Crew Review: Marshall Publishing

We love the penguins at Sea World.  Wait, let me rephrase.  My kids love watching the penguins at Sea World.  Their stench makes my pregnant nose want to run and hide.  But not matter how I feel, the kids are fascinated.  So, when I told them that we were going to watch a penguin movie, they were thrilled!


Marshall Publishing is a media-publishing company that specializes in CD’s, Books, and DVD’s.  The company produces media for entertainment, training, and educational purposes.

The Lots and Lots of brand is a part of Marshall publishing and has DVD’s such as Lots and Lots of Fire Trucks and Lots and Lots of Trains.  Those videos are just what you would expect based on the title-lots and lots of footage of your favorite animal or vehicle. 

What is it?
We had the opportunity to review the 2 DVD set of Lots and Lots of Penguins.  This set includes 2 DVD’s about penguins as well as an additional DVD of an animated music video.  The set of DVD’s retails for $19.95 and can be purchased through the Marshall Publishing website.

The first video is 75 minutes of footage of live penguins with music and narration in the background.  The video introduces 17 different types of penguins with information about their food, habitat, and other trivia.  The narrator is an animated penguin who introduces you to the various members of his penguin family (the various breeds of penguin).  The DVD also includes a sample sound bite of the noises made by each different breed of penguin.  In between information about the breeds are short music videos-either animated or with live footage of penguins.

The second DVD contains no narration or background music.  This DVD contains 30 minutes of video of the penguins in their native habitat.  All the footage is shot in the wild.  Without the background music, you can clearly hear the penguins call and interact with each other.

How did we use this product?
We had a movie night and watched part of the first DVD.  After that, we often watched sections of the video during lunchtime.  The video has the option to choose to watch the entire movie or to pick and choose a segment on a specific breed of penguin.

What didn’t we like?
The first DVD contains some animations as well as an animated music video.  My kids weren’t overly impressed by the song or the quality of the animation (repeating the words “party like a penguin” multiple times isn’t much of a song).  It was very low-tech compared to other things they are used to (and we’re not a techy family).  I didn’t find the song to be catchy and I found the animation to be very silly and poorly done.  Some of the songs started to make me a little crazy after hearing them a few times.

The second DVD contains no background sounds other than the noises made by the penguins (and the wind) as the footage was shot in the wild.  I found the wind noises to be very distracting and annoying after a while.  The kids did not enjoy the lack of music and quickly lost interest in the second DVD.  The footage (which is shot by cameramen in the native habitat of the penguins) can by very choppy.  And quite frankly, watching the penguins sit on top of the ice or slowly waddle around wasn’t very exciting after a few minutes.  I can’t say the second DVD was exactly action packed. 

What did we like?
My kids enjoyed the background music to the first DVD as well as the short songs between segments.  During the songs, the video showed footage of different types of penguins and the kids enjoyed seeing all the breeds in action.

One of their favorite parts was to hear the sounds made by the types of penguins.

They also enjoyed the narration as it was short and to the point.  They retained information because it was at a level they could understand without being overly scientific or too technical.  And sometimes the facts or trivia highlighted an unusual or strange aspect of one of the penguin breeds.  The narration kept their attention and they remembered many facts about the penguins.

Because the DVD is divided into sections, you can quickly search for any breed and only watch the segment on that breed.  My kids had all chosen a favorite breed of penguin and enjoyed watching those sections again and again.

I didn’t hear any evolutionary content in the DVD’s as the narration mostly introduced facts about habitat, life span, foods, and interesting behavior of the breeds.  I found the facts to be interesting as well and learned many things I did not know about penguins.  Not all penguins live in the cold temperatures!

What’s our overall opinion?
We really enjoyed the first DVD (except for the animated music video) and my kids have watched the video multiple times.  I plan to continue using the DVD, pulling it out for an occasional movie lunch or movie night to see what they remember about the penguins.  I felt that the video was geared more for younger children (elementary-aged) which was perfect for my crew.  The information was right on their level and was presented in an engaging way.

The footage of the penguins in their various habitats was wonderful.  The kids loved seeing the shots of Antarctica and the ice bergs.  Other animals such as arctic birds, polar bears, and seals also make brief appearances in the videos.  

I can’t say the second DVD was very exciting to them.  It felt more like a documentary and the slow pace was not as engaging.  As they get older, they might appreciate the footage shot in the wild.  But at their ages, it was not enough action, sound, or interaction to hold their attention for more than 10 or 15 minutes.  Any time we put in the second DVD, they asked to watch the other one instead after about 10 minutes.  I’ll save this one for later and see what response I get.

As for the animation, my kids could do without that and prefer to see the real penguins interacting in their habitat.

I think these videos would be perfect for a fun introduction into the world of penguins, geared for the younger crowd.

Want to see a short sample video?
Check out the sample video here. 

Check out more reviews of this product as well as reviews of other Marshall Publication Products at the Crew blog here.


Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this product in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are mine.

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