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



Nature Cat

Nature Cat

Spring 2017 Television
Ages: 3 - 8 yrs.
Producer: Spiffy Pictures
Rating: TV Y
Review:

If you ever wonder how your docile housecat spends the day while you're at work, you might want to check out Nature Cat, an animated series that airs on PBS Kids.

Fred may seem like an indoor cat to his owners, but each day, after they leave, he escapes for adventures in the great outdoors, assuming the persona of his alter-ego Nature Cat. That leads to some mishaps because, while he does have a great love of nature, he doesn't have a natural aptitude for it. That's the premise that drives this educational program for kids 3 - 8 because, as Fred learns about the outdoors, little viewers will, too.

Each episode includes two separate storylines with tuneful song breaks and short educational video sequences thrown in. The plotlines are simple enough for young kids to understand but they include winks and nods to the grown-ups, too. In "Love You, Michael Bluejáy," the gang is excited to see singer Michael Bluejáy (wink, nod) perform and they plan to hike to the concert venue. After packing their bags with hiking essentials, they set off on the trail but it proves more challenging than they thought. When they end up lost in the woods, it takes level heads, logic, and teamwork to find their way back to safety. In another episode titled "Ze Worm Whisperer," a little backyard gardening leads to a big lesson about the value of worms. Nature Cat proves himself to be a bit of a 'fraidy-cat' but he gets over it once he learns how worms help enrich the soil. Other episodes have Nature Cat and friends learning about a range of science and nature topics, from details about animal habitats to what causes rainbows to the unusual way seeds are spread to remote locations.

According to online promotional material, Nature Cat is intended to "encourage children to similarly engage with and develop understanding of nature." In addition to smart writing that artfully weaves the educational content intothe storylines, the series packs some powerhouse talent in the voice-over department, including Saturday Night Live's Taran Killam and Kate McKinnon, who voice the roles of some of Nature Cat's friends, a posse that includes a dog, a mouse, and a rabbit. The characters are earnest and likable and little viewers will enjoy Nature Cat's antics as he indulges his love of the outdoors.

So, when it's time to turn off the TV and venture outdoors, children are likely to be better informed explorers and notice little details about the land and animals that spark their curiosity to learn more.

Gina Catanzarite   ©2017 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 eight Emmy awards, twenty-one Emmy nominations, a Matrix award, two Pennsylvania Broadcaster's Association Awards, seven Telly Awards, and a screenwriting grant from the Theatre Association of Pennsylvania, among her professional honors.

Look for this product at:
Spiffy Pictures
www.spiffypictures.com

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