A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this preschool program promotes storytelling and listening skills. The animals' stories are based on social themes such as friendship, forgiveness, compassion, and sharing. Language skills are also highlighted; vocabulary is introduced and emphasized through intonation and repetition.
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What's the story?
Lucy, the central character of 64 ZOO LANE, is a very lucky girl. She lives next door to a zoo, and every night before bed, her animal friends invite her to a storytelling session. With the help of Georgina, a tall giraffe, Lucy slides down from her bedroom window to join her friendly neighbors. Each animal takes a turn telling a tale about their adventures (presumably before they ended up in the zoo); in turn, Lucy learns valuable lessons about friendship, determination, and compassion.
Is it any good?
Compared to other similar TV shows for preschoolers, 64 Zoo Lane doesn't have an obvious educational curriculum. But the colorful, sometimes-silly, picture-book-style tales are lessons all the same -- they emphasize social and emotional development. Although little mention is made of real animal behavior, the series does a nice job of featuring exotic animals from all over the world, including some that are endangered.
While definitely endearing at times, 64 Zoo Lane doesn't make a big impression. Younger children may enjoy the many bedtime tales told by Lucy's zoo friends, but there's no big draw for older kids or their parents. Watching stories before bed or naptime is a nice idea, but reading to your child beforehand is even better.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the many social themes found in every story. Since each tale is told in a way that suggests that the main character learned a lesson, families can discuss how this might play out in everyday situations. Why is helping others important? How can honesty build a stronger friendship? What makes a good friend?
Themes & Topics
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