Much like the Dora series, Kai-lan goes on small adventures with her animal friends, learns valuable lessons along the way and encourages viewer interaction. Kai-lan depends upon her grandfather, Yeye, for guidance and support. Kailan's animal friends include: Rintoo, the tiger; Tolee, the koala; Hoho, the monkey; and Lulu, a pink rhino. Besides the bilingual aspect, the show also teaches kindness, compassion, and how to deal with feelings and emotions. One of the standard messages is "Try it! Because you might like it!" My daughter has amazingly picked up a number of phrases including "Ni Hao," the term for hello (also the show's title) and thank you, "xie xie." Kai-lan's large eyes and catchy songs appeal to preschoolers and the background graphics are bright, colorful and slightly abstract like a fun children's video game.
A new Kai-lan DVD released on July 14th called Ni Hao Kai-Lan: Kai-Lan's Great Trip to China. The DVD runs 96 minutes and includes three separate episodes: a double-length feature episode Kai-Lan's Trip to China, and two additional episodes Rain Or Shine and The Ant Playground. We had the chance to preview the DVD before it released, much to the delight of my daughter. She has watched it a few times and really, really likes the trip to China segment. Kai-lan's aunt, Gu Nai Nai, invites Kai-lan and her friends to China to learn more about the Chinese culture. During their visit, they meet a baby panda that likes to eat watermelon. (Preschoolers love baby pandas ... at least mine does because the baby panda was a huge hit here.) In the other segments Kai-lan has fun in the rain and helps build a swing for some ants. My only complaints: I'm not sure what to make of Mr. Sun's sun fuzzies. They are just strange. The special features section only includes one feature, a music video "We're Going to China." I do wish that the DVD included a term and pronunciation guide in the special features so that it could be used more effectively as a teaching tool. Overall though, we really enjoyed the DVD.
I must say that I'm really impressed with the Nick Jr. website. It has some excellent corresponding Kai-lan activities, games and printables. Many of them are specifically related to the Great Trip to China DVD. My daughter enjoyed making her own Great Trip to China Passport. She's modeling it in the picture to the right.
Ni Hao, Kai-Lan Nick Jr. website
Scholastic.com Ni Hao, Kai-lan! printable lessons and activities
Fun Panda Link: The San Diego Zoo's Panda Cam
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Thanks to Nickelodeon and Bender/Helper impact for the review opportunity.
(DVD Source: review copy provided by Bender/Helper Impact, Inc. View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)