Top Wing 1

Ages: 2 - 5Manufacturer: Nickelodeon

It’s a common genre in television today: Anthropomorphized animals model cooperation and problem-solving skills. In the computer-animated series Top Wing, a rescue team of avian heroes “earn their wings” at Top Wing Academy, and each episode features two separate stories of their adventures.

Top Wing cadets have his or her own signature vehicle and, with the help of their mentor Speedy, they learn rescue skills and life lessons on the job. The birds range from blue jay Swift to penguin Penny, with a cast of puffins, chicks, and even a rooster thrown in for feathery good measure. Their island includes an array of other animals, too. Be on the lookout for unexpected guest appearances providing voice talent, including Liz Phair and Alanis Morissette!

In “Turtle Train Rescue,” Swift is so eager to help the conductor of a stranded train that he rushes into the rescue instead of following orders. He doesn’t earn a badge for the mission but he does realize the importance of following directions. In “Shirley’s Sleepover Adventure,” squirrel Shirley spends time with Top Wing cadets but her zeal gets in the way. At a crucial moment, though, she proves paying attention is the best way to build skills.

The formula has been seen before, from Octonauts to Paw Patrol. With vehicles, it’s expressed as Thomas the Tank Engine and any of the films or spin-offs in Pixar’s Cars franchise. Still, if your child is a fan of adventure and likes birds,

Top Wing is a cheerful choice.

 

Gina Catanzarite ©2018 Parents’ Choice

Gina Catanzarite is an award-winning television producer, writer, teacher, mom and media consultant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She began her career in 1987 and counts 9 Emmy awards, 26 Emmy nominations, a Matrix award, two Pennsylvania Broadcaster’s Association Awards, 8 Telly Awards, and a screenwriting grant from the Theatre Association of Pennsylvania, among her professional honors.

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