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



Spring 2015 Television
Ages: 2 - 5 yrs.
Producer: Nickelodeon
Rating: TV Y

Wallykazam! is a half-hour animated children's program airing on Nickelodeon. It premiered in February of 2014 and its lead character is a darling little troll-boy named Wally Trollman, who travels through a Medieval neighborhood with his dragon sidekick Norville. This series puts an imaginative spin on early literacy skills thanks to Wally's magic stick, which he uses to highlights words and letters on the screen. Then, with a swish of the stick, he reinforces basic phonics concepts by transforming the words into the actual physical objects or events they represent.

In Running Rita, both the word "run" and the letter "r" get the Wallykazam treatment. The script includes plenty of alliteration to emphasize the "r" sound - as a doll named Rita starts to run . . . and run and run and run. Both raisins and ramps figure prominently in the doll's safe return. In "Naptime for Borgelorp," the letter "s" is the star when Wally and Norville babysit a pal's pet. The pet is a "borgelorp," a tiny creature who refuses to take a nap but after playing with a sock and soaring through the air, the creature eats a sandwich and is finally lulled to sleep by a soft song.

Wallykazam! delivers its education content with a big dose of charm and plenty of fantastical story elements. Preschool viewers are likely to stick with the show while the phonics lessons are sticking with them.

Gina Catanzarite   ©2015 Parents' Choice
Gina Catanzarite is an award-winning television producer, writer, teacher, mom and media consultant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She began her career in 1987 and counts 9 Emmy awards, 26 Emmy nominations, a Matrix award, two Pennsylvania Broadcaster's Association Awards, 8 Telly Awards, and a screenwriting grant from the Theatre Association of Pennsylvania, among her professional honors.

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