By Emily Ashby,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Unique sketch comedy series has roots in books, reading.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Many segments incorporate trivia and fascinating facts. Some sketches revisit historical events, such as Shakespeare's inspiration for Romeo and Juliet.
The series explores creativity and the arts through a variety of avenues, from scripted sketches to quick trivia to interviews to field trips to see artists practicing their crafts in dance, music, and visual arts. The message is clear: Whatever the discipline, creative expression can fulfill personal desires and touch and inspire others. The cast includes both boys and girls and is multi-ethnic in nature. Some potty humor, including jokes about peeing, fake snot in a joke shop, and gross-out trivia during a recurring news segment.
Positive Role Models
Everyone involved in the show as a guest exemplifies the benefits of exploring the arts, reading books, and sharing creativity. Professional athletes make unexpected connections between non-athletic subjects and success on the field, and artists in several disciplines tell kids that dedication and a willingness to think outside the box are important characteristics.
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Individual books that relate to the episode's subject matter are shown. When artists, authors, and athletes are involved in the show, their affiliations (teams, books they've written, dance companies they belong to, etc.) are made known.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Kid Stew is a sketch comedy series designed by James Patterson and intended to encourage kids and tweens' interest in books and reading. The young cast members put on skits and share knowledge about name-makers in literature and the broader world of the arts, incorporating musicians and artists in various disciplines. There are interviews with modern-day authors like Dave Barry, visits with athletes and others who have turned their passions into careers, and field trips to experience aspects of other cultures, such as learning origami and listening to a Japanese drumline. Even though it incorporates much content that's educational in nature, the series is a lot of fun to watch and can inspire viewers' curiosity in many different topics. This exceptional show is a lot of fun for parents and kids to watch together.
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Based on 1 parent review
Quality Show for Kids...adults will love it too!
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What's the Story?
KID STEW is a sketch comedy series tied to books and the arts. Created by James Patterson, the show is geared toward tweens and aims to inspire interest in reading and creative expression through funny skits, jokes, trivial knowledge, and music videos. The nine-person cast acts, interviews famous authors, visits with amateur and professional artists and athletes, and embarks on cultural field trips, all while espousing the value of reading and being creative.
Is It Any Good?
This lively series attempts the seemingly impossible in trying to attract the pre-teen crowd with a show about (gulp!) books and reading. Imagine their surprise when they tune in and discover what fun Kid Stew has in store for them, from comic sketches to gross-out news reports about giraffes using their inordinately long tongues to clean out their noses, to cheesy lip-synced videos. The humor is relevant, and the cast, while amateurish, is a delight to watch in action.
Even though literacy is the show's stated goal, Kid Stew takes a very broad approach to inspiring viewers' interest rather than hitting them over the head with (what else?) a book. Some segments relate directly to literary works of various reading levels, but most simply show the excitement of learning and exploring new things, which can be tied to books in so many different ways. If your pre-teen gets jazzed about a topic or two from Kid Stew, it's a great opportunity to seek books that will help broaden his knowledge.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the balance between screen time and screen-free hobbies like reading. How do you monitor your screen use in your family? Are you subject to the same rules as your kids are? What activities do you enjoy together that don't involve technology?
How do the arts allow us to express ourselves in new ways? Do your kids like to draw, to sing, or to dance? Does creativity come easy to them, or is it hard to create something without structure? What art disciplines are they curious about after watching this series?
Talk with your kids about your favorite books and ask them about theirs. Is there a certain genre you both enjoy? Have you ever heard of the authors featured in Kid Stew? If so, do you like their work? Are you inspired to check it out after seeing them here?
- Premiere date: May 6, 2018
- Cast: Luke Nappe, Madison Maxwell, David Bolinger
- Network: PBS
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Book Characters, History, Music and Sing-Along
- Character Strengths: Curiosity
- TV rating: TV-G
- Award: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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