The Manatee and I have listened to “Dora the Explorer: Party Favorites” over 1,789 times in the past two months. I’m not complaining about it – you’ll see why in a minute. And since I’ve listened to it so much, I have become quite the expert on this particular album. So today, I’ve decided to review the 6 songs on the Dora album that have made the biggest impression on us.
Let’s first understand that this is a party mix. Dora and her gang, in this case us, are going to a party. Or rather, la fiesta. We never actually discuss where this party is, but apparently it’s at least halfway around the world because we must cross the ever-falling London Bridge and travel through a rainforest. Along the way, we encounter various situations that just so happen to set up well-known children’s songs. All in the hopes that we will one day reach the party. Here are the six songs, not in order of appearance on the CD.
6. London Bridge: This is clearly my favorite song. Dora really lets loose on this one and seems to have a personal connection with it. There’s one point where she starts rapping. Yes, rapping. The lyrics of this rap are a call-and-response: “Why does London Bridge keep falling down? We don’t know!” She repeats it, over and over, but ultimately it’s in vain. Because no one knows why London Bridge keeps falling down. Or why anyone would write a song about a bridge collapsing.
5. Happy Birthday: This is one of the last songs on the CD. It turns out the fiesta is actually a birthday party for . . . I haven’t the foggiest, because Dora never tells us. We just have to accept that someone who is making this trip with us is celebrating a birthday. Anyway, I like this song because it is in English and Spanish. The Manatee really likes the Spanish part and sings it loudly. None of the words match what Dora is saying, nor any words that exist in any language. But I have to say this for her: She’s as committed as Dora is.
4. I’m a Little Teapot: This isn’t really that good of a song, but we have to sing it when our merry band takes a wrong turn and instead of ending up at London Bridge, we end up at Troll Bridge. Either Dora can’t read a map, or Map should change his name because I feel like Troll Bridge is a long way from London Bridge. Anyway, my problem with this song is the setup. To cross the bridge, Troll makes us solve a riddle. It goes like this: I have a handle and a spout and I make water really hot. Really, grumpy troll? This is the best riddle you have? All you do is guard a bridge all day. Don’t you have time to come up with a more challenging riddle? Why don’t you just put up a sign that says “It’s a teapot. Go ahead and cross.”
3. Here We Go ‘Round the Mulberry Bush: This song I skip. Because it troubles me. Do you realize how many things we have to do early in the morning, according to this song? Allow me to enlighten you. On one day, so early in the morning (around 2:30 am, I’d imagine), we have to: go around a Mulberry Bush (no one knows why), wash our clothes, iron our clothes, mend our clothes, sweep the floor and scrub the floor. Then, after we do all of that, we’re allowed to go to a party. All of this happens so early in the morning. Who has a party so early in the morning? And why do I have to do all that before I can go to a party? Will I even want to go after doing all of those things? No, no I won’t.
2. Itsy Bitsy Spider: As we continue on our way to la fiesta, we come upon Diego, Dora’s cousin. We are in a rainforest, and Dora asks Diego for help making it through. Which he agrees to – if we help him with a little animal rescue first. Guess you can’t help family without getting something in return, right Diego? When the Manatee hears that an animal needs rescue, she always goes “Uh oh!” Uh oh is right. Because it’s not an animal rescue, unless tiny spiders are now classified as animals. And speaking of that, anyone with knowledge of the song would quickly realize that we don’t need to help the tiny spider anyway because once the sun comes out, the spider makes it up the waterspout no problem. But we help Diego by singing the song, which is fine but not outstanding, and he helps us through the rainforest. Why are we in the rainforest again? Where the heck is this party?
1. If You’re Happy and You Know It: This version of the song is fantastic. It is the Manatee’s favorite song and the only one that will instantly stop her from crying. She loves the clapping, the stomping, and the saying hooray (“Uh-ray!”). We have listened to this song more than any other. You’d think it would grow old, but it doesn’t. Because when I look in that rearview mirror and see her singing, clapping, and stomping away with a big smile on her face, it feels like the first time I’ve heard it.
And that’s the real reason I never mind listening to this CD every time the Manatee starts yelling “Dora! Dora! Dora!” Here’s to another 1,789 listens.
Here it is. Steven's blog, where his thoughts about things are revealed. Good luck.