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BACK IN THE Day, which means to a typical "Boomer" the 1950's, young boys, as they do now, loved to read about, draw and collect toys & models of Dinosaurs. This phenomenon usually began when a lad was about 8 years old.
SO WE FAST-FORWARD to 2015 and we see that the awareness of that which is Mesozoic, like so many other things, has a much earlier onset. We can testify to the veracity of this; after observing our 3 year old Grandson, Jack. He knows a "terrible lizard" when he sees one in a drawing or painting and even can tell you some of heir scientific names. Even his younger Brother, Patrick, has a pretty good handle on recognition of the long extinct beasts.
NOW HOW CAN this be? We found ourselves asking this very question. WE can modestly boast that the kids are innately bright and get a lot of attention; but still, it was a puzzlement.
THE ANSWER WAS provided by their television viewing habits, which have generous helpings of PBS and SPROUT channels. Needless to say the boys see a lot of THOMAS & HIS FRIENDS, CURIOUS GEORGE, DANIEL TIGER'S NEIGHBORHOOD and a curiously rendered hybrid animation show called DINOSAUR TRAIN.
THE HALF HOUR episodes combine the modern computer generated animation of brightly colored anthropomorphic dinosaurs with a cutely designed railroad train, that rivals that of Walt Disney's DUMBO. As with all worthwhile kiddie shows, there are always problems for the dinosaur families to solve and some little life lessons for the young 'uns to learn.
THE LAST PORTION of each installment is the province of real-life Paleontologist Scott Sampson; who gives us (parents, grandparents as swell as the kids) some background info about some creature that was featured in the story. We recently learned about Hespiranis, a large, flightless sea bird from the Cretaceous Period, who had teeth in his beak!
THIS FORMULA IS hard to beat or criticize in any way! It gives the child a strong dose of educational material, without being heavy-handed or obvious.
SO WE SAY: "Hats off to you, Craig Bartlett (creator), Jim Henson Productions and the Public Broadcasting System (PBS for short).
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