I have just officially fallen in love with Handy Manny. As you may remember, a few months ago, I was looking for positive images of blind people in media for Peanut to see. Peanut just found one all by himself on the “Story Hour” episode of this show.
For those who don’t know, Handy Manny is a children’s cartoon shown on Disney Junior. Manny and his 8 talking tools fix things around town and help introduce viewers to simple Spanish words and phrases. In this episode, Manny and friends meet a man named Robert and his guide dog, Sunshine, at the library.
Robert and Sunshine are a very capable pair. Robert explains to the tools that they shouldn’t pet Sunshine because he’s working, and he explains how Sunshine helps him navigate the world. When the lights go out at the library, Robert’s the hero. It’s too dark for the librarian to read, but Robert doesn’t have that problem: he picks up a braille book and reads to the library patrons for story time. When the storm’s over, it’s too dark for Manny to find his way outside to the electrical box–so Robert and Sunshine save the day again by guiding the team out of the building. Manny installs emergency lights at the library after the storm, and the episode ends with the tools asking Robert to read them “another book with bumps.”
I don’t think Robert will be a recurring character, but it was beyond awesome to look up from the computer to see someone reading braille–properly!–on the TV, on a show that Peanut’s currently in love with. Robert was well-spoken and capable, and it was wonderful to encounter him on Handy Manny.