What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this 1970s cartoon isn't Land of the Lost, but a simpler, lower-rent take on the same idea. It's upbeat and entertaining, but even kids will notice that the depiction of dinosaurs and their era is remarkably inaccurate. Still, one of the show's strengths is that every family member contributes knowledge and effort to the group's survival -- and it's not very scary, either, so younger grade-schoolers should be able to enjoy it.
What's the story?
VALLEY OF THE DINOSAURS is a simple but exciting show about a family (parents, a teen daughter, a young son, and their pet dog) that gets sucked into prehistoric times by a whirlpool while on a canoeing trip. There, they meet a cave family (parents, a teen son, a young daughter, and their pet dinosaur) who befriend them and help them survive -- and look for a way home.
Is it any good?
For a 1970s cartoon, Valley of the Dinosaurs makes for surprisingly good watching. It's the rare classic adventure 'toon that will entertain middle graders while not being too frightening or complicated for younger kids, and the messages are also solid (though the feminism can be a little retro) for its time. Every character has his or her own strengths, and everyone might have an idea or bit of knowledge that can contribute if the family is trapped or otherwise in trouble.
None of it is very realistic and it's all resolved quickly, but it's fun -- not to mention more interesting than just watching a typical chased-by-the-bad-guys adventure.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about which facts the show's creators got wrong. Do their choices (whether intentional or the result of knowing less about dinosaurs then than we do now) make for a more interesting story?
Kids: What do you know about dinosaurs that's different from what you see in the cartoon? Were some bigger or smaller? What did they eat, and would they have chased people?