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

Parents' Choice Awards : DVDs : Home Video
Dora The Explorer: Dora's Backpack Adventure

Dora The Explorer: Dora's Backpack Adventure

Spring 2003 Home Video
Ages: 2 - 5 yrs.
Producer: Nickelodeon
VHS Price: $12.95
Dora the explorer is the 7-year-old Latina star of Nickelodeon's TV show aimed at preschoolers. She uses Spanish words and a magic backpack -- along with a lot of help from the viewers at home -- to make her way through many adventures with her friend, a monkey named Boots.

Each story shows Dora solving a problem that involves getting from one place to another. For example, how will she and Boots get one of his boots when he loses it in the river and it begins to float away? They, and the preschoolers at home, must look at the map, track the course and face obstacles along the way.

Very basic counting skills come into play, and the show feels very interactive because the audience's point of view is representing by the sound of a computer mouse clicking on whatever correct object is needed.

For the Blue's Clues crowd in search of something new, this might be just the show. It incorporation of Spanish is important, although none of the characters is as charming and calming as the wise Spanish-speaking character named Quetzal on PBS' Dragon Tales. One quibble parents have about "Dora the Explorer" is the character of Swiper, a fox who steals things and is generally viewed as a naughty imp. However, in this tape, when the viewers help Dora tell Swiper "No swiping!" he turns around and leaves.

Ann Oldenburg   ©2003 Parents' Choice
Ann Oldenburg, assistant director of the journalism program at Georgetown University, began her career at The Washington Post and went on to spend more than two decades with USA Today, where she covered pop culture topics. She and her husband have three sons and live in McLean, Virginia.

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