Since its debut in 2000, the Dora the Explorer show has captured the hearts of small children across the world. Dora and her whole eccentric cast of friends have a sort of charm that is not found in many places these days. Indeed, the Dora the Explorer show has the perfect blend of music, adventure, and education to keep kids always interested and waiting to see what happens next. The popularity of Dora comes down to a blend of several elements that draw children in.
The first thing about the Dora the Explorer show that appeals to the audience (which consists almost entirely of pre-school children and their parents) is the cast of characters. First, of course, is Dora herself. Dora is basically the essence of what every child wants in a hero. She is brave, loyal, and kind to those around her. Even being so young, she eagerly faces whatever adventures come her way, and follows her curiosity to explore the world around her. She is somewhat unique in American children’s television, as she is bilingual.
Her traveling companion and best friend is a purple blue and yellow monkey by the name of Boots (named, as one might expect, for the large red boots he wears.) He is equally as adventurous as his human friend, and follows Dora on all of her trips, entertaining Dora (and the audience) with his mischievous streak.
Two of the more unique members of the cast of the Dora the Explorer show are Backpack and Map. As their names imply, they are, in fact, a living backpack and map, who help Dora on her expeditions into the unknown. Backpack is about as enthusiastic a bag as one could ever hope to meet. Within his purple body, he stores a never-ending supply of helpful items for Dora’s quests, which he dispenses cheerfully, along with a chorus of the Backpack Song. He, like Dora, is bilingual.
Map is equally useful on Dora’s adventures, guiding her to wherever she needs to go. He, too, has his own song, which he recites upon appearance. While both of these characters’ songs will most likely prove to be annoying for adults, they are quite perfect for most little kids, which make these two crowd favorites. The last member of Dora’s cast is Swiper, the thieving fox. He can usually be found creating trouble until Dora shows up to save the day.
The second secret to the success of the Dora the Explorer show is the interactive element. At various points during every episode, Dora will ask the children in the audience for help in some task. For instance, to defeat Swiper, she has the audience repeat the phrase “Swiper, no swiping!” several times. Other times, she asks the audience for help answering a question, or solving any number of other problems. While there is not ture interaction here (as whether or not anyone actually replies to her makes no difference to the cartoon) it makes children feel that they are really a part of the Dora the Explorer show, which is a large part of what keeps them coming back for more.
Copyright © Jared Winston, 2006. All Rights Reserved.