Things your little turkeys will gobble up
Saving a Species: The Great Penguin Rescue
Discovery Kids, Nov. 19 at 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Elijah Wood (pictured), the voice of Emperor penguin Mambo in the film Happy Feet, narrates this tale of a terrible oil tanker spill off the coast of Capetown, South Africa, and the marvelous effort to rescue the thousands of African penguins that were affected.
When the tanker sank in June 2000, it was right in the middle of breeding season for the African penguin, whose food supply was already in danger because of polluting and over-fishing. Within 24 hours, an impressive rescue mission was underway, and thousands of the birds were carted off and taken care of by wildlife experts, business owners, and volunteers. Kids will be fascinated to see how the penguins were fed (some needed force feeding or tube feeding), washed (first with vegetable oil to dissolve the tanker oil, then scrubbed three times in dishwashing liquid), and encouraged to play (a huge cart with water and other penguins were all they needed).
Besides learning nifty penguin facts (the babies get their food regurgitated from their parents), youngsters may learn the most important thing of all — it’s crucial to take care of others who might not be able to care for themselves, and everyone can do a little something to help. A —Eileen Clarke
Recommended ages: 4 and up
Nicktoons, Saturday, Nov. 18 at 9 P.M. (one hour special) and at 10 P.M. (half-hour premiere episode); Saturdays at 9 P.M. beginning Nov. 25
Nickelodeon scores a home run with its first original sci-fi series, which features a dynamic brother and sister team and is set it in the year 2251. The Earth is broken up into millions of blocks that are adrift in orbit around its core, and a mother sacrifices herself to save her children. The evil Oslo, leader of the water-controlling entity the Sphere, wants to use 12-year-old Lena’s awesome telekinetic powers to achieve world domination. Lena’s brother Mahad, 17, uses his piloting skills to help her avoid capture. In seeking out their mother’s friend, they join the pirate resistance and set out to free their mother while destroying the Sphere. Skyland‘s use of motion capture, CGI, 2D and key frame animation all make for a fluid and visually interesting show (which may be difficult for a younger crowd to appreciate) with a storyline that promises many future adventures and well-rounded characters. A? —Abby West
Recommended ages: 5 and up
Unrated, 68 mins., 2006
In a continuing trend of dolls becoming the stars of their own movies, we have an animated Polly Pocket — that teeny tiny doll with lots of accessories — only this one actually has an interesting plot. Polly has major bucks, a limo with an automated dressing machine, her own band, and, oh, yes, her very own theme park, PollyWorld. Plus, she and her friends get to be on their favorite reality show, Roll Like That. So what’s the imperfect part of Polly’s world? Her Dad’s conniving fiancée is teaming up with her archenemy Beth to ship Polly off to boarding school, so they can be the No. 1 gals in their respective arenas. Think of it as a Mean Girls for the almost-tween set. When Polly finds evidence that could fix both their wagons, though, she destroys it, rather than letting her father get hurt, which shows that not all ”perfect” creatures are out for themselves. B —EC
Recommended ages: 6-10
Beauty and the Beast
By Max Eilenberg; illustrated by Angela Barrett
Here’s an enchanting version of the classic fairy tale that’s brought to life by almost magical pictures — some lovely in an almost wistful, lithe, gold-dusted way, others a little scary. One of the things I like about the book is that it’s text-heavy. Though the art is an integral part of the story, it complements the writing without overshadowing it in any way. And don’t pass up the book because it sounds so familiar. Yes, we all — adults and children alike — know the plot of Beauty and the Beast, but Eilenberg and Barrett give it a fresh, beautiful spin. A —Tina Jordan
Recommended ages: 4-6