Wow in the World
Created by Tinkercast for ages 5-12, Wow in the World explores all sorts of scientific and technological wonders in a fun, smart, kid-relevant and science-compelling approach. Launched in May 2017, it’s NPR’s first-ever children’s programming.
Capable and charming co-hosts Mindy Thomas and NPR podcaster Guy Raz lead each 20-30 minute, weekly, audio episode investigating factual and fascinating real-world phenomena. Part radio comedy, part scientific research, this podcast is all high-energy and jam-packed with so much sneaky snuck-in science that the learning is almost subliminal.
In one episode, Mindy shows Guy around her new hamburger food truck, but she hasn’t sold a single burger. Guy, who is Mindy’s astute, questioning, clarifying foil, reads her an online list of how to succeed in the food-truck business. Wide-ranging learning moments and detours like this are constantly interjected into Wow’s episodes. Turns out Mindy’s burger patties feature dried-powdered crickets, which segues from yucky into a cool learning journey about bugs used as food protein.
Another episode delivers a thoroughly explained study about propagation of water plants in duck poop. Mindy’s jokes and asides are always connected to real science. Whether magically traveling into the deep jungle to find exploding ants via Mindy’s magical carrier pigeon, Reggie, or contemplating why shoelaces come untied, the podcast at times is reminiscent of The Magic School Bus adventures. Wow in the World pulls out all stops with kid-sounding voices and dialogue, plus special audio affects that complete the “picture,” feeding young listeners’ appetite for news and science.
Don Oldenburg ©2019 Parents’ Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of “The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion” (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.