Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Ruby's Studio: The Friendship Show

Ruby's Studio: The Friendship Show

Spring 2013 DVD
Ages: 3 - 7 yrs.
DVD Price: $16.99

Ruby's Studio: The Friendship Show is the high-water mark of children's programming about character development and social and emotional health. Kelsey Collins plays Ruby, the kind of gentle, encouraging, and uplifting teacher we hope to find at the head of all our kids' classrooms. She runs an art studio visited by a diverse cast of kids, and together they play games, sing songs, and create crafts meant to help children learn skills to build and nurture friendships.

Everything about Ruby's Studio is simultaneously soothing, instructive, and cheerful. The bright and well-designed set is a bit evocative of the famous home to Fred Rogers in the classic PBS series Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, creating a safe landing spot in a world that could oftentimes seem chaotic and overwhelming to young children.

Ruby's Studio: The Friendship Show fills its 40-minute runtime with a collection of cleverly animated segments, art projects, and original music sequences to underscore themes of friendship. It leans heavily on the value of the Golden Rule and empathy as Ruby and the kids talk about the qualities of a good friend, how to share feelings, and how to resolve conflicts. One especially useful animated sequence suggests tactics to help kids make friends, modeling simple ways kids can introduce themselves to new people and engage them in conversation. The group also works on an art project called A Friendship Tree, a craft that can be made at home with common supplies such as stickers and tape.

This program is produced by The Mother Company, whose motto is "Helping Parents Raise Good People." Ruby's Studio includes an optional feature called "Pop-Up Parenting," in which tips and advice appear in graphics at the bottom of the screen. Tips come from Dr. Robyn Silverman, noted on the packaging copy as an author and parenting expert. In a world filled with kids' shows built around merchandising tie-ins, frenetic characters, and pointless humor, it's a comfort to come across a program as sincere and worthwhile as Ruby's Studio.

Gina Catanzarite   ©2013 Parents' Choice
Gina Catanzarite is an award-winning television producer, writer, teacher, mom and media consultant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She began her career in 1987 and counts 9 Emmy awards, 26 Emmy nominations, a Matrix award, two Pennsylvania Broadcaster's Association Awards, 8 Telly Awards, and a screenwriting grant from the Theatre Association of Pennsylvania, among her professional honors.

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