Mother Goose Stories

 
Henson also-ran brings blah puppetry to classic folktales.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Some early literacy value in that the episodes bring to life some favorite childhood rhymes and stories that might inspire kids to read and enjoy more.

Positive messages

Since the episodes are based on nursery rhymes, lessons like "listen to your mother" or "be brave" are front-and-center.

Positive role models

As in most fairytales, characters are designated "good" or "bad" without much more to go on than a pretty (or an ugly) face.

Violence & scariness

Characters are sometimes in mildly scary situations, i.e. Humpty Dumpty fearing a fall.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Mother Goose Stories from Henson Studios is hardly another Fraggle Rock or The Storyteller in terms of quality, but it's harmless enough. The series presents expanded stories built around classic nursery rhymes like "Wee Willie Winkie" and the "Eensy Weensy Spider," which may be of interest to 3- and 4-year-olds who enjoy such rhymes. Very sensitive children may be frightened of some images, like a fierce, looming dragon in "Jack and Jill," or Humpty Dumpty landing on the ground with a chilling splat.

User reviews

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

Spawned by the same studio system that produced classic kids' fare like The Muppet Show, MOTHER GOOSE STORIES was the first effort from Henson studios after founder Jim Henson died. Sadly, it kind of shows in the cheesy sets and awkward puppeteering. Each segment of Mother Goose Stories takes on a well-worn nursery rhyme such as "Hey, Diddle Diddle" and "Old King Cole" and uses live-action child actors and puppets to flesh out an eight-minute story, sometimes with ironic or absurd twists (Jack and Jill run into a scary dragon on the way from the well, but he turns out to just be a frustrated chef). When the stories aired on the Disney Channel in the '90s, they were linked by threes into 30-minute episodes, with connecting vignettes where Mother Goose (Angie Passmore) would begin telling the tales to her goslings. On DVD, these vignettes usually run just before each episode.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

If you've seen the grandeur and magic that Henson Studios is capable of, it's hard to see Mother Goose Stories as anything other than a poor copy of a great show like The Storyteller. It has, more or less, the same format (retellings of passed-down tales, though The Storyteller is more faithful to both plot and tone), but it's nowhere near as good. To begin with, the puppets, apparently made by a non-Henson company, are downright ugly. Their look is supposedly based on the art of Maxfield Parrish, who illustrated the L. Frank Baum book Mother Goose in Prose, which provided the source material for many of the tales in Mother Goose Stories. Maxfield Parrish's work is gorgeous, to be sure. These puppets? Not.

Sets, dialogue, even the child actors who play human roles like Jack, Jill, and Little Boy Blue, all seem like the down-on-their-luck versions of what you'd find in The Storyteller. The show isn't downright awful, mind you. It's just thoroughly mediocre; really only for Henson completists, very keen nursery rhyme enthusiasts, or, perhaps, those with way too much time on their hands.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why fairytale characters sometimes act so strangely, going into dangerous places they were told not to go, or seeking out things they know might hurt them. Why do you think these characters behave this way?

  • Have you seen any of the other movies or shows made by Henson Studios, such as The Muppets or Fraggle Rock? Do you like Mother Goose Stories better, or not as much? Which show do you think was more expensive to make, Mother Goose Stories or Fraggle Rock? Whyat makes you think that?

  • Strange things happen in folk tales that don't happen in real life. Animals talk, characters make wishes that come true, and so on. What would you like to happen in your life that would be like a fairy tale?

TV details

Cast:Angie Passmore, Karen Prell, Mak Wilson
Network:Disney Channel
Genre:Kids' Animation
Topics:Princesses and fairies
TV rating:NR
Available on:DVD

This review of Mother Goose Stories was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

What parents and kids say

Write a user reviewThere aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass