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

Harvey Beaks

Harvey Beaks

Spring 2016 Television
Ages: 6 - 11 yrs.
Producer: Nickelodeon
Rating: TV G

What or who is Harvey Beaks, exactly? He's a young blue bird with a big head, and he's the star of this charming, quirky series.

Harvey is like a lot of young kids. He's well behaved - most of the time. He gets scared. He is adventurous and thoughtful, but when he breaks the rules or behaves badly, he always learns from his actions. By his side through his adventures are his parents and his best friends, twins Fee and Foo.

In one episode, Harvey is stuck to his schedule more tightly than a type-A adult. He clings to his day planner and doesn't want to veer from the minute-by-minute timetable, but he sticks to it so closely he ruins his friends' day and realizes he's missing out on enjoying the small moments of life.

In another episode, Harvey is afraid of jumping down from the top branch of a high tree, but he eventually realizes he's got to take the leap. And it's awesome when he does. Plus, he's happy to be back with his parents on the ground.

In a send-up of family game night, Harvey doesn't want to be on his dad's team because he knows his mom is really smart and competitive. He wants to win. When he and his sweet father start to lose, Harvey hurts his father's feelings by trying to get off his team, and then he learns that winning isn't everything. Being a gracious sport and enjoying the playing of the game are more important.

Life doesn't come with instructions. Kids need to learn about right and wrong, winning and losing, friendship, competition and fear. And they do that through experience, both successes and failures. Harvey Beaks is hardly a hymnal, but hang in there past the cartoon gross-out gags. The storylines all have good messages, the characters are filled with personality and the show has lots to offer.

Ann Oldenburg   ©2016 Parents' Choice
Ann Oldenburg, assistant director of the journalism program at Georgetown University, began her career at The Washington Post and went on to spend more than two decades with USA Today, where she covered pop culture topics. She and her husband have three sons and live in McLean, Virginia.

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