Not sure if it's the best science show, but it's a good one (plus a bit about why ducks always have the best lines)

The question humming around ScienceBlogs at this particular moment is about Science TV, so I thought I would pipe up for one of me and my kid's current favourite shows: Peep and the Big Wide World.


This is maybe a little different from other Sb responses since mine is very much directed towards your 6 and under set. But, you know, I like the show so much that I even made mention of it in the very first piece for the Science Creative Quarterly:

On most mornings, somewhere in the landscape of children's television, you can hear Taj Mahal singing and Joan Cusack narrating - not about sharing, or taking turns, or telling the truth, or even potty training for that matter, but actually on (of all things) science. Funded in part by the National Science Foundation, I'm referring to a program called "Peep and the Big Wide World," a quaint animated offering which follows the adventures of Peep, Quack, and Chirp (a chick, a duck, and a robin), as they explore and discover all the things that "go" in their little world.

I know about this show because I happen to be a scientist with a vested interest in acts of science education. And I also know about this show because I happen to have two young children, who find it both amusing and engaging enough to sit still for its entirety.

Of course, my children don't give a rat's ass about it being science and all. And they certainly wouldn't even begin to understand the irony of using characters that, in my circle of colleagues, currently represent reservoirs for both the Avian Flu Virus and the West Nile Virus (the duck, of course, has the funniest lines, possibly because he knows that he alone is the asymptomatic carrier).

But at the end of the day, I think that this is all really beside the point.

And that's because the point is this: we should be impressed because the show succeeds in talking effectively to the general public about science. And it does this by being different, creative, charming and yet informative - which believe me is no easy task.

And yeah, its theme song really does kick some ass.

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Ah yes, Peep and the Big Wide World.

One of the things I wasn't looking forward to when my son was born was what I perceived as the state of children's entertainment.

Peep, with it's catchy theme, simple animation, wry humour, and science-y themes (without being overt) was a breath of fresh air. It currently gets recorded on my MythTV box daily. That and The Backyardigans. Some great science themes in that one too.

Down with Barney, The Wiggles, and Sesame Street (when did that get so patronizing?)!


Dave does it again. Another convergence. I'd never heard of Peep. Never. Not once. Ever.

Until last week. Before this post.

My son got a copy of a DVD for the library, a weekly activity of his, and has been watching Peep all week long. In fact, he's watching right now as I type this.

Now I know he's in good hands. And what another timely post, Dave.

oh my god...the theme song really DOES kick ass. i love taj mahal.

By katherine (not verified) on 24 Oct 2006 #permalink