The girls actually slept late this holiday morning -- 8:45 a.m., believe it or not! When I wandered into the family room a few minutes later, the girls were ensconced on the couch, watching PBS. Maya tells me excitedly, "It's a new show about dinosaurs!" As I watch, I see a little cartoon T-rex calling a Pteranodon "Mom." Hmm.
Sure enough, when I went to the website, I discovered it was, indeed, a trans-species adoption:
Each of the 40 half-hour episodes features Buddy, an adorable preschool age Tyrannosaurus Rex, and his adoptive Pteranodon family as they board the Dinosaur Train and embark on whimsical voyages through prehistoric jungles, swamps, volcanoes and oceans.The title sequence (which I missed the first time -- but it's back-to-back episode day it seems!) shows the babies hatching from their eggs, and Buddy is different. But Mrs. Pteranodon says he's part of the family even though he is different -- after all, "we're all creatures."
But the thing that amazed me is that the episode seemed to be about searching -- searching for Buddy's species. And Pteranodon mom is in on the search, saying something along the line of, "Don't worry Buddy, we'll keep looking for your species." OK, birth parents weren't mentioned, but still, it's a pretty impressive idea to see in a children's show aimed at 3-6 year olds, that an adoptee might want to know its first family (species) and that the adoptive family is OK with that!
I wasn't sure whether the girls saw the parallel to searching for birth family, but when we talked about the show later, they clearly had. They also saw that Buddy didn't feel quite like he fit into the Pteranodon family (he couldn't catch fish the way they do), and that spurred his interest in finding his species. Zoe also thought that wanting to know his species was like her wanting to learn Chinese and all about China, even if she never finds her birth family.
Adoption isn't the focus of the show; rather, they say they want to harness kids' interest in dinosaurs and trains to teach scientific method. It's a brand-new series on PBS, so I don't know how it will pan out in the long run, but so far I'd give them kudos on the adoption themes.