A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that young fans of Handy Manny and his tool friends will delight in this hour-long special starring their favorite fix-it crew, and the characters demonstrate teamwork, self-esteem, respect for others, and conquering fears. Manny weighs his personal goals against his responsibility to his friends to make a tough choice about accepting a new challenge, and he's open-minded enough to revisit his decision when the circumstances change. Manny's tools experience some self-doubt when they meet glitzy power-tool versions of themselves, but in the end they come to appreciate their individual value and the services they provide for their friends.
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What's the story?
When Handy Manny (voiced by Wilmer Valderrama) and his tools are called away to Concrete Falls to lend a hand on a big-city building project, the residents of Sheetrock Hills must learn to fix things for themselves. Unfortunately for many of them, enthusiastic Mr. Lopart (Tom Kenny) moves in as the self-appointed substitute handy man, and his work just doesn't meet the standards the townspeople are used to from Manny and his crew. Meanwhile, Manny and the tools discover life on a busy construction job isn't really all it's cracked up to be.
Is it any good?
HANDY MANNY: BIG CONSTRUCTION JOB exemplifies the benefits of kids' TV done right. It starts with colorful characters, adds a sweet story, and mixes in multiple layers of positive messages illustrated in ways kids won't likely miss. From Manny's decision to leave Sheetrock Falls to the tools' fears that their new peers are better than them, the characters' troubles are relatable issues for preschoolers, giving parents and kids lots to talk about at the end.
As if these social themes aren't enough, the show also offers kids plenty of other content that feeds their need to understand the world around them. Manny and many of the characters are bilingual and routinely include Spanish words and phrases -- followed by their English translations -- in their conversations. Not only is the cast multicultural, it also challenges traditional gender roles by casting a female hardware store owner and gives female voices to a few of Manny's tools.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about making decisions. What difficult decisions did Manny have to make in this story? How would his decision affect others? How did he take their needs into account? What tough choices have you had to make? To whom did you turn for help?
Kids: What are your special talents or skills? How do you use them? In what ways can they allow you to help others? How do you feel when you encounter someone who's better than you at something? How do people's individual skills help strengthen a team?
What did you learn from this show? Did you pick up on any of the Spanish terms that were used? Were any of them familiar to you? What other shows use other languages like this one did?
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