There’s good news for parents who grew up watching VeggieTales: A new batch of episodes is being released, and they’re just as funny and Bible-based as the originals.
The new series, called The VeggieTales Show, follows the familiar cast of Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber as they organize a variety show for a live audience. Each episode includes plenty of hilarious backstage antics, but it also includes a Bible story with a lesson for children.
The VeggieTales Show is streamed on TBN’s kid-focused service, Yippee.
Co-creator Mike Nawrocki calls it “the Muppet Show meets classic VeggieTales.”
“One of the things that we always concentrated on with VeggieTales is that core biblical component – God made you special and He loves you very much,” Nawrocki told Christian Headlines. “The really fun thing about this new series is that, because of the way that it's structured, we typically will tell two short stories in the context of the 22 minutes, and one of them will always be a Bible story. And sometimes we have two Bible stories in there.”
Nawrocki, who voices Larry the Cucumber, Jerry Gourd and Jean-Claude Pea, said he’s always viewed VeggieTales as “a resource” to “help parents pass on biblical values to their kids.” Nawrocki and Phil Vischer created VeggieTales during the 1990s.
“Bob and Larry [and] the cast of characters remind kids that they are loved by God, God has created them, He loves them, He has a plan for their lives, He wants a relationship with him,” Nawrocki said. “... It helps kids connect the narrative of the Bible stories in their mind. They know what happened in the story, they know the theme of those stories, and then they can then later go back and read it for themselves and have those points of contact.”
Still, there are biblical topics and characters VeggieTales does not tackle, Nawrocki said. For example, Jesus has never been physically depicted as a vegetable, even though the characters mention Christ frequently.
“We've always tried to manage that fine line between the ridiculous and the sacred,” he said.
The VeggieTales Show isn’t the only new project for Nawrocki. He’s finishing the latest books in his Dead Sea Squirrelsfictional book series for children. (Books five and six released last fall, and multiple books are scheduled for release in 2021.) He also serves as professor of cinematic arts at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn.
The Dead Sea Squirrels tells of a 10-year-old boy who follows his anthropologist father to Israel and returns home with two dehydrated, salted-crusted squirrels. Once home, the boy is shocked as the squirrels come back to life and reveal they lived 2,000 years earlier during the time of Jesus.
“They have this ancient wisdom and knowledge and first-hand experience of the life of Christ and the apostles,” Nawrocki said.
Photo courtesy: ©Yippee
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.