Thursday, May 28, 2009

Good Children's Programming

In the interest of fairness, since I bashed Hip Hop Harry the other day, I feel the need to provide an example of a *good* children's television show.

Exhibit A: Pinky Dinky Doo

Why It's Good:
  1. It teaches new vocabulary words. Each episode introduces a new word, and every time a character uses that word, Mr. Guinea Pig heralds its use with trumpet fanfare. (reminds me of what Mrs. Bender used to have us do in the Intermediate Unit - in our writing pieces, whenever we used a new word, we were to draw blue flashes around it. When you're a third or fourth grader, that's pretty kewl stuff.)
  2. It teaches narrative elements such as sequencing and summarizing. Yeah, pretty heavy stuff for preschool television, right? After each episode, Pinky and her brother Tyler play games like "What Came First?" and "Who Said That?" to test viewers' comprehension skills.
  3. It has a hand-drawn, collage-like look that's not unlike another favorite of mine, Blue's Clues. Rather than utilizing slick 3D computer animation like some kids' shows, characters and backgrounds in PDD looks like something a kid could draw him or herself.
  4. It has a kid's sensibility. Character names include Bobby Boom, Daffinee Toilette, and Nicholas Biscuit. One episode takes place in outer space, and the kids' spaceship is shaped like a giant toilet. It's purely a sight gag; the shapeship's appearance is never mentioned. Kids are treated like intelligent beings who get such a joke, not objects to which writers must condescend.

Thank you, Jim Jinkins for creating a terrific kids' show.

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