Fun Anytime in Piggley's World

Article excerpt

Byline: Joseph Szadkowski, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Children can get into the spirit of Irish American Heritage month and St. Patrick's Day with the help of some animal friends as they visit a cyber-stop extending the fun of a popular PBS Kids program.

The computer-generated 3-D cartoon world of Jakers! The Adventures of Piggley Winks finds Grandpa Piggley taking his grandchildren from the bustle of a 21st-century city back to his youth. He brings to life some comical adventures that occurred on Raloo Farm in the Irish village of Tara in the 1950s.

The Web site mixes some of the show's problem-solving messages with plenty of its colorful characters while presenting an activity-laden multimedia experience for the family's young leprechauns.

Jakers! The Adventures of Piggley Winks

Site address: http:// pbskids.org/jakers

Creator: Entara, a children's entertainment company based in London, which holds the rights to and manages the Jakers franchise worldwide, developed and maintains the site.

Creator quotable: "We created this site so that fans could visit Piggley's world any time of day or night," says Louisa Stretton, chief operating officer of Entara.

"This is a place where children can continue the adventures they've enjoyed on the TV series, while learning more about and bonding with their favorite characters through games and activities. At the same time, we wanted to provide parents, caregivers and teachers with more information about the entertaining and educational aspects of the series and to offer a variety of activities and tools that facilitate quality time with their kids - both on and off the computer."

Word from the Webwise: Children 4 to 7 years old definitely will be exclaiming "jakers" (an Irish expression that means "amazing") as they are introduced to the mischievous pig, Piggley Winks, and his best friends, Fernando Toro the bull and Dannan O'Mallard the duck.

Through a quartet of sections - Stories, Games, Friends and Printables - visitors will find plenty to keep them busy as they interact with the program's stars and the site's beautiful environments.

I would begin with Friends to learn about 20 of the show's characters through a trading-card-type presentation that reveals a short dossier on each along with a color photo that animates a bit when clicked upon. The cards also can be printed to create an immediate collection to impress pals.

Next, Stories provides a quartet of interactive, 10-page books that visitors can read and flip through. …