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  • Writer's pictureThomas Bonifield

Animated Series in Development from "VeggieTales" Co-Creator

Updated: Feb 27, 2021

Two salty squirrels from the Dead Sea help impart Biblical values and life lessons in this show for children.

A digital poster for "The Dead Sea Squirrels" from Mike Nawrocki. Image: "The Dead Sea Squirrels."

Mike Nawrocki, one half of the VeggieTales creative team and the voice of Larry the Cucumber, is pushing a new animated project called The Dead Sea Squirrels. Based on a book series he launched in 2019 by the same name, the show will follow the adventures of two squirrels that have been preserved for two millennia in salt near the Dead Sea and are discovered by a 10-year-old boy named Michael who spirits them away in his backpack.

Mike Nawrocki at a 2019 book signing event, with Larry the Cucumber looking on. Image: Mike Nawrocki/Instagram.

Nawrocki and some high-profile partners - producer Steve Taylor and former Disney animator Tom Bancroft - are in talks with investors about the $1.2 million they need to make this happen. And our guess is the odds are good they'll land the financing because they had initially launched a crowdfunding campaign, an approach Taylor had huge success with on a previous project a decade ago called Blue Like Jazz, only to suspend their effort when the aforementioned money men approached them.

But in the crowdfunding pitch material, Nawrocki - who created the faith-based animated franchise VeggieTales in 1993 together with Phil Vischer - says that if they can secure the financing, they will employ faculty and top students from the animation program founded by Bancroft at Lipscomb University. That's a Christian school in Nashville, TN and both Nawrocki and Taylor work in the department.

They figure that $1.2 million will cover the costs of six, 22-minute episodes of the show, which the three men hope to launch in the fall of 2022. Were the financing to allow for it, they would like to produce a 13-episode first season: the tab for that will run approximately $2.88 million, according to information on the crowdfunding site.

If you'd like more details, you can check out the now suspended Kickstarter campaign page via this link to that outfit's website. And this link will take you to the site for The Dead Sea Squirrels, where you can sign up for their mailing list. Christian Film Blog will of course continue to follow developments and keep you up to date. In the meantime, the pitch video below will give you a better feel for the project.


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