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 this animal variety show educates viewers about zoology -- covering both exotic and domesticated critters -- and occupations involving animals. Interviews with animal specialists -- trainers, vets, K9 police officers, etc. -- are a regular part of each episode. Targeted at tweens and up, it's fine for younger kids, too.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Hosted by Mariette Hartley, WILD ABOUT ANIMALS mixes elements of many popular animal and nature shows on other networks (such as the Discovery Channel and National Geographic). Each episode features at least four different segments on many exotic and domesticated animals. Past segments have covered a Hollywood talent agent who works with animals, an animal rescue re-enactment, a trip on a marine mammal research vessel, and a collection of animal bloopers.
Is it any good?
There's nothing here you haven't seen before. What's more, the segments are rather short and only skim the surface of their subject matter -- which is a shame, because some of the stories are really interesting and would benefit from a longer run-time. But even with those shortcomings, animal fans may appreciate the series, since it offers a little bit about a lot of different aspects of the animal kingdom.
While Wild About Animals doesn't break any ground in children's television, it does manage to entertain while it educates. Some of the content may be a little complex (though not inappropriate) for viewers under 8, but all kids who are interested in animals are likely to enjoy the show's variety of stories and funny clips. Overall this is a good program that offers interesting insights into the world of animals but would benefit from a tighter focus.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how taking care of animals is a job with lots of responsibilities. The series makes a point of showing animals' everyday needs, which might raise some questions to consider if kids start asking for pets. What are some of the day-to-day responsibilities of pet owners? If you had a pet like the animals featured on the show, do you think you would be just as interested in taking care of it two years from now? How can you make sure you and your pet play safely together?
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