By KJ Dell Antonia,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Beloved book goes belly-up on TV.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Characters tease each other and act smart-alecky. A character who gets good grades is mocked (albeit good naturedly) for the achievement.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that these fish can be whiny and smart-alecky. They tease one another, and there's a kind of supposedly good-natured mocking of the character who makes good grades that's exactly the kind of example kids don't need.
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What's the Story?
RAINBOW FISH takes Marcus Pfister's popular book for toddlers and preschoolers and attempts, with little success, to turn it into a program for young school-age kids.
Is It Any Good?
There's no real point in making these characters fish, unless it's an attempt to rope in fans of Disney's Nemo, and there's no connection to the original book other than the title character's appearance. The book provides a lesson on friendship, and those are ostensibly the lessons provided within the show, too, but they're not particularly well done.
The audience for the book will be mystified by characters doing math, discussing grades, and participating in undersea sports. And the older kids who might understand the stories will be bored by the lack of real conflict or characters. So there's really nothing to hold a kid's attention here, and certainly nothing for a grown-up watching along. Only the biggest fans of the book will want to tune in.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the lessons in friendship presented by the show. Why do you think the characters say what they do? How does that make their friends feel? Families might also want to go beyond the obvious lessons and talk about some of the issues the show ignores, like whether the way the friends tease each other is really kind, or the amount of under-the-sea junk food they eat. Or they could just give all that up and talk about why this show is so lame before choosing something else to watch.
- Premiere date: February 19, 2000
- Cast: Erin Fitzgerald, Rhys Huber
- Network: HBO Family
- Genre: Kids' Animation
- Topics: Book Characters, Ocean Creatures
- TV rating: TV-Y
- Last updated: March 1, 2022
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