Television has always captivated children, irrespective of age. Although hundreds of TV series targeting small children have been made, not many can match the interaction and excitement of Dora the Explorer, which began to feature regularly on Nickelodeon from 2000. From that time, there was no stopping Dora and her team and the series continues to be screened on several channels all over the world in many different languages.
In whichever language or part of the world where it is screened, each episode keeps preschoolers absorbed and engaged. Each episode is half an hour in duration and is essentially an adventure game led by Dora Marquez, a seven-year old Latina girl.
The Plot of Dora the Explorer:
Each episode starts with the description of an activity or an adventure that Dora and her friends want to embark on. Accompanying Dora on her adventures are a talking map, a talking backpack and a humanized monkey called Boots. Boots gets his name from the bright red boots that he always wears.
Each adventure or activity has a clear starting point and a goal. Dora invites the audience to join and assist her and her friends on her adventure. The Map helps the team find its way and using it, the team must lookout for landmarks and change directions as they go along. The journey is full of obstacles and challenges, which have to be solved before the goal can be achieved.
While solving the puzzles and riddles, Dora also teaches the audience words in a foreign language (Spanish in the English version). She asks the children to repeat the words with her and this helps them learn new words. The puzzles are typical challenges that encourage small kids to think logically or test their ability in language, identification of colors, comparison of sizes, ability to follow instructions, etc.
The trip is made more exciting by Swiper a sly humanized masked fox. Dora and her friends have to collect things on the way, and Swiper, the thief, attempts to sneak up and steal them. Swiper is prevented from stealing if the team, which includes the audience, says ‘Swiper, no swiping’ three times in time to stop him. Usually, the team manages to stop Swiper in time, but on some occasions he manages to walk off with some of their possessions. Now the attention turns to either getting the stolen items back from Swiper or finding a way to do without them.
The other ‘villain’ who presents obstacles is Grumpy Old Troll, who lives under a bridge that the team must cross. The only way across is to find the right answer to troll’s riddle.
There are at least two landmarks that must be reached before proceeding to the final goal. Every episode ends with the team successfully achieving the goal. This is followed by a celebratory dance called ‘We Did It’ that recaps the highlights of the episode with a song. It is a perfect ending to an exciting adventure and the kids love it.
The Profile of Dora
Dora is a seven-year old Latina girl. According to Nickelodeon, her ethnicity was carefully selected to represent the diversity of Latino cultures.
Dora is always on the lookout for adventure and is excited when a new opportunity comes along. Although she is only seven, she is a born leader who is not afraid of obstacles and challenges and encourages her team (including the audience) like an elder sister. She is the ideal role model and has all the beliefs and personality that every parent will want their children to develop. She is kind and understanding with others, speaks more than one language, respects elders, understands her culture and is fond of stories, reading, music, dance and the outdoors.
The Main Characters of Dora the Explorer:
The reason the series is such a great hit is the number of animated characters, other than Dora, that are either part of Dora’s team or keep popping up in the episodes. Narration, dialogue and singing are important components of the show. Hence, each character who has a line to say needs a voice. Here are some of the frequently appearing characters and the people who provided the voices for their parts.
1 Boots: Until 2004, this was played by Harrison Chade and after that by Regan Mizrahi.
2 Backpack: Sasha Toro played this until 2004 and Alexandria Suarez took over after that.
3 Swiper Played by Marc Weiner.
4 Map: Also played by Marc Weiner.
5: Explorer Stars: Played by Jose Zeleya, Muhammed Cunningham, Aisha Shickler, Katie Gifford, Henry Gifford and Christiana Anbri.
6: Diego: Felipe Dieppa until 2004, Jake T. Austin until 2010, Brandon Zambrano until 2012 and then later by Jacob Medrano.
Other characters are lsa the Iguana, Tico the Squirrel, Benny The Bull and Big Red Chicken.
History of the series:
Dora the Explorer was created by Eric Weiner, Valerie Walsh and Chris Gifford in 1999. It became a regular series in 2000 when it began its journey on Nickelodeon and Nick Jr.
The character of Dora was initially created as a blonde girl from Europe inspired by a relative of one of the creators of the show. Later, Dora was re-characterized as a Latina girl. Kathleen Herles was Dora’s voice initially. Caitlin Sanchez took over later and currently it is played by Fatima Ptacek.
In 2009, Nick and Mattel announced a pre-teen version of Dora, attending middle school. She will be starring in a new series called Dora and Her Friends, which is expected to make its debut on Nickelodeon in 2014.
What little Dora means to small children:
Other than entertainment, puzzle solving and language learning, Dora teaches some valuable lessons to her viewers:
1: You should be optimistic in life.
2: Life is full of problems, but there are solutions for every problem.
3: There is no need to be angry or unreasonable whatever be the situation.
4: Life is fun when you are active, love adventure and the outdoors, especially when you have a lot of friends.
5: Teamwork is the best way to achieve difficult goals.
Other places you will see Dora the Explorer:
As with any animation show, a lot of merchandising has come from Dora’s adventures. These include toys, books, DVDs, clothes and video games. Video games based on Dora the Explorer are fun and educational. Video games allow more interaction than television.
Our website offers some great Dora the Explorer games for you to play online. So don’t wait, check them out, start playing and join Dora on an exciting adventure right away.