Two Great Kids' Shows from Down Under

There must be something in the water in Australia that sparks the imagination, because the continent of Oz has produced a few really entertaining children's programs.  Here are two of my favorites that I hope are still around when my daughter is old enough to watch.

Animalia is a cartoon based on the book by Graeme Base.  Two kids, Zoe and Alex, travel to a fantasy world where animals talk and cool adventures take place.  They meet G'Bubu, the green gorilla; Livingstone, the noble, purple-maned lion; Allegra, the vain and sassy Southern alligator; Tyrannicus, the self-centered tiger; Iggy, the hilarious iguana; and many more.  The show encourages children to read books and escape into a world of imagination.  It airs in the United States on PBS (check your local listings).

H20: Just Add Water is a live-action show about three girls who become mermaids with magical powers. Played with a contagious sense of fun and energy by  Phoebe Tonkin as Cleo, Claire Holt as Emma, and Cariba Heine as Rikki, the girls try to keep their abilities secret as they get themselves into and out of all sorts of misadventures with the help of their friend Lewis, played by Angus McLaren.  (Check your cable or satellite television listings in the U.S., or catch clips of it on YouTube.)