Lamb Chop – a lamb to love

Overview of the show: Lamb Chop is a precocious female lamb; a sock puppet character made by Shari Lewis. Together the two have discussions, sing songs and get into mischief. On her own, Lamb Chop is often a character in other puppet shows and is curious, inquisitive and generally naughty.

This show is primarily for entertainment; Shari Lewis will often teach the puppets lessons about manners or life (such as chores, responsibility and the like) but most watch it for its good-natured humour and funny puppetry.

There are several iterations of Lamb Chop including “The Shari Lewis Show”, “Play Along”, “Charlie Horse Music Pizza” and a number of specials; all are variety shows filled with comedy, singing, skits and sketches.

Oobi offers kids a helping hand

Overview of the show: Oobi is a somewhat unconventionally produced show as all of its characters are portrayed by hands with large googly eyes on the knuckles; the effect of which is to create faces using hands. This is much like a sock-puppet show without the socks.

The show has several characters – Oobi, his younger sister Uma, his best friend Kako, and his grandfather, Grampu. The plots generally follow the simple experiences of young children – school, eating, dancing, painting, making music etc. Oobi works on developing mathematics, literacy and simple logic.

All of the characters speak in short, incomplete sentences, often communicating without using pronouns, adverbs or adjectives (e.g. “Oobi hungry – eat). The gesticulations of the hands make the meaning clear (Oobi will rub his “stomach” and pick up a fork), and has gained popularity amongst parents with pre-literate children.

Jo Jo’s Circus – Clowning is no joke

Overview of the show: JoJo is a six year old female clown who lives in Circus Town and has comedic adventures with her pet lion Goliath. JoJo’s Circus is aimed at children under 5 years old.

The show is primarily educational as it deals with the everyday activities of life – personal grooming, taking responsibility and safety. The episodes are highly formulaic – each follows an identical format – JoJo looks for Goliath, and then is introduced to the issue-of-the-day, where she will learn about the problem and how to deal with it.

The characters sing, dance and play; the audience learns about the issue of the day and does so in a fun and informative way.

Jack’s Big Music Show – for love of the song

Overview of the show: Jack’s Big Music Show is aimed at toddlers and infants, and features dog-like puppets who sing and dance like a rock band. The main characters are Jack, Mary and Mel, all of whom play a different instrument.

The primary purpose of the show is to encourage a love for music; it is the favorite activity for all of the main characters and every episode features several music videos and new songs. Jack’s Big Music Show is a mixture of entertainment and education – the characters work together to solve problems, teach basic numeracy, literacy, social and motor skills. However, the primary value is in its entertainment – the puppets are amusing, interesting to watch and fun to listen to.

Jackanory – Narrating a love of books

Overview of the show: Jackanory is a British-made show wherein an actor will read a book to the audience. The storyteller is the only consistent part of the show; the format varies little from episode to episode. Jackanory maintains a consistent level of popularity, having been in production for almost half a century.

Each episode features a different book – the format will generally be the camera following the pictures in the book while the actor narrates. The stories range from traditional fairy tales to contemporary children’s books.

The purpose of Jackanory is to encourage young children to read more – the focus on the pictures and words are intended to promote junior scholarship and a love of reading.

Jackanory is an innocuous choice for children with a relatively large intended audience compared to other shows – between 2 and 8 years old.