A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this wildly successful, popular show produced by BBC Scotland has recently been brought to the States. It's geared toward younger preschoolers because of its silly characters, catchy songs, simple problem-solving opportunities, and engaging stories.
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What's the story?
Scottish import BALAMORY has a host of loveable characters, a colorful backdrop, toe-tapping songs, and interesting storylines all packed in each 22-minute episode. The episodes start with a song and sit-down with the ever-perky Miss Hoolie (Julie Wilson Nimmo), who, with her gentle Scottish accent, perfectly turned-up hair, and child-centered manner, introduces the viewer to characters and situations. Other characters include fitness instructor Josie Jump (Buki Akib/Kasia Haddad), bus driver Edie McCredie (Juliet Cadzow), police officer PC Plum (Andrew Agnew), inventor Archie (Miles Jupp), artist Spencer (Rodd Christensen), and shopkeepers Susie Sweet (Mary Riggans) and Penny Pocket (Kim Tserkezie).
Is it any good?
Clearly geared for the preschool set, each episode of Balamory is used to solve a single problem. The characters are interesting men and women in the community, each with different backgrounds, skills, and abilities, including one in a wheelchair. These characters help each other solve problems, such as what to substitute for a "bucket and spade" for a beach trip when Spencer's set is stuck with paint; how to keep PC Plum's long hair from falling in front of his eyes; and what to do when Edie arranges to take kids on a trip but her bus breaks down.
Tobermory, a real Scottish village on the Isle of Mull, is the picturesque backdrop for Balamory. The array of homes and shops -- which have as much personality as the characters -- adds to the viewing experience. Bottom line: There's much for preschoolers to enjoy here, and they may even learn a lesson or two along the way.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the colorful scenery and wacky personalities of the community members. The show offers a great opportunity for families to discuss the differences and similarities between people from other areas. How does life in Balamory, which is filmed in the Scottish village of Tobermory, compare to life here?
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