The Daniel Tiger Movie: Won't You Be Our Neighbor?

TV review by
Jenny Nixon, Common Sense Media
The Daniel Tiger Movie: Won't You Be Our Neighbor? TV Poster Image
Daniel helps a nervous new neighbor friend feel at home.

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age 18+
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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Educational Value

As with TV series, Daniel Tiger's first-ever movie helps preschoolers confront and cope with new, sometimes daunting situations -- e.g., learning how to make new friends, how to become comfortable in unfamiliar environments. While movie doesn't incorporate skills like phonics or numbers, important social-emotional building blocks (e.g., empathy, cooperation) are imparted in a fun, natural way. Themes are reiterated throughout via musical and dialogue cues.

Positive Messages

Daniel is a very relatable kid (or cub?) who demonstrates great curiosity, compassion, while not being too perfect -- he gets scared and sad like the rest of us. He also knows when to reach out to a grown-up; the adults help guide Daniel and his friends on how important it is to talk about how they're feeling and that every problem has a solution. Also: While new people and situations can seem scary at first, if you keep an open mind, things will eventually start to feel like home.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Neighborhood of Make-Believe residents are diverse, individualistic bunch, but all have in common a sense of friendliness, compassion. They love to pitch in, help friends, and exemplify old saying that "a stranger is just a friend you haven't met yet." Daniel notes how different his new next-door neighbors are from his own family (Mom platypus is a doctor, and raises her twin sons and daughter Jodi with the help of their grandmother -- no dad is mentioned), but as they talk out differences they come to realize how much they have in common. Community spirit is very big, and everyone is made to feel welcome.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Daniel Tiger Movie: Won't You Be Our Neighbor? is the first-ever movie from the team behind the charming animated series inspired by the lovable, iconic tiger character from Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. Daniel is the perfect stand-in for the typical preschooler, and kids will love the way he talks directly to them, bringing them into his world and encouraging them to share their thoughts out loud. The movie has a big focus on emotions and how to regulate and express them, as Daniel and his friends deal with relatable issues like meeting new people and moving to a new town. It's strongly centered on themes of family, friendship, empathy, and teamwork, as well as what makes a community feel like home.

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What's the story?

THE DANIEL TIGER MOVIE: WON'T YOU BE OUR NEIGHBOR? centers on an exciting new development in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe: Daniel Tiger is getting a brand-new next-door neighbor! The imaginative little tiger cub is beyond thrilled at the idea of a new playmate for himself and baby sister Margaret, but his new friend Jodi isn't so sure about her unfamiliar new house and town. Will she be able to fall asleep in her new room? What's this weird "trolley" thing, and where does it go? Daniel and his pals will have to work together to help Jodi come out of her shell and explore the neighborhood, and ultimately they all learn that anywhere you go with your family -- that's home.

Is it any good?

Packed with helpful life lessons on making new friends and navigating unfamiliar social situations, this movie is as gentle and sweet as the animated series it sprang from. Not only does Daniel reach out to help a neighbor feel more comfortable in her new surroundings, he also learns how much he has in common with this new family, despite the fact that they're the only platypuses he's ever met before. The Daniel Tiger Movie: Won't You Be Our Neighbor? is a charming and emotionally intelligent meditation on community and family, and the way its titular character gets chatty with the audience helps draw kids into the magic right from the start. Subsequent episodes of the animated series will further expand on the issues raised in the movie, addressing themes like getting used to a new school, feeling jealous over new friendships, and so on.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the way the people in Daniel's neighborhood come together to make the Platypus family feel welcome in Won't You Be Our Neighbor?. What roles did the different members of the community play in making this happen? 

  • Kids: Talk about how it might feel to be the new person in an unfamiliar environment. How did being in her empty new house make Jodi feel? How did Daniel and friends use their curiosity and empathy to help her out? Why are these important character strengths?

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