Miss Spider’s Sunny Patch Friends is a computer-animated television series that is based on the beloved books by David Kirk. The program is geared to little ones from say 2 to 5. Each episode follows the diverse bug family through the wooded area they inhabit called Sunny Patch. Miss Spider (Kristin Davis from Sex and the City) is a kind, and generous spider who’s married to Holley Spider. The couple adopts several bugs to be apart of their family, and together they learn valuable lessons.
The Spider’s are a family of 10 bugs who live in a hollow tree called the Cozy Hole. There isn’t a central character, but many of the episodes revolve around Squirt, the curious, middle child. Dragon is the oldest sibling. He’s a fun-loving dragonfly, yet a bit braggadocios. Shimmer is a thoughtful jewel beetle, and helps Miss Spider with her younger siblings. Bounce is an exuberant bedbug who’s always ready for fun, and adventure. Spinner is classified as the geek of the family. He wears glasses, and plays the fiddle just like his dad. Wiggle is the vulnerable child, and often needs coaxing. Pansy and Snowdrop are the youngest of the Spider family. They are twins, but are polar opposites. Pansy is very outgoing, and a natural athlete, while Snowdrop is shy, and excels in academics.
In addition to the Spider family, many bug friends share Sunny Patch: Ted and Ned the ant brothers, Spiderus and Spindella their spider neighbors, Eunice Earwig, Lily Ladybug, Beetrice the queen bee, and Mr. Mantis to name a few.
My son and I were pleased to discover the new animated series, which gave us a respite from the Backyardigans continual repeats. The first thing I noticed about the show was the phenomenal animation. The colors are vivid, and the pictures burst off the screen. It’s 3D animation. Next, was the adorable theme song. It’s so cute, I can’t get it out of my head. Some classify Miss Spider’s Sunny Patch Friends as educational programming, but I wouldn’t. Albeit the show doesn’t teach the alphabet, or numbers, it does have merit. The primary focus of each episode is to teach a life lesson. Most of the lessons promote acceptance, discuss forgiveness, or persuades children to be responsible to themselves, to others, and to their environment. The show also teaches interesting facts about insects, and it encourages children to be attentive to the bug kingdom.
Unlike some of the super hero programming today, my son actually relates to this show. It’s sweet, and simple, and although he can’t "surf a web" like Squirt, he understands the premise. For instance, in the Marin Rose installment, Shimmer convinces their selfish neighbor, Spiderus, to give his wife seeds from a rose rather than picking the rose. Flower gardening is a passion of mine, and together William and I spend a lot of time working, and watering the soil. My son respects plants, and instantly connected the points of the show.
In addition, one, or both of the adult Spider’s are ever present. Contrary to the very popular kid’s show Dora the Explorer, where we continually see kids in perilous situations without adult supervision. Miss Spider’s Sunny Patch Friends doesn’t talk down to kids either. The program isn’t formatted like the excellent HBO Family show, Crashbox, or says the PBS series, Between the Lions, but the writers don’t have a problem working in bug facts like earwigs are nocturnal incest’s. William’s favorite character is Bounce the bedbug. Bounce is the joker of the family, and usually gets most of the laughs. He’s a vivacious little bug who’s usually clowning around. I understand why he finds the blue bug so irresistible.
If I were to rate each episode from 1 (avoid it) to 10 (excellent), I’d probably rate most of the shows in the 9ish area. The show does plenty of things right.
● It’s bright, and fun to watch
● It incorporates musical bits
● The themes are full of valuable lessons
● Interesting bug facts
● Adult supervision is present, and
● It doesn’t talk down to kids
The bug themes are original, and witty. I’m continually amused by the writing, and marvel how they incorporate everyday subjects into the buggy world. All in all, Miss Spider’s Sunny Patch Friends is a terrific show.
Previously published on Epinions.com