so loudly or quickly when it came on. He started to call me and suddenly became in the episode and the miniature hero's adventures in the animated forest. As it so happened, in my inbox that day was the offer of a review disc for the new DVD. A week before I would have had to refuse, but based on his reaction, I agreed. Last night we sat and watched three episodes in a row, and as I am typing this he is glued to Twigs' antics as he glides through the air accompanied by the captivating (and slightly swoonsome) voice of David Tennant.
Yes, you're right. It's just a gratuitous David Tennant photograph. Enjoy.
For those unsure of what Tree Fu Tom is, it is a magical, animated series following the adventures of the eight year old Tom who transforms into a tiny, magical superhero when he dons his magic belt and performs a series of movements. Each episode is filled with beautiful and bright animated scenes, adventures between friends and morals which help teach children the difference between right and wrong, and how to be good friends. Right at this moment, on the periphery of my hearing Twigs is telling Tom off for being unkind to someone. Yes, each episode features an element of the unknown (which is what The Boy found offputting in the past), but this helps introduce children to concepts like not judging a book by its cover, stranger danger, fairness and cheating, and many other important social lessons in a controlled manner.
Prior to watching the DVD and not understanding the apparent 'martial arts' movements on Tree Fu Tom, I asked people's opinions on twitter and was overwhelmed with the positive praise for the show. In every episode, Tom calls on the viewers to help him perform 'big world magic' and perform a sequence to summon up the magical power to overcome the obstacle. These 'tai chi style moves' were actually developed from therapetuic techniques that are used to help children with dypraxia, but are also excellent for encouraging movement and interaction. They always help get children up and moving!
The new Tree Fu Tom: Tree Fu Go DVD which was released on Monday (22nd October) features seven episodes and provides over two and a half hours of magical mayhem. The (£9.99) DVD is available for a limited period with a Tom figurine (£12.99).
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I was sent a copy of this DVD for review. My opinion is honest and unbiased.