Monday, February 27, 2006

Mix 'n' Match-igan Game/Screensaver

Nick Jr. has a screensaver that is also a match the cards game, available for download from their site. This is a members exclusive, so you'll have to sign up with their website to get it.

This download is free and is available for both Windows and Macintosh users. Windows users will need Windows 95/98/2000/NT.

Backyardigans Screensaver & Game

I downloaded this and tried it out. I was only moderately impressed. There are plenty of pictures of the Backyardigans, which is great, but combining a screensaver with a game was an idea that, in my opinion, didn't work out too well.

The problem is, I couldn't find a way to pull up the game from my desktop. I had to go into my Start menu, open the control panel, go to display and then to screensaver and click preview to start the screensaver/game. Not something I'd care to do with a small child breathing down my neck, wanting to play now, Now, NOW!

Once you've got it open, though, it's not a bad game at all. There are two buttons at the bottom, one that says Play and the other says Done. Play, obviously, is if you want to play the game. Done is for when you are finished and want to close the screensaver. Being a game, it isn't going to go away just by moving the mouse.

If it pops up as your screensaver and you don't start to play, the game will start to play automatically, revealing the pictures below as it goes. The Play button will disappear when it does this, but it's easy enough to start playing - just start clicking and matching.

Each of the cards have a Backyardigans icon on the reverse (matching) side. There are a wide variety, ranging from props such as the slide in their common backyard, to several versions of each of the characters in costumes from various episodes.

The pictures that are revealed as the matching cards are removed are pretty good. The only quibble I had with them was that as I played I frequently got the same picture two or even three times. The pictures only stay up for a few seconds, too, which was a little disappointing. I would have liked to have gotten a better look at them.

I found eight pictures over the time I played. They were:

  • A picture of Pablo in a strongman's outfit, with the words "Pablo the Strong".
  • Uniqua in her jungle gear from the Tarzan episode, labeled "Uniqua the Brilliant Scientist".
  • Tasha, surrounded by flowers, labeled "Tasha".
  • All five of the Backyardigans, in their backyard, waving. This was animated.
  • Tyrone kicking a soccer ball and the word "Goal!"
  • All five of the kids in Ski Patrol and Mountie gear, with the words "Greeting from the frozen North". Also animated, with falling snow.
  • Another picture with all five in the backyard, with animated butterflies swooping around.
  • All five Backyardigans, each framed by a giant flower shape, with animated twinkling stars.
If anyone else downloads this and find another picture, let me know! I was disappointed not to find a solo picture of Austin. I don't know if that was because there isn't one, or if I just didn't find it.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Lyrics - Got To Love The Clarinet

Here's a song for all you clarinet players out there!

From Polka Palace Party. Sung by Uniqua and Tyrone.

Uniqua: The clarinet, the clarinet,
what do I like about the clarinet?
The clarinet, the clarinet,
got to love the clarinet!

One good thing about the clarinet
is all those tasty tones I get.
If anyone's found a better sound
I haven't heard it yet.

Both: The clarinet, the clarinet,
Uniqua: What do I like about the clarinet?
Both: The clarinet, the clarinet,
got to love the clarinet!

Tyrone: Tell me something else about the clarinet.
Uniqua: It's very portable.
Tyrone: Yeah, I bet!
Uniqua: Small and light, so it fits just right.
Play it on the porch or in the kitchenette.

I play it when I'm dry or when I'm wet.
Both: Got to love the clarinet!

The clarinet, the clarinet,
that's what I like about the clarinet!
The clarinet, the clarinet,
got to love the clarinet!

Tyrone: Tuba too!
Both: Got to love the clarinet!
Uniqua: Darn tootin'!
Both: Got to love the clarinet!

Friday, February 24, 2006

New Episode, March 10

As Maximus, in the comments to the post below reminded me, there will be a new episode airing, March 10, on Nick Jr. and Noggin. I should have posted about this earlier. All I can say is that there's been discussion about it at the Backyardigans Fans forum and I lost track of the fact that, hello! not everyone reads the forum as avidly as I do!

So, here's the details:

The Cave Party DVD is going to be released March 7. Three days after that, the new episode that is on Cave Party, Race Around the World, will be aired on Nick Jr at 10:30 a.m. ET and on Noggin at 4:30 p.m. ET. (Which will be the premiere episode on Noggin, I understand. After this The Backyardigans will air at 4:30 p.m. on Noggin, every weekday.)

Unfortunately, I haven't heard of any plans to air High Tea yet, which was the unaired episode on Polka Palace Party DVD (review). A rumor has been floating around that High Tea isn't being aired in order to boost sales of the DVD. I'm sure I'm not the only one who hopes that isn't true, and that they see fit to air it eventually.

Bilingual Backyardigans

Well, at least one Backyardigans book is going to be available in Spanish. MisiĆ³n a Marte (Mission to Mars) will be available August 29, 2006. Hopefully there will be more to follow!

Another interesting item that has shown up at Amazon is a Backyardigans Phonics Set. This is a boxed collection of 12 books, bound for use by schools and libraries. Reading the description, it sounds like the 12 books progress in difficulty, leading children to increase their reading ability as they read through the set in order. It might have been designed for professional educators, but it's only $10.39 (at the time of posting), making it a good idea for you homeschoolers out there, or anyone who wants to give their little reader a boost. (Nothing on which books will be part of the set, though.)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Ready for Spring?

If you have a little gardener in your family, you might be interested in the Backyardigans garden cultivator and gardening trowel, available from Nick Jr. Only $2.99 each, $5.98 for the set, they're made of green plastic with rubberized thumb grips. Sized for children. I'm thinking they'd make great Easter basket gifts for my kids!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

TeleStory Interactive Books For Backyardigans

I just found some more information about the JAKKS Pacific products that will be coming out for the Backyardigans this fall.

JAKKS has a line of Plug & Play TV Games which, if you are not already familiar with them, are games that do not require a gaming console. You only have to plug them into the television to play the game. The Backyardigans products they'll be making are Plug & Read TeleStories, books that kids can read on the television, much the same way the Plug & Play games work.

The TeleStory system is a book-shaped device that you plug directly into your television's A/V jacks. Then you insert a "mini-book" cartridge into the system. By pressing the large buttons on the TeleStory unit, kids can "interact with the story" according to JAKKS.

The basic system will come packaged with one mini-book (containing two stories) and will cost about $30. Additional mini-books will cost about $15 each. Look for them sometime this summer.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Lyrics - The Rules Song

From "Monster Detectives"

Tyrone: You must be sneaky now.
Uniqua: I must be sneaky now.
Tyrone: Especially sneaky now.
Uniqua: Especially sneaky now.

Tyrone: You can't have shoes that are squeaky now, lady,
You've got to be quiet, too,
Uniqua: Quiet, too,
Tyrone: Quiet, too.

Rule number one be quiet.
You cannot make a sound.
Make sure your feet land softly,
when they step upon the ground.

Uniqua: Okay I must be quiet.
I will not make a sound.
But what if I must yell or shriek,
or howl like a hound?

Tyrone: You mustn't even make a peep,
or else we will be found!

Uniqua (spoken): So, I have to be sneaky and quiet.
Tyrone: (spoken): If you wanna get your ball back, that's rule number one.
Uniqua (spoken): Well, I can do that!
Tyrone: (spoken): But there's more. There's rule number two.

Tyrone: Pay attention, lady,
'cause here's rule number two:
If you see that monster
do not let it play with you!

If you play with the monster,
lady, you'll be through.
'Cause whoever plays with the monster,
will become a monster, too!

Uniqua: If I play with that monster
I'll be a monster too.
Hey, that might be pretty neat!
It might be fun to do.

Tyrone: No that won't be neat.
It's not what you should do.
So if you see the monster
Do not let it play with you!

Uniqua (spoken): I could really turn into a soccer monster?
Tyrone (spoken): Only if you play soccer with one. So don't. That's rule number two.

Tyrone: We'll creep and sneak and peek around,
'til we find that soccer ball,
Uniqua: Soccer ball,
Both: 'til we find that soccer ball!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Tasha Products

So, Tasha is your favorite Backyardigan, but you can't find anything with her picture on it! What's a fan to do? How about settle for one of the items that feature both the girls? No, it's not the hippo you love, but it's better than nothing, right?

Backyardigans: Backyard Wheee! Long Sleeve T-shirt
Backyardigans: Backyard Wheee! Long Sleeve T-shirt

Backyardigans: Dot Fun Twin Sheet Set
Backyardigans: Dot Fun Twin Sheet Set

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Leapster and The Backyardigans

A Backyardigans title will be one of the new games coming out this fall from Leapfrog. It will be one of three games for the Leapster. The other two games for the Leapster will be from Disney/Pixar's Cars and Scholastic's Animal Genius.

Expect the game to cost $24.99 USD. There are no details available yet as to what the game will be about.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Coloring Pages

I've been getting search strings lately that are looking for Backyardigans coloring pages, so I thought I'd put together an easy one-stop list of everything I could find. Which wasn't much, sadly. Basically, what you've got is the Nick Jr. pages.

But, if you are looking for pages to print out and color, you can go to the Backyardigans Printable Activities page and find several coloring pages. Austin and Tasha fans will be glad to know that Nick Jr. hasn't left those two out, either! Each of the kids has their own coloring sheet.

There are also cowboy pages (from Riding the Range and Polka Palace Party) and superhero pages from Race to the Tower of Power.

If you run across anything else, though, let the rest of us know! We're all anxious to find more.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Lyrics - I Love Being a Princess

From "The Key to the Nile".

Part I - Tasha, playing by herself in the backyard.

The folks in my kingdom work hard everyday,
Then go home to their dark little huts.
Some say a Princess should live like her people,
But I reply, "What are you, nuts?"

I love being a princess,
I love being a princess.
I love smiling regally
while other people kneel.

I love being a princess,
I love being a princess.
I wouldn't trade with anyone,
I've got a sweet sweet deal.

I wear nice expensive clothes.
I sleep on the softest bed.
I wear fancy jewelry.
There's a crown upon my head.

Everyone in Egypt Land must bow and do my bidding.
If they don't I'll kick them out.
Try it ...
See if I'm kidding!

I love being a princess,
I love being a princess.
The lap of luxury,
That's where I hang out.

I love being a princess,
I love being a princess.
A nice arrangement, folks,
for me at least no doubt.

Part II: Tasha, Austin, Pablo and Tyrone, in Tasha's Egyptian palace.

Tasha: I love being a princess.
Boys: She loves being a princess.
Tasha: I love never bothering to open my own door.

I love being a princess.
Boys: She loves being a princess.
Tasha: And just because I feel like it,
I will tell you more.

When I want a bite to eat,
My servants come and serve it.
Pablo: We only bring the best for her.
Tasha: Why? 'Cause I deserve it!

Tyrone: We even come to fan her when she wants a gentle breeze,
Austin: But she never says thank you and she never ever says please.

Tasha: I ask for snacks,
my servants bring them.
I ask for drinks,
my servants bring them.

Austin: If she wants songs we'll even sing them.
Tasha: I've got the best servants in the kingdom.

If you want to dress like this, and wear a shiny crown,
If you like how people look when they are bowing down,
If princess life is what you want, your choice is crystal clear,
Go find some other country, pal,
'Cause I'm the princess here!

I love being a princess.
Boys: She loves being a princess.
Tasha: I love lounging on my couch
and ruling royally.

I love being a princess,
I love being a princess.
There's just one princess here,
and I love being me!

Tyrone: Great is your fame, o' princess.
Pablo: Long may you reign, o' princess.
Austin: She's such a pain, that princess.
Tasha: I love being me!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Requests? Thank You Cards?

This address was posted on the Nick Jr. Forum as a place to write to if you want to contact the people who put The Backyardigans together.

The Backyardigans c/o Janice Burgess
1515 Broadway (38th Floor)
New York NY 10036

Use this information wisely! They're busy putting together more episodes for us - let's not distract them!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Name Game

It was pointed out at IMDB that there is an Austin College, in Texas, which has a kangaroo as a mascot.

Hmmm. Very, very interesting.

So, I thought I'd do a couple of quick searches on Google to see if anything else popped up.

Tasha - Searched on "Tasha hippo", didn't find anything.

Pablo - "Pablo penguin" brought up several links about an old Disney character by that name. He was in the Three Cabelleros and also a Disney comicbook story titled "The Cold-Blooded Penguin".

Tyrone - "Tyrone moose" didn't bring up anything.

Uniqua - It turns out Uniqua isn't the utterly unique name you'd think it would be. There is a show horse named Uniqua, a unique gifts website, a telecommunications company, and it's a variation on the girl's name Unique. As a matter of fact, I found more sites related to Uniqua than any of the other Backyardigans. So if you're thinking of naming your baby Uniqua, because it's such an unusual name, you might want to keep looking.

Complete coincidence? Subconscious influences? Deliberate homage? Who knows? But it's fun to think about!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

20 New Episodes Being Made!

According to this article, dated January 31, 2006, 20 new Backyardigan episodes are being made, right now.

They will debut on Treehouse TV this September. Which means those of us outside of Canada might be pressing our noses to Canadian windows in desperate jealousy this fall. Unless we get lucky and they debut on Nickelodeon, too.

Oh, please, let the debut be widespread and farflung!

In the same article:

  • This spring there will be Backyardigans Days events at Chapters/Indigo bookstores in Canada. Look for them over Spring Break.
  • New toys are coming! There is an exclusive retail agreement with Toys "R" Us which will include toys from Fisher-Price as well as other licensees.