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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this cartoon for preschoolers is based on the popular children's book series by Mick Inkpen. The show is voiced by British actors and uses British phrases, which could be confusing for some very young American kids. But other than that, this is a delightful show for young viewers. The animal characters do lots of exploring and learn lessons about friendship, kindness, and the difference between right and wrong.
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What's the story?
KIPPER introduces preschoolers to the world of a lovable, curious talking dog and his animal friends. Together they learn life lessons, go exploring, and work through conflicts. Based on the award-winning children's books by Mick Inkpen, Kipper's main character (voiced by Martin Clunes) is an earnest friend who has a lot in common with his optimistic, inquisitive preschool viewers. Kipper's two best pals are Tiger and Pig (both voiced by Chris Lang), who often accompany him on outings. Tiger is a worldly, sometimes-sneaky grey schnauzer who loves to try new gadgets and play little tricks while testing the boundaries of friendship. The nasal-voiced Pig is naïve but a loyal friend. Rounding out the group is Pig's baby cousin, Arnold, who doesn't say much but tags along as they explore the world around them.
Is it any good?
Like the Kipper books, the series encourages creative thinking and reinforces preschool lessons about distinguishing right from wrong, cooperation, friendship, kindness, and courtesy toward others. Bottom line? Kipper is a keeper. Kipper's charming storylines are enjoyable and easy for preschoolers to follow, and the lessons the characters learn in each episode are simple and relatable.
The show's British-accented dialogue includes a sprinkling of English words and phrases that kids might not have heard before ("right then" instead of "OK," "sweet" instead of "candy," and so on). The unfamiliar expressions might be a bit of a barrier for the youngest viewers, but the upside is that they give American audiences a little something extra to learn.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what it means to be a friend and how the animals interact with one another to resolve their differences. Why is Tiger sometimes tricky? Does the way the animals talk sound "funny"? Why? This might be a good opportunity to discuss the meaning of potentially unfamiliar words and phrases from other countries.
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