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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Stella and Sam is a TV series based on Marie-Louise Gay's popular book characters. At its heart is a delightful relationship between siblings who enjoy each other's company and set off on adventures together. Sam's trepidation over new experiences will resonate with some preschoolers, but he always finds a sense of security in his big sister's presence, which has great messages for brothers and sisters in the audience. Adults are absent from the stories because they're told from the kids' point of view, which invites big, imaginative adventures kids will love.
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What's the story?
STELLA AND SAM centers on the adventures of siblings Stella (voiced by Rachel Marcus), an irrepressible redhead with an insatiable curiosity, and Sam (Miles Johnson), her shy younger brother. Each day is a new opportunity for these two to explore new places and learn new things, whether it's in their own backyard or as far away as the moon. They're usually joined on their journeys by their happy-go-lucky dog, Fred (Tony Daniels).
Is it any good?
Stella and Sam sums up the very best aspects of childhood. Stella's curiosity leads the pair to new adventures, which never fail to teach them something new, and they often make new friends along the way. What's more, the siblings' polar personalities broaden their appeal by ensuring that kids will identify with at least one of the characters. Even better, siblings get to see an ideal brother-sister relationship at work in a natural way that enhances, rather than detracts from, the overall story.
Because the series takes such care in staying true to the books' illustration style and storytelling pace, it works well as either an add-on for existing Stella and Sam devotees or an introduction for newcomers to the characters that can transfer back to the books. Either way, it's a delightful choice for parents and their preschoolers, and it's bound to generate some questions from curious kids about how the world around them works.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Stella and Sam's adventures. Where do their journeys take them? How are these places similar to and different from your own surroundings? What did they learn by visiting new places?
Kids: How does Stella and Sam's relationship compare to yours with your own siblings? Do they ever have disagreements on the show? Do you think this is a realistic view of any siblings? How do you resolve your differences with your brothers and sisters?
Families can use this series to inspire their own explorations and field trips. Take a nature walk, visit a museum, or learn about different animals at a zoo or an aquarium. Discuss how different elements of nature coexist. Learn about astronomy and view the stars through a telescope. Which aspects of science are your favorites to study? Why?
- Premiere date: November 1, 2013
- Cast: Miles Johnson, Rachel Marcus, Tony Daniels
- Network: Sprout
- Genre: Kids' Animation
- Topics: Adventures, Book Characters, Brothers and Sisters, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, Science and Nature
- Character strengths: Compassion
- TV rating: NR
- Available on: DVD, Streaming
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