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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that T.O.T.S. is a darling preschool series about two bird friends -- a penguin and a flamingo -- who challenge the storks-only tradition in the baby animal delivery industry and succeed in the work together. Their adventures together illustrate the value of perseverance under pressure, teamwork, self-confidence, and celebrating diversity, and they slowly change the minds of their more resistant co-workers with their can-do attitude and eagerness to work hard. Some stories incorporate basic facts about specific animal species (the blue whale is the largest animal on the planet, etc.), but mostly the show entertains with adorable babies and the excited families that celebrate their arrivals.
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What's the story?
T.O.T.S. opens with a big day at the Tiny Ones Transport Service facility: It's Pip the Penguin's (voiced by Jet Jurgensmeyer) and Freddy the Flamingo's (Christian Simon) first day to join the storks who deliver baby animals to families all over the world! As the first non-stork flyers in T.O.T.S. history, Pip and Freddy have big shoes to fill, and not all of their co-workers think they've got what it takes to be successful. But with Captain Beakman (Vanessa Williams) in their camp and a lot of self-confidence under their belts, these two best friends set out to prove they're up to the task.
Is it any good?
What do you get when you put adorable animal babies in the hands (er, wings) of these two determined and symbiotic best friends? A joyous and sweet series that illustrates the rewards of challenging stereotypes and embracing diversity. Pip and Freddy are the perfect pair -- Pip the crack navigator and Freddy the tireless flyer -- and their mutual commitment to excelling at their work makes everyone around them better as well.
T.O.T.S. doesn't present a utopian vision of Pip and Freddy's atypical journey to delivery bird success, and that's a great asset to its ability to impart lessons on its young audience. Not only do they face certain challenges that their stork counterparts don't, they also encounter some resistance to their mere presence, since until they came along, T.O.T.S. was a storks-only industry. This necessitates some creative problem-solving, a lot of self-confidence, perseverance, and help from those who do believe in them. These sweet stories surrounding a unique friendship have much to teach preschoolers about the importance of thinking outside the box and recognizing potential even when it comes in surprising packages.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how and why Pip and Freddy are determined to become flyers even though they're not storks. Does the fact that they aren't "normal" flyers present a challenge they can't resist, or are they motivated by their love of the job? Do they ever seem deterred from their goal in T.O.T.S.? Can you think of any jobs in the real world that are assumed to be meant for certain types of people?
How do their co-workers react to their presence? Why do some have a hard time accepting them as flyers? How does their captain's belief in them help encourage their efforts? In what ways is she a role model for them? How do they show themselves to be role models as well?
What examples of perseverance do you see in Pip and Freddy's work? How does this attitude help convince others that they really can do the job? Do they ever face a problem they can't solve?
- Premiere date: June 14, 2019
- Cast: Vanessa Williams, Jet Jurgensmeyer, Christian Simon
- Network: Disney Junior
- Genre: Kids' Animation
- Topics: Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, Misfits and Underdogs
- Character strengths: Perseverance, Teamwork
- TV rating: TV-Y
- Available on: Streaming
- Award: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: January 12, 2021
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