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Zoboomafoo: Zoboo's Little Pals
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this animal series fills several voids in children's programming. Its realistic images and informative content bridge the gap between Barney and the sophisticated material on Zoom. The animals are all this series needs to entertain young viewers, but the quick pace, physical humor, and general Kratt wackiness infuse the show with extra energy. The animal facts--names, body parts, habits--are tailored for preschoolers: they challenge young viewers without overwhelming them. Kids also hear gentle reminders about handling animals safely and treating them kindly.
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What's the story?
ZOBOO'S LITTLE PALS briefly touches on dozens of different animals but focuses on seven species and their babies: horses, chickens, black bears, alligators, jaguars, dogs, and zebras. Kids learn a bit about the birth and care of these babies, as well as their adult habits in the wild. Cartoons and claymation segments alternate with the Kratt brothers interacting with real animals. Kids hear the correct names for the animals--Belgian horses, Shaver chickens, black bears--and the correct names for their babies--horses have foals, bears have cubs, prairie dogs have pups. They see similarities between species--birds and reptiles both hatch from eggs--and differences--lemurs eat papayas while chicks eat seeds. They learn that while bear cubs naturally know how to swim, foals have to learn to jump over high obstacles.
Is it any good?
Zoboo's Little Pals is perfectly designed for preschoolers; kids are naturally drawn to animals, but the focus on baby animals makes this program particularly appealing. The factual information satisfies the ever-present "Why?" question, but the show's quick pace ensures that little viewers won't be overwhelmed. The cartoons, claymation segments, and Kratt silliness also provide breaks from the natural world, broadening the video's appeal.
The video stands up to repeated viewings, too, because young viewers absorb only a few of these facts at a time. Older and younger siblings can also enjoy this program. Babies and toddlers won't follow the content, but will respond to the images. School-age kids are ready for more, but they'll still learn from the information presented. They also learn from the Kratt brothers, whose enthusiasm, physical energy, and sensitivity to the environment inspire the grade-school crowd. Little Pals is a rare find: a good video for the whole family.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how children handle family pets. Are they as gentle as the Kratt brothers are with exotic animals? Families may also want to use the video as a way to encourage children to explore the natural world through nature walks, visits to zoos and aquariums and studying natural history.
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