It’s time for #favouriteTHINGSfriday! The first time we saw Napkin Man on CBC Kids, I wondered, “What’s the handsome dude from Murdoch Mysteries doing on a kids’ show?”
The answer to my question: being awesome.
Canadian actor Yannick Bisson, better known by adults as Detective William Murdoch, plays Mr. Anthony, a preschool teacher who draws a superhero on a napkin (hence the name) each episode to teach an important lesson to one of his students.
The premise might seem like run-of-the-mill, moral-of-the-story children’s tv fare, but I promise that Napkin Man is more than that.
Take, for example, the episode “Pony Express,” where Suki is feeling sad because her best friend moved away. She describes how it hurts in her heart. Another time, a student is apprehensive and nervous about participating in the class’s fiesta and he explains his apprehension by saying he feels all “scrunchy” in his tummy. Mr. Anthony helps his students to name their emotions and how they make them feel physically. Then he gives them a concrete (silly) strategy to cope, followed by a tale starring Napkin Man that helps the student resolve his or her conflict. The way the show deals with negative emotions reminds me of things I covered in therapy for my anxiety as an adult, just brought down to a child’s level.
Giving names to unpleasant emotions and identifying how these emotions make us feel in our bodies is something even adults struggle with. I remember as a child have an “tummy ache” when I was nervous about something, and I definitely remember how much it hurt in my chest when I had my first broken heart. Mr. Anthony doesn’t pretend that everything’s okay and that our negative feelings are to be ignored: he helps his students (and viewers) learn to accept and confront their feelings with whimsical songs and visualizations of melting fears away like ice cream.
And did I mention he’s pretty easy on the eyes?
You can catch Napkin Man at 9:30 AM on CBC kids, or on-demand via the CBC TV for Me app or the CBC Kids website.
This post was in no way sponsored by Napkin Man or CBC Kids.