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Sunday Music: The Backyardigans

In the last three years or so I've been immersed in toddler culture. I've been exposed to Bob, Dora, Elmo, Thomas, Diego, Blue, Franklin, Timothy and all their friends and hangers-on. Most of this stuff is surprisingly good; much better than the condescending crap I remember from my early days. Remember the Care Bears? Most of the other shows you can't remember from that time were just as saccarine and phoney as that.

But in the last year the Backyardigans has been my favourite kids show. And luckily Max and Talia like it too. The premise is very simple. Tyrone, Austin, Tasha, Pablo, and Uniqua are kids whose houses back onto each other. They get together and they play, and their yards are transformed into the jungles of Borneo, or the arctic, or a space ship. The adventures are witty, and not at all preachy. But not in that winking-at-the-parents witty that Sesame Street has degenerated into. And as a bonus there's no pattern recognition sequences, counting drills, or learning the names of colours in Spanish -- just an entertaining story.

And music and dance. The other great thing about the show is the care they put into creating songs. Each show is done in the style of one musical genre. There's been a reggae show, a bossa nova show, a broadway musical show and a zydeco show. I've included five songs here so you can see how well they do it, in the styles of 1920's jazz, big band, roadhouse rock, funk, and old school hip hop. Enjoy, and remember to tune into Treehouse TV to catch the antics of The Backyardigans every day...