SHOWS FOR YOUNGSTERS AND THEIR PARENTS TOO : Fox’s ‘Rimba’s Island’ is a place where the animals can talk to us


Preschool power!

Programming directed to television’s tiniest viewers fills blocks of time on several networks, including the Nick Jr. lineup, PBS and Fox’s Cub House. Fox’s fare includes the live-action Rimba’s Island, which features costumed colorful animals with an international flair.

“I’d describe the show as a multicultural, pro-social emotional show for preschoolers 2 to 6,” says co-executive producer Janice Sonski. The gang includes leader Rimba, a multicolored gorilla who sings and dances; clumsy Pria, an elephant who loves physical challenges; know-it-all Ilana, a giraffe; always-hungry Bakari, a sports-minded crocodile; funny Ookii, who’s scared of his own shadow, and frisky lion cub Paquito, who wants to be included in everything.

Each of the animals--except Rimba, who is older--represents a different preschool age that corresponds to the ages of the show’s young viewers. “The behaviors are very different and representative of the age,” says Sonski.


Each show mixes culture via story, song and dance. Authentic instruments, culled from around the world, demonstrate different musical styles with international flair. Three new songs are introduced with each show.

Sonski believes “Rimba’s Island” is the first show where all episodes have been reviewed and approved by the National Education Assn. and the national Parent-Teacher Assn.

“We deal with the issues preschoolers encounter,” she emphasizes. “Things like what small children feel, being the smallest in a group, feeling left out, taking things without asking, breaking something that isn’t yours, being a tattletale . . . “

Story lines, she says, follow a strong code of ethics and always reflect positive and interpersonal values and self-esteem. They foster cooperative behavior, care, bonding, sharing behaviors and promoting empathy. “These are essential for preschoolers,” she adds.

“Rimba’s Island” airs on the Fox Cub House block Wednesday at 2 p.m. on KTTV. For ages 2 to 6.

More Family Fare

Commercial-less children’s programming isn’t reserved for just PBS and pay cable anymore: Lifetime’s Old MacDonald’s Sing-a-Long Farm features no ad promotion breaks, a rarity on commercial cable television.


“Studies showed little kids couldn’t tell the difference between the ads and the actual show,” a spokesman for the producer says.

Colorful costumed animal characters--Alfred Pig, Celeste Cow and Lucinda Chicken and a puppet, Poppycock Rooster, join Old MacDonald in educationally themed activities on the farm. Veterinary student Joanna helps out Old Mac with arts and crafts as well as storytelling.

Highlighting each episode is “The Magic Wishing Trough,” which offers props for fantasy trips and the crafts segment. Also included is a “Story Time” segment, tailored to the theme.

“Old MacDonald’s Sing-a-Long Farm” airs weekdays at 8 a.m. on Lifetime. For ages 2 to 6.


In the final countdown week before Christmas, holiday family fare still is being served up in generous dollops. Among the temptations:

Nat serves up holiday cheer at the Peach Pit and Santa visits Andrea and Jesse on Beverly Hills, 90210’s “Christmas Comes This Time of Year” (Wednesday, 8 p.m. Fox). For ages 12 and up.


Kathie Lee ... Looking for Christmas (Wednesday 9 p.m. CBS ) offers good tidings in song and dance. For ages 8 and up.

Angela’s holiday search for runaway Rickie leads her to a runaway shelter and along the way she meets a mysterious homeless girl (played by singer Juliana Hatfield) on My So-Called Life (Thursday, 8 p.m. ABC). For ages 10 and up.

Nickelodeon presents Allegra’s Window Christmas (Wednesday, 8 p.m.; Dec. 25, 8 a.m.); Christmas at Eureeka’s Castle (Wednesday, 8:30 p.m. and Friday, 1 p.m.), and Nan’s Christmas Party (Dec. 25, 8:30 p.m.). For ages 2 to 8.