Maybe I was the last one out there to have heard of Pingu? Apparently this little claymation penguin was taking the preschool world by storm on PBS Sprout while I was watching Noggin.
But when Parent Bloggers asked me to review the first DVD, Pingu: On Thin Ice, I jumped at the chance without even knowing the story. It was about penguins, and Cordy likes penguins, so that was enough motivation for me.
Pingu is a little penguin who gets into all kinds of trouble, but finds a way out every time. All of the characters talk in a made-up language that kind of sounds like English if you had a mouthful of rocks while talking. It took me a little getting used to, but Cordy picked up on it right away. The gestures and tone of voice of each character make it easy to follow along. Cordy would look at me and say, "What'd they say, mommy?" but then quickly follow up with her own (accurate) translation of what was going on. Apparently she was just testing me to see if I could follow along.
Pingu faces many situations that your average kid does. He has a little sister that annoys him at times, but at other times he annoys her, too. He tries to hide his stinky fish soup when his mom won't let him leave the table until he eats it. He is sent to get milk for his little sister and naturally takes the long way home, resulting in him nearly losing the milk in a snow cave. He gets into snowball fights with his friends.
She. loves. this. DVD. Cordy is now obsessed with Pingu. There are eight short episodes on this DVD, and at the end of the first one, she looked at me and said "Again? Play it again mommy?" I told her another episode was coming up, and at the end of that one, she asked me the same question again. Actually, she asked that after every single episode, and demanded I replay the DVD again and again. The first day we watched Pingu, we didn't watch anything else all afternoon. Since then, she's calmed down a little, but still asks for it daily. Mira also likes watching it, since there is always a lot of action.
I really like that Pingu isn't a scrubbed clean, everyone-behaves-perfectly show for kids. Pingu has his faults, as do others around him. In one episode, he and his sister are camping in the yard, and he makes spooky faces to scare her. He makes fun of her sometimes, too. In another episode, he jumps into the bath with his baby sister, who then starts "making bubbles" in the tub, grossing him out quickly. His friends laugh at him when he falls down on his snowboard. The characters are well-rounded compared to other shows designed for this age group, and I think it's good to see them behave badly sometimes.
We give Pingu: On Thin Ice two big thumbs up. Cordy loves the characters, and I find the animation to be really cute and the stories are short and funny. I don't know how we missed out on this before now, but I have a feeling we'll be watching this DVD for a long time to come. (And check out the website - it has some fun games, too!)