Michael Wermuth, Jr. - "Being Brave" is a recent Sesame Street DVD, themed around overcoming fear. This video has linking footage based on the popular book "The Monster at the End of the Book," with Grover trying to get viewers to stop watching, because there is a monster at the end of the video. This linking footage is very funny, though the concept of Grover being afraid of the monster at the end is better when it's not spread out among various segments.
This release includes four street stories (and another as a bonus feature, more on that below). First, the chickens are afraid of thunderstorms, then Zoe's pet rock Rocco is afraid of dogs (or so Zoe says), then Baby Bear's younger cousin Cousin Bear is afraid of shadows, and then finally, in an attempt to cure Baby Bear of his fear of bees, Abby Cadabby accidentally turns Baby Bear and Chris into bees. That last street story had already been released a few years ago on the video "Elmo's Rainbow and Other Springtime Stories." It's not often that a street story appears on multiple DVDs.
Among the inserts on this video include Ernie pointing out various scary sounds to Bert, whom he assumes is scared (when Bert really just wants to go to bed). James Gandolfini guest stars in a segment where he talks about his fears to Zoe. That segment is a lot better than I had expected. There's also a couple of great animated segments included. It would have been great if this included the two-part segment where Cookie Monster slept over at Ernie's apartment (or at least part one, where Cookie is afraid of shadows), and maybe the segment where Grover is afraid of his shadow, but otherwise, it is a good selection of clips.
There's also a great amount of bonus features included. First up is a full-length bonus video, A Celebration of Me, Grover! It's a great video, one of the best character spotlight videos, with many great Grover segments (including a lot of classic clips) and plenty of the main cast, but it seems a little out-of-place here. Then there's the season two segment "Grover Talks About the Dark," which is a great segment. An included segment I was very intrigued about the moment I heard it would be included was "Going to the Doctor." It's actually the 1999 resource video "Sesame Street Goes to the Doctor," in which Elmo goes to the doctor, apparently for the first time. Finally, there's an extra street story, "Cousin Bear is Afraid of Monsters." Since this introduces Cousin Bear, I would have put this one in the main program and the one where he's afraid of shadows as a bonus. Oh, and this DVD also comes with a glow-in-the-dark set of stickers.
Anyway, this is a decent release. I would give it four out of five stars. I'd especially recommend it for fans of Grover, Zoe, and/or Baby Bear. I'd also recommend it to fans of Cousin Bear (who I wasn't too familiar with until I saw this, but now I wish he'd lasted longer on the show).
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, firstname.lastname@example.org