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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this entertaining, colorful program makes learning about animals lots of fun. Kids will be exposed to vocabulary ranging from "slow" and "fast" to "grazing," "nursing," and all of the names of the featured animals and their habitats. The only confusing point is that Zoboo transforms from a real-life lemur to a puppet when he eats a snack. This transition is pretty seamless, because the puppet looks almost exactly like a real lemur, so the youngest viewers might come away thinking that lemurs can actually speak (parrots do, right?).
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Zoboomafoo is easy to love, because it's so full of good stuff. Not only are Martin and Chris enthusiastic and playful, but they also seem to be genuinely enjoying themselves. This enthusiasm is contagious, and children are bound to respond to it. Along with their friend Zoboo the lemur, the Kratt brothers make learning about animals lots of fun. Often encouraging kids to "run like cheetahs," or to "chew like a horse," Martin and Chris make the interactive aspect of the show very engaging. Likewise, by prompting kids to learn about animals and their habitat, the Kratt brothers have created a truly educational program; especially when the hosts can bring the animals on to the set. Meanwhile, the manner in which Martin and Chris relate to animals is extremely respectful. They never antagonize or aggravate the animals, clearly setting a positive precedent for young viewers.
One segment of the show includes a fantasy element, wherein Zoboo tells a far-out story which is played out in claymation. It works, if simply because Zoboo is very childlike, saying things like, "I can't believe my mind," when hearing something incredible. The jumpy nature of these segments can be a bit odd, but it generally serves to enrich the program with an artistic element. PBS has done it again -- providing young viewers with compelling viewing. Zoboomafoo is a fun, educational show for preschoolers.
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