TV Review: 'Tinga Tinga Tales'

Filed under: TV

Rated ON for Ages 4 and Up

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that these African folk tales cater to kids' natural sense of curiosity and will inspire their own creative thinking about the world around them. East African-inspired art and music complement the beautiful stories about how safari animals came to look and act as they do today, and at the heart of each tale is a positive lesson about relating to others and being a good person. This series is a great way to increase kids' appreciation of the world's cultural diversity.

The good stuff

  • Educational value: The series increases kids' awareness of other cultures and exposes them to different styles of storytelling.
  • Messages: The series exposes kids to African-inspired stories, music, and art, and each story promotes a social theme like sharing, kindness, or courage. The stories cater to kids' natural curiosity about their surroundings and encourage them to think creatively about the way the world looks and works.
  • Role models: Each of the characters is strong and wise in his own way, but each also has room to improve, as the stories show. Whether their changes are physical or social, the animals learn that positive behavior is rewarded and negative behavior has consequences.

What to watch out for

  • Violence & scariness: Not an issue.
  • Sexy stuff: Not an issue.
  • Language: Not an issue.
  • Consumerism: The show is linked to a series of books for preschoolers.
  • Drinking, drugs, & smoking: Not an issue.
What's the Story?

"Tinga Tinga Tales" uses Tanzanian-inspired art to bring animal-centered African folk tales to life. Stories like "Why Lizard Hides Under Rocks" and "Why Lion Roars" put a multicultural spin on the theory of evolution and illustrate interpersonal issues like the importance of sharing, having courage in the face of fear, and being humble.

Is It Any Good?

This beautifully animated series exposes kids to rich African culture through art, music, and timeless storytelling that will change the way they (and possibly you) look at the world's animal inhabitants. The intriguing tales were gathered from a range of African nations, and each one takes kids on a fantastical safari adventure to discover the reasons behind the natural world's diversity. Although the show is geared toward preschoolers, its stories and social messages won't be lost on older kids who tune in, and it will inspire them to think creatively about how the world got to be the way it is today.

"Tinga Tinga Tales" is a great introduction to multicultural arts and heritage, and its brief format (each story is only 15 minutes long) caters to parents who want to share quality entertainment with their kids in small doses. And since the stories also incorporate positive messages about personal and social responsibility, there will be plenty to discuss about how the animals' experiences relate to your kids' lives after the TV's turned of.

This review was written by Emily Ashby.

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