Ugga Mugga, Daniel Tiger

by Amy Kraft on March 10, 2013


It’s been a while since I’ve bestowed my Media Macaroni Seal of Approval, and a post about the delightful Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Ozzie’s new favorite show, is long overdue.

mmsoaLittle Daniel Tiger, star of the show, is the son of Daniel Striped Tiger, who you might remember as one of Mister Roger’s puppets in the Neighborhood of Make Believe. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood was created by Angela Santomero, whose other creations include Blue’s Clues and Super Why, a great person to entrust with the legacy of Mister Roger’s Neighborhood. Director Sarah Wallendjack and writer Becky Friedman are also great talents and buddies of mine from the Children’s Media Association. When the show first aired, I was excited to sit down and watch.

My first impression was that the show is . . . too sweet. Maybe it was our steady diet of Yo Gabba Gabba that led up to it. Though also sweet, Gabba has visible tattoos and Weezer and Amy Sedaris as a deranged Tooth Fairy. I wondered if maybe a steady diet of Daniel Tiger might be too nutritious. But the more we watch, the more we love. The situations are incredibly relatable, and the characters are thoughtful and funny (particularly the adorable Miss Eliana). The show is just right for Ozzie right now, almost three years old and going through major transitions seemingly every week. The show sets a great example not just for him, but for the rest of our family.

One of the hallmarks carried over from Mister Roger’s Neighborhood is the use of music to deliver a message. The episodes deal with themes like disappointment, sharing, fear, and anger. At key moments in the story, an adult on the show will sing a little something to the kids:

When something seems bad, turn it around and find something good.

When we do something new, let’s talk about what we’ll do.

You can take a turn, and then I’ll get it back.

When you have to go potty, stop, and go right away.  Flush and wash and be on your way!

It’s kind of shocking how much these jingles have worked their way into our everyday life. We sing them often enough that Ozzie will sing them himself, like when he has to share with his sister, he’ll sing to her, “you can take a turn, and then I’ll get it back.” And the potty one is really coming in handy right now. I wish these songs could come in a form like our Mr. T In Your Pocket, where I could just press a button and have Ozzie hear one (certainly it would be better than hearing, “Quit your jibber jabber!”) We also sometimes end our day with Daniel Tiger’s way of saying I love you, “ugga mugga.” Hearing that come out of my pajama-clad boy followed by a hug is the best.

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood also carries over some other beloved staples from Mister Roger’s Neighborhood like the trolley and live-action visits to places like the bakery and crayon factory. The show is a must for toddlers and preschoolers.

It’s been fascinating to watch Ozzie’s interest in this show evolve, as it has signs of where kids’ media is headed. People like to throw around the term “transmedia,” and for some it means little more than being able to watch the show on different platforms. Ozzie, my little tablet native (we got our first iPad days after he was born), has developed expectations of having his show take different forms in different places. Sure, there’s the TV show on the TV. But when he’s not in the mood for a whole episode, we might watch clips on YouTube or on PBS Kids. Sometimes he wants to play games. He enjoys the iPad app (which is quite good and wonderfully age-appropriate, with sections to play at the doctor, with the potty, and Ozzie’s favorite, putting Daniel to sleep), as well as the web games. Some of the games are the same as the app, but there’s also a music game and a drive the trolley game. Ozzie loves the trolley game, but if any of the web developers are listening, please, oh please, fix the bugs in this game. It’s nearly impossible to stop the trolley at the castle.


I also downloaded the PBS Kids player for the iPad for Ozzie as another way of watching, and through this he’s also discovering some of the other PBS shows, particularly Super Why, Sid the Science Kid, and The Cat in the Hat. On YouTube, he’ll keep clicking around until he eventually hits on clips of Mister Rogers himself. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is a gateway into all kinds of great media. 

amber July 23, 2013 at 10:36 am

Will there be any new baby brother or sisters on the show my son just became a big brother to his sister and think it would be a good idea for older siblings

Sarah July 24, 2013 at 1:17 pm

Amber, you haven’t been the first to make this request. It’s a great idea and something the creators would love to do. There are so many developmental issues that come up for kids when a new sibling is introduced, it would be so much fun to see how Daniel interacts and navigates this territory. Keep your eyes peeled for more Daniel Tiger episodes coming soon!

heidi October 21, 2013 at 12:13 pm

I have 2 beautiful sweet & testy extremely smart little girls who will be 2 yrs in Nov 2013 who love & adore Daniel Tigers Neighborhood! They have to watch it as soon as they wake up every day. They both literally love saying ugga mugga to one another & to family. THANK U FOR PRODUCING DANIEL TIGER WE LOVE IT & LOOK FORWARD TO MORE EPISODES!! UGGA MUGGA

heidi October 21, 2013 at 12:16 pm


allison November 18, 2013 at 11:05 am

I agree with amber they should make a big brother/ sister episode! My son loves the show and has learned so much from the show! I recentley had a new baby and my son is having a lot of problems adjusting to the new baby. He gets jealous even though I try to have lots of mommy and him time. He doesn’t really like having the new baby around I think if there was a episode where it shows that little brothers are cool he would have a easier time adjusting. Daniel goes to school got my little Aidan to finally go to school without crying or fighting!! I love this show as much asmy son aidan and i love how its keeping one of my favorite shows alive !!

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