Today, August 14th, it’ll be fourteen years since Dora Marquez first appeared on TV screens, scurrying around on adventures with Backpack, Map & Boots, her faithful monkey friend. Whilst discussing the relative merits of having a monkey for a best friend, we realised that the first Dora fans will soon be entering their teenage years (!!), whilst new little ones and their parents are just starting to watch the show.
‘Dora the Explorer’ stands out for being both fun and educational. A US series, the characters speak in English but introduce Spanish words on a regular basis. In each episode, Dora and her friends face new challenges whilst on quests. Along the way they have to deal with Swiper, the mischievous masked fox who tries to steal their clues, as well as solving riddles set by Grumpy Old Troll in order to cross bridges. The puzzles facing Dora can only be solved one way – with the help of her audience! Whether you want to or not, you’ve probably been cajoled by your little ones into chanting “Swiper, no swiping!” the required three times (with varying degrees of enthusiasm), before singing the “we did it!” song at the end of each episode.
Now in its eighth season, it is clear why Dora the Explorer has proved such a hit. It combines entertaining and interactive adventures (in vivid colours) that young children love with the educational qualities that parent’s want. Demonstrating that girls can be courageous, intelligent and independent, the show is a hit in numerous countries and has been translated into many languages, facilitating the learning of other languages in each. In many versions, Dora teaches English words.
As well as numerous books that accompany the series and merchandise, Dora has two spin off series; ‘Go, Diego, Go!’ features Dora’s eight year old cousin Diego and his companion Baby Jaguar. The pair rescue animals during their interactive adventures – perfect for aspiring vets/zoo keepers/puppy-wanters. In ‘Dora’s Explorer Girls’ a pre-teen Dora and a gang of new friends continue to have adventures. Aimed at keeping kids in touch with Dora as they grow, the show allows fans of all ages to continue watching and learning. It’s hard to say how long the series will run, but the bold Latin American girl and her friends have definitely won themselves a place in the memories of a generation. Well done, Dora, you did it!