Full disclosure: I am the father of a three-year-old girl who loves to watch television. Possibly a little too much. And as every parent knows, children's television can be annoying, especially when you've had to watch the same show over and over again. Every now and then, though, a new show comes along that parents can enjoy, too. Wonder Pets! is one of those shows.
Wonder Pets! debuted just over one year ago, and was ranked as the number one preschool program in 2006. Created using "photo-puppetry", a brand new style of animation that uses actual photographs (and occasionally reminds me of Terry Gilliam's animations on Monty Python's Flying Circus), the show also has the distinction of being the first mini-operetta for preschoolers.
In every episode of Wonder Pets! main characters Linny the Guinea Pig, Ming-Ming Duckling, and Turtle Tuck are faced with long-distance travel and high adventure as they are called upon to rescue a baby animal that's in trouble. Recurring themes, both musical and plot-related, have to do with teamwork, friendship, caring for the environment, and persistence.
On April 23 at 11:00 a.m. (ET/PT), Nick Jr. will premiere a brand new special episode of Wonder Pets! called "Save the Wonder Pets!", and the tables will be turned. After traveling all around the world, into space, and even back in time to rescue baby animals, Linny, Tuck, and Ming-Ming deal with a few moments of self-doubt. Do the baby animals remember them after they've been rescued?
Soon enough, the Wonder Pets get to find out. After rescuing a tiny blowfish, they're accidentally swallowed by a humpback whale and cannot help themselves. The blowfish enlists the help of a tiny squid and a seahorse, and by the end of the story, the Wonder Pets know just how much they are appreciated.
The premiere of "Save the Wonder Pets!" on Nick Jr. leads into the official launch of the Save the Wonder Pets! DVD on Tuesday, April 24. The DVD will feature the title episode plus three more episodes of Wonder Pets!
Earlier this month, Nick Records released the first Wonder Pets! CD, which features full-length versions of 16 songs. The music on the show is produced by Grammy winner Jeffrey Lesser and written by Broadway composers Larry Hochman (Monty Python's Spamalot), Bobby Lopez (Avenue Q), and Jason Robert Brown (Parade).
Nick Jr. has a strong track record of producing high quality musical television for kids. As a parent, I enjoy watching shows like Wonder Pets! and The Backyardigans, mostly because my daughter enjoys it, but also because the music is sophisticated enough that I am not bored quickly.
The bottom line, though, is whether kids like the show. I watched Save the Wonder Pets! with my daughter, and except for one minor distraction that had to do with the cat or a toy egg, she was mesmerized. The first thing she said when it was finished was "Again!"
That could have been the whole review.
Kids can play the "Save the Sea Creatures" game and parents can downloads printables and crafts at the Wonder Pets! site on NickJr.com