Tuning in: On TV this week

Monday April 12

Peep and the Big Wide World (TLC, 8-8:30 a.m.): Joan Cusack narrates this dear new show for toddlers to preschoolers with just the right touch of glee. A little chick named Peep and his baby buddies, Chirp the robin and Quack the duck, learn simple science lessons. Animation and short live pieces answer real questions that tend to stump parents: Why are there shadows? Why are there tracks in the snow? Why do things fall down, not up? Scientific skills such as observing, comparing, and predicting are encouraged in lively, nonthreatening stories.

Tuesday April 13

Gilmore Girls (WB, 8-9 p.m.): The oddest couple of pals on TV, Rory (Alexis Bledel) and Paris (Liza Weil) crave warm weather as they struggle with a sudden deep freeze at school in Connecticut. So they migrate to Florida to spend spring break in the sun. Trying to "experience" the spring break phenomenon with the others proves dull work for these super-bright girls. In one of the best episodes of the season, true character wills out.

Showbiz Moms and Dads (Bravo, 9-10 p.m.): The new six-part series about "showbiz moms" who enter their young children in beauty pageants, is part "reality" and part documentary. It's hard to tell if the show is fair to these families in the way it juxtaposes outrageous behavior with the individual's contradictory words. It's very tempting to just buy the whole picture of parental selfishness and dysfunction. Still, a couple of the parents actually seem to have a realistic idea of what show business can do for (if not to) their kids. Their motives seem at least more sympathetic.

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