Busytown Mysteries



Richard Scarry's beloved characters solve kid-size queries.

What parents need to know

Educational value

The series introduces preschoolers to basic scientific concepts like gathering clues, analyzing data, and creating a hypothesis. Sometimes the content allows for additional learning -- as when a mystery at the beach prompted the characters to learn about changing tide levels.

Positive messages

The show promotes teamwork and critical thinking -- the characters hypotheses about the mysteries often turn out to be wrong, but they always learn from them and never treat anyone’s ideas disrespectfully.

Positive role models

Huckle and his friends sometimes have disagreements, but they handle them politely. They’re always courteous and make amends when they’ve done something wrong. The young characters often turn to knowledgeable adults when they have a question about how things work.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this preschool series stars the characters of Richard Scarry’s beloved children’s books. As the young characters solve mysteries, they encourage kids to think critically about the world around them and introduce them to basic scientific concepts like making observations, analyzing evidence, and testing theories. Huckle and his friends always demonstrate admirable traits like kindness, respect, and sincerity. In other words, this show is a great choice for preschoolers -- and perhaps even their parents, who might remember Scarry’s characters (in book form, anyway) from their own childhood.

What's the story?

Huckle (voiced by Joanne Vannicola), Sally, Lowly Worm (Paul Wensley), and the rest of author Richard Scarry’s beloved characters come to life in BUSYTOWN MYSTERIES. The series is set in the bustling burg of Busy Town, where adventure is always close at hand and each day presents Huckle and his friends with questions to ponder and queries to solve. No mystery is too big for this group of young gumshoes, who examine evidence and gather clues that help them unravel the mysteries behind the who, what, and where in question.

Is it any good?


Scarry’s delightful illustrations transfer seamlessly to this animated series, and kids will get caught up in the brisk stories that encourage critical thinking. The mysteries are just right for the preschool set, typically relating to questions that kids would ask themselves -- like "Where did my sandcastle go overnight?" or "Who made those unfamiliar tracks in the snow?" As Huckle and his friends work to answer them, kids will see a pattern to their analytical process and begin to predict what might happen next.

With its timeless characters and worry-free content, parents can breathe easy about letting their preschoolers tune in to this fun series. Then again, since some moms and dads likely have fond memories of the characters from their own childhood bedtime stories, there’s plenty of reason to curl up with your kids and enjoy the show -- and perhaps open one of the books for an encore.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how the characters solve each mystery. What steps do they take to get from a question to a solution? Do they ever reach an incorrect conclusion? What do they do then?

  • How do friends and teammates help each other? If a friend is having a bad day, what do you do? Why is it important to show your friends that you respect them?

  • Kids: How does this series compare to Richard Scarry’s books? Do you think they look pretty similar? Are the characters how you pictured they’d be when you read the books? What are some of your other favorite shows based on books?

TV details

Cast:Joanne Vannicola, Kevin Dennis, Paul Wensley
Genre:Kids' Animation
TV rating:TV-Y

This review of Busytown Mysteries was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Educator and Parent of a 3 and 6 year old Written bykellymorrison January 6, 2012

A household favorite for young sleuths

My six and three-year-old boys are always clamoring for "the Huckle Show" (Huckle is the name of the mystery-solving cat). It's actually one of the few shows I can stomach watching with them. The books are even better!
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 3 year old Written bymominwis December 24, 2009

A classic show with cute characters and storylines.

What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 12 years old April 28, 2013

Horrrible show, episodes WAY WAY WAY too short.

As for the 4 star rating, CSM is wrong once again. This show is so rushed. I hate it. Each episode is around 7 minutes long, and the mysteries are so simple, stupid, and not even worth making an effort to find out. Don't bother with the show, it's stupid and horribly made.


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