"Peg + Cat," pronounced "Peg Plus Cat," a new, math-themed cartoon, will be added Monday to PBS Kids, the preschool lineup that already includes "The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That" and "Curious George." (Added — get it?)
It is the perky product of a collaboration between Billy Aronson ("Postcards From Buster") and Jennifer Oxley (the super-superb "Wonder Pets") and comes from the Fred Rogers Co., which is not quite the same thing as saying that Mr. Rogers made it. But it's as close as you're going to get anymore.
Peg is a little girl; Cat is a cat. They have adventures in likely and unlikely places (a bedroom, a farm, outer space, some medieval mythological something or other) and face problems that require the use of mathematical concepts. The art is childlike, and everything is rendered as if hand-drawn on graph paper with crayons and markers and colored pencils and watercolors. Peg sometimes draws on her own background.
They count. They gather chickens in groups of 10 to get to 100. One hundred, which is "way more than 10" has a kind of totemic power here. It is as good as a zillion when you're just getting the hang of five, which is the number Peg counts down from when she is "totally freaking out," which is pretty often.