New kid-friendly TV and music
Bindi the Jungle Girl
Saturdays, 5 p.m., Discovery Kids
”Manatees — I love ’em!” enthuses 8-year-old Bindi Irwin in Bindi the Jungle Girl, her new wildlife-praising, conservation-promoting show. ”Up here is Corny the corn snake. We sleep together!” she grins, while Corny slowly wraps itself around her wee neck.
Before you call Child Services, remember that Bindi’s dad is the late Steve ”Crocodile Hunter” Irwin, and she’s clearly inherited his passion for animals. As the theme song explains, ”The Croc Hunter taught her/Now his only daughter/Is Bindi the Jungle Girl.” In the treehouse set, the preternaturally well-spoken Bindi exuberantly introduces her pets (”The black-headed python is my favorite snake in the whole entire world!”) and much archival footage of her dad hugging gorillas and being chased by elephants?which could be a tad confusing for kids who’ll wonder if he’s still alive.
And, yes, parents might want to check e-mail or load the wash when a boy band in safari gear pops up each episode to sing ”We’re earth liberators, fighting poachers and traders, we’re the C-R-O-C-M-E-N!” But honestly, who can complain about a message for kids as important as this from a girl who clearly adores what she’s doing? Just be prepared to explain why Mom and Dad really don’t want a wombat in the house. B+—Beth Johnson
12:30 p.m., Nickelodeon, Ages 7 and up
Children adore Louis Sachar’s Wayside book series because the ridiculousness factor in everyday activities is amped up to a crazy level. This cartoon series taps into that same energy, bringing to life the 30-story school (built that way because of a ”slight” miscalculation) that’s overrun with cows. While eccentricities abound (one of Mrs. Jewls’ wacky students shows off his pet orange named Red), crucial lessons about friendship rise above the antics. B+—Tanner Stransky
Joe McDermott: Everybody Plays Air Guitar
CD, True Blue Music, Ages 2-7
There are lots of rockin’-out CDs for kids that blast right past their ears in order to impress parents, but this is not one of them. On one track, McDermott expertly explains the finer points of assuming the air-guitar position — ”Stand up straight, put your legs like an A…/Wiggle your hip, bite your bottom lip” (yes, Jack Black would approve). On another, ”Momma’s Gonna Have a Baby,” he tells a lovely story from a brave older sibling’s POV. A-—Eileen Clarke
House of Cards
Need to figure out what to do between the release of the latest Potter flick and the final book? Create your very own Hogwarts with Klutz building cards, complete with needle towers, walkways, and turrets (and Muggle-proof instructions). Magic wand not included. (Klutz, $20).