Shadowmation Technology Launches New Big Big World Series on PBS

PBS KIDS will launch a new preschool series, ITS A BIG BIG WORLD, featuring learning age-appropriate science and geography concepts from award-winning television veteran Mitchell Kriegman (BEAR IN THE BIG BLUE HOUSE, CLARISSA EXPLAINS IT ALL) on Jan. 2, 2006 (check local listings). The series diverse group of characters and lush rainforest home are brought to life through Shadowmation, a unique, patented process combining puppetry, animatronics and computer-generated animation.

The series centers around the World Tree, home to the animals and the shows metaphor for the world as a whole. From a distance, this tree looks just like an enormous tree full of branches and leaves, but when viewed closer, it is teeming with tree houses and habitats perfect for all of the different animals that live there. It has seemingly endless levels, and lots of nooks and crannies waiting to be discovered.

The lead character, Snook, is an energetic giant sloth. His friends include Smooch and Winslow, two rambunctious marmoset siblings; Wartz, an eager-to-please singing tree frog; Madge, an ancient she-turtle with the map of the world on her back; Burdette, a bird who thinks she knows it all; Bob the Anteater, who is constantly overwhelmed; Ick, a braggart fish and Oko, an old monkey trickster.

Throughout the series, kids will explore with Snook and his many friends the world around them and learn how different things live, grow and change in an engaging and visually appealing way.

Children today are more affected by the global community than ever before," said Kriegman. "ITS A BIG BIG WORLD offers parents and kids a very natural, positive way to think and talk about the world around them. From a distance, the world still makes a lot of sense. The series presents science not just as a bunch of facts, but as a process of discovery. PBS KIDS is the perfect place for this series.

Shadowmation is a unique, patented animated process that utilizes realtime virtual sets and bun raku style team puppetry; integrating live-action animatronic characters and computer-generated animation in realtime, high definition virtual environments. This process combines all the advantages of animatronics, the expressiveness of live performance and the freedom and range of computer animation.

Age-appropriate scientific concepts such as discovering what is essential for life to exist (food, water, air), understanding life cycles and learning how different creatures live and grow will be explored and reinforced through engaging stories and songs. The series will also introduce kids to geography, providing them with a basic understanding that the world is quite big while giving them a sense that they are an important part of a larger community.

PBS KIDS has always encouraged kids to take the lessons learned from our programming into their daily lives, said John F. Wilson, svp, programming, PBS. ITS A BIG BIG WORLD is a great way for kids to learn about the world through the animals in the World Tree and it is presented in a humorous way that parents and caregivers will enjoy watching, too.

Its really important to turn kids onto science early, Kriegman. ITS A BIG BIG WORLD has a multi-level science curriculum that taps into a childs natural fascination with the world around them in an engaging and playful yet scientific way. Each of the characters has a unique perspective and scientific approach, giving children great models for their own investigations.

Educators and scientific advisors are guiding the programs curriculum, including Tina Grotzer, one of the lead educational researchers for Project Zero of Harvard University, which seeks to understand and enhance learning, thinking and creativity, as well as Dr. Daniel Anderson, a prominent psychologist at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, who has been involved in the development of numerous childrens television projects including, SESAME STREET, BLUES CLUES and DORA THE EXPLORER.

A national family and community outreach campaign has been designed to extend the educational lessons of the series beyond the TV screen will support the PBS KIDS series. This includes customizable activities and support materials created for parents, caregivers and children. In addition, an immersive, state-of-the-art website on pbskids.org will supplement the educational series goals and will provide an additional interactive platform for viewers.

Former SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE writer Kriegman is a childrens television visionary who was an exec head writer and developer of RUGRATS, REN AND STIMPY and DOUG, as well as the feature film, ELMO IN GROUCHLAND. Among his many honors, he has received numerous Emmys and Parents Choice awards for his work in childrens programming and his production company is at the forefront of creating new production techniques.

ITS A BIG BIG WORLD is produced at Wainscott Studios, a state-of-the-art animation and production facility in Wainscott, New York. The series is funded in part by PBS.

Providing age-appropriate, diverse programming for kids, PBS KIDS and PBS KIDS GO! programs consistently earn more prestigious awards than any other broadcast or cable network. With additional PBS resources to complement its programming, including PBS KIDS online (www.pbskids.org), PBS KIDS GO! online (www.pbskidsgo.org), PBS Parents (www.pbsparents.org), PBS TeacherSource, PBS Ready To Learn services and literacy events across the country, PBS is providing the tools necessary for positive child development. PBS is a nonprofit media enterprise owned and operated by Americas 348 public television stations, serving nearly 90 million people each week and reaching 99% of American homes.

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