Thursday, November 22, 2012

Coming Soon to DVD -- Families of Italy (Review)

Newest Title in the Award-Winning Families of the World Series

Arrives on DVD December 13, 2012 from Master Communications

You’re invited to visit the country known as Lo Stivale, a.k.a “The Boot,” and to spend some time with two of its young citizens in Families of Italy, the newest title in the award-winning Families of the World series, venturing onto DVD  December 13, 2012 from Master Communications.
The series – 28 titles and growing – enables future travelers to reach across the globe and visit other people and cultures, all from a child’s point of view.  Always focusing on two children from differing households, one urban, one rural, and narrated by children, Families of the World DVDs invite viewers to follow two families’ daily routines, introducing both the similarities and differences that exist between them, as well as us. 
Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe, the 24th most-developed country and the birthplace of Maritime republics and the Renaissance.
In Families of Italy, we meet Veronica, 14, who lives on a sheep farm in the Italian countryside with her parents, older brother Antonio and younger sister Kiara.  Cheese is the family business, processing it right on the property from the milk of their 300 sheep.  Kids may envy Veronica a little when they see she sometimes has cookies and milk for breakfast, but maybe not that she attends school six days a week (though Saturdays are half-days).  During the week she helps her mother deliver their cheese to the local stores, often stopping by to visit her grandmother in town.  Veronica also helps make the family’s favorite dessert, tiramisu, for the midday meal (called dinner), then finishes the 1-2 hours of homework she has every day.  After dad has finished milking the sheep in the evening, he joins the family as they walk through nearby Salerno, admiring the Christmas lights that have been put on display for the season.  The next day, Veronica takes us to the nearby ancient ruins, including Pompeii, that lie in the shadow of the massive, and (thankfully) quiet, Mt. Vesuvius.
 Next we meet 10-year-old Luigi, who lives on an olive plantation with his parents, grandparents (he’s named after his grandfather Luigi) and siblings Antonia and Thom├ís.  Olive oil is the family business, with local farmers coming to their on-site factory next to the house to have their olives pressed.  Luigi plays tambourine in a music group and is normally an active boy but is recovering a broken ankle and is sporting a cast (courtesy of the country’s free healthcare).  He attends school from September to June from morning until early afternoon, then returns home for dinner before helping round the farm, on which they grow kiwi, walnuts, oranges, pomegranates and a variety of vegetables.  Come along with the family as they celebrate the Day of the Dead, during which they visit the tombs of their loved ones, leaving flowers and prayers.  Then it’s back home to make pizzas with the grandparents before turning in for the night.
Families of the World is recommended for ages 5-11 and retails for $29.95.  The series features families in Afghanistan, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Egypt, France, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Israel, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Mexico (includes Spanish and English soundtrack) and More Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, Russia, Sweden, Thailand, the USA, the United Kingdom, Vietnam, Germany and the Philippines.


My Thoughts:
This and the other films in the Families of the World series are a great educational tool to use if you home school your children, or if you are looking to share different areas of the world and their cultures with your children.  Even though my daughters are too young to understand and really benefit from these wonderful DVDs, I found this DVD to be a great way to be introduced to Italy, where my ancestors are from.  My parents watched this film with me, and said it reminded them of their recent trip to Italy.  They had seen travel videos on Italy prior to their trip, but none like this one. It was very enjoyable and really gives you a feel for the country and its people.   

Each DVD includes a free PDF Teacher’s Guide, which features the script, copy-ready maps, discussion and activity guides, recipes, glossaries and more. To order Families of the World DVDs, call 1-800-765-5885 or visit

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Series:                          Families of the World
Titles:                           Families of Italy, ISBN: 978-1-60-480155-2
Category:                     Children, Ages 5-11
R/T:                              Approximately 30 minutes each
Format:                        DVD/Live Action/Closed captioned
Release Date:               December 13, 2012
SRP:                            $29.95 each, includes PPR

Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this DVD from the vendor in order to write up an honest review.  The views above are mine and mine alone.

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