The Wonder Pets to Save the Nutcracker!

Now that we’re fully into December (how did that happen?), the holiday specials on television are in full swing. It becomes sport, in our family, to figure out how many times one can work “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid!” into a casual conversation. So yes, I’m a sucker for the classics, but that doesn’t mean I’m not open to a new show or two.

My kids have already set the DVR to record The Wonder Pets Save the Nutcracker!, each of them claiming it was the other one who really wants to see it. The episode premieres next Monday night (December 8th) at 8:00 p.m. on Nickelodeon. Check out the description:

In “Save the Nutcracker!,” directed by Emmy-Award winner Jennifer Oxley, it’s Christmas Eve and a Mouse King emerges from a picture book and steals the Wonder Pets’ Nutcracker from the classroom. Linny the Guinea Pig, Turtle Tuck and Ming-Ming Duckling pursue the Mouse King into the book, dancing through a wintery wonderland filled with sugar plum fairies and sweet treats to the music of Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” ballet. The trio persuades the Mouse King to give back the Nutcracker and be happy with what he already has in his kingdom. The Wonder Pets travel back to the classroom and on Christmas morning, they crack open their nut which magically decorates the classroom and brings the Nutcracker to life.

That actually sounds a lot more fun than the year I took my daughter to see the Nutcracker ballet and she fell asleep. (She was only four, but still.)

Don’t forget to visit the Wonder Pets Store here at Ty’s for everything you need to save the day!

PBS scores big with Daytime Emmy awards

Just in case you missed it, the 35th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards were given our last Friday, and many of our favorite kid’ shows were recognized for excellence. PBS topped the list with 10 awards; for example, Sesame Street won “Outstanding Pre-School Children’s Series,” bringing that show’s total Emmy count to seventy gagillion*.

Other awards of note to those of us with ankle-biters in the house:

  • Curious George won “Outstanding Children’s Animated Program”
  • The Backyardigans won “Outstanding Special Class Animated Program”
  • Wonder Pets won “Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction and Composition”
  • Both Greatest Inventions with Bill Nye and Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild won for “Outstanding Children’s Series”
  • Between the Lions won “Outstanding Writing in a Children’s Series”
  • “Outstanding Writing in Animation” went to both Peep and the Big Wide World and WordGirl

There are other awards, of course, but those are the ones of greatest interest to me. Of course, if you’re deeply moved by the Emmy The Price Is Right won for make-up, well then, to each his own. (My reaction, upon reading that: “Wait… The Price Is Right is still on the air? Isn’t Bob Barker 104?”)

Anyway, it was a pretty exciting day for some great children’s shows. Congratulations to all the winners!

* A “gajillion” is not really a number. Sesame Street has, in fact, won 117 Daytime Emmys, which is very close to seventy gajillion.

Pirate Week on Nickelodeon

If you’ve got a preschooler in the house, good news—next week Nick Jr. is hosting Pirate Week!

And really, who doesn’t love pirates? No one who’s any fun, right?

It may not be quite as much fun as International Talk Like a Pirate Day (sorry, that’s not until September), but starting June 9th, 2008, your little darlings will be able to enjoy a week of pirate-themed episodes of their favorite shows.

It’s all being kicked off with a special episode wherein The Backyardigans go to camp:

The young audience and early education television programming block Nick Jr. continues to send springtime adventures to audiences early this year, as it schedules an early June broadcast of a new episode of The Backyardigans sets to air. A fantasy-adventure series that sets its characters’ escapades to song and dance, The Backyardigans, during the second full week of June, will accompany other Nick Jr. programs during a week of pirate-themed television cartoons. Nick Jr. is a specially designed programming block airing on Nickelodeon weekdays from 9:00am-2:00pm (ET). The programming block is dedicated to preschoolers, is curriculum based, and best-of-all, commercial free.

[...]

In “Pirate Camp,” Uniqua really wants to be a pirate, so she convinces a fearful Pablo to join her at Camp Walk-A-Planka. Under the tutelage of the great pirate captain Austin, the campers learn about “pirattitude” and dance the scalawag to a Garage Band soundtrack. When Austin is captured by pirate captain Red Boots, a fearsome ghost played by Tasha, it’s up to the pirate campers to use their “pirattitude” to help set him free. But can they escape being tickled and turned into ghosts by captain Red Boots?

There will also be themed episodes of your other favorites—Wonder Pets, Max and Ruby, and Dora the Explorer.

Your favorite preschoolers shows and piracy go together like… like… chocolate and peanut butter! Or maybe gum and hair, seeing as how we are talking about preschoolers…. Either way, it looks to be a great week of programming, matey!

Noggin’s ready to ring in the new year

Ever since last summer when it was announced that Noggin and The N would be splitting up at the end of this year, folks have been waiting to see how the two networks will change up their programming to fill the new slots.

Because, after all, they’ll each have twelve more hours—twice as much time—to fill.

Well, wonder no more! The new plans have been announced, and it will all kick off on New Year’s Eve:

To kick off the split, Noggin and the N will each air marathons on New Year’s Eve. Noggin will air a primetime movie marathon from 6-11 p.m. Dec. 31, featuring the premiere of “Franklin and the Turtle Lake Treasure” as well as “Dora Saves the Mermaids,” “Save the Wonder Pets!” and “Great Jaguar Rescue.”

I can think of little that would make most small children happier than getting to stay up on New Year’s Eve and watch the Wonder Pets. Who needs Dick Clark when you have Turtle Tuck?

There’s new goodies headed to Noggin in the new year, too:

Among the offerings from the preschooler-targeted Noggin, which becomes a stand-alone network at 6 p.m. ET Dec. 31, is “Pinky Dinky Doo,” which has been greenlighted for a 26-episode second season. Based on the book series by Jim Jinkins, “Pinky” is Noggin’s first original animated series dedicated to enhancing early literacy.

The channel also is set to premiere the 26-episode animated preschool series “Toot & Puddle,” based on the books by Holly Hobbie, in fall 2008.

(Get a sneak peak at Pinky Dinky Doo here if you want to learn more.)

I’m actually more excited about Toot & Puddle than is probably normal, but we’ve been fans of the books for a long time. I think a series would be awesome. (And not just because they’re written by Holly Hobbie. Yes, that Holly Hobbie. I wonder how weird it must be to have an iconic cartoon character sharing your name? So weird it causes you to go write stories about two pigs who are best friends, apparently.)

Anyway, I don’t think Noggin is going to have any trouble filling up that extra time. And if you find yourself at a boring party on New Year’s Eve, you can always flip it on for some old favorites!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year (at Nickelodeon)

As if it isn’t enough that this is the season when all of the old favorite holiday specials are on television, the regular programming schedule is getting a little jolt of the holiday spirit, as well. I am especially loving this on account of my family’s recent relocation to warmer climes.

(Those of you who’ve always lived where it’s still arcing into the 70s in December may be used to this, but we aren’t. A few holiday television shows featuring plenty of yuletide glee along with some snow are just what the doctor ordered.)

Anyway, Nickelodeon is running all sorts of great stuff this month. Tomorrow (that’s Friday, December 14th, 2007) your preschooler can get into the spirit all afternoon long:

December 14 (12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.)

12:00 p.m. The Wonder Pets! “Save the Reindeer”
12:30 p.m. Blue’s Clues “Blue’s First Holiday”
1:00 p.m. Go, Diego, Go! “Diego Saves Christmas”
1:30 p.m. Wow Wow Wubbzy! “O Figgity-Fig Tree/Snow Day” (PREMIERE)

The winter holidays are here, and the kids are building a winter festival, Madame Zabinga is rehearsing the Nutty-Nutcracker, and Walden is waiting for the arrival of blue snow. Best of all is the lighting of the Figgity-Fig Tree, and this year Wubbzy wants to make it the best tree ever! But as usual, he overdoes it by adding too many lights and blows out the generator. Without any lights, the Wuzzleburg townspeople must come up with novel ways of decorating the tree. In “Snow Day,” Wubbzy goes sledding and Widget brings out his snow-shoveling machine. Walden begins building a snow sculpture of a Woly-Polar Bear, but soon Wubbzy sleds right into it, knocks it down and buries Widget’s machine in the snow. Now Wubbzy and Widget scramble frantically to fix the sculpture before Walden finds out.

Later on in the day, Christmas comes to the Wayside School:

Friday, December 14 – Wayside “Sideways Christmas” (PREMIERE)

“Extra-Curricular Ridicular”
All the kids are forming bizarre after-school clubs, except for Todd, who creates a plain old “Science Club.” Myron laughs at him, believing his club will be better, until he sees Todd’s club has managed to build a functioning rocket. Jealous Myron tries to form a “Science Club” and build a rocket of his own.

“Sideways Christmas”
A series of haphazard events confuse Myron into thinking he’s actually stuck in his own version of “The Christmas Carol.” The other kids are baffled as he mistakes them for Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, and in the end, Myron learns his lesson.

On Sunday you’ll find a holiday-themed marathon taking place on Nick in the afternoon (featuring Spongebob, Jimmy Neutron, Danny Phantom, and others), and of course there’s plenty more holiday cartoon goodness as we move closer in towards Christmas. See the entire schedule here if you need to plan around your favorite shows.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.