By Anne Sherber | Posted: 05 Oct 2008
Katakune is a computer-generated silkworm who acts very much like the 2- to 5-year-old children to whom he is designed to appeal. Surrounded by friends who range from a beetle to a porcupine, Katakune has little adventures meant to teach toddlers some simple life lessons.
Unlike most toddler-geared programs, Katakune is an animated storybook. Although the characters all move around against a soothingly blank background, they themselves don’t actually speak. Rather, a narrator reads the story being acted about by Katakune and his friends.
Each vignette ends with a small lesson that 3-year-olds can easily grasp. “Don’t be late,” “don’t try to do too much,” “sharing is fun,” and “remember to recycle” are a few of the program’s themes. Almost as interesting as what is included is what is not: There are no alphabets or numbers. Katakune is designed to foster social skills rather than academic achievement.
Katakune’s animation is infused with bright colors and broad strokes. The program, produced in China, has a pleasant, almost otherworldly quality: It’s a little like anime for the 3-and-younger set. Even though many of the lessons are posed as negative caveats, this is a comforting program for toddlers that includes some common-sense advice.