When I received my review copy of PBS Kids' new animated series Word World, I glanced at the box, thought, "yeah, it looks interesting," and tossed it aside, but I wasn't really expecting much. Then I picked up another copy at BlogHer, figuring I could give it to my sitter if the kids liked it. I finally remembered I had to review it about a week ago and busted it out for the kids shortly before nap time one weekend.
I wish we had watched it sooner. The kids love it. They were mesmerized for 15 minutes of each of the 3 episodes, which means that I love it.
The video I received through the Parent Bloggers Network, features 2 episodes, "Runaway O" and "The Birds." The press review copy I received at BlogHer has 2 episodes, "Runaway O" and "Happy Birthday Dog," as well as a cute little intermission where the characters - animals made from the letters that make up their names - play instruments. Every instrument is spelled out - D R U M - and then the letters pop together to form a drum. Cute and entertaining.
Each episode covers skills like letter knowledge and phonics, but the show doesn't whack kids over the head with "learning." The skills are deftly woven into a colorful world of words where many nouns are cleverly constructed of letters. The ant is made from the letters a, n, & t. The pig, P, I, and G. Each episode is short enough to keep the kids engaged, but long enough for me to throw some laundry in the wash.
Every episode has at least one moment where all the letter animals "Build a Word" while grooving to some New Order-esque music. My 19 month old love this part and will get up and dance. The kids both spell along with the animals and this is a big thing. Hollis, my oldest, at nearly 3, is not a participatory perform-on-demand-for-Dora type of toddler. It takes a lot for a cartoon to engross Hollis, but he asks to watch "Happy Birthday, Dog" every. single. day.
The only thing that annoys me about the show (aside from watching it 5,003,456 times) is that Duck sounds just like Beverlie Leslie on Will and Grace to me. I keep expecting Karen to show up declaring, "Duck is a homosexual," but that slight annoyance doesn't outweigh the bonus benefit: potty training!
After my kids burned through 45 minutes of Word World on the first day, Hollis had to go "poopy on the potty," where he proceeded to poop an "L." He was so excited he had to tell me all about it and have me admire it. Now to spare y'all, I didn't take photos so you can stop averting your eyes now. Over the next few days he proceeded to poop a C, a T, and an X. I think he was most excited about the X.
We're very proud.
At this point I am pretty much ready to offer my body to the creators of this show in return for new episodes. Because anything that gets my son excited about both letters and going to the potty is worthy of adulation. And cake. Lots of cake.
More importantly, both kids seem to actually be learning how to spell simple words. This is something I did not expect. My 19 month old goes around saying, "B-O-X, BOX!" and "C-A-K-E, CAKE!" Here's a clip of Holden during the "Build a Word" groove-out, wherein the animals spell Box in "Runaway O."
You can watch a preview of the show at World Word's website. I love the preview because Sheep sings about how bad she is and then says "And by bad, you know that I mean good." She's a sheep after my own heart.
World Word starts September 3rd on PBS Kids and it won't be a moment too soon for me. I think I've seen "Runaway O" at least 500 times. I will be TIVO'ing every new episode with glee.
Who knows? Maybe Hollis will start pooping out full sentences.
It could happen.