A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The show exposes kids to the basics of planning and building and illustrates how different equipment is used to complete a job. The characters identify tools by name and, in later episodes, encourage kids to keep an eye out for a specific one in each story.
Teamwork and cooperation are important, particularly when it comes to completing tough assignments. The crew's motto is, "Can we fix it? Yes, we can!" Female characters are in prominent roles in this construction-themed show, including Bob's indispensable partner, Wendy, and the town's mayor. When mistakes are made, they provide valuable opportunities for learning lessons.
Positive Role Models
Bob and his crew maintain a can-do attitude, and Wendy is every bit as handy as Bob is. The cast as a whole is a multicultural group.
Products & Purchases
Bob's image is a marketing gold mine, and it graces products of many kinds.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Bob the Builder's primary focus is the can-do attitude that Bob and his building crew demonstrate while facing tough assignments, which has good messages about determination. While some of the duller details (paperwork, fundraising) won't interest preschoolers, they will like seeing Bob and his anthropomorphic machinery at work. The show puts a female character at the forefront, a plus on a construction-themed program. A 2015 reboot significantly altered the look and sound of the show, portraying Bob and his peers as more mature versions of their originals and tasking them with larger-scale building projects, but the empowering themes at its heart remained the same.
Is It Any Good?
The most effective aspect of this series is the characters' ability to identify a problem or task, make a plan that aims to solve or accomplish it, and delegate the right crew to get the job done. It's a great illustration of teamwork; the plan of action is dictated by the unique needs of the job, and that means that the workers (human and machine) rotate responsibilities. Yes, Bob and Wendy are the leaders, but everyone plays a vital role in the eventual solution. Of course, there's also the fact that machines and trucks with personalities are fun to watch, which is a big winner for preschoolers.
The significant changes that accompanied Bob the Builder's return to TV in 2015 likely won't affect viewers who didn't already know and love the pudgier, overall-clad original incarnation, but they're more than a little off-putting if you're a loyalist. The taller, slimmer, more modern (though no less baby-faced) Bob and crew have their perks -- including the use of modern gadgets and the accomplishments of bigger projects -- but they lose some of their quaintness in the process. Happily, though, the show's excellent messages about working together and overcoming challenges made it through the renovation without a scratch.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.