Disclosure: I received a copy of the DVD to review. No other compensation was received. All opinions are my own and are my honest opinion of the DVD.
Growing up I loved learning about American history. Often my parents would take us to visit historical places for our family vacation such as Washington DC, Boston, Salem, Williamsburg, Gettysburg, and Plymouth. I look forward to the day when my boys are older and I can visit some of these same places with them. Since I love American history, I was excited to be able to review This is America, Charlie Brown, which was released on DVD on June 17th. I thought this would be a great way to introduce my boys to some of the important events in the course of American history. Here is the synopsis of the DVD as well as the featured specials:
From the voyage of the Mayflower to the bold exploration of outer space, join the Peanuts gang as they take viewers on a journey through American history! Groove along with Charlie Brown and Snoopy as they discover the beginnings of jazz and ragtime music, cleverly accompanied by Lucy's speech about American heroes. Soar with the Wright brothers, blast into orbit on the NASA space station, and create some of the world's most influential inventions alongside such greats as Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford! So all aboard the transcontinental railroad with Peanuts because This is America, Charlie Brown!
- The Mayflower Voyagers - The Peanuts become pilgrims sailing to the New World aboard the Mayflower and endure the first hard winter on Plymouth Plantation.
- The Birth of the Constitution - Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the rest of the gang is present when the country's founding fathers discuss putting together the constitution.
- The Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk - Linus and Charlie Brown witness the Wright brothers' first flight.
- The NASA Space Station - Linus dreams that he and the rest of the Peanuts gang travel into space.
- The Building of the Transcontinental Railroad - Charlie Brown discusses how the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads link to create the transcontinental railroad.
- The Great Inventors - Each member of the Peanuts gang reports on various American inventions. Linus discusses Alexander Graham Bell while Peppermint Patty and Marcie talk about Thomas Edison, and Charlie Brown writes a report on the invention of the automobile.
- The Smithsonian and the Presidency-Viewers experience meeting U.S. presidents as seen through the eyes of the Peanuts gang. Charlie Brown visits with Abraham Lincoln. The gang also meets Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt.
- The Music and Heroes of America - Snoopy wants to participate in Schroeder's report on music in America. Everyone in the gang plays a different musical instrument while we hear such classics as "Alexander's Ragtime Band" and "Yankee Doodle." This special plays homage to such celebrated composers as John Philip Sousa, Irving Berlin, George Cohan, Scott Joplin and others. Also featured is Lucy's report on the heroes of America, which include Susan B. Anthony, Clara Barton, Helen Keller, Martin Luther King Jr, Jonas Salk and others.
My thoughts: As a young girl, I remember watching Charlie Brown's holiday specials at both Halloween and Christmas. I have come to realize over the past few years that there were many more Charlie Brown specials that I have not seen, including the ones listed above. I enjoyed sitting down with my boys and watching these specials with them. My favorite was The Mayflower Voyagers, which sparked a discussion with my boys about how hard life must have been for those voyagers both on the boat as well as their first winter in Plymouth. We discussed the drastic differences between the life of a child then and now. For my oldest son, The NASA Space Station was one of his favorites. This was not a surprise since he loves learning about the Solar System.
This is America, Charlie Brown kept my boys' interest and provided them with a little background on our country's history. While this DVD could be watched anytime of the year, I can see my family sitting down and watching it at Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July. So if you are a fan of the Peanuts gang, I would definitely recommend this DVD.