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

Dino Dan

Dino Dan

Spring 2016 Television
Ages: 2 - 5 yrs.
Producer: Nickelodeon
Rating: TV Y

Dino Dan: Trek's Adventures is a half-hour children's program airing on Nick Jr. in the U.S. A spin-off of the series Dino Dan with Dan's younger brother Trek as the star.

Like his brother, Trek has a nearly encyclopedic knowledge of dinosaurs and the program continues to blend live action with some pretty impressive CGI animation of dinosaurs, sure to delight dinosaur-lovin' preschool-aged viewers. It's a fun device to enliven plots and help viewers understand the size and scale of prehistoric creatures by placing them in a modern setting.

Each half-hour episode includes two separate stories, and plots are built around Trek's "dino-challenges" and as he solves them he learns about the characteristics and scientific facts of a particular type of dinosaur. In "Trex Rex," Trek learns about herbivores as he considers a dinosaur-themed costume for his birthday party but each one is so fascinating that he keeps changing his mind, a move that frustrates his mom since she's hand-sewing his costume. In "Dino Climbers," a trip to his mother's climbing gym inspires Trek to learn more about which prehistoric creatures could climb. And in another episode titled "Brainy Dino," Trek pits a Dromaeosaurus against a Troodon in a complex maze to see which one is smarter.

The art direction allows for creative license on what dinosaur species may have looked like, sometimes including bright colors and bold patterns, but other than that, science facts are accurate and explained in age-appropriate ways. There's occasional mild peril in the storylines as Trek encounters an aggressive species, or when two different species confront each other, but nothing progresses to a point that would upset viewers. The humans are likable, the dinosaurs express very definite and interesting personalities, and the content is interesting. If you've got a budding paleontologists in your household, expect this program to be a hit.

Gina Catanzarite   ©2016 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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