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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Holly Hobbie is a live-action kids' series that is loosely inspired by the big-bonneted, rag dress-clad character from the 1970s and '80s, who appeared as a mega-popular cloth doll as well as in countless illustrations, books, and other merchandising tie-ins. The series is very tame, with no coarse language, sexual content, or violence to speak of. Plotlines will be relatable for many kids, and focus on issues like jealousy, the draw of social media, and family relationships.
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What's the story?
HOLLY HOBBIE takes the ubiquitous rag doll character of 1970s and '80s fame and turns her into a freckle-faced small-town 13-year-old (Ruby Jay) who spends her days playing guitar, hanging with her brainy best friend Amy (Saara Chaudry), and waiting tables at her grandmother's floundering café, the Calico. Holly's primary goal is doing whatever she can to help get the Calico back on its feet, but she also struggles with conflicting feelings about how her relationship with Amy is changing, thanks to the arrival of a trendsetting new "cool girl" at school, who seems more focused on acquiring social media likes than on real life. The Hobbie family also includes an older brother, popular football player Robbie (Charles Vandervaart), and her spunky younger sister, Heather (Kate Moyer), who is determined to earn a spot on the boy's baseball team -- whether the boys want it or not.
Is it any good?
The series has a homespun charm and relatable themes for tween viewers, but the dialogue can be oddly articulate and scripted-sounding, especially coming from the mouths of 10- and 13-year-olds. That particular bit of clunkiness aside, Holly Hobbie's heart is most definitely in the right place, the songs are catchy and fun (each episode features a performance at the Calico café), and there are some great messages about the importance of community involvement, setting and achieving goals, and being a true friend.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the lengths Holly goes to in order to help the people she cares about, such as her grandmother and her new friend, Piper. How does this demonstrate character strengths such as compassion and perseverance? Why are these qualities important?
Holly's opinion of Piper wasn't very favorable at the beginning of Holly Hobbie, but this turned around in a big way by the end of the season. Why is it important to get to know someone before passing judgment? Can you think of a time in your life when your opinion about someone changed once you knew a little more about that person?
Holly's younger sister, Heather, excels at baseball, yet she faces jealously and resistance from her male teammates, who have what she'd consider outdated views on who should be allowed on their team. How does the pursuit of her goals show courage and perseverance?
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