"Fun on the Farm" DVDs Offer Important Lessons for Kids
- Annabelle Robertson Entertainment Critic
- 2004 6 Oct
Release Date: September, 2004
Run Time: 2 VHS episodes of 30 min. each or 2 DVD episodes of 40 min. each
Publisher: Integrity Publishers/Integrity Media
Wow – country music star Vince Gill with a “New Yawk” accent! A good one, too. Doggone, who’d a thunk? No, wait … it’s Amy Grant who’s the dog, right? I guess it’s all in good farm. I mean fun!
“Fun on the Farm with Farmer Bob” is a new animated video series featuring Grant and Gill, two stars who’ve made names for themselves in contemporary Christian and country music circles respectively, but who are now doing something different – this time for kids. Gill provides the voice for Hercules, a grouchy, self-centered rooster who hates getting up early, but who’s willing to learn from others – after a few mishaps. Grant plays Jenny the Dog, everybody’s friend and the barnyard leader.
Along with Sam the Ram, who loves pizza covered with jam, and a passel of other animals, Hercules and Jenny experience adventures and misadventures that all culminate in sound biblical lessons. In the first episode, called “A Friend Planting Seeds Is a Friend Indeed,” Farmer Bob teaches the animals how to plant seeds. None of them listen, and the results are identical to the eaten-up, burned-up, withered-up plants that Jesus warned us about in the Parable of the Sower. Afterwards, they all blame each other, until they realize that if only they’d listened to directions, they would have a plentiful harvest by now.
In the second episode, “Cocka Doodle Doo the Right Thing,” a special guest prompts everyone to straighten up the farm, with Jenny taking the lead. However, once again the cocky Hercules goes his own way. Based on the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector, we see Jesus’ wonderful illustrations brought to life in the antics of the animated characters. The two lessons this episode teaches are respect for everyone and doing the right thing – even in private, where we might not get credit for our honesty.
The “Fun on the Farm” stories are appropriate for children, even younger ones. My 2-year-old enjoyed them tremendously, and with their catchy Randy Travis tunes, we were soon dancing around the room. Don’t worry – nobody was watching – except the good Lord, and I suppose He’s seen far worse! When I tried to turn off the tape, my daughter became upset and insisted, “Chick! Chick!” So, while I’m not sure how much of the biblical message she retained – it may have been more about the colors, numbers and music – she certainly liked them a lot. Older children, of course, will definitely get the message, and it’s something parents can talk about with them, perhaps even using the stories as springboards for family devotions.
“Fun on the Farm” probably isn’t going to win any awards, from a creative standpoint. Although the characters are distinguished with a few interesting traits, neither they nor their dialogue is very original. Aside from the catchy music and well-voiced biblical narratives, they are simply nice stories that are safe for kids, with good role models. Hopefully, they’ll also teach kids some important lessons, too. And that’s no small thing nowadays.
In addition to the VHS and DVD tapes, a “On the Farm” story and sketch book are also available.