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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that it won't take long for this show to win the hearts of kids and parents alike. Stanley is an inquisitive, friendly kid with an insatiable appetite for asking questions about animals. Based on the book series by Andrew Griff, this cartoon is about a kid who sometimes makes mistakes, has challenges with his older brother, and always finds comfort in his pet dog, cat, and fish. In fact, Stanley has conversations with these animals, especially his best friend and confidant, Dennis the goldfish. Each episode involves a "jump" into the Great Big Book of Everything, where Stanley learns firsthand about the animal in question. A sure-bet hit with preschoolers and kindergarten-aged kids, it's about kids, friends, family, and the wonders of the animal kingdom.
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What's the story?
Stanley is a kindergartener with an oversized head and six hairs that stick straight up. Each episode begins with him pondering a real-life situation -- he wants to go across the monkey bars or be a part of his brother's band, etc. These problems are brainstormed with the help of his friends -- Lester and twins Mimi and Marci -- and a set of lovable pets that includes Harry the goofy dog, Elsie the slinky tabby, and Dennis the brainy goldfish. After Harry and Elsie sing a song about a beloved book of facts, Stanley and his friends and pets literally jump into the book and become dolphins, T. rexes, kookaburras, or whatever they're studying. They discuss and compare Stanley's problems to facts about animals, and sometimes another song ensues. Often there's an on-the-edge-of-your-seat climax to get Stanley and his friends back to safety, but nothing that's genuinely frightening.
Is it any good?
Stanley may wear tiger-striped pajamas and talk to his pets, but he still manages to be one of the most relatable characters for kids on TV. He has trouble moving to a larger bed, gets frustrated with friends, and sometimes fights with his brother. He's also adorable, loves his family, and has a diverse set of friends.
Both the animal and human characters in Stanley's life are likable and interesting. Stanley's mother, a dentist, sometimes helps Stanley find the answers to his questions on the Internet and, though clearly a busy mom, she's very playful with her youngest son. Stanley's friends are African-American and Jewish, and his teacher is Latina. At the end of each episode, Stanley and Dennis tuck into their respective beds, talk about the day's adventure, and voice their appreciations for the marvelous creatures around them.
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