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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that with millions of CDs and DVDs sold, it's no wonder these Australians have maintained a huge following with the preschool crowd for more than a decade. At first glimpse the show may appear to be lacking in educational content, but the good, wholesome fun and music encourage 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds to listen for musical cues, move their bodies to rhythms, and, most of all, be age-appropriately silly. The four Wiggles and their lovably goofy cast of characters really do know what they're doing.
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What's the story?
When the three orginal members of THE WIGGLES (Greg, Murray, and Anthony) met while studying to be preschool teachers in Sydney, Australia, they merged their interests in early-childhood education and music, added fourth band member, Jeff, and soon became one of the most popular and successful children's performing acts in Australia. They brought their album to New York City, and soon launched their hit TV show. The foursome (Greg left the group in 2006 due to illness and was replaced by an understudy) clearly knows what's entertaining to this age range -- they've mastered the kind of songwriting that invites little bodies to move and sing along with the funny lyrics. The Wiggles is like a variety show for young kids.
Is it any good?
In this era of high-tech expectations, it's wonderful to see that a show that uses silly skits and simple sets and costumes (each member wears distinctive, long-sleeved, primary-colored T-shirts and black pants) can still capture the attention of preschool-aged children. The other colorful characters -- including a polka-dotted green dinosaur named Dorothy who wears a bonnet and eats roses, a friendly pirate named Captain Feathersword, a purple Octopus named Henry, and a floppy-eared dog named Wags -- add even more humor to the show and have developed their own following.
The format is simple. Usually there's some situation such as Jeff won't wake up or Dorothy loses her voice, and everyone gets together to solve the problem in a few very short skits, using simple dialogue, some quirky sound effects, and lots of facial expressions. Along with skits, songs are performed by The Wiggles as a band, often using child dancers. Quite often they sing songs from other cultures, but they typically do not have many children of color participate on the show. Despite this limitation, The Wiggles will be entertaining preschoolers for years to come.
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