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 each episode of this animated series turns one of its preschool viewers into a star by superimposing the child's photo on a cartoon body as one of the characters (parents submit pictures online). Be prepared for your own young fans' requests to have their picture on television, too -- as well as potential disappointment if their photo isn't selected. That aside, the show's bright animation, simple dialogue, and likable characters will appeal to preschoolers' curiosity, and the series weaves skills like counting and imaginative play into its age-appropriate stories.
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What's the story?
PICME is an award-winning animated series from Ireland that puts viewers in a starring role by superimposing real kids' photos on story characters' bodies. Parents can visit the Sprout Web site to submit their own kids' pictures, and a new star is selected at random for each episode. In each episode, the "Little Boy" or "Little Girl" -- as these hybrid characters known in the stories -- joins a group of animal friends in their adventures as they play and learn about the world around them.
Is it any good?
This pleasant series is perfectly suited to preschoolers for several reasons: The bold animation is captivating, the simple narrative is easy to understand, and the interpersonal lessons and learning skills are easy to identify. Moreover, the brief stories are well designed for the attention span of the show's young viewers.
PICME's use of real-life kids as the stars is sure to excite youngsters and help them relate to the stories, and the good news is that the series makes a real effort to encourage kids' learning by incorporating basic skills like counting and creative expression through play. But this is definitely a know-your-kid scenario; if your preschooler is apt to dissolve into tears when something seems unfair, it's probably better to downplay the idea of submitting a own photo for consideration. With no guarantee that it will be selected, it could lead to major disappointment.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what it would be like to be on television. Kids: How does it feel to be the center of attention? Is it always fun, or are there times when it's intimidating? Do you think everyone would enjoy it? How do we treat the people who are on television? Does their job make them any more important than you? Also, parents -- it's never too late to start telling your kids why they shouldn't post personal information online; explain why sending in an anonymous picture is OK, but telling someone your real name isn't.