Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Between the Lions

Between the Lions

Spring 2009 Television
Ages: 4 - 7 yrs.
Network: PBS
You don’t have to read between any lines on this show. Between The Lions asks only that you read what’s being shown on the screen. With perfect pacing, lively characters and smart word play, the series is all about reading.

Theo and Cleo are the lion and lioness puppet parents who are managers of a library - and hosts of the show. Lionel, 7, and Leona, 4, are their curious little cubs who prompt most of the storylines. But the highlight of each show is the reading of a children’s book or two, with the text highlighted and the drawings brought to life.

In addition to the book, show segments include music videos or animated snippets designed to introduce some specific lesson, such as punctuation or contractions. One recurring segment, Gawain’s Word, humorously recalls Monty Python-styled antics as two live action knights gallop toward each other - on foot. Each knight represents a part of the word. As they crash, the sounds come together to make words. For example, N meets up with Ext to form "next."

Letters and words are constantly flashed on the screen to reinforce what’s being shown. Between The Lions is an excellent and engaging way to build a love for words and reading.

Ann Oldenburg   ©2009 Parents' Choice
Ann Oldenburg, lecturer and interim director of the journalism program at Georgetown University, writes about television, food, workplace issues and other pop culture topics. A University of Florida Gator with a degree in journalism, she began her career at The Washington Post and spent more than two decades with USA TODAY. She and her husband have three sons and live in McLean, Virginia.

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