Why do blue-tongue lizards have blue tongues? Why do crocodiles like sitting in the sun? Why don’t emus fly?
These are just some of the challenges for The Wonder Gang, ABC KIDS newest factual trio ready to get to the bottom of puzzling questions for its preschooler audience.
Buzzing with energy in the ‘question mark-shaped’ Wonder HQ are Willow (Chenelle Carr), Whyla (Mischa Heywood) and Wes (Tristan Ayres).
It’s a master control hub of colourful high-tech, plush lounge, science lab and candy-coloured laptops: there are three puppet Quokkas named Quidget, Quest and Quinton who assist with tasks. Move over Giggle & Hoot.
As Willow receives the incoming episode question (in Episode 1: “Why do kangaroos have pouches?”) she circulates the challenge far and wide via watch-phone and everyone is on the case. Even Wes has to put aside his plans to redesign the modern beanbag to get to the bottom of the roo quiz.
Thanks to Quokka-sourced video clips Whyla learns all about marsupials and the teamwork arrives at a solution.
Dressed in cool space-like tracksuits and even donning the odd ’60s hair-do, The Wonder Gang tackle their task with unity and a catch-cry “Wonder Gang go!” -there’s nary a sign of conflict at this HQ.
Our three human heroes are bursting with enthusiasm, perhaps cast from performing arts, but work well as a troupe.
Importantly the show is underlined by its inclusivity. Chenelle Carr is a First Nations performer, Tristan Ayres is Japanese-Australian, Emily Prior (who voices wheelchair character Quest) is a child disability advocate and Isaac Trainer the voice of Quidget is young performer living with Osteogenesis Inperfecta. Also voicing Quinton is Jerra Wright-Smith.
All of the questions centre around Australian animals and nature.
The series is boisterously produced by ABC in Perth with Series Producer Natalie Robinson-Hurst, Story Producer Michael Drake, Director Karin Fitzhardinge and Executive Producer Jan Stradling.
The Wonder Gang airs 7:40am daily from Monday on ABC KIDS.