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'Kratts' Creatures,' Great and Small

June 03, 1996|LYNNE HEFFLEY

Have you ever seen an elephant shrew? Or an ant lion? Tune into "Kratts' Creatures," the new daily PBS series aimed at kids in elementary and middle school, and you'll meet all kinds of remarkable critters--giant, tiny and in between.

Zoologist Martin Kratt and biologist Chris Kratt--they're brothers--take viewers to animal and insect habitats all over the world with boundless, puppy-like enthusiasm.

Although they're the adults on the show, it's their cohort, 15-year-old Allison (Shannon Duff), who maturely anchors the sometimes wild goings-on as she helms a "research station" filled with maps, books, computer equipment, travel mementos and a big video monitor, with which she keeps tabs on the eager travelers.

Today's opener finds the brothers in South Africa, searching for glimpses of the region's "big five": elephants, rhinos, lions, buffalo and leopards. Allison's cartoon pal, Ttark, challenges the Kratts to find the "little five": elephant shrews, rhino beetles, ant lions, buffalo weavers and leopard tortoises.

During the search, the brothers and Allison supply pertinent info about the creatures' habits and habitats.

Tuesday's show, "City Critters," explores the variety of wildlife that coexist with human urbanites, from falcons to foxes.

The series, made up of 50 half-hour episodes, is fast-paced, well filmed, entertaining and smart. Two quibbles: The pace at times borders on manic and, yes, while it is nature's way, a hint of compassion for predators' hapless prey wouldn't be amiss.

* "Kratts' Creatures" airs weekdays at 4:30 p.m. on KCET-TV Channel 28.

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