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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Stinky & Dirty Show is a TV adaptation with the popular characters from the books by Jim and Kate McMullan. The main characters -- a garbage truck and a backhoe -- are best friends who relish opportunities to solve problems around their town and who approach every challenge with lots of ideas. Doing so usually involves building, pulling, or moving something, and they try several times before they finally get the process right. Their experiences are laugh-out-loud funny and reflect how kids' enthusiasm often overshadows their ability to reason, and they also deliver many strong messages about using resources, thinking critically, and, above all, never giving up. Some basic examples of how things work (wheels must be round to roll, solid dirt and mud have different uses) are in play as well, but it's the inspiring reminders about individual potential that stand out most prominently.
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What's the story?
In THE STINKY & DIRTY SHOW, best friends Stinky the garbage truck (voiced by Jaden Betts) and Dirty the backhoe (Jacob Guenther) team up to solve various challenges around their town. There's no telling what each day has in store for this pair, but one thing's for sure: Whatever it is, it will inspire all kinds of hilarity before Stinky and Dirty manage to complete the task at hand. No matter the job, from building to moving to executing a rescue mission, these enthusiastic problem-solvers aren't afraid to dive right in and get their hands -- er, wheels -- dirty. Try as they might, though, their best attempts have comical results before they reach a successful solution.
Is it any good?
Book characters don't always make the jump to the screen well, but when they do, the movies and TV series can be an excellent complement to the original publication.The Stinky & Dirty Show is just that kind of adaptation. It stays true to the books' illustrative style and keeping things really simple by minimizing additional characters. With the focus firmly on the titular trucks, the show encourages kids to follow Stinky and Dirty's attempts and failures, lessons learned, plans redrawn, and eventual victories, reminding kids that success doesn't always come easily but it's always worth the effort. At first glance, this dented, dirt-smudged duo might not jump out as role model potential for young kids, but they've sure got it where it counts. In the list of adjectives one might use to describe them, "stinky" and "dirty" would come to mind last after observing all the exceptional qualities they have to offer viewers. Eagerness, resourcefulness, patience, perseverance, and self-confidence top that list, all of which are integral to their ability to stick with a tough challenge until they've solved it. When they face a new task, they first let their imaginations guide them, but every subsequent try is based on what they've learned from past attempts. Another bonus? These two friends are better together than they are apart, working side by side without spats or power struggles, and they appreciate rather than lament their differences.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about self-confidence. Kids: Do you admire the characters' can-do attitude in The Stinky & Dirty Show? Are you able to avoid discouragement as well as they do when the going gets tough?
If you've read the books, do the characters on the screen resemble what you imagined them to be? Do your kids enjoy reading (or being read to)? What books are some of your family's favorites?
Are Stinky and Dirty best friends because they're so similar or because they're so different? What differences do you most appreciate in your friends? How does having a friend by your side make challenges easier to manage?
- Premiere date: September 2, 2016
- Cast: Jaden Betts, Jacob Guenther
- Network: Amazon Prime Video
- Genre: Kids' Animation
- Topics: Cars and Trucks, Adventures, Book Characters, Friendship, Great Boy Role Models
- Character strengths: Communication, Perseverance, Teamwork
- TV rating: TV-Y
- Available on: Streaming
- Award: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: March 13, 2020
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