I was super excited when I found out that the Kratt brothers (the brilliant minds behind and acting stars of Zoboomafoo) were producing a new PBS kids show Wild Kratts. However, I had some reservations. You see the show is part live action, part animation, and I wasn’t sure how I felt about animated Kratt brothers.
You guys all remember Zoboomafoo, right? The leaping lemur who lived in Animal Junction and visited each day with Chris and Martin Kratt? We are huge Zoboomafoo fans in this household. I can honestly say I’ve seen each and every episode at least twice minimum. Of course they stopped filming it years ago, and well like I said, I’ve seen every episode, multiple times.
So as you can imagine, I of course jumped at the chance to review the WILD KRATTS: Predator Power DVD, and now having watched the four episodes on the DVD I have to say, it rocks. It is a fun, educational show that I actually enjoyed sitting and watching with my kids. However, I do have to warn you it is for a slightly older target audience then Zoboomafoo.
Cool Canadiana fact:
Chris and his brother Martin are now living in Ottawa, where they’ve opened their own animation studio, which is where they filmed the TV series Wild Kratts.
Each episode contains a live action intro and conclusion, featuring the Kratt brothers, that sets up the cartoon segment and introduces the featured animal. The middle of the episode is an animated adventure featuring the Kratt brothers and their clever techie helpers. Through the magic-like tech of their Creature Power suits, and other fantastic inventions, the Kratt brothers explore various environments, learn fascinating info about various creatures, and help to keep animals “Living free and in the wild!”.
As a parent I can’t help loving the core concept behind that show, which is to teach kids about science in general through their natural love of animals. The cartoon style is clean and modern and the animation is solid. As much as I worried that turning the Kratts into cartoon characters would be too cheesy, it’s just a fantastically fun show. The animated segments serve their purpose, allowing the Kratt brothers to do things they could never do in a live action show (or at least not without a crazy special effects budget).
The only down side is that many of the animated stories are centred around conflict with a villain. This is where the show fell flat for my four year old. She would ask me dozens of questions trying to figure out why there was a bad guy in the show, and why he was trying to do whatever silly evil thing he was trying to do (such as hunt shark for their fins to create shark fin soup, or chase after cheetah cubs to turn into furry fashion statements). It was just a bit over her head, and it’s really the first show with that sort of good/bad conflict that she’s watched.
This isn’t a failing of the show really, just more that it’s meant for kids who are slightly older, like say five and up. My daughter did still enjoy the DVD. She watched each episode intently and asked to see them over (and over) again. She seemed to enjoy the live action segments with “real animals” over the animated plots, and the one episode (Little Howler) that didn’t feature a “bad guy” was her favourite of the bunch.
4 episodes, 25 minutes each. Total runtime 100 minutes.
Special Feature: Printable PDF Activities
Episodes: Stuck on Sharks, Mimic in the Grass, Little Howler and Raptor Roundup.
Animals featured include: cheetahs, wolf, great white shark, orca, remora, honey badger, cougar, falcon, vulture, eagle, and more.
Suggested retail price: $12.99 US
As a mom who sits with her kids and watches 98% of what they watch, I appreciate a TV show like this that I actually enjoy sitting through. Overall I would definitely recommend this DVD. If you have kids who dig animals they are pretty much guaranteed to enjoy this show. The PBS website says the show is targeted for six to eight year olds, but I think I’d pad that by a year to either side (aka 5 to 9 year olds). If you liked the Kratts previous shows (Zoboomafoo, Kratts’ Creatures, Be the Creature), you are going to love the Wild Kratts.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of the above DVD for review purposes. As always my words and my opinions are my own.