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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this colorful, high-energy series will engage preschoolers through song, dance, and entertaining storylines that kids can relate to. In each episode, kids learn important lessons about respecting others and themselves, sharing, showing kindness, and being a good friend. The host -- a talented Broadway alum -- brings a surprisingly mature (but still kid-friendly) feel to the series, making this one that parents can enjoy alongside their little ones.
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What's the story?
In Disney's engaging preschool series JOHNNY AND THE SPRITES, a young man named Johnny T ( John Tartaglia) moves into a house in the woods for peace and quiet -- and a little musical inspiration. But his new neighbors -- magical creatures named Sprites whom only he (and the viewers, of course) can see -- have other plans for him. Whether it's singing, painting, or playing a game of "clover ball" in the yard, the Sprites are always happy to keep Johnny occupied, and he certainly never minds spending time with Ginger (Leslie Carrara), Basil (Tim Lagasse), Lily (Carmen Osbahr), and Root (Heather Asch).
Is it any good?
Johnny's great at helping his new woodsy friends solve their problems, often using his musical talents to teach lessons in patience, manners, friendship, and self-esteem. And sometimes the tables turn, letting the Sprites teach Johnny a thing or two. In one episode, for example, Ginger worries that her antennae are too curly, making her look weird. Despite her friends' assurances that she looks fine, she decides to cover them up to avoid feeling self-conscious. But when she starts bumping into things, Johnny reminds her that the antennae help her navigate her surroundings and sings about all the other unique qualities that make her the wonderful Sprite that she is.
Multi-talented star/executive producer Tartaglia brings an impressive resume -- including work as a Sesame Street puppeteer and a Tony-nominated leading role in the Broadway show Avenue Q -- to this very enjoyable series. His natural exuberance and obvious love of music will ignite preschoolers' own excitement for the show. The bonus for parents is that Tartaglia's talent means that the show relies more on strong acting, good writing, and fun musical numbers (many of which are written by Broadway composers) than on general goofiness to capture audiences. If your preschoolers' TV tastes sometimes differ from yours, Johnny and the Sprites may be just what you need for joint viewing pleasure.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the many lessons the characters learn in each episode. Which character was having trouble? What was the problem he or she faced? How did the character's friends help? What did they all learn about themselves?
Kids: Have you ever had a problem like one of the ones on the show? When? How did you solve it? Who helped you? How do you help when your own friends are feeling sad?
- Premiere date: October 9, 2005
- Cast: John Tartaglia, Leslie Carrara, Tim Lagasse
- Network: Disney Channel
- Genre: Kids Musical TV
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Friendship, Music and Sing-Along, Puppets
- Character strengths: Communication, Compassion
- TV rating: TV-Y
- Available on: DVD
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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