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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Wallykazam! craftily disguises solid lessons in basic literacy skills as delightful stories about an endearing young troll and his forest friends. Preschoolers will love the abounding silliness in Wally's adventures, but for parents, the show's best asset is its incorporation of essential reading skills into its content. Throughout each story, audience members are encouraged to read words, identify letters, make rhymes, and generate synonyms, all in ways that feel nothing to kids like the quality lessons they actually are. Beyond the bookish learning, kids will see examples of strong friendships and creative methods for solving problems. This exceptional, comical preschool series is so well designed that parents will want to tune in with their kids, which will help parents reinforce the curriculum's points.
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What's the story?
WALLYKAZAM! is the story of a 6-year-old troll named Wally (voiced by Thomas Langston), who uses a magic stick to create objects from the words it projects. Wally and his trusty pet dragon, Norville (Dan Bittner), love to play in the forest with their friends, and when their adventures encounter challenges, they use their knowledge of letters and words to create solutions for themselves. But, wait -- there's a trick to the magic! Each of the words has to follow the day's rule, whether it's an identical starting letter or a rhyming sound.
Is it any good?
Set in a colorful, whimsical forest inhabited by ogres, fairies, and giants, this show is poised to become a favorite among both its young audience members and their parents. Wally is the kind of kid you hope yours will be; he's kind, caring, and imaginative and always looking to help his friends. Put a little magic in his hands, and he can solve problems like nobody's business, which is great news for all his woodland neighbors. Kids' imaginations will run wild in this fun land of magic and fairy-tale creatures with big personalities.
Not every preschool series can pull off casting a villain of sorts, but when it's managed well, it adds a whole new level of intrigue. Enter Bobgoblin (Aria Capria), Wallykazam!'s mischievous, egocentric troublemaker who delights in deliberately irritating Wally and his friends. His antics are always amusing (though not so much for his co-characters) and typically end in some lesson learned, so he serves a valuable purpose. Even so, little can compare to the fantastic educational quality of this clever show, and its interactive style encourages kids' involvement throughout.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the literacy topic of the day in Wallykazam!. What letter or sound was magical in the story? Look around your house and see how many objects you can name that use that letter or sound.
Kids: What problem did the characters face today? Did they use magic to overcome it? How could you tackle a similar one without the use of a magic stick?
Bobgoblin is an irritating sort, and even though his actions never aim to harm, his persistent troublemaking is a good introduction for preschoolers to the issue of bullying. Talk to them about the difference between teasing and bullying, and remind them to speak up if they ever experience or witness this kind of behavior.
- Premiere date: February 3, 2014
- Cast: Thomas Langston, Dan Bittner, Aria Capria
- Network: Nickelodeon
- Genre: Kids' Animation
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Friendship, Great Boy Role Models
- Character strengths: Communication, Teamwork
- TV rating: TV-Y
- Available on: DVD, Streaming
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
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