If you had told me before I had the children that a really good idea for children’s TV would be a series of short 25 minute operas or operettas, I would have laughed. What a bizarre idea; surely it wouldn’t work!
Ok, I was wrong.
My children have just discovered The Wonder Pets, a cartoon where most of the dialogue is sung – in essence a 25 minute operetta. They are completely hooked. Jocelyn in particular adores the Wonder Pets. All this week, she has been singing the phrase “What’s going to work?” after which I get a chorus of “Teamwork!” from both children. They have also just about figured the words to the theme song.
As with the best children’s TV, the plots are cleverly written and there is always something there for the adults as well. I can’t complain; they love to sing along. And from Dora and Diego, they have learnt about all kinds of animals (nursery were very surprised when, aged 2, Lauren correctly identified a picture of a humpback whale!) and know a surprising number of Spanish words.
Speaking of which, they have also recently started watching Kai-Lan, a cartoon which is all about the adventures of a little Chinese girl who speaks both English and Mandarin Chinese. I’m really pleased that they have picked up some words (and so have I – I don’t speak any Mandarin, only Cantonese Chinese) and are learning a bit about their heritage.
Some of these characters provide great role models; Daddy Pig from the Peppa Pig is Jase’s hero!