Introducing Josh Selig and Jennifer Oxley: two of the creative minds behind the Wonder Pets' magical musical adventures.
Wonder Pets! was created by the talented team of Little Airplane Productions--who also created Piper O'Possum for Nick Jr. as well as other award-winning shows and shorts for kids. NickJr.com spoke with Josh Selig, President and Founder of Little Airplane Productions, and Jennifer Oxley, Creative Director, Animation, about Wonder Pets! and what they hope kids will learn from the show's unusual heroes. Here's what they had to say.
How did you come up with the idea for Wonder Pets!?
Josh: It began as a series of short films called "The Adventures of Linny the Guinea Pig." In these films, Linny traveled into space and under the ocean, but Linny was all by herself, so we developed Ming-Ming and Tuck and created a longer show that was called The Super Singing Power Pets! Working with our friends at Nick Jr. this idea soon became Wonder Pets!
How did you decide on the three characters?
Josh: We wanted the three characters to form an ideal team: Linny has wonderful leadership qualities; Ming-Ming is very confident and is becoming a good flier; and Tuck is the heart and soul of the outfit. Together they make a very quirky and funny threesome.
The Wonder Pets are superheroes, but they don't have superpowers. How come?
Josh: Children don't have superpowers, at least none of the ones that I know. What the Wonder Pets do have is an excellent command of teamwork. When they work together, they are able to accomplish some very amazing things. I guess you could say their superpower is teamwork.
How do you come up with all of the Wonder Pets' adventures?
Josh: Everyone at Little Airplane Productions gets involved with coming up with new adventures for them. Just like the Wonder Pets, we are big fans of teamwork.
Sometimes we begin with the animal that will be saved, and sometimes we begin with a place that we would like to see the Wonder Pets travel to. Sometimes we start with a kind of music we like, such as reggae or a mariachi band.
The animation is different from any other show. How is it created?
Jennifer: The style of animation used to create Wonder Pets! is called "photo-puppetry." It is an original style of animation created for the series that allows animators to manipulate photographs of real animals. I think kids will identify with the characters because they look so real and huggable.
Why is music such an important element to the show?
Jennifer: Kids love good music and that is why it is a very high priority on Wonder Pets! Each episode is a mini-opera, and the dialogue on the show is almost entirely sung. A live orchestra performs each episode, and the music is written by some of Broadway's top composers.
How long does it take to complete a single episode?
Jennifer: It takes 33 weeks from script to final delivery.
Which Wonder Pet do you identify with the most?
Josh: I guess I would have to say Linny, because she has a lot of responsibility, and sometimes I feel the pressure just like she does. I think my favorite character is Ming-Ming because she often gets ahead of herself in some very funny ways. I also like it when she says, "This is sewrious!"
Jennifer: I guess it's a tie between Ming-Ming and Tuck. Like Ming-Ming, I sometimes try to do things on my own before realizing that teamwork is the way to go. Like Tuck, I love all animals.
Did you have any favorite shows when you were kids?
Josh: I think I liked Bugs Bunny the best.
Jennifer: I will always have a great fondness for Felix the Cat, the first TV show I ever watched. As a kid I would run into the room whenever I heard the intro to "Schoolhouse Rock." I also always looked forward to all the Charlie Brown specials.
What do you hope kids will take away from Wonder Pets!?
Josh: A sense that they are capable of going to faraway places and doing amazing things--because they are.