TV cartoon series to follow the travels of Ming the Minibus

PUBLISHED : Monday, 14 December, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 14 December, 2009, 12:00am

Ming the Minibus, the star of a series of children's books by a Hong Kong teacher, is about to gain fame in an animated cartoon series about his travels around the world.

Australian Thomas Beckett, who teaches English, created the Ming books to help improve the English skills of pupils at Chinese schools.

Books such as Ming the Minibus in Dubai and Ming the Minibus in Europe tell stories about the bus and its driver taking children to different cities and countries.

Lenny Patsiner, consulting director of Good Link International, came across the article about Ming in the South China Morning Post and saw an opportunity to develop Ming the Minibus into a series. He said the cute character sent a great message to children through its interaction with people from all over the world.

Patsiner arranged for Dubai-based animation company EmariToons to produce the show, with music produced in Los Angeles.

Each of the 52 15-minute episodes features Ming the Minibus and Benny the Driver taking two pupils, Johnny and Wing, on trips to different cities or countries.

Other locally inspired characters in the cartoon include Ming's friends Fanny the Ferry and Graham the Garbage Truck. When Ming is abroad with the children, he meets other minibuses who show them around.

Patsiner said the series would teach its target audience, children between the ages of four and eight, three or four main facts about the various cities or countries featured in each episode.

The facts are reinforced at the end of each episode to assist learning. When Ming and the children land back in Hong Kong, Benny asks what they have learned from the trip.

Patsiner said it was interesting to use a local icon that children could relate to in after-school programmes.

Ming the Minibus will be broadcast by ATV World, at 4pm on Mondays, from January 4.