Allow me to present for your consideration “The Stinky and Dirty Show”.
Here’s a case in which I’d vote the animated show version beats the book version. (Did I just say that?! I’m usually a firm believer in books over screens.) I find the “I’m Stinky”, “I’m Dirty”, “I’m Fast” picture books by Jim and Kate McMullan a little too quirky with choppy verbiage and overly boastful storylines. They’ll do, and the subject matter definitely appeals to my toddlers, but I just don’t enjoy reading them. However, the Amazon show’s charming depictions of the little garbage truck, Stinky, and backhoe loader, Dirty, and their adorable friendship won me over almost immediately.
The two friends work hard and love their jobs. Each is always quick to learn the other’s line of work and help out where they can. Their adventures often transpire as they come to the aid of their friends, a valuable lesson in and of itself. They are always positive and persistent problem solvers, the two main messages I’m glad to sit my son in front of for a few minutes!
The computer graphics and sweet voices are far from the annoying, over-stimulating factors of other kid shows, much more endearing, even down to the folksy music accompanying the positive depiction of trying and failing and the value of hard work.
Let’s talk about the valuable problem solving techniques thoughtfully weaves throughout the show. First, brainstorming. I don’t know about you, but my little guy is black and white. If an obvious solution is not presented within .25 seconds, there are tears of frustration and demands for help, usually not communicated politely. We work hard to teach problem solving skills and, let me just say, it’s helpful to have the things Dad and Mom are saying backed up with a little illustration and reiteration in a fun entertaining way. The little trucks are always saying, “What if…” followed by some idea for fixing something or helping out a friend. Some suggestions are thrown out right away as they discuss the option. Others may be tried but end in failure which is always presented positively, they giggle and move on to the next idea. I love this. We all know our littles are not this way, at least mine are not. They (maybe) try once and dissolve into tears and tantrum! This is such a good model of “If at first you don’t succeed…” (…fail a bunch more times till you do!! Right?) Perseverance is an important quality, and something Stinky and Dirty do well!
All in all, these creative little trucks are worth some time, if you have it. They model meaningful concepts artfully while engaging the young crowd.