A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this gentle series is designed to ease preschoolers into a bedtime routine, and although the use of TV for this purpose isn’t recommended by experts, it certainly has its intended soothing effect on very young viewers. The bright, friendly characters interact in a way that tots will relate to, and the storylines center on kid-appropriate situations like trying to learn a new skill and helping a friend solve a problem. Rhymes and songs will get kids singing along, and some stories incorporate basic skills like counting.
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What's the story?
IN THE NIGHT GARDEN is a British preschool series that centers on the colorful inhabitants of a fantastical forest. Each episode opens with a scene of a young child being lulled to sleep -- setting the scene for its soothing tone -- which leads into a visit to the garden where Makka Pakka (Justyn Towler), Igglepiggle (Nick Kellington), and Upsy Daisy (Rebecca Hyland) live and play among friends like the pint-sized Pontipines and the jovial Tombliboos. As the characters have very limited vocabulary (most of their speech is toddler-like babbling), their movements are narrated by Derek Jacobi.
Is it any good?
Parents surely will notice that this mild show bears strong resemblance to another British series that cast bright, costumed characters, and in fact In the Night Garden is produced by two of the creators of Teletubbies. The show emphasizes friendly, loving relationships, and its soothing tone ensures that it will bring preschoolers down from their naturally frantic pace.
This is intended to be a bedtime show that will relax kids for a restful night’s sleep, but the use of any TV show in this capacity is iffy at best. What’s more, the show’s decidedly juvenile characters and scenarios ensure it’s probably best suited for toddlers or young preschoolers, which then raises the weighty issue of when it’s appropriate to allow very young kids to watch TV at all.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about these unusual characters. Kids: Do you like Upsy Daisy, Makka Pakka, Igglepiggle, and their friends? Which are your favorites? How are they alike or different from the types of characters you see in other shows?
Kids: How does the characters’ lack of linguistic skills affect your ability to understand their actions? How does the narrator help you? What clues can you take from the characters’ movements or expressions to understand what they’re thinking?
Kids: How do the characters show that they are friends? What kinds of things do they do for each other to be helpful or friendly? How do you help your friends?
Themes & Topics
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