Common Sense Media says

Young penguin learns and grows at the South Pole.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The series doesn't go out of its way to promote positive messages, although episodes usually result in some sort of happy ending -- at least for Pingu.

Positive role models

Pingu and his playful seal friend, Robbie, seem like they're constantly getting into trouble, although they usually learn their lesson by the end of each episode. (Still, that doesn't stop them from acting up in the future!) They also squabble and quarrel with others, much like real children do.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable

Characters speak "Pinguish," a penguin language incomprehensible to viewers.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this claymation series is funny, endearing, and entertaining. Although the series is appropriate for all ages, the plots might be difficult for the youngest viewers to follow.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

After finding success in Europe, the Swiss animated series PINGU has made it across the pond to the United States. Chilling out on PBS's Sprout channel, Pingu is about a family of penguins -- particularly the adventures of son Pingu. Pingu often teams up with his equally mischievous friend Robbie the Seal, and together they explore the ins and outs of growing up at the South Pole.

Is it any good?


Pingu and Robbie are often a magnet for trouble, and usually their impish conduct ends up coming back to haunt them. In one episode, for example, while Pingu is ice fishing, Robbie coyly steals his friend's catches. The ordeal ends with Robbie hitting his fin on a rock and crying, but instead of Pingu being angry at Robbie, the young penguin cries with him while caressing his wound. Young viewers will easily find this scenario funny and touching because the situation perfectly mirrors how kids behave with their peers. Some of Pingu's humor is aimed at the parents. For example, in one segment Pingu's sister throws a temper tantrum because her father ran over her stuffed animal. When the father buys a new toy to make up for it, the sister cries more and, as a result, the father cries because he doesn't know what to do next. It's funny for everyone, but definitely more relatable for an adult than a kid.

One element that sets this series apart is that all of the characters speak "Pinguish," a special penguin language conceived for the show (Pinguish became such a trend in Switzerland that a Swiss music artist created a popular rap song based on it). The incomprehensible language enhances the series' physical comedy, but the story outlines aren't developed enough for younger children to fully grasp complete plots based on visuals alone. Parents can use this minor disconnect to teach their kids how to pay attention to small details in order to piece a story together. When watching Pingu, expect cool claymation tricks. For example, Pingu and friends can turn their small, clay figures into balls to roll down a hill. The hip theme music is a nice touch, too, and silly acts of both mischief and kindness can carry the entire show. Even though some plots can be tricky for younger viewers to comprehend, the show is structured in a way that lets you enjoy the situations from moment to moment, too.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how to control emotions. How can you prevent a temper tantrum? How can good deeds help you overcome bad behavior? Parents can also discuss the show's format with their kids. How can you visually grasp a story when you don't understand what the characters are saying?

TV details

Genre:Kids' Animation
Topics:Friendship, Wild animals
TV rating:TV-Y

This review of Pingu was written by

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About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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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.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 12 years old April 26, 2011

Not a good choice.

This Swiss cartoon is not one of the best choice for preschoolers. The characters speak in a jibber-jabber language that kids may imitate. It sounds a bit like they're swearing sometimes. Pingu and Robbie are poor role models. There are some scenes that may scare younger children (like the episode with the walrus) and on one episode, we actually see Pingu weeing! Not a good choice. :(
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Adult Written bymegnkyle April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

Hands down my favorite cartoon from our extensive collection.

I discovered this wonderful, delightful cartoon quite by accident. After watching it with my children 7 and 3, I knew we had to own every one of them. A year and a half later my children are still watching this and still laughing out loud. The neatest thing is that there is no "real" dialogue but a penguin gibberish but young or old you understand exactly what is going on. Pingu and his sister Pinga are adorable and will certainly remind you of your own children. I can't say enough about this series, I have given it many times as a gift and always get grateful acknowledgements. This series orginates in Switzerland, so it can be harder to find. I found on a popular auction website and hope they put out more of the series.
Kid, 10 years old September 5, 2014

Bad, inappropriate and disturbing for young children

There are 3 banned episodes the first one is pingu's dreams it when his mum reads him a story and he dreams and gets stalked by a freaky looking walrus. The second one is the dentist he bangs his beak on the table and ITS BLEEDING I didn't know there would be blood on a kids show his mum takes him to the dentist and he is terrified by the tool the dentist has to heal his beak. And finally it's one when pingu has dinner and he hates what they are eating so he starts rocking on his chair and pulls the table mat of the table and his mum puts him on the table and gives him several smacks this is something that happened in the 1990's so pingu runs of into the dark night angrily. Look it up on youtube and watch the banned episodes you'll see what I mean.
What other families should know
Too much violence


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