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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that each episode features a conflict shared by loveable animal characters. The tree they all live in is a metaphor for the world, filled with diversity and unity. In addition, topics in geography, geoscience, and bioscience are integrated into the stories with the characters learning and solving problems together.
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What's the story?
From the creator of Bear in the Big Blue House comes another great show for young preschoolers using puppets to demonstrate characters living peacefully in the world. Their world is a gigantic tree filled with homes for all sorts of interesting and adorable creatures. The host is a tall sloth named Snook who is narrator, peacekeeper, problem solver, singer/dancer, playmate, and most of all -- a dependable adult caregiver. Other characters include sibling marmosets Smooch and Winslow, Wartz the tree frog, Bob the anteater, Burdette the bird, Ick the fish, old monkey Oko, and Madge, an ancient turtle with a map of the world on her shell. There are adult characters too, who help the child characters when needed. They're all very different in how they look and move, yet they all share the same tree and coexist peacefully and happily.
Is it any good?
IT'S A BIG BIG WORLD's puppetry is Banraku: puppeteers dressed in blue operate each puppet in front of a blue screen, giving the characters great range of expression and flexibility. The colorful background is added using computer-generated animation in real time. The effect is quite rich, full of depth and vibrancy.
The show is geared toward preschoolers who are moving from playing on their own or next to friends to playing with others and learning to negotiate, communicate responsively, and compromise. It may bore kindergartners on up, who have mastered these skills. But for younger kids, this is a highly recommended program.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the show represents diversity in our world. In what ways are we different and the same? Families can also talk about the ways the child characters solve their problems using communication, critical thinking, and turning to caring adults for support.
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