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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Wonder Quest is a Maker Studios series that's available to watch on YouTube; it's inspired by Minecraft and its central character hails from creator Joseph Garrett's other Internet hit, Stampylonghead. The videos do an excellent job blending comedy, adventure, and quality educational content under the premise of its heroes' efforts to thwart a villain's plan and return a collection of gems to their town. The fact that the game is less about retrieving an object and more about generating curiosity and a desire to learn gives the show depth. Each story presents the characters with a new concept to learn, all illustrated in engaging, kid-friendly ways. There are even social lessons that promote cooperation, kindness, and perseverance.
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What's the story?
WONDER QUEST is set in Wonderberg, a Minecraft-inspired town whose residents' heightened curiosity comes from the community's treasured Wondergem. But when evil wizard Heinous (voiced by Shay Carl) steals the gem and breaks it into pieces that go missing, people begin to lose their sense of wonder and, with it, their desire to learn. It's up to Heinous' brother, Wizard Keen (Adam Clarke), and Stampy (Joseph Garrett), a resourceful cat, to follow the clues to the pieces and reassemble the Wondergem before the entire town's sense of wonder is lost forever.
Is it any good?
It's hard to miss the show's positive messages about the rewards of curiosity and learning, not to mention the many topics over the course of the episodes. Inspired by Minecraft and created by Joseph Garrett, the creative mind behind YouTube sensation Stampylonghead, Wonder Quest summons the angular cat into a new pixelated town at the behest of Wizard Keen, who's in dire need of a hero to counter the scheming Heinous. Whether Stampy's up to the role remains to be seen, but he's certainly enthusiastic about the job and about each new obstacle that arises.
Slightly less prominent but also very worthwhile themes are examples of teamwork, camaraderie, and determination that see the heroic pair through the challenges they face. What's more, there are social lessons at play in how Keen and Stampy never resort to the kind of vindictiveness that Heinous and his henchmen, Lackey and Flunky, do. Even fleeting mention of how Heinous came to turn evil can prompt discussions about bullying and respect with your kids, so don't miss the chance to build on many of these topics.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Wonder Quest's animation style. Kids: Are you familiar with Minecraft? Does this show's visual similarity to the game make it more fun to watch than regular animation? Are you inclined to want to play Minecraft after watching it?
Do you think this show would be a success if it were on TV? How has the Internet opened possibilities to creators like the ones behind this show, who otherwise might not have gotten a chance to share their work?
Keen and Stampy are always eager to learn. Do your kids share their enthusiasm? Do they enjoy school? Do they like hands-on learning? What did they learn from this show?
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