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 Albert & Junior is an educational show for preschoolers starring a curious three-year-old (Albert) and his friend (Junior), who looks like a smart phone or tablet. The entirety of Albert's adventures take place in his own home, with Junior presenting the animated answers to preschooler-type questions. Adults are present and caring; there's nothing scary. Young kids will be interested to see the lighthearted (but thoroughly educational) answers to questions they wonder about.
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What's the story?
ALBERT & JUNIOR follows the gentle adventures of Albert, a quizzical three-year-old, and Junior, a talking smart device. In each five-minute episode, Albert wonders something: Why do we need to brush our teeth, anyway? How do bees make honey? Why do I need to learn to read and write? Junior then takes Albert on a tour of the answer, with bright graphics illustrating difficult concepts like vitamins or how plaque can cause cavities. Sometimes Albert grumbles about having to go to bed, or eat his vegetables. But Junior usually convinces him that going along with what Mom wants him to do is exactly the right plan.
Is it any good?
Slow-moving, mild, and quite charming, this show manages to introduce a few scientific concepts in a way that preschoolers will understand and relate to. Above all, it understands that three-year-olds want to know why. Why do we have to do things the way we're doing them? Why does this or that matter? The choice of subject matter is savvy and perfect for the age: answering lots of why questions, for example, why it rains, or why planes can fly but humans can't. Junior can be a bit of a scold -- we got it, Junior! Vegetables are important! -- but the animation goes on pleasant flights of fancy: "When two carrots dance the tango," Junior emotes over images of carrots having a passionate dance, "they become a glass of yummy carrot juice!" Cute. Preschoolers will think so too, and there's nothing here to alarm or scare them, making this a solid bet for curious young ones.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what Junior is. A smart phone? A tablet? Why is he alive and talking?
Albert's mother sometimes appears on the show. On many cartoon shows, mothers and fathers are absent or referred to but unseen. Why?
How would this show be different if Albert and Junior were animals? Robots? Two people?