What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this series encourages, in its own small way, a daring and adventurous spirit in very young children. It's focused on big-picture lessons -- being willing to try new things, perseverance, following instructions -- but the teaching is subtle and very much a part of the story.
What's the story?
OSWALD follows the daily adventures of Oswald (an octopus) and his friends Henry (a penguin) and Daisy (a tall, fully mobile flower) in Big City. Oswald's dog is a hot dog on a leash, the ice cream vendor is a snowman, and the owner of the diner is a butterfly (and the mother of a caterpillar). It's all gently loopy -- funny to an adult in a surreal way, rather than an over-the-kids'-head way. Oswald is voiced by Fred Savage, and in every episode he sings a sweet, catchy tune about what the gang is doing.
Is it any good?
The animation is slowly paced, as suits the audience -- there are no sudden cuts or jerky movements. Scenes remain static for relatively long periods, but because such care has been taken with the background of Big City itself (houses are shaped like everything from stacked books to ice cream cones, passersby like walking cacti and gingerbread people), it's pleasant to watch, even for an adult. Even the most exciting episodes are handled in a very gentle, calming way -- there may be a giant snowball rolling toward Big City, but Oswald, Henry (David L. Lander), and Daisy (Crystal Scales) are always confident they can save the day. Most parents won't mind sitting down once in a while to share this one with their preschooler.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about each day's adventure in a way that allows a child to take in the message without hammering it home. For example: Do you think Henry really wanted to try some of the new things Oswald was doing, even though he insisted on doing things "just like always"? If Daisy had followed the directions, would they have gotten stuck? Does Oswald love Daisy even though she's impulsive, and Henry even though he isn't adventurous at all? Why?