Wednesday 11 November 2009

One mom's view: Dinosaur Train

Since my kids watch way more tv than I ever thought we would allow, I thought I'd give my take on some of the options out there. This post takes a look at Dinosaur Train.

Dinosaur Train is all kinds of cute. As the parent of a five year-old girl who has been interested in obsessed with dinosaurs for about four years now, I can offer my "expert" opinion on dinosaur-related tv (and movies and books and toys and...). Our house has been saturated in all things dino since before she was two. When we saw there was a new show - by Jim Henson's shop, no less - we were very excited!

The animation is superb (would you expect any less?) The colours are fantastic, backgrounds are bright and (as far as I know) realistic to the time periods.

Let me step back and tell you about Dinosaur Train. Mrs. Pteranodon was waiting for her four eggs to hatch when out popped THREE baby pteranodons - Don, Shiny and Tiny - and Buddy, a baby T-Rex! Even though Buddy is different, he was readily accepted into the family and is treated just as the other kids are (which I love!). Sometimes their differences really stand out, such as the time Mr. Pteranodon takes the kids fishing. But Buddy finds his own way - with the help of his Daddy. Or when the kids argue about what game to play (because what siblings don't?!) with the new friend, Petey (a peteinosaurus - also a "flyer"). The pterasaurs want to fly, but Buddy can't. They come to a wonderful compromise and excitedly tell their mom about it after. The creators have made this show a wonderfully realistic depiction of family life.

The thing I love most about the series is they are FACTUAL! Very rare in kids' dinosaur shows - or any for that matter. (Need I bring up Jurassic Park?!). They travel between the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods on the dinosaur train, which goes through the "time tunnel" when necessary. When they visit different types of dinosaurs they do so int he correct time period. Can I tell you how much I love that?! The vegetation is realistic and differs from period to period. Flowers are only around in the Cretaceous, etc.

When learning about a new dinosaur, the name is repeated throughout the 15 minute episode without being annoying. And then, after the segment with Buddy and his family, an actual, real, in-person paleontologist, Dr. Scott, comes on to talk about some more fun facts. The name of the dinosaur is repeated by a couple kids (with various levels of success) and he then goes on to talk about a characteristic of the featured dino. The ornithomimus episode, for example, talks about the dinosaur being bipedal (walking on two legs). "What other animals can you think of that are bipedal?" he asks. The kids come up with "giraffe", "humans" and they make modern day connections.

I could go on and on about all the things I love about this show, but I'll let you go - if you've even stayed with me for this long! (Thanks for sticking it out!) My kids (5 and 2 1/2 years old) love this show as much as I do. My son bounds up from his chair to dance and sing along with the theme song every time!

Bottom line:
Dinosaur Train is all kinds of awesome. 

(And their website - shown to the left - is cute and informative, too)

Check your local listings.
Here it's on PBS Mon-Fri at 9:30am & TVO at 7:00 am & 12:30pm.


Sarah said...

dinosaur train... Dinosaur Train... DINOSAUR TRAIN! (That plays on repeat in my head all day). But, I don't even care 'cause I love the show, too!

Nathalie said...

We are fans of the show too. We even watched an episode without the kids, I know, pretty sad, but it shows how good it is :O)

LZ @ My Messy Paradise said...

This show is so cute. It's one of the few that we all agree on in our house!
Nothing beats the Backyardigans for me, though!

Anonymous said...

I never thought I would comment on a blog until now. I stumbled upon the comments while looking for D-Train gear. My son is almost 2. We agree that the show is top notch and extremely good! Nice writing and description. A

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