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

Dino Dan: Trek's Adventures

Dino Dan: Trek's Adventures

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

Dino Dan: Trek's Adventures is a half-hour children's program produced in Canada and airing on Nick Jr. in the U.S. It's a spin-off of the series Dino Dan, and here Dan's younger brother Trek is the star character and main dino enthusiast. Although aimed at children ages 2 - 5 even young elementary-school-aged kids who have a love of dinosaurs are likely to enjoy it.

10-year-old Trek has an encyclopedic knowledge of dinos and a vivid imagination to help him fill in the blanks. Storylines blend live action with fun computer-animated dinosaurs traipsing around Trek's modern-day environment. Trek takes on a variety of "dino-challenges" and in the process reveals characteristics and scientific facts about a particular type of dinosaurs. In Micro Dino, Trek tries to trap a microraptor to see if it's a carnivore or an herbivore, using a collection of homemade creations in his experiments. In Meteorite Survivors, Trek and his friends go on an animated adventure to learn about the theory that suggests a meteorite strike led to the extinction of dinosaurs- but they also discover a number of creatures that survived the cataclysmic event and still exist on earth today. And in Dino Survivor School, Trek befriends a baby T-Rex, which sparks a discussion about survival behaviors. Episodes also include a short interstitial segment in which Trek goes through his "digital field guide" and recites facts about a particular type of dinosaur, which then handily appears outside his bedroom window for further illustration.

It's never really clear if the dinos actually exist in Trek's world or if they're part of an imagined scenario - but either way, it's a nice visual device to help viewers understand the size and scale of dinosaurs because they're measured against familiar figures and structures. The dinosaurs are creatively imagined, too, with bright skin tones and colorful patterns and they vocalize with a variety of sounds that go beyond the typical roar. The science is sound, the acting is credible, Trek's friends reflect a balance of genders and ethnicities, and even the CGI dinosaurs exhibit lots of personality.

All in all, expect Dino Dan: Trek's Adventures to become a favorite among kids looking for more than just plastic dinosaur figures to feed their imaginations and their love of prehistoric creatures.

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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