Parents' Guide to

Stillwater

By Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 6+

Beautiful, gentle series emphasizes emotional awareness.

Stillwater Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

Community Reviews

age 4+

Based on 18 parent reviews

age 3+

Emotionally Intelligent and Well Paced

This show is incredible for young children. It focuses on relationships, emotions and learning important lessons of managing emotions and expectations via fables. The episodes are short. Conflict between characters is resolved via communication and caring for each other. The pacing and transitions are well thought out for a younger audience with a focus and on longer cuts and slow moving scenes. The focus here is on emotion, feelings and how to manage yourself. The music and animation are beautiful. There is a very high budget feel to this production and careful attention has been paid to every detail. Target audience is most likely pre-school to early elementary school age group. This is the best show I have watched with my daughter, so good it inspired me to take the time to write my first review on this site. Stillwater is a hidden gem in a world of overwhelming streaming choices.
age 4+

The best kids show ever made!

We've loved the Jon J. Muth Stillwater books for years, and the TV series is a wonderful and beautifully rendered adaptation. This show, like the books, is about a family of bright, respectful kids and their wise panda neighbor. The kids have real-life (but mild and still respectful) disagreements and conflicts with siblings and within themselves, and they seek the advice or sometimes just the presence of their neighbor who always has gentle stories for them. The stories are animated in a simpler style to differentiate from the "real" animation (with a diverse cast of vocal talent), and they help the kids understand how they are feeling, how others might be feeling, or to offer another look at a situation. In one, the youngest boy feels apprehensive about getting a "real" haircut; in another the kids realize their "scary" old neighbor whose pet alligator eats soccer balls that land in his yard is really misunderstood and becomes a good friend. The show is great about indicating the importance of community and friendship. My boys (now 5 & 7) LOVE this show. The only thing they're concerned about is why the kids' parents are never there, but they are spoken of and just remain off-screen. It is amazing how many shows geared toward children feature rude and disrespectful behavior, villains and frightening content, and the generally awful "hidden adult humor" that is almost always in really poor taste! This contains none of that. It is a beautiful show about friendship, mindfulness, appreciating nature, acceptance, and many other things. It is really lovely. My husband and I love to catch a show with the boys, and we feel more than comfortable about them watching an episode without us (even before we have seen it). If you have sensitive, appreciative kids whose brains haven't yet been inundated by the sensory overload of modern movies and bombarded with crazy video games, they might just like this show, too. Or if they have, their brains might just appreciate the break!

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (18 ):
Kids say (1 ):

This gentle, soothing series is the literary equivalent of a warm hug. The combination of gorgeous animation and music sets the stage for Stillwater's intentional pace and intuitive content that teaches wonderful lessons without hitting you over the head with them. Everything about Stillwater communicates a welcome calm, from his bamboo-fenced gardens to the lolling speed at which he accomplishes his daily chores. He's a model of self-awareness and introspection for his three young friends and, by extension, for his viewers. As Stillwater helps the kids face unfamiliar emotions like anger, frustration, and disappointment, he demonstrates the value of healthy social-emotional awareness and conflict resolution. And he accomplishes all of this without ever raising his voice or appearing flustered.

It's so easy to get wrapped up in the delights of this series that it's almost easy to forget about the aspects of the show that are, well, unusual. Besides the obvious suburbia-dwelling-talking-panda-bear thing, there's the notable but totally inexplicable absence of any parental figures in the kids' lives. Where in real life a parent or guardian would step in to help guide the kids' social learning, the apparently ever-accessible and unfailingly patient neighbor bear fills that role for Michael, Addy, and Karl. It's odd, to be sure, but keeping the cast to a minimum does bolster the show's overall simple and serene style.

TV Details

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