From Mitchell Kriegman and many of the talented team involved with such productions as "Bear in the Big Blue House" and "The Book of Pooh" comes "It's a Big Big World" --- a still relatively-new series on PBSKids that focuses on science and discovery. The main character is Snook, a slow-paced, happy sloth who makes his home in the World Tree. With him are at least two other adults --- Oko the monkey (think Yoda from "Star Wars") and Madge, an elderly tortoise. They're always ready to lend their advice and insight to the kids of the tree --- Bob the anteater, Smooch and Winslow (brother and sister marmosets), Ich the fish, Burdette the bird and Wartz the frog. Together, they all learn about scientific processes such as metamorphosis, growth, the weather and more.
"It's a Big Big World" certainly has its heart in the heart in the right place and its nice to have a show on PBSKids teaching kids about science. But "Big Big World" fails to stand out in the way a show such as "Bear" does. For one thing, you really got the sense that the characters on "Bear" all really liked each other and had a deep sense of friendship and fellowship and really liked each other. I'm not sure I get that from "It's a Big Big World". Sure, the characters all get together and talk to each other and play with each other and such, but there doesn't really seem to be that deep friendship. Many of them seem just as well to be by themselves most of the time, particularly Burdette and Ich. And Snook, as a sloth, is always having to be dragged away from a nap to go out and spend time with the characters. Sure, Bear liked his sleep as well, but he was also a bear who would get up and go --- dancing the cha-cha-cha, cooking, singing, and just being loveable. Then there's Bob, who's often acting nervous and worried and who always wants to be friends with the ants that anteaters would normally eat. He reminds me somewhat of Tutter from "Bear", but it seems like many of the qualities I find endearing in Tutter, I simply find annoying in Bob. The whole gag with the ants has really gotten old fast --- they really need to find another gimmick for him.
Music-wise, this show doesn't really stand out either. Whereas "Bear in the Big Blue House" had several albums loaded with enjoyable music, "It's a Big Big World" only sometimes uses songs within its stories. The best song on the show by far is "Curve of the World," which is played in-between stories, as "Big Big World" features two stories within each episode. The ending song "Try to Touch the Sky (Snook's Goodbye)" is pretty good too, although it doesn't really compare with "Bear"'s "Goodbye Song." The other songs I don't really remember, other than most of the main theme, whereas I have a lot of the songs from "Bear" memorized.
I understood going in that this show wasn't "Bear in the Big Blue House" and I really wanted to enjoy it for what it was. There is some good learning going on in this show and the slow pacing is a nice break from some of the other children's programming on these days. But the real tipping point for me is the clips shows --- "Big Big World" seems to rely way too much on repackaged clip shows that focus mainly on the characters discussing events from previous episodes. This was a device that "Bear" used very occasionally, but "Big Big World" seems to have like at least five of these clip show episodes already, if not more.
Overall, I'd say you or your kids should probably pass on this and sample some of the other programming on PBSKids, Disney Channel, Nick Jr. or Noggin. (Or Treehouse TV, YTV or Canada Family Channel if you get this program in Canada.) "Big Big World" isn't bad, but in today's world of children's programming, it just doesn't stand out and that just doesn't really cut it these days.