Plaza Sesamo and Abelardo the Big Green Bird August 09 2011


I'll admit it, I let the television babysit my child at times, especially in the morning before I've drowned myself in coffee. If I can help it, I put it on cartoons or children's programming in Spanish, because I figure that balances out my lax (lazy) parenting, right? I never really paid attention to Plaza Sesamo -- which airs on V-Me  -- until around a year ago. I grew up with Sesame Street and I figured maybe it was just a Spanish-dubbed version of Sesame Street.

So you can imagine how aghast I was when I found out Big Bird for Latinos wasn't yellow, but a cotorro-fied big green, red and pink bird named Abelardo.

Abelardo es un perico gigante con cuerpo verde, cabeza de color rosa y rojo, pico amarillo y una gran cola. El primo pequeño de Big Bird es un preescolar exuberante. Es muy honesto y tiende a tomar las cosas tal como se dicen literalmente. A Abelardo le encanta resolver problemas y aprender cosas nuevas, especialmente letras. Disfruta mucho columpiarse, andar en patines de ruedas y otro tipo de juegos, así como cantar, bailar, hacer ejercicio y escuchar historias. Abelardo admira a Pancho y tiene una gran relación con Lola. Aunque por lo general es optimista y positivo, Abelardo vive las frustraciones de cualquiera de 3 años. Es curioso, espontáneo y a veces tímido. Él está aprendiendo el alfabeto y empezando a leer.

My husband was totally unsurprised by this, and says he grew up with Plaza Sesamo. Well, this was all news to me -- this little green cousin of Big Bird -- but I gotta say, it's a great show. There are still some familiar Sesame Street characters on Plaza Sesamo, like Lucas el Monstruo Comegalletas, Beto & Enrique, y el Conde Contar. I like Pancho Contreras, a blue peluche who seems to me to be the most chismoso of the lot. The toddler likes Lola -- who is absolutely divina to me, too. The big difference to me is that through its sketches, which come from all over Latin America, Plaza Sesamo really peels back the blanket label of "Latino" to explore the distinctness and diversity among different Spanish-speaking countries.

Sesame Street has always done a pretty great job about including diverse groups, whether it's minorities or special-needs populations. Still, the only recurring Latina I remember on the show as a kid was Maria(from the Block). Maria was awesome, but I'm glad the toddler can grow up watching Pancho, Abelardo, Lucas, Lola and the rest of the Spanish-speaking amigos. And she can still watch Sesame Street too, and its terrific English-speaking friends.

Ah, the perks of being bilingual. El que sabe dos lenguas puede compartir de dos Sesame Streets -- cada uno distinto y maravilloso.