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Amazon’s New Children’s Shows Blend Education, Entertainment

Parents with strong opinions about the television available for your preschoolers, Amazon is looking for you. Its Amazon Studios has six pilots available for free streaming, all targeted at younger children (and their downloading parents). Creators range from Angela Santomero and Traci Paige Johnson (from “Blue’s Clues”) to the Jim Henson Company.

Each program works to blend education with entertainment in what’s fast becoming the industry-standard style. “Sara Solves It” presents math mysteries in a city full of numbers and geometric designs. ( Santomero, a Motherlode contributor, tells me it’s “big math for little kids.”) “Annebots” offers a young scientist working in a junkyard, “Creative Galaxy” is an “animated interactive art adventure,” and the puppets of “Teeny Tiny Dogs” demonstrate subtle lessons in “happiness” based on the latest research.

“But you don’t necessarily have to focus on the educational part,” said Roy Price, the director of Amazon Studios. “These are terrific, entertaining shows, they’re fun and simple — that’s the trick of it, to combine a great show and a great message in a way that’s informed by some of the leading thinkers in the field of children’s television.”

Did Amazon Studios succeed?

You, and your children, can decide and in the process tell Amazon which of the pilots should become series. You can also catch a glimpse of what goes into the development of the shows, some of which (like “Creative Galaxy”) aren’t yet fully produced or animated. “We’re letting people in before we’re done,” Santomero said. “I’m excited and I’m nervous, and it’s kind of scary, as a creator, to put it out there when it’s not done and all your ideas are not fully there, but it’s kind of amazing, too.”

The pilots can only be streamed or downloaded — they’re not available on network or cable TV. Amazon Studios is clearly aimed at families who take their video “to go” on smaller devices (although some families also stream to televisions). It’s a change that shifts the selection of new programs to parents (preschoolers won’t see any promotions for these shows while watching an old favorite, at least not yet)…

Read More: KJ Dell’Antonia,


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