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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Handy Manny is an inviting animated series for preschoolers that reinforces commonly heard Spanish words and phrases and introduces viewers to a few new ones. Characters focus on helping others and always putting the community's needs before their own. Problem-solving and preparedness are frequent themes, and viewers see the negative repercussions of impatience and poor teamwork. Cultural diversity and respect for others tops off this well-rounded series.
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What's the story?
HANDY MANNY introduces preschoolers to the multicultural town of Sheetrock Hills and its friendly repairman Manny Garcia (voiced by Wilmer Valderrama of That '70s Show). Together with his sometimes-feisty (but mostly eager) set of talking tools, Manny is always ready to pitch in and help his friends. Manny's repair shop is home to a diverse group of coworkers: Pat the Hammer (Tom Kenny), Turner the Screwdriver (Dee Bradley Baker), Felipe the Phillips Screwdriver (Carlos Alazraqui), Dusty the Saw (Kath Soucie), Stretch the Tape Measure (Nika Futterman), Rusty the Wrench (Fred Stoller), and Squeeze the Pliers (Futterman again). Although Manny does his best to keep the tools on task, they sometimes let their own ambitious plans lead to messy mishaps on the job. But with patience and cooperation, the group learns how to solve problems and come through for their neighbors.
Is it any good?
This show is brimming with positive content for young viewers: Themes of teamwork, preparedness, and mutual respect are mixed with the silly comedy that preschoolers love. For example, in one episode, bickering duo Felipe and Turner ignore Manny's advice and open a glue bottle before protecting their workspace with newspaper. In their haste to start the project, they accidentally glue themselves together and -- after much stretching and snapping back together -- they learn that they have to get along to help their friends.
Handy Manny also exposes preschoolers to aspects of Latino culture. Legendary Latino band Los Lobos contributes the catchy music, and Manny uses basic Spanish terms like "hola" and "gracias" in his everyday dialogue. When he introduces less-familiar Spanish terms, Manny includes their English translations so kids can make the language connection. Colorful animation, engaging storylines, and rich characters will keep young viewers coming back for more of this engaging Disney series.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Manny and his friends cooperate to overcome challenges in Handy Manny. What special talents does each character contribute to the team? How do they resolve their differences?
Kids: How do you handle problems with your own friends?
Parents: Use repetition to reinforce the Spanish that your kids learn from the show.
- Premiere date: September 16, 2006
- Cast: Dee Bradley Baker, Kath Soucie, Wilmer Valderrama
- Network: Disney Channel
- Genre: Kids' Animation
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, Music and Sing-Along
- Character strengths: Communication, Teamwork
- TV rating: TV-Y
- Available on: DVD, Streaming
- Last updated: April 16, 2021
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