odd squad reviewA new series is coming from PBS starring great kids who use math skills to solve odd mysteries! It’s called “Odd Squad” and it will premiere on Wednesday, November 16th, 2014 on PBS KIDS with a one-hour broadcast featuring two back-to-back episodes. There will also be digital and offline content to round out the fun experience for kids.

Here’s the info they gave me about this new show, and then I’ll tell what I think based on the teaser I watched.

The series follows two young government agents, Olive and Otto, who use math skills and collaboration to investigate weird and unusual phenomena. ODD SQUAD is designed to help kids ages 5-8 learn math through a math concept embedded in each of their cases.

ODD SQUAD is created by Tim McKeon (The Electric Company, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, Adventure Time) and Adam Peltzman (The Electric Company, The Backyardigans, Wallykazam!) and produced by The Fred Rogers Company and Sinking Ship Entertainment. The television series is part of a multiplatform media experience that will feature interactive content online and on mobile, including games, parent resources, apps and more.

It definitely looks like it would appeal to my three middle-est kids, ages 9, 8, & 6. Lots of fast-moving activity, cute jokes, and kids everywhere! I love how they are able to weave the math into the episodes in a fun way while adding a little bit of the outrageous in there, too. {a number hog sucking up all the numbers? Lol!}

There are two things about what I say of the program that irked me a little bit. First is the nerd and second is the boss-lady.

It seems to me they are really driving home some deeply engrained stereotypes that I would definitely like to keep my kiddos from adopting.

The first stereotype I saw was in the “nerd” persona of Oscar. He talks funny, he’s got a weird hair-do {by most kids’ standards}, and he’s the ultra-smart scientist.

Now, tell me which kid you know would ever want to be THAT guy. It seems to me that, if kids think smart equals Oscar, they may not want to travel that road. Certainly, we give our kids lots of examples of what smart looks like in action in our everyday lives – so I know this show isn’t going to be the only thing that shapes their definition of what smart is like. But, it’s kind of disappointing to see this stereotype promoted.

The second stereotype was the “boss lady” named Ms. O. She’s loud, she’s crabby, and she’s in charge.

Gives so much more fuel to the “my-boss-is-awful” fire. I know not every boss is awesome and some are downright nasty but, if my children become someone’s boss someday, I don’t want them thinking that this is the normal way to act.

I’m not saying I won’t ever let my kids watch the show. If it makes math fun for them and helps a few of the concepts to stick a little better, fabulous! Just making a few notes of things that I would chat with my kids about before letting them watch.

Go on over and watch some of the teasers, learn about the cast, and have a look around at the site!

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