A parent's dilemma of choosing either educational or entertaining show for their children is easily solved with the new series called "Dinosaur Train".
We were recently sent a DVD of the first two episodes of this new animation which aired for the 1st time on March 14, 2012 on Nick Jr.
Dinosaur Train, created by Craig Bartlett (Hey Arnold!), is set in a whimsically realistic, prehistoric world of jungles, swamps, active volcanoes and oceans. Each day, Dinosaur Train will help kids ages 3 to 6 to apply scientific thinking as they discover new types of dinosaur species, compare and contrast dinosaurs to today's creatures and embrace the living sciences of paleontology and natural science. The half-hour shows feature two animated episodes; Based on input from paleontologists, science educators and early childhood education experts, Dinosaur Train promotes critical thinking skills for preschoolers based on an engaging and creative curriculum.
Dinosaur Train, produced by The Jim Henson Company, is co-produced with Singapore animation company Sparky Entertainment, with the participation and assistance of the Singapore Media Development Authority. UK production and financial support is being provided by Ingenious Media. The series is executive produced by Lisa Henson, Brian Henson, Halle Stanford and Craig Bartlett.
EP 1: In Valley of the Stygimolochs, Buddy wonders if he’ll grow horns when he gets older, so Mrs. Pteranodon takes him to visit some dinosaurs called Stygimoloch, who have really impressive horns.
EP 2: In Tiny Loves Fish, after Mr. Pteranodon teaches the kids his fishing method, Buddy and Tiny work together as a team to catch fish in the Big Pond.
Buddy, a curious, funny, and intelligent T-Rex is the star of the show. He is cautious, but always ready to jump into action and start asking questions. While on the Dinosaur Train, Buddy makes a hypothesis and begins searching for the answers to his questions with the help of his Mom, the Conductor, and the new dinosaurs he meets on the train. When Buddy isn’t taking exciting trips on the Dinosaur Train, he is playing with his siblings, Don, Tiny, and Shiny and anticipating their next adventure.
Tiny, who loves to make rhymes, is quite clever and very brave. Tiny approaches every dinosaur she meets with the confidence of a news reporter trying to get the full scoop. Tiny is so brave that she often wanders a little bit too far; but, Buddy is always there to help her get back on the right track. And in return, Tiny is fiercely protective of her brother Buddy. Tiny also has two Pteranodon siblings: Don and Shiny.
Shiny is more “girly” than Tiny and proud of her shiny exterior, but can become shy in social situations. Shiny is outgoing with her siblings and acts as if she is the “wisest.” She can be a bit of a show-off and loves role playing with her brothers and sister. Shiny is happiest at home in Pteranodon Terrace hanging out with Dad and Don, while her Mom, Buddy, and Tiny take trips on the Dinosaur Train.
Don is a sweet, mellow little Pteranodon. Although he has a goofy streak, he is steady as a rock and very focused on the task at hand. Don is loyal to all his siblings and graciously waits his turn. Once his mind is made up, though, Don goes enthusiastically head-first into every challenge.
Mrs. Pteranodon: teacher, companion, and tour guide extraordinaire. But, first and foremost, she is “Mom” to Buddy, Don, Tiny, and Shiny. She is always there to listen to Buddy’s questions about being an adopted member of the Pteranodon family. Mrs. Pteranodon is intent on a good education, but she is also always looking for ways to let her kids explore their world.
Mr. Pteranodon: The kids' devoted, hands-on "sports dad," Mr. Pteranodon loves to approach parenting like coaching a team. He can even make a squawk that sounds like a whistle when he needs to call "time out!" He exhorts his kids to work together towards their goals, often calling out, "Go Team Pteranodon!" He is fun, can be a little silly, and encourages the kids to "be adventurous."
Conductor Troodon is a Troodon and a special friend to Buddy and his family. He becomes one of Buddy’s heroes because he is the Conductor of one the most awesome trains of all, the Dinosaur Train! The Conductor is very intelligent and is happy to explain facts about dinosaurs, the places they visit and even how the Dinosaur Train works.
My boys enjoyed the DVD, despite the fact that their ages don't fit exactly the age group the series is aimed for. Sasha is 10, but enjoys watching animation for the younger audience still. Eddie at 20 months is a bit too young to appreciate the educational part of the series, but he loved the colourful characters and the fab animation.
Here they are, watching the DVD and having a laugh. Sasha laughed at the comic twists in the animation, and Eddie was mostly joining in the laughter.
I loved the fact that they were watching together and sharing the experience. I must say I expected a high quality animation from The Tim Henson Company, and I wasn't disappointed. This is a truly creative, educational, fun animation.
I also loved the message that it is OK to be different. There is a lot of peer pressure among children nowadays to conform and be like everyone else and lose individuality. This animation teaches children to appreciate the difference and be true to yourself.
So climb aboard and enjoy the show!