At our house, we're practically children's programming connoisseurs. Cordy has strong opinions on what she likes and dislikes when it comes to TV, and there are things I like and things she will never know exist. (*cough*purpledinosaur*cough*)
Along with Playhouse Disney and Noggin, we also watch Discovery Kids in the morning. Cordy loves that little penguin between shows (Paz?), and Hi-5 is an old favorite. So I expected another high quality show when the Parent Bloggers Network asked me to review the newest show for Discovery Kids, Wilbur.
My expectations were right. Wilbur is a cute calf who explores his barnyard world with his friends, solving problems by reading books to find the answer. Each episode, Wilbur gets the wiggles, and young viewers know it's time for a book. Wilbur reads the book once, and then the book is revisited, only this time the story is told by kids in their own words. Even if your child can't read, the show encourages a love of books and teaches kids that they can look at the pictures and still tell the story in their own words.
After the story, the problem is solved, and there is usually a musical segment following. I really, really like the diversity of the kids featured in this program. We're not talking about the token Asian kid in a sea of white kids - I mean a real mix of all colors, ethnicities and cultures. In particular, I remember seeing one little girl wearing a head scarf. I have to applaud the creators for choosing to represent real diversity in this program.
The characters on the show are charming and kids can easily identify with them. One episode deals with two characters both wanting to pretend to be little red riding hood - I think we can all think of situations where two kids fought over wanting to dress up as the same character.
Cordy gave the show her full attention each time we watched it. She danced, she pointed out shapes, and she had a good time. My only complaint is that when Wilbur starts to wiggle, a catchy little song is sung about it being time to choose a book. The song encourages kids to get up and get moving, but then as soon as the song is done it's time to calm down and read. While some kids may be able to do this, Cordy can't make that fast transition, and so keeps dancing and running around, unable to wind down and enjoy the story. She usually slowed down by the second reading, but introducing reading time with a get up and move song didn't work for her.
Did Cordy like it? Oh yeah. This is targeted right to her age, and after each episode she'd ask for "Weebur?" again. Will we watch it again? Of course. After several viewings, I don't think it's in her top three favorite shows, but she's still asking to see it, and I like it enough that I don't mind indulging her. After all, I can only watch Little Einsteins so many times before I want to plug my ears.
Wilbur can be seen on TLC and the Discovery Kids channel. Check your local listings for showtimes.