VeggieTales co-creator to launch new animated series 'The Dead Sea Squirrels'

The Dead Sea Squirrels

Mike Nawrocki, VeggieTales co-creator and voice of Larry the Cucumber, is teaming up with renowned Disney animator Tom Bancroft and legendary producer and artist Steve Taylor to bring to life the new animated series "The Dead Sea Squirrels” now that the team has secured potential investors.

“I’m thrilled to see the ‘Dead Sea Squirrels’ coming to life,” Nawrocki told the Christian Post. “The beginnings of the idea came to me over a dozen years ago. So, to get the opportunity to write a book series and now to move into animation — it is a longtime dream come true.”

Nawrocki said his prayer is that the stories in the new series will help kids “make a connection to the Bible and life of Jesus.”

According to the Kickstarter campaign launched at the top of the year and then canceled, Nawrocki and the team needed to raise at least $1.2 million to get the animated series made because of the high cost of animation. 

But after raising over $35,000 in just a few days, they have lined up potential investors who would fund the entire project. 

"In the few days since our Kickstarter campaign launched we've had potential investors come forward to fund the series,” an announcement posted to the fundraiser states.

 “Everyone is committed to Mike Nawrocki’s vision and agrees he should retain creative control over the series’ content — which was our main reason for choosing Kickstarter vs. traditional investor funding.  As a result, we are suspending this Kickstarter campaign and hope to have more great news to share with you soon.”

The first six episodes of the series are based on Nawrocki’s book series of the same name. 

“It’s been a longtime dream of mine to bring this series to life,” Nawrocki shared in a statement. “What started as a title based on a ‘cheesy’ pun has developed into a fun-filled world kids will love while giving parents an entertaining resource to pass on biblical values and life lessons. Plus, with ‘VeggieTales,’ ‘3-2-1 Penguins,’ and now ‘The Dead Sea Squirrels,’ I hope to cement my legacy as the ‘cheesy’ pun title guy!”

“The Dead Sea Squirrels” tells the story of Merle and Pearl, two first-century squirrels from Israel “who’ve been preserved in sea salt in a cave alongside the Dead Sea.”

“When 10-year-old Michael discovers them 2000 years later and sneaks them home in his backpack, hijinks ensue after this salty couple reanimates and takes their new friend on adventures full of action, humor, music and character-building lessons,” the synopsis reads. 

Nawrocki, a Lipscomb University professor, rallied together students hired to help animate the series in coordination with New Zealand’s Mukpuddy Animation Studios.  

Nawrocki’s team of industry professionals with whom he is colleagues at Lipscomb include Bancroft (known for his work on animated films like “Mulan,” “The Lion King” and “Beauty and the Beast”) and Taylor, who co-wrote “The Dead Sea Squirrels” theme song. 

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