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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Bottersnikes & Gumbles is adapted from a classic Australian book series by S.A. Wakefield that follows the interactions of two very different sets of neighbors. The Gumbles represent everything that's good about living in harmony with others and the world around you; they're mindful of their impact on their environment, they share what they have, and, in turn, the land gives them what they need to live and play. In contrast, the Bottersnikes think only of themselves, hoarding their stuff in a junk pile, resisting friendships, and generally being unpleasant. There's some mild bathroom humor, mostly from the unappealing Bottersnikes (farting, boogers), and some moments of mischief, but all in all, this is a delightful series with strong messages about the value of mindfulness, community, and generous lifestyles.
What's the story?
Tucked away in a quiet corner of the country live neighbors as different as different can be. There are the squishy, squashy Gumbles -- small in stature but big in heart and work ethic -- who love everything about nature and their charmed life. And then there are the Bottersnikes, who laze around their junkyard home, sleeping and munching on mattress stuffing when they're hungry. They despise the perky Gumbles and go to great lengths to keep them off their turf -- that is, when they're not napping the day away. BOTTERSNIKES & GUMBLES is the story of how these very different neighboring groups coexist.
Is it any good?
Brought to the small screen with spectacular animation, this adaptation of classic Australian books is engaging, funny, heartwarming, and cautionary in an age-appropriate manner. Just as the books are known for taking a creative stance on raising issues about environmental concerns, this series illustrates how two groups of creatures can have an opposing impact on their world. Gumbles, with their sense of community and their outward thinking, strive to keep their home a neat, clean, pleasant place to be, and it in turn provides them what they need. On the other hand, the selfish, lazy Bottersnikes think only of themselves and their needs, and they live among the ruins of that attitude. These simple themes are easy for kids to grasp and don't overcomplicate the stories.
Bottersnikes & Gumbles is also a true visual treat, embellishing in all the right ways illustrator Desmond Digby's work. The details stand out -- from the Gumbles' eclectic home decor to the Bottersnikes' bizarre features -- creating a series that's truly a joy to watch. The Snikes' grumpy natures might concern very young kids, but most will find a magical place where even the most unpleasant of neighbors can't dampen the Gumbles' joyful lifestyles.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the Bottersnikes and Gumbles compare. Which would you rather live among? Are there redeeming qualities to the Bottersnikes? In real life, is it easy to characterize people as "good" or "bad"? How do our different experiences influence how we live?
What impact do you have on where you live? How can you minimize your footprint?
Kids: How do you resolve conflicts with your peers? Does talking out a problem always work? Is there ever a time when it's best to agree to disagree?
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