Pocoyo – teamwork trumps personal ego

Overview of the show: Pocoyo is a Spanish-made 3D animated series made for pre-schoolers. The show has no real setting – all of the characters exist in a largely empty white void. This has the effect of emphasising all of the people and their activities as well as setting it apart aesthetically from all other kids’ shows.

Pocoyo is a flawed though curious boy and is the only human character. He is joined in most episodes by Pato, Elly, Loula and Sleepy Bird; a duck, elephant, puppy and bird respectively. Pocoyo learns simple lessons with the aid of his friends – to overcome his (relatively minor) selfishness in order to cooperate and solve their problems as a team.

Peep and the Big Wide World – Problem solving’s for the birds

Overview of the show: Peep and the Big Wide World is an animated episodic series that stars Peep the chick, Chirp the robin, and Quack the duck. Together these three friends explore their world and discover how it works.
The primary focus of Peep is to teach basic science in an entertaining manner – each episode the characters face problems and try to solve them using different methods and ideas.
The show is simply but cleanly animated; the characters are all brightly coloured and the backdrops are interesting to look at.
The recurring theme of the show is of discovery, adventure and exploration – all excellent messages for young children to hear.

Oobi offers kids a helping hand

Overview of the show: Oobi is a somewhat unconventionally produced show as all of its characters are portrayed by hands with large googly eyes on the knuckles; the effect of which is to create faces using hands. This is much like a sock-puppet show without the socks.

The show has several characters – Oobi, his younger sister Uma, his best friend Kako, and his grandfather, Grampu. The plots generally follow the simple experiences of young children – school, eating, dancing, painting, making music etc. Oobi works on developing mathematics, literacy and simple logic.

All of the characters speak in short, incomplete sentences, often communicating without using pronouns, adverbs or adjectives (e.g. “Oobi hungry – eat). The gesticulations of the hands make the meaning clear (Oobi will rub his “stomach” and pick up a fork), and has gained popularity amongst parents with pre-literate children.

Mighty Machines are mightily useful

Overview of the show: Mighty Machines is a live-action educational show that teaches young children about what large machines do and how they do it.

There is no overall plot or story – the format of this series is documentary-style. The episodes feature long, slow shots of large trucks and industrial equipment performing their tasks and a voice over explaining their purpose.

What separates this show from others of a similar type is that the “commentator” is not a traditional narrator; the trucks and machines themselves will “talk” about themselves rather than having a single person narrating the entire series.

Max and Ruby – Brotherly Love

Overview of the show: Max and Ruby are cartoon sibling rabbits that play and live together. The show is aimed at pre-schoolers and each episode is split into 3 short self-contained stories.

Together they cooperate in their activities – often Ruby will want to do something creative or perform chores, while Max will (sometimes unwillingly) assist his sister in whatever the endeavour entails.
The show is somewhat simply animated – the characters move about like paper cut-outs but it is pleasant without being overly complicated.

The primary focus of Max and Ruby is about brotherhood/sisterhood – being able to have fun and get along with siblings, no matter the age.