Education Blog

Viewing and Doing: Oddball

By Emily Ohara, Education Program Manager & JBFC Kids Curator 04.09.20

This week, JBFC Kids Curator Emily Ohara highlights an audience favorite programmed for JBFC Kids a few years ago.


2015. 95 m. Australia. English. Rated PG.

Recommended Age 7+

Streaming for free on Tubi, Amazon Prime, Vudu (with Ads), and Hulu.


Off the coast of Australia, Middle Island is home to a colony of fairy penguins who are under threat from hungry foxes. With help from his granddaughter, Olivia, an eccentric chicken farmer hatches a plan to save the penguins—and it’s up to their mischievous, fluffy sheepdog, Oddball, to save the day. Can he overcome his trouble-maker reputation and prove that his guarding skills are up to the task? Based on a true story, this is a funny and environmentally aware adventure.

Why Education Program Manager & JBFC Kids Curator Emily Ohara (@TeachEmFilm) recommends it: "Oddball isn't your typical dog movie. Beginning with the stunning location of southern Australia, the film doesn't shy away from shots of sweeping landscape. And the cast of characters are a refreshing bunch- the kooky chicken farmer, Swampy, his nine-year old resourceful granddaughter, Olivia, the big fluffy Maremma dog, Oddball, and of course the Fairy Penguins. Goofy slapstick humor balanced with high stacks and a beautiful message on protecting wildlife through creative and furry problem solving, Oddball is a story that will inspire your little ones, and big ones, to take care of the earth and ALL creatures, no matter how small."

Fun Fact:

Fairy Penguins only live in the cold southern seas of Australia and New Zealand AND are the smallest of their species.

Brainstorm Activity:

Did you know that humans are one of the main contributors to wildlife not having homes? Every animal, like the Fairy Penguins in Australia, deserve to have a safe home. There’s a way for you to help! National Geographic KIDS shares 13 ways to save homes for wildlife that you can start following today.

  1. Read the 13 ways to save the Earth from habitat destruction from National Geographic Kids here.
  2. Pick one or more from the list and start doing it!
  3. Tell a friend, your teacher, and/or neighbor about how they can help save wildlife homes. 

Take it Further:

Here is a behind the scenes look at the real Maremma dogs who protect the penguins on Middle Island.

Visit the Middle Island Maremma Project site to learn about their incredible organization!