The Penguins of Madagascar

Common Sense Media says

Scene-stealing schemers get their own gig; fun for kids.





What parents need to know

Educational value

The show is designed to entertain rather than educate -- the penguins' hare-brained schemes shouldn't be taken as problem-solving tips for kids.

Positive messages

Even "bad" characters usually learn lessons -- like that it's wrong to always try to be right.

Positive role models

The penguins use their smarts and teamwork to solve problems. Animal characters occasionally engage in rude behavior, like burping without saying "excuse me."

Violence & scariness

Animals get injured in various ways -- by pushing, falling, slapping, getting crushed by rocks, etc. But it's all played for laughs, and no one is ever seriously hurt.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable

Cheeky words like "booty" are as bad as it gets.


Part of the Madagascar line of products.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

The penguins are often shown sipping tropical concoctions -- but they're non-alcoholic smoothies.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that kids who haven't already seen the Madagascar movies -- where the scene-stealing penguins got their start -- may or may not be interested in the shenanigans presented here, because the series doesn't offer any backstory (exactly who these penguins and their other friends are is never explained). There's also a bit of iffy behavior like cartoon violence and burping that parents wouldn't want their kids emulating on a good day. But on the whole, this is harmless entertainment.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Set in the wake of the action that played out in Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, this animated spin-off sets four of the film's secondary characters -- resourceful penguins Skipper (voiced by Tom McGrath), Kowalski (Jeff Bennett), Private (James Patrick Stuart), and Rico (John DiMaggio) -- firmly in the spotlight. While their other friends are living it up in darkest Africa, the flightless foursome have staked their claim in the Central Park Zoo. But now they're competing for supremacy against an old royal pain of a rival: pompous lemur "king" Julien (Danny Jacobs).

Is it any good?


Bottom line? Thanks to random plot lines and less-intricate animation, this Nickelodeon series isn't quite as good as the movies that inspired it. But if you love the Madagascar characters, you'll be thoroughly entertained.

Kids, especially, are bound to giggle when the penguins spring into action with the show-stealing Mission: Impossible antics that made them famous.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the cartoon critters featured in the series. Why do you think they were chosen to get their own show? How does this series compare to the Madagascar movies?

  • How is a real-life penguin different from the animated version? How do lemurs really live in the wild?

  • How do animals' lives change when they're raised in captivity? Are zoos good or bad for animals' well-being?

TV details

Cast:Danny Jacobs, Jeff Bennett, Tom McGrath
Genre:Kids' Animation
Topics:Adventures, Wild animals
TV rating:TV-G
Available on:DVD

This review of The Penguins of Madagascar was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 4 and 6 year old Written bymikenlei March 8, 2011

Fine for older elementary, but not really the little guys.

My kids love it. I do find my 6 year old trying to repeat some of their kung-fu style moves but that's about it. On the up side, my boys like to replicate the 'spy' moves and go around the house hiding around the corners from each other. It has certainly stimulated their imaginations in creating all kinds of make believe situations. No language or 'sexy' stuff for the little kids. The only warning I provide is if your household is sensitive to some of the cartoon violence. It is nothing like the old Tom and Jerry cartoons, though.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent of a 5 year old Written bydgjd March 22, 2010

My five year old loves it, I am on the fence

A milder version of Looney-Tune type cartoons.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Parent Written byronnellel November 27, 2014


Make great popcorn at home and rent a great movie and watch that movie you rented. IMHO, this hyped up movie was a waste of my money and I am not happy. My grandkids wanted to go, of course. Poor kids never saw any story line with any inconsistencies. But this is just my opinion


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