Vamanos Destroy the World

The name that makes every parent's heart collapse in the certain knowledge of an hour or more of shouty Spanglish and faked enthusiasm.
Despite all you wish for, no evil twin pops up and says "No, I'M the map," nothing incriminating ever pops out of backpack, and Swiper never rehabilitates himself. Formulaic, inane, and kids love it.
And I'm okay with that.
I put up with two years of Dora when my daughter thought that Dora really was her best friend.
And now my son is asking for "Doha Boots, pay Doha Boots!" when I say he can watch TV.
My husband can't stand the big-headed little Spanglish girl and is really upset at the fact that her parents seem to let her wander all over the world without any supervision - except that of a helpless, boot-wearing monkey.
But I'm okay with it.
Until my son found THE BOOK
Due to my daughter's obsession, we had plenty of Dora books. Only one I actually bought myself, but when a kid has an obsession that makes it super-easy for relatives at gift-giving time.
I can totally handle the insipid story-lines of the Dora phonics reader. And the buttons on the interactive books have to be pressed at least ten times before I lose my mind.
But then there's "Dora and the Mermaid Kingdom"
That book irritates me.
No, actually it makes me irate, angry and prone to ranting.
Dora's cleaning up the beach. We get to help her find garbage. Then a clam opens up and shills a story about the mean octopus. He's dumping garbage all over Mermaid Kingdom and nobody knows what to do. Until Mariana finds the magic crown so she can wish the garbage away. But the crown gets lost, Dora finds it, and saves the day. Lovely story, what?
Except there's this

Even my two-year-old knows that a juice box is not garbage, it's recycling! And then there are the two cans - which look suspiciously like beer cans and with their sharp bits are not something I would want my unsupervised four-year-old (how old is Dora anyway?) handling. They too are not Basura, but recycling.

Fine, whatever, a little eensy mistake. Except throughout the book the "garbage" is represented with pictures of plenty of recycling in it.

And then there's the last page

Do you see the "garbage" the mermaids are picking up? Does any of it look like it belongs in the trash?

The first time I read it I held out hope. At the end, Dora would teach the mean octopus that he didn't need to dump all his "garbage" in the ocean because most of it could be diverted into recycling streams.

Silly me. At the end, simplistic, big-headed little Dora makes the octopus promise to put all the garbage in the dump from now on.

Lo Hicimos indeed.

We just taught children that:
1.The only way to save the mermaid kingdom (read: the environment) is with magic
2. Anything we need to dispose of, whether dust, food wrapper or juice box, is "garbage."
3. The way to get rid of items we no longer need is to take it to the dump.


I'll sacrifice a bit more Spanglish lessons in exchange for some real learning, please?


  1. This is why we've steered our kids to The Wiggles. Same level of annoyance but they at least teach the kids that eating lots of fruit is good and you should only sword fight with feather swords.

  2. My name is Dana & I like to dance. BREAK IT DOWWWWWWWWWWWN! We're a Yo Gabba Gabba house. I can't frickin stand Dora & you just gave me another reason to feel this way.

    Now, Handy Manny - he seems like a cool dude with his Tool School.

  3. @Steve, my friend is so lucky. She interviewed Anthony yesterday. Anthony! The biggest mom-crush in kid's TV!
    @Dana: I've never seen Yo Gabba Gabba. Perhaps I ought to invest in a dvd. We've seen a couple episodes of Handy Manny when visiting grandparents. The kids are so-so about it. I think he's kinda cool - way better than Bob the Builder.

  4. What year was this book written? I'm hoping it's REALLY old and was way before we started recycling???

  5. @Linda: Nope, sorry. I don't have it in front of me, but I think it's 2009.

  6. Linda: I was recycling before Dora existed!

  7. The Dora books are absolute crap. That's pretty pathetic since our 2-year-old is already well aware of the recycling bin. The one book we have is entirely an ad for the show. There's no real story line, just introductions of the characters. Dumbest. Book. Ever.

  8. DD isn't into Dora...we are a "boos pluese" (Blue's Clues) house here. Or Word World. Blue likes recycling. But she also like chartreuse, marigold, & aquamarine as colors while DD is still learning the basics! Heck, I didn't even know what color chartreuse was until Blue's Clues!

    Nice blog! New follower =)

  9. Wow! Yeah I agree that's a very confusing recycling message. Still on the upside at least its a starting point for a discussion with kids?

  10. Dora, Barney, Yo Gabba, In the Night Garden? Cant stand any of them. You all forgot Teletubbies, BooBahs...oh man. Do they want to drive us crazy?? What about Wonderpets? Do they not realize that kids imitate the speech that duck has? I dont want my 3 year old mispronouncing words because the stupid duck needs speech therapy classes. I have already gone through that with one child. Now Thomas, I can handle him for the most part.

  11. This is hilarious-and so well put. And the fact that poorly animated tv shows are inundating the children's book market and taking away opportunities from individual artists dedicated to the craft is all the more frustrating!

  12. I caught the start of a Dora program the other day where I am sure she got mugged by a troop of monkeys* demanding cookies with menace. She gave them the biscuits, she didn't call the cops....what kind of example is that?

    *they were not bonobos.

  13. i steered clear from Dora who gives me a headache with the obnoxious shouting and the exclamaciónes! (or whatever, i really doubt all the little fans and their families now speak spanish btw)
    i fully took in the wiggles, elmo, peppa pig, lots of Bob the builder and (my personal fav') pocoyo.
    we still like us some 'giggle and hoot' now (hoot's voice very similar to Elmo's, argh).
    but i am glad you finally gave me a valid reason to hate Dora. thankyou.
    (my son recycles and say "reuse, reduce, recycle!!" for years. he has learnt it in sunflower valley)
    note : yeah, wtf, the monkey wears Uggs ??

  14. You're right - wrong message and a point to teach something worthwhile completely missed.I loath Dora. In fact I pretty much hate all children's TV characters.

  15. Most children's tv is pointless, annoying, or worse. I do think the books are often worse though, since they have to condense down the already inane stories even more simplistically. Kids are not dumb and I wish more character-driven shows and books realized this.

  16. My children hate Dora! They like Noddy tho...

  17. Dora sounds a little behind the times. Oh dear, so not looking forward to the world of kid's TV. I wonder if I can get away with DVDs of the old Sesame Street? Can't remember if Grouch keeps some recyclables in his can though...

  18. What??! Someone got to interview ANTHONY, my not so secret crush? And I am still laughing about this post, but laughing because it is true. I tried to ban Dora in my classroom. But she kept reappearing, smuggled in the children's backpacks.

    I wanted to let you know that I received an Award and listed you in a pay-it-forward section of my post.

    "Versatile Blogger Award"

    Congrats on having such a great site,


  19. What year was this book written? I'm hoping it's Really old and was way before we started recycling?


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