Opal Watson: Private Eye
Eleven-year-old Opal, who is visually impaired, solves mysteries to help her diverse family, friends, and neighbors, and she likes to hang out on the balcony of her Chicago apartment house where she can “hear the stories” of the neighborhood by listening to the sounds around her. In addition to the small mysteries that Opal solves by the end of each episode, she becomes involved in a continuing mystery that unfolds over the podcast’s 10-epsisode season—involving an old cookbook filled with recipes and secrets, a scheming visitor, a chilling new tenant, and a rediscovered family treasure. A highly relatable heroine, Opal deals, too, with familiar issues of friendships and peer conflicts at school, and with orientation and mobility training experienced by those with low vision. These elements are smoothly woven into the plot, as are Opal’s own coping tools and strategies for increased independence. Her family, including her affectionate (and enigmatic) New Orleans-born grandmother, and her sunny orientation and mobility teacher, offer strong support and reassurance. Opal’s family history is also connected to the show’s big mystery, resolved in the unexpectedly moving last episode. The show was developed by producer Nerissa Holder Hall and children’s author Natasha Tarpley (“I Love My Hair!”) in consultation with the Chicago Lighthouse and Helen Keller Services New York. The expressive voice cast is headed by Maya Graves (visually impaired herself) as Opal.
Lynne Heffley ©2020 Parents’ Choice
A freelance writer and editor for the arts and non-profit organizations, Lynne is a former staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, where she established the paper’s first weekly children’s arts and entertainment beat.