Donkey Hodie, a new whimsical, puppet animation series produced by Fred Rogers Productions and Spiffy Pictures, is all set to premiere on PBS KIDS come May 2021.
The vibrant series will encourage preschoolers to aim high, embrace challenges, be resourceful and work hard to achieve their goals. The multi-platform show follows the adventures of Donkey Hodie, granddaughter of the original Donkey Hodie character from MISTER ROGERS’ NEIGHBORHOOD (now known as “Grampy Hodie”).
Commenting on this, PBS KIDS content head Linda Simensky said, “We’re thrilled to bring Donkey Hodie’s engaging, character-driven stories full of adventure, imagination and music to PBS KIDS. As kids laugh and sing along with Donkey Hodie and her friends, they will learn important life lessons about teamwork, empathy and resilience to help them see a world full of possibilities.”
The original puppet character appeared in 59 episodes of the popular children’s series. Inspired by the quirky, funny side of Fred Rogers, Donkey Hodie furthers the children’s TV pioneer’s mission of helping young viewers navigate the challenges of childhood. The series features original new music along with reimagined versions of Rogers’ songs.
Fred Rogers Productions chief creative officer and executive producer of Donkey Hodie, Ellen Doherty stated, “Perseverance is a skill that’s of extra importance for children right now. We hope Donkey and her pals will inspire kids to keep trying even when tasks get hard and to face challenges with an ‘I can do this’ attitude. The show will also help parents guide their children in becoming strong critical thinkers and problem solvers.”
Set in the whimsical land of Someplace Else, created by Rogers on MISTER ROGERS’ NEIGHBORHOOD, the imaginative social-emotional series for children ages three to five centers on the adventures of Donkey Hodie, an enthusiastic, “can-do” yellow donkey with a bright magenta mane, and her pals: Purple Panda, her loyal and empathetic best friend who wears his big heart on his sleeve; Duck Duck, a practical, quick-witted young mallard who loves to figure things out; and Bob Dog, an energetic and eager canine who is always ready to boogie to music or fetch a ball. In Someplace Else, everyone’s big dreams are possible—whether it’s Purple Panda finding the end of the Golden Rainbow, Duck Duck planning a Book-A-Palooza Festival or Bob Dog playing the largest kickball game in history. Episodes include catchy songs that reinforce the stories’ positive messages and fun adventures (reads the synopsis).
“We are excited to introduce young viewers to Donkey Hodie and the world of Someplace Else. We hope Donkey’s inherent positivity combined with the fun and inviting nature of the puppets will charm kids everywhere,” added Spiffy Pictures co-founders and Donkey Hodie executive producers Adam Rudman and David Rudman.
Donkey Hodie is created by the Rudman duo and developed by Doherty. The duo have produced, created, written and performed on a number of other celebrated children’s series, including Nature Cat, Jack’s Big Music Show and Bunnytown.
Digital content for kids, parents, and teachers around Donkey Hodie will launch in tandem with the series. Games will be available on pbskids.org and on the free PBS KIDS Games App, along with clips and full episodes streaming across PBS KIDS’ video platforms, including the free PBS KIDS Video App. Parent resources such as tips and hands-on activities to extend the learning at home, will be available on PBS KIDS for Parents, and PBS LearningMedia will offer classroom-ready materials for teachers, including video excerpts, games, teaching tips, and printable activities.
Donkey Hodie is made possible with major funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).