There’s no doubt that “Donkey Hodie” is a funky and funny spinoff of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” a popular children’s television series. The new kid on the block comes in the form of a little yellow donkey that’s helping drive the show’s popularity. Television and movie analysis platforms show that the TV series’ audience demand is five times higher than the average show — and 62% of viewers who reviewed it on Google posted positive feedback.
In this article, learn about the educational puppet show’s premise, target audience, cast members, and whether it’s part of the original “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”
Where Can You Watch “Donkey Hodie?”
If your kids can’t get enough of this puppet television series, you can stream via one of several platforms. Currently, it’s available on PBS Kids, Vudu, Spectrum TV, Roku, and Amazon Prime Video.
What’s “Donkey Hodie” About?
As the second puppet series spinoff of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” the show has a fascinating and educational premise that’ll keep kids entertained. The first companion series is “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.”
Donkey Hodie and her friends are a fun bunch that teach kids things as they solve many problems in the land of Someplace Else. In this world, just north of the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, there are very few dull moments. Each episode brings new lessons for the young ones, like why it’s super-important to plan when looking to start a big project.
In this sing-along television series, Donkey Hodie explores the immediate environment with Bob Dog, Purple Panda, and Duck Duck. Each member of the colorful group has something unique to offer. Panda plays a supportive role in the group, while Bob Dog is always ready to provide a lending hand. On the other hand, Donkey is the idea generator, and Duck Duck is more of a hands-on friend keen to understand how things can succeed. That way, these pals work well together.
The land of Someplace Else comes with rolling hills and a windmill (Don Quixote joke by Rogers). The puppets can find lots of hidden Easter eggs throughout this fairytale world, and there’s also a porch swing and a fish tank. When Donkey Hodie first came to this place, she wanted to build a windmill at the back of the castle. However, King Friday didn’t allow Donkey to go ahead with the plan.
During her younger days, Donkey bit others before discovering that’s not the purpose of teeth. She received a rainbow after learning this valuable lesson. When she’s not frolicking with her friends, the furry and colorful character is busy at her potato farm. There, she regularly operates a washer-dryer-sorter-dumper that makes it easier to harvest potatoes. Harriett Elizabeth Cow, a neighbor, often lends a helping hand at the farm.
What Ages is “Donkey Hodie” Appropriate For?
Produced by Spiffy Pictures and Fred Rogers Productions, “Donkey Hodie” is suitable for preschoolers aged between three and five. It teaches the young ones resilience, problem-solving, and other important lessons. By focusing on these skills, the show helps kids learn how to manage their thoughts and actions better. As children watch this educational puppet series, they learn to learn. Donkey Hodie deals with personal setbacks with positivity and resourcefulness. She also practices kindness.
Is “Donkey Hodie” Part of “Mr. Rogers?”
The original Fred Rogers TV show inspired the production of “Donkey Hodie.” You can see the link in the fun and humor displayed by the show’s colorful characters. Fred Rogers created an eccentric character that goes by the same name of Donkey.
About the Cast Members of “Donkey Hodie”
Playful characters and talented cast members make this children’s TV series a must-watch for the young ones. They make it informative, fun, and memorable.
Here are the cast members and characters of “Donkey Hodie.”
Haley Jenkins as Donkey Hodie
As an experienced puppeteer, Jenkins does a good job of performing Hodie, who’s the granddaughter of Grampy Hodie.
Born on January 27, 1987, Haley boasts an impressive track record in the field. She previously played a role on the popular children’s TV series “Sesame Street.”
Outside of that, she performed on “America’s Got Talent,” “The Pee-wee Herman Show” on Broadway, “Last Week Tonight” with John Oliver, and “Saturday Night Live.” Jenkins’ puppeteer credits include performances as an additional or digital puppeteer. Away from her career, she’s the wife of Paul McGinnis.
Stephanie D’Abruzzo as Harriet Elizabeth Cow, Duck Duck, and Mama Panda
D’Abruzzo portrays three characters in the show, including Duck Duck, one of Donkey Hodie’s best friends, who’s super-practical and quick-witted.
Born December 7, 1971, Stephanie is a singer, actress, and puppeteer. She performed several characters on “Sesame Street” and earned multiple starring roles, including in the “The Book of Paul” and “Oobi.”
On the musical side, she took part in the stage musical “Avenue Q.”
As an actress, Stephanie received a nomination for best actress in a musical in 2004.
The talented star spent much of her career working as a puppeteer and originated roles, such as Kate Monster in “Avenue Q.” Her debut appearance on prime-time television on the NBC series “Scrubs” kickstarted a flourishing career.
David Rudman as Bob Dog, Stanley the Dragon, and Grampy Hodie
As a seasoned producer, writer, and puppeteer, David does an exceptional job performing three key characters in “Donkey Hodie.”
He’s the brother of Adam Rudman, and together they co-founded Spiffy Pictures, one of two production companies involved in the “Donkey Hodie” project. Spiffy Pictures also participated in the “Nature Cat” project, a PBS animated series.
Born June 1, 1963, David worked as a puppeteer on “Sesame Street” for more than 15 years.
On the show, he performed characters like Baby Bear, Cookie Monster, and part of the Two-Headed Monster. His outstanding performances on “Sesame” earned him four Emmy nominations.
As a director, David oversaw several “Sesame” productions, including “Conversations with Bert” and “Cookie Monster Auditions.”
Frankie Cordero as Purple Panda
Born on February 15, 1982, Cordero performs the whimsical Panda with purple fur, the beloved son of Mama Panda.
Before joining the “Donkey Hodie” cast, Frankie worked as a puppet builder and puppeteer on “Sesame Street “starting in 2000. His main character in “Sesame” is Rudy.
Over the years, he also performed on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade float, which kicks off new holiday seasons.
Meanwhile, voice acting roles performed by Cordero include several characters in “Abby’s Amazing Adventures.”
At one time, the talented puppeteer worked with the Jim Henson Company on projects like “Fraggle Rock: Rock On!” and “Julie’s Greenroom.”
Outside of Henson, he boasts a wide selection of credits, including “Jack’s Big Music Show,” “It’s a Big Big World,” and “Curious Buddies (Nick Jr.).”
Peter Linz as Clyde the Cloud
Performing this whimsical character has allowed Linz to showcase his puppeteering talent. The character is a cloud that looks white when happy and darker when something upsets him.
Born on June 28, 1967, Peter has been on many children’s shows, including the 2011 feature film “The Muppets.” Like other veteran puppeteers of the “Donkey Hodie” cast, he previously worked on “Sesame Street.”
After joining the popular show in 1991, Linz performed roles like Ernie and Herry Monster. His best-known roles are Theo Lion in “Between the Lions,” Snook in “It’s a Big Big World,” and Pooh in “The Book of Pooh.”
On the other hand, Linz once joined Stephanie D’Abruzzo on “Avenue Q,” a Broadway musical.
When it comes to voice acting, he voiced Bug, Pig, and Monkey in “WordWorld” and Moz in “Sheep and Wolves.” Between 1991 and 2021, he performed in more than 35 shows.
Matt Vogel as King Friday
Matt performs the enigmatic ruler of the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, who played a bigger role in the original “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”
Born October 6, 1970, Vogel has worked for several leading studios, including Sesame Workshop and The Muppets Studio. While at these studios, he performed roles on “Oobi,” “Muppets,” and “Sesame Street.”
Between 2017 and 2018, he served as Kermit the Frog and Big Bird. Matt’s first audition for the Jim Henson Company was back in 1993 before becoming part of “Sesame Street” in 1996, where he served as an ensemble puppeteer.
Over the years, he rose through the ranks to serve as a puppet captain and director.
Joseph “Joey” Mazzarino as Game Show Gator and Super Porcupine
This cast member showcases the depth of his talent by superbly handling the Game Show Gator and Super Porcupine roles. Game Show Gator is one of the new characters that wasn’t in the original “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”
Born on June 4, 1968, Joey began his puppeteering career in 1989 on “Sesame Street” before working as a sketch writer. Later, he got promoted to the head writer and series director positions. The highly talented writer and puppeteer left “Sesame Street” in 2015.
Before his departure, Mazzarino performed various characters, such as Elephant, Murray Monster, Two-Headed Monster (left head), Papa Bear, and Stinky the Stinkweed. His outstanding performances on the show won him accolades, including multiple Daytime Emmy Awards.
How Many Episodes of “Donkey Hodie” Are There?
“Donkey Hodie” has aired 26 highly educational and entertaining episodes as part of its only season. Its production team, led by Adam and David Rudman, Ellen Doherty, and Kristin DiQuollo, did a fantastic job of turning the series into one of the top children’s TV shows. Unsurprisingly, it compares favorably with other children’s TV series and animated productions like “Elinor Wonders Why,” and “Alma’s Way.”
Here are some of the show’s most notable episodes.
- “Cheesy Con; Stanley’s One-Dragon Show.” In this episode, Hodie is upset about Cheesy Con hurting her hoof. Also, she needs to help improve a dragon show.
- “Flying Flapjacks; Pickle Penguin Problem.” Donkey is working tirelessly to get flapjacks to fly in preparation for Grampy’s birthday.
- “The Waiting Game; Planet Purple Party.” After receiving a large gift from Harriett, Donkey realizes she has to wait for her best friends to arrive. On the other hand, it’s Mama Panda’s birthday, and Panda is busy preparing for a party on Planet Purple.
- “Super Duper Sleepover; Mountain Climb Time.” Panda and Donkey have a fun time playing and dancing during a sleepover. Then, they attempt climbing Mt. Really High Up.
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