As a leaf tumbles along the breeze, we meet Fig, a blue Fox, who spends his day playing, discovering new things and helping friends in Tumble Leaf, a gentle, creative series from Amazon Studios. Fig lives in a boat that’s run aground, with a giant tree growing through its midship.
At the start of each episode, a crab on the sand below Fig’s house pulls up a trap to see what’s been caught. One day it’s a piece of paper, and the crab expertly folds it into an origami elephant. Another day the crab pulls out a burlap bag, another—a piece of tin foil. The crab clickety-clacks the items with his claws into something clever and throws it up into a treasure chest on Fig’s porch. When the breeze blows and the wind chimes sound, Fig knows there’s “something new is in the finding place.” And so starts another adventure for Fig.
When Fig got the burlap bag, for example, he took it Tumble Park, an amusement park of sorts, with a big slide and a trampoline. The bag helped Fig go “zippity quickety” down the slide. Fig was sad when it was closing time at the park, but on his way home he discovered another slide. Every step of his way, he finds a new place to play. Children watching will feel Fig’s sadness, but also learn to move on from it.
In another episode, Fig helped Okra the octopus find her way back to the coastline after being stuck in the forest. They persisted until the lovely octopus was safe and sound – and then they had a rousing game of beach volleyball, which isn’t easy against an octopus!
Another storyline revolved around Fig and his friend Hedge taking an imaginary trip to the moon. Says Fig, “First you dream it. Then you make it happen.” Wise words for us all.
The dialogue is never rushed; there’s never a feel of stress in the show, no matter what obstacles the friends are facing. The storylines promote play, learning, problem solving and an understanding of approaching the world with kindness, generosity, curiosity and joy.
Ann Oldenburg ©2018 Parents’ Choice
Ann Oldenburg, lecturer and interim director of the journalism program at Georgetown University, writes about television, food, workplace issues and other pop culture topics. A University of Florida Gator with a degree in journalism, she began her career at The Washington Post and spent more than two decades with USA TODAY. She and her husband have three sons and live in McLean, Virginia.