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 while their preschoolers may be delighted by this gentle, nurturing show, it may be hard for them to get into watching it with their kids. The slow-moving story, the gibberish spoken by Maisy the mouse and her animal friends, and the syrupy-sweet, repetitive narration can definitely turn off older viewers.
What's the story?
MAISY is a colorful, animated program for very young children based on the popular book series by British author Lucy Cousins. Maisy is a young mouse who is joined in everyday situations by animal friends such as Charley the crocodile, Tallulah the chicken, and Cyril the squirrel. The series was designed to promote early literacy through comprehension of story structure and appreciation of language. Ironically, however, the animal characters speak a nonsensical, sing-song language of giggles, squeaks, and moans, voiced by the Australian comedy duo the Umbilical Brothers. Only the narrator uses real words to comment on the story, and his gentle, encouraging voiceovers provide questions, reminders, explanations, and guidance to child viewers.
Is it any good?
Oddly, the show has no adult characters, and while one can only assume that the animals' gibberish is meant to be amusing and endearing to kids, to adults it can be grating, especially when several characters chime in at once, creating a cacophonous din.
While conflict in the stories is minimal -- a bouncing ball gets stuck on the roof, a remote control car runs out of batteries -- Maisy and her friends support one another and work cooperatively to solve their problems, providing great role models for little ones. In one story in which young Maisy is inexplicably the captain of a ferry boat, for example, there is no conflict at all, just various animals taking the ferry back and forth across the river, reinforcing the names of several types of animals and providing a subtle lesson in sequencing. This type of storyline, accompanied by simple, bright animation and cheery, ska-tinged music, will be engaging only to the youngest of viewers.
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