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

Dora the Explorer

Dora the Explorer

Spring 2011 Television
Ages: 2 - 5 yrs.
Producer: Nickelodeon
Network: Nickelodeon

Dora the Explorer has been on the air for over ten years, its longevity a testament to how much kids have latched on to this Latina hero. Most shows follow the same basic formula of getting from point A to point B through a couple of steps detailed by Dora's friend, Map. Along the way, Dora stops to solicit input on a series of problems, such as the right size turtles for Dora and her pals, Boots and Tico, to ride across a river.

While kids are enthralled, parents may be a bit bewildered. The pacing of the show, with long pauses meant for home viewers to respond to Dora, isn't fun for those above the age of 5. There's also the bizarre cursor that appears on screen at the end of "interactive" segments where Dora is asking viewers a question, a very literal interpretation.

All viewers, though, have a chance to work on their language skills. With repetition and singing, it's hard not to pick up some Spanish (or English) as you watch.

The show has grown over the years with special episodes, where Dora's adventures are on a more epic scale than the average episode. These episodes venture into fantasy territory, as when Dora gets stuck in Wizzleworld on her birthday and helps the Wishing Wizzle so he can get her home. These episodes tend to be more bizarre and interesting than the standard Dora adventures.

Amy Kraft   ©2011 Parents' Choice
Amy Kraft is a freelance writer, producer, and game designer with over ten years of experience making media for children. She writes the blog Media Macaroni and lives in New York City with her husband, daughter and son.

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