A Maples-based children’s entertainer is enjoying big success on the small screen, entertaining kids and teaching them valuable lessons ‘round the province.
Cindy Robin, who for eight years has entertained children around Winnipeg as "The Story Fairy" (she’s been entertaining kids for 12 years in total) has reached a new platform in bringing the spritely character to Shaw TV. The Story Fairy and Friends program, which premiered this past fall, now runs every day of the week, and seven times Saturday and Sunday.
"We have a great crew. We’re really excited," Robin said.
Robin said the program, which she co-hosts alongside puppet pal "Dusty the Dragon" (voiced by Wolseley Wellness Centre chiropractor Terry Michalyshyn), is meant to inject a little old-school magic to kid’s shows, something she said has been lost in an era of computer-generated graphics.
"I remember being a little girl, being mesmerized by the Friendly Giant, and (puppeteer) Shari Lewis," Robin said.
"So many people (watching the show) have commented saying ‘You’re like a female version of The Friendly Giant’ . . . We don’t have that on TV much now. There’s so much computer-generated stuff, so much animation."
She later adds, "I just want to help add some magic to the world."
True to form, The Story Fairy does plenty of storytelling in the show, promoting literacy every step of the way, and in general, promoting a message of kindness, which is summed up in a "fairy promise" which kids are asked to recite as they watch along.
"For me, what’s important is that the words ring true," Robin said of the oath.
But The Story Fairy has been doing plenty of travelling too. So far, she and Dusty have made trips to the butterfly atrium at Assiniboine Park, FortWhyte Alive, and the Schwabe family pumpkin patch. A more recent episode featuring a trip to Morden’s Chocolates was yet to air at press time.
Children are also featured on camera during a crafting portion of the show.
Now that the show is gathering steam, the Story Fairy’s cast of characters is on tap to grow. Several woodland creatures will soon join her and Dusty on their adventures, including a raccoon, turtle, a fox and a skunk. Voicing those characters will be Stan Kubicek, Laura Kolisnyk and former Breakfast Television personality Jon Ljungberg.
A studio is also under construction in director Jeff Didham’s basement, which will allow for a more consistent look to the show going forward.
"He works tirelessly putting the show together," Robin said of Didham.
With the show set to expand into other western provinces on Shaw, Robin said the experience has been a pleasure.
"When you’re in it and doing it, it just catches you at special moments," she said.
"It just makes you say ‘I want to keep going.’"
In keeping with her devotion to the spread of literacy among children, Robin will be making a special appearance this month to mark I Love to Read Month, recognized during February.
Robin will be at McNally Robinson Grant Park (1120 Grant Ave.) on Feb. 10 from 2-4 p.m. to sign copies of one of her books, Shilling Bear, illustrated by Carol Whitcombe. A portion of the proceeds from sales of the book will go to Variety, The Children’s Charity.
Robin will also be making appearances at schools around the city to tell a story or two. She was at Victory School in West Kildonan on Feb. 5 and will appear at Colicutt School in Garden City on Feb. 27. She still has a few dates open for bookings, and interested schools can contact her via her website, www.cindyrobin.com, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.