Danny Joe’s Tree House is a live-action children's web series geared towards 2-6 year-olds and their parents and caregivers. The look and feel of the program is 1950s retro, but is has been carefully designed to respectfully reflect and respond to our current age and the social-emotional needs of today’s young children and their adults.
David was one of Danny Joe’s first on-screen teachers. It was an honor to host David at the Tree House as we unpacked our puppets and other communication tools and got ready for our new season. As our first special guest, David helped Danny Joe to set the tone of the program by encouraging us to slow down and take our time. He also reminded us that, although our communication tools may change over time, the inner needs of people remain the same. Being kind and listening carefully to those we love never goes out of style.
Mr. Max Bent and Mr. Jamaal “Root” Collier
Mr. Max Bent and Mr. Jamaal “Root” Collier are musicians. Mr. Root sings, raps and speaks to share his thoughts ideas and feelings with those he cares about. Mr. Max uses beatboxing, instruments and soundboards to express himself. Together they teach children that there are many ways to communicate and connect with others. Mr. Max and Mr. Root are also the creators of Baby Beats with Max & Root and play live performances all over Baltimore and online.
Queen Green rules Tree House’s neighboring community of Evergreen and is best friends with The Good Knight Ernest Sweetheart. She is a very different type of ruler than our King. She truly listens to others and leads with the interests of every member of the shared community in mind. She knows that the sky belongs to everyone and that we are each the bosses of our own minds and bodies. Long live Queen Green! Outside of Tree House, Kris Green is an educator and works with Holistic Life Foundation, Inc. in Baltimore.
Teddy is Danny Joe’s actual childhood teddy bear. He was converted into one of the first puppets DJ used with his preschool students in the classroom. Sometimes Teddy can’t find the words to express how he’s feeling on the inside, but through play he communicates big thoughts, ideas and feelings.
King is an authoritarian ruler who believes that the sky, land and sea is just for him. He regularly proclaims “I’m the Boss of You!” without compromise or consideration of his royal subjects. On Tree House, we know that there is always a root cause for socially unacceptable behavior. King (unintentionally) offers an opportunity to the members of our shared community to stand up for ourselves without hurting other or self.
The Good Knight Ernest Sweetheart
Sir Sweetheart is named for the Great Grandfather of Queen Kris Green of Evergreen (a neighboring kingdom). He used to carry a sword, but after many years of experience, now uses art instead, to resolve conflicts before they get out of control. The crayon is mightier than the sword!
Ollie Ollie Oxenfree
Ollie is a loyal friend to all. He comes from a long line of corn farmers, and he cares deeply for nature. Ollie knows that with time and care, a little kernel of hope can go a long way. He plants those kernels of hope throughout the land, like his second cousin Johnny Appleseed.
Stella and Stanley the Sock Siblings
Stella and Stanley are twins. On the outside, they are a perfectly matched pair, but on the inside, they are very different. Sometimes they get along and sometimes they don’t, but no matter what, they are family and will always try to talk (or play) out their disagreements with a little bit of guidance from their adult caregivers
Blue Bird, aka BB, is Yellow Bird’s brother and loves to fly! The King favors Blue Bird, as blue is his favorite color. Blue Bird is feeling very confused this season on Tree House as King praises him and mocks others. BB wants everyone to be happy, but fears losing that which he loves if he doesn’t do as the king demands.
Gram Cracker is our eldest Tree House puppet. She and Ernest Sweetheart went to the same preschool. She’s had many jobs in her long career, but in general, has always tried to be a helper. With her fanny pack, aka “granny pack,” on her hip, she is prepared for any situation--a lesson she learned as a Girl Scout.
Yellow Bird loves to play pretend. When she feels small, she often remembers her ancestors, becomes a big dinosaur and lets out a powerful roar to let people know how she is feeling on the inside. She’s a loyal friend and will stand up for what she feels is right when she sees injustice in the world.
Pixie is under a lot of pressure. She’s a college student and is interning for the King. She’s very interested in community building and engineering, but isn’t totally sure what she wants to do after graduation. King thinks that Pixie is an actual magical pixie, which is very frustrating to Pixie. To make King’s outlandish requests come true, Pixie must work very hard.
Jasmine is a musician, singer, rapper, beatboxer and advocate for children and their families. She teaches kids that, although we should all be very proud of the way we look on the outside, it is our inner beauty that is the most precious. Our thoughts, ideas and feelings don’t have shape, size or color. The only way people know who we truly are is by spending time together.
Andres “Andy” Gonzalez
Andres is here to help when we are feeling overwhelmed. Through breath, yoga and mindfulness, he helps children and their adults to slow down and take control without hurting others or self. He is also an amazing rapper and applies those same techniques for self regulation in his music. Andres is one of the founders of Holistic Life Foundation, Inc.
Monica is a nature-based preschool teacher. She encourages children to express themselves in many ways, but she especially loves dress up. She understands that through dramatic play, children can express their thoughts, ideas and feelings safely, without judgment, as they explore different perspectives, take on different roles and explore power. Along the way, Ms. Dress Up reminds children that they are loved exactly as they are, no matter what they wear.
Mr. Adam is a jack-of-all-trades. He loves art and science and understands how well they can play together. In his handy tool belt he carries a hammer, art supplies, a computer tablet and lots and lots of tape, but he knows that they are all just tools. Tools are great for helping us to share our thoughts, ideas and feelings, but people are more important that things.
Stefani Foster LaBrecque
Stefani is the co-producer of Danny Joe’s Tree House. She also directs, shoots and edits the program. She is a gifted cinematographer and photographer and works full-time in online education. She and Danny Joe have been collaborating on the ideas and concepts that eventually became Tree House since 2005.
Ben is Tree House’s organist and pianist. He artfully creates the instrumentals you hear under the dialogue. Ben is a silent film historian and passionately keeps silent film alive by playing in movie houses across the country.
Jenna Krebs loves nature! As a naturalist, conservationist, and environmental educator, she creates opportunities for children and their families to fall in love with nature through outdoor play. Some of her favorite animals are birds. She encourages families to respect and take care of all of the important parts of nature, including, animals, plants, rocks and people.
Ali Smith and Atman Smith
Ali and Atman Smith are brothers. As young children, their parents taught them the importance of centering themselves through meditation each morning before starting their days. As adults, they teach children and adults to manage overwhelming thoughts, ideas and feelings through meditation, yoga and mindfulness. They are co-founders of Holistic Life Foundation, Inc.
Erricka Bridgeford loves her fellow human beings. She works very hard as peacekeeper in the community and understands that, even when we do lose control of overwhelming thoughts, ideas and feelings, we are all still worthy of love and acceptance. She created Baltimore Ceasefire 365 as a peaceful way to encourage people not to hurt one another, because all human life is sacred.
Danny “Danny Joe” LaBrecque (pronounced la-breck), creator and host of Danny Joe’s Tree House, is bringing a human voice back to children’s media. A real human voice. Not an actor playing a part, or a marketable puppet, or yet another cartoon, but a real human being capable of facilitating complex social-emotional explorations through our present-day screens.
Danny Joe lives in Baltimore, Maryland, with his wife and two children. He has been in the field of early childhood development since 2000 and is a passionate advocate for children and their parents and caregivers in the classroom and online. He is not playing a part. In order to address the complex topics of our age, Danny Joe knows that he must build trust with the families he strives to serve over time by consistently offering his true self on screen.
He researches, tests and writes all of the scripts, facilitates the content collaborations with the cast and parents, designs and builds the sets and puppets, is the puppeteer for all of the Tree House puppets, and writes the majority of the songs.
Colleen King Lacy
Colleen is a gifted seamstress and passionate naturalist. She worked with Danny Joe to design and create the costumes for the Tree House puppets. Her careful attention to detail served each puppets’ personality and role. She loves renaissance festivals, engaging in nature and sewing.