New Warm and Fuzzy Titles Bow on Noggin

Nickelodeon’s preschool spinoff Noggin kicks off three new colorful entries for the milk-and-cookies set this week. The stop-motion animated Miffy, based on the works of Dutch artist Dick Bruna, the BBC’s popular Tweenies, a show that’s often seen as the older cousin of the Teletubbies, and Oobi, an offbeat new entry featuring hand puppets–we’re talking real hands with goggle-eyes–are the newest addition to the cable channel’s lineup Stateside.

Miffy and Friends, a kind, gentle show about a little white bunny and her circle of soft and fuzzy pals should be a hit with the toddlers and preschoolers who are familiar with Bruna’s popular boar books. Tweenies is geared to viewers age 3-5 and offers a cast of full-body puppets with a tendency to break into song in segments called “Songtime,” “Messytime,” “Surprisetime” and “Videotime.” Young viewers are treated to stories about a four-year-old and his younger sister, best friend and grandfather in Oobi. The fact that all the characters are played by hands just adds to the quirkiness of this new offering.

Noggin also airs a retooled afternoon block from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, featuring such Nick Jr. titles as Bob the Builder, Dora the Explorer, Maggie and the Ferocious Beast, Oswald, Blue’s Clues and Little Bear. Miffy and Friends airs at 7:30 a.m., Oobie at 8:30 a.m. and Tweenies at 9 a.m. daily.

Meanwhile on PBS, Big Bird, Elmo, Cookie Monster, Bert and Ernie and the rest of the gang kick off the 34th season of Sesame Street. This groundbreaking staple of children’s television continues to offer educational bits, musical numbers, animated segments and gentle life lessons on PBS.

The new season also features two new short segments: “Global Grover” stars the blue Muppet as the host of a collection of short films about children in different parts of the world, while “Global Thingy” offers animated shorts about Mother Earth as she helps fantasy creatures (representing unnamed countries) learn to share and live harmoniously together. Wayne Brady, Sheryl Crow, Diane Sawyer and Natalie Portman are a few of the season’s guest stars. At 34, this Street is still a wonderful place to visit daily.