‘Donkey Hodie’ comes to PBS KidsCategory: Television
The new preschool show Donkey Hodie is absolutely adorable and will definitely be a popular series for kids, between 3-5. This Donkey Hodie is the granddaughter of Donkey Hodie from the original Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.
This show is done with puppets rather than pure animation, which is the format in which Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is produced. This presented a little difficulty for the show due to the Covid restrictions, which is why it was postponed a little, however it is now showing on PBS Kids with all the fun and flavor of the adorable characters.
I had a chance to talk with some of the members of the team. When I enquired about making this a puppet show rather than an animated one, Haley Jenkins who is the puppeteer for Donkey Hodie, responded, “I’m so happy that the show is done with puppets, of course, because I love puppeteering. But, also, if you think about what are all of the children’s shows or characters that you really feel nostalgic for, when you really come down to it, so many of them are puppets.” She also said that puppets are more accessible to kids than an animated 2D character. “Because as a viewer, you realize that that character actually exists. It’s real. It’s not an animated character that you can’t actually hug in real life. Somebody could meet, potentially, Purple Panda or Donkey or Bob Dog. Pet Bob Dog on the head. Like that’s a real thing, and kids really relate to that.”
Adam Rudman, series executive, producer, director, writer, and puppeteer added, “Then you’ve got a real world, too. You have a real world that these characters live in that’s all hand—made. Everything — you can see the texture, you can see the fabrics that go into it. Not only can you hug the characters, but you also feel like you could go to someplace else. You could go to this world.” That is definitely something that differs from animated locations. This is why the creators went with this format, and its something kids will favorably respond to.
So, will there be an online presence so kids and their parents can continue to learn and enjoy the characters after watching the show? Chief Creative Officer of Fred Rogers Productions and series executive Ellen Doherty said there will definitely be more to do and explore with the characters.
“There will be a gorgeous website which features the puppets and has — it’s going to have a bunch of games. It’s going to have activities and video, of course.”
We all know that merchandising is a big part of today’s world. When I asked about plush characters for kids to hug and play with, Doherty told me there would be that aspect of merchandising along with other things. Parents, get out your wallets because your kids will undoubtedly ask for these characters. They are so adorable, even I would like one.
Donkey Hodie now airs on PBS Kids.
About the Author
Francine Brokaw has been covering all aspects of the entertainment industry for over 25 years. She also writes about products and travel. She has been published in national and international newspapers and magazines as well as Internet websites. She has written her own book, Beyond the Red Carpet The World of Entertainment Journalists, from Sourced Media Books, is the entertainment correspondent for Good Day Orange County, and has her own TV show, Beyond the Red Carpet, on Village Television in Orange County. She is a longstanding member of the Los Angeles Press Club and the Television Critics Association and is accredited by the MPAA.