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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Ponysitters Club follows a group of friends who volunteer at a rescue ranch. They help rehabilitate animals while simultaneously supporting each other as they overcome challenges in their own lives. What the show lacks in writing and acting expertise it makes up for in representations of loyalty, friendship, empathy, compassion, and kindness among the handful of main characters. There's a strong family bond among the three generations that operate the ranch and a sense of family that includes all of the tweens who help out. Ethnic diversity and diversity of ability also stand out, always with positive representations of respect and acceptance. One character does use her comparative privilege for social superiority among her peers, but there are times when she seems to genuinely care and want to help. This heartwarming series also includes many scenes of humans interacting with and enjoying the company of animals of all kinds.
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- Kids say
What's the story?
In PONYSITTERS CLUB, a young horse enthusiast inspires her friends to join her in caring for the animals that arrive at her family's Rescue Ranch. Skye's (Morgan Neundorf) boundless love of animals yields especially strong bonds with the horses that need extra attention. Her friends Olivia (Maya Franzoi), Trish (Khiyla Aynne), Isabella (Victoria Tomazelli), and Ethan (Zyon Allen) form the Ponysitters Club and volunteer at the ranch, which is run by Skye's mom, Billy (Madeline Leon), and grandfather (Hugh Wilson). As the Ponysitters care for the animals, they also find opportunities to demonstrate kindness and help each other through the challenges that arise in their own lives.
Is it any good?
This feel-good series promotes the very ideals its characters advocate in their club creed: caring, kindness, empathy, and helping others. It's not gripping drama by any means, and it's clearly written for young viewers who will be more forgiving of the rudimentary stories and somewhat unpolished acting than adults might be.
Ultimately, though, Ponysitters Club is a harmless, heartwarming show about both people and animals overcoming adversity with help from friends who care. It also deserves credit for portraying a place where life isn't always perfect and for involving in its diverse cast some characters with physical and learning disabilities, including Skye's dyslexia. These small features give the series a validity that helps compensate for areas where it lacks and offers many teachable moments for families.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the healing and rehabilitation process for the animals on the ranch. How do Skye and her friends help them recover in Ponysitters Club? How do they overcome setbacks in the process? What similarities do you see emerge between the animals' needs and the club members' own struggles with school and friends?
What difficult customers and other characters challenge the volunteers at Rescue Ranch? How do their personalities differ from those of the people you would consider role models in the show? Talk about the instances of transformation you see in some characters, including Shelby. How do their experiences help inspire personal growth?
How do Skye and her friends show that they're compassionate to the animals' needs and to each other's? How does caring and showing kindness help compensate for not fully understanding what someone needs to feel better? Why are these character strengths important among the Ponysitters and in the real world?
- Premiere date: August 10, 2018
- Cast: Morgan Neundorf, Maya Franzoi, Khiyla Aynne
- Network: Netflix
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Book Characters, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models, Horses and Farm Animals
- Character Strengths: Compassion, Empathy
- TV rating: TV-Y7
- Available on: Streaming
- Last updated: March 13, 2020
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