Ellen's Acres

Common Sense Media says

Imagination can't save Eloise wannabe.

Age(i)

2
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The show aims to encourage using your imagination, but characters sometimes suffer from stereotyping, like two country bumpkin-types who come across as slightly dimwitted. Ellen's hard-working parents rarely interact with her aside from uttering a distracted "that's nice" or tracking her down to run an errand.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

In one scene a family sits down to a dinner of take-out fried chicken (the parents were too busy to cook).

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that because the young heroine of this series lives in her parents' rural motel, her only personal interactions are with her very busy mom and dad, the hotel's two staff members, and the guests -- none of whom devote much time to her. Lacking playmates (especially those her age), Ellen stays busy by playing make believe with her two trusty toys (a feather duster and a radial tire, which her imagination can transform into just about anything), and the many companions she conjures for herself. While the series does celebrate imaginative play, its romanticized take on what's actually a sadly isolated childhood -- as well as its constant leaps to and from reality -- make it an iffier choice for the preschoolers it's aimed at.

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What's the story?

In ELLEN'S ACRES, Ellen travels the world, explores outer space, and leaps through time, all from her hotel home. She conjures adventures using her two favorite things -- a feather duster and a radial tire -- which transform into the ubiquitous tools of her trademark jet-setting. Hotel guests and staff provide inspiration for the characters she meets in her many travels.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

In theory, Ellen's adventures sound like lots of fun for kids -- especially those who like make believe themselves -- but some aspects of the series may raise parents' eyebrows. Though it's spun to highlight the advantages of imaginative play, Ellen's solitary lifestyle and complete lack of interaction with other kids (a la Eloise) is a little troubling. Because she's surrounded only by adults -- including parents whose involvement is limited to summoning her for an errand or responding to her tall tales with a distracted "That's nice, honey" -- Ellen is forced daily to create playmates for herself. Inventive and resourceful as she is, her actions seem to speak to an intense loneliness.

What's more, the constant transitions to and from the world of imagination add unnecessary chaos to the already jumbled show style, and Ellen's monotonous overuse of "actually ..." -- which cues viewers that she's taking them back to reality -- soon begins to sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard. Parents who watch with young kids may need to point out what's real for Ellen and what's pretend, since it's sometimes difficult to tell.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about imaginative play. Kids, what do you like to pretend? What toys or other objects do you use in make believe? Where do you get your ideas? Do you include your friends in your adventures? What do you like about playing with friends? What would you do if you didn't have any friends around to play with?

TV details

This review of Ellen's Acres was written by

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About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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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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Adult Written bypatty65c April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

My 3 year old keeps asking to see it

I think that Ellen's Acres is an adoralbe show that shows children that you can have so much fun and adventure if you just use your imagination. My 3 year old loves it and asks for the show at night. I had to record it so she can watch it whenever she wants. I am upset that it seems to have been pulled out of the 930 am time slot. My daughter keeps asking "Where did Ellen go?"
Adult Written byblooeyez622 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

Great New Show for Kids

I think Ellen's Acres is filled with many images and concepts that will fill any child's imagination and help them learn at the same time. Kids will be able to relate to Ellen and the different adventures she encounters. I don't have children, but I babysit alot, and if the show becomes steady on cartoon network, I'll be sure to get them to give it a try. I've been a fan of cartoon network for a long time, and I think it's great they are trying to expand thier audience to children. I think many of their shows are original, and that's what makes them a hit with adults. I think a show like Ellen's Acres will make them a hit with kids as well.
Adult Written bychrissycartoons April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

ADORABLE!

I have worked in television, and love my nieses and nephews, and THEY love the look and sweetness of ellens. BEAUTIFUL bright colors, great imagination. NOT like the fast flashy stuff out there. Enjoyable! WATCH IT!

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