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 Bonnie Bear is an animated show for very young children. Two characters listen to and then identify and illustrate sounds, helping kids learn about the sounds that surround them. One character is a friendly little bear, the other a gramophone that talks and sounds like a supportive and friendly teacher. Each sound-identification vignette lasts a few minutes, and there are about nine of them in every half-hour episode of the show. The repetition is appealing to the youngest viewers but won't be for older kids.
What's the story?
BONNIE BEAR is a curious young bear who lives in a world with a talking gramophone and a magic brush. In short vignettes that make up each episode, the gramophone asks Bonnie if she wants to play the Listening Game. "I do, I do!" answers Bonnie, bouncing up and down. He then plays three sounds, the type young children might know: a motorcycle, footsteps, a duck. Bonnie identifies each sound, illustrates what makes it with her magic brush, then makes a guess at where these sounds are found, such as a busy city street or by a pond. Bonnie jumps into the scene briefly, then jumps out and through a door, bringing the scene to an end.
Is it any good?
This sweet and lightly educational show is gentle enough and suitable for toddlers. Sounds are an important part of their world -- since they aren't sure what most things in the adult world mean yet, they attempt to make sense of the world with the things they see, touch, and hear. The types of sounds Bonnie identifies are the sorts young viewers probably have heard before: a vrooming car, the sound of footsteps, maybe Mommy or Daddy coming home at the end of a long day. Hearing them and imagining what they might be before Bonnie draws them on her whiteboard will prove a puzzle that's just hard enough to intrigue, but not frustrate, very young viewers. The Listening Game repeats every three minutes during a 30-minute episode, so parents might get a little sick of the repetition. But the voices, noises, and action are quiet and non-annoying and perfectly pitched for tiny viewers who might be overwhelmed by more stimulating shows.