Piper and the Dots
Pinna’s interactive, music-centered podcast features preschooler Piper and her best friends, the three colorful “Dots,” whose personalities and speech are represented by musical instruments: Blue (a tuba), Red (a clarinet), and Yellow (a cuatro, the Latin American stringed instrument). Over 12 episodes (8 to 10 minutes in length), the Dots join Piper in bathtime fun, making pancakes, playtime clean-up, getting ready for bed, visiting a pond, and other easy-to-relate-to activities. Cooperation, teamwork, and kindness are part of the show’s messaging, modeled by Piper’s reassurance and encouragement when the Dots need to learn to take turns and share, encounter challenges, and make mistakes. Listeners participate and play along as Piper asks them to join her in the show’s positive messaging through pauses built into the script. When Blue drops an egg in the pancake episode, Piper and listeners let him know that accidents happen and it’s ok. When the slide at the playground turns out to be a new experience for the Dots, Piper and listeners guide them up the steps, encourage them, and cheer them on as they slide. At bedtime, Piper needs listeners’ help to “catch” reluctant Red, who wants to keep playing. Children can exercise their imaginations, too, by pretending to brush their own teeth at bedtime, to scoop and roll snowballs, climb an apple tree, buzz like a bee, act like a robot, and more. The Dots’ musical “speech,” integrated into the action, is an expressive component. A bouncy tune, for instance, accompanies a game of hopscotch; when Piper turns on the electric mixer for the pancake ingredients, the slow-fast speed is matched by the Dots’ amusing “mixing” music; at the beach, the Dots’ music-making echoes the crest and fall of the waves. Produced and developed by Nerissa Holder Hall, the show is written by Holder Hall, Sharon Bilman and Sara Farber; and directed by Michael Rubin, who composed the theme song.
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.