Wild Kratts: Alaska -- Hero's Journey

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Wild Kratts: Alaska -- Hero's Journey TV Poster Image
More wildly engaging adventures from the brothers Kratt.

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Educational Value

Kids learn about the circle of life, ecosystems, the relationship between predators and prey, and more related to sea creatures native to the northern Pacific Ocean. The show does a good job balancing harsh truths (e.g., animals eat each other to survive) with the wonder of the natural world.

 

Positive Messages

The story promotes respect for nature by showing viewers how different species live, reproduce, and struggle for survival. The Kratts' animal friends are sympathetic characters, and it can be distressing for youngsters to see them in threatening situations. Strong themes of teamwork stand out in the Kratts' adventures, as the guys couldn't do what they do without their co-workers, including a whip-smart female engineer.

 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Chris and Martin (in animated and live form) are eager explorers who never waste an opportunity to learn by immersion. They're wowed by achievements others might easily overlook, as when a single salmon makes the leap up a waterfall to reach her spawning spot. Positive gender roles include two invaluable female members of the Kratts' team.

Violence & Scariness

Harsh realities of the wild are presented in a sanitized way. Animals catch and eat prey, but there's no blood or distress. The idea that only the strongest among a species thrives is central to the salmon's story. An animal friend's impending death is discussed.

Sexy Stuff

A spawning scene shows a salmon laying her eggs to be fertilized by a male, who sprays a cloud of white on them.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Wild Kratts: Alaska -- Hero's Journey is an animated movie that follows the Wild Kratts team on a journey with migrating sockeye salmon. As in the TV series, the story teaches viewers about wildlife and the natural world by immersing the characters with the creatures, yielding much learning potential and quite a few laughs. The guys' infinite curiosity about nature is contagious, and the show is an excellent tool for encouraging your kids to respect the natural world's diversity and delicate balance, occasionally raising serious concepts like survival of the fittest and death. While Chris and Martin are the stars of the story, they couldn't do what they do without the two female (and STEM-savvy) members of the Wild Kratts team. Positive representations of teamwork and problem-solving round out this engaging story.

 

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What's the story?

The Wild Kratts team charts a course to Alaska alongside a salmon run in WILD KRATTS: ALASKA -- HERO'S JOURNEY. Aviva (Athena Karkanis) is close to perfecting her latest invention, a time thruster, when it accidentally winds up encircling a sockeye salmon on her way up the Alaskan coastline. Chris (Chris Kratt) and Martin (Martin Kratt) leap into action to retrieve it, and Martin winds up following his salmon friend Hero as she migrates, evading predators and managing herculean feats to reach a place to lay her eggs.

Is it any good?

The Kratts' unique approach to teaching kids about nature by immersing the characters in the animals' ecosystems continues to impress in this special. The guys' exuberance for adventure matches Aviva's brilliance for technology, yielding all kinds of cool contraptions that allow them to pass as animals and learn firsthand how they live. They swim with the salmon and hunt with the bears, all the while giving kids an up-close view of how these animals survive in the wild.

Like the Kratts' other productions, Hero's Journey does an exceptional job packing a lot of learning into an engaging story that's told at young kids' level. Although the animation and overall levity of the show sanitizes some of the finer details, the Kratts still approach realities like predators (the story's Hero is prey, after all) and reproduction with a fair dose of honesty. It's a great introduction to nature's wonders and a fun way to encourage young adventure-seekers of your own.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the role that science plays in what the Wild Kratts do. What kinds of things are Chris and Martin able to do thanks to Aviva's inventions in Wild Kratts: Alaska -- Hero's Journey? Even though some of the advancements aren't realistic (shrinking to the size of a salmon, for instance!), do they inspire you to contemplate new ways to solve problems?

  • What did this story teach you about ecosystems? How do different species depend on each other to survive, even when they're not directly connected by the predator-prey relationship? How does altering one aspect of an ecosystem affect all living things involved? Why is it important to consider these realities even though they play out far from you?

  • Kids: What examples of positive character strengths like teamwork and compassion did you notice in this story? Is it important to you that fictional characters demonstrate traits like these? Do you consider any of your favorite characters role models?

TV details

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