VeggieTales® is a children’s animated series featuring songs and stories on biblical themes. In VeggieTales, a cucumber and tomato along with squashes, pickles, peas, and other vegetables teach biblical lessons and virtues through humor, storytelling, and catchy tunes. Since 1993, VeggieTales has sold over 60 million videos, as well as books and CDs, and has been nominated for an Emmy Award (see their official website). As with any entertainment, Christian parents should exercise discernment in letting their kids watch VeggieTales.
Many parents are totally comfortable letting their kids watch VeggieTales. At its inception, VeggieTales sought to teach kids about God. The shows emphasized biblical character qualities such as telling the truth, trusting God, and loving others. At the end of the episodes, Bob the tomato and Larry the cucumber would reflect on a related Bible verse. The videos made biblical concepts and Bible verses come to life for children. VeggieTales episodes featured original stories as well as retellings of Bible stories featuring Esther, Joshua, and “Rack, Shack, and Benny” (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego). VeggieTales episodes from the 2000s combined biblical truths with adaptations of well-known literature such as The Wizard of Oz and The Lord of the Rings.
Other parents are more reluctant to let their kids watch VeggieTales. Some object to the emphasis on silliness; others say the show teaches morality and not doctrinal Christianity. Reflecting on the VeggieTales episodes from the 2000s, Phil Vischer, the founder of VeggieTales, echoes this sentiment. In an interview, Phil expressed concern that VeggieTales taught children how to behave or act “Christian” but not necessarily why or how that connected to biblical Christianity (“It’s Not About the Dream,” WORLD, Sep 24, 2011, p. 57–58).
The newest incarnation of VeggieTales is a show called VeggieTales in the House. Produced for Netflix, these episodes began airing in 2019. The show still features a character trait, but the short episodes are lacking in biblical content. Bob and Larry, however, do remind children at the end of each episode that they are special and that God loves them very much.
Will children laugh watching the new VeggieTales? Probably. Will Larry find his hairbrush? Maybe. The show is family-friendly, but children will likely not understand God’s Word or ways better by watching the new VeggieTales show.
Parents should seek God’s wisdom in knowing if they should let their children watch VeggieTales (James 1:5). Although VeggieTales might not overtly teach children doctrine or present the gospel in each episode, compared to other children’s cartoons that waste time with low-level humor or glorify bad behavior, the VeggieTales series is a wholesome choice for parents.