If you've got a preschooler at home, get acquainted with Daniel Tiger, the newest friend to join PBS Kids television daily line-up. The animated cartoon series, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, premieres on this week on WKNO-TV.
Created by The Fred Rogers Company, the same folks who produced Mr. Roger's Neighborhood, the show centers on the daily life of 4-year-old Daniel Tiger and his friends in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe. Naturally, the show is aimed at children 2- to 4-year-olds and borrows liberally from the original — from its opening song to the way Daniel slips on a red sweater and sneakers before taking off to explore his neighborhood.
But as I watch a segment that shows Daniel going to the bakery for his birthday cake, some of the way his character addresses children at home also reminds me of Blues Clues, a show my son loved as a preschooler. Surprise — that's because the show's leading production team is Angela Santomero and Kevin Morris, the imaginative force behind Blues Clues and Super WHY. Ultimately, this gives Daniel Tiger serious kid cred.
But all your kid will care about is the colorful, imaginative world Daniel lives in. Never mind that the stories teach life lessons about learning patience, persistenance, and resilience, along with talking about feelings. It's sweet without being too preachy or annoying (think Cayou). The show also has online components including a website with interactive games and printables, as well as a mobile app available for download.