Thursday, December 23, 2010

The History of the Snowman: Not a Book Report

I can't remember the last time I wrote an actual book report. Maybe it was in middle school? Joe has been writing some amazing pieces for his blog The Composite including reviews of the 100 best books of 2010 (according to the NYTimes). I was so inspired by his love of reading and decision to review, that I decided to give it a try myself.

Each year as the holiday season rolls around, I pull out one of my favorite books The History of the Snowman by Bob Eckstein. I received my copy about three years ago from an uncle. I connected with the book's humorous cover and decided to dive right in. By the next day, I had finished. It was that good.

It's been a year since my last read of the book, and I was excited to re-educate myself. It's filled with SO MUCH information about snowmen. My three year old copy is filled with pencil marks, highlighted sentences, and dog-eared pages. I've devised a list of the top five reasons why I love this book:

5: It's full of pictures including historical engravings, film posters, and Eckstein's own sketches. They do a great job of supporting the text!

4: Fully researched. Eckstein really did his homework here. It's so full of information and ends with a pretty substantial reference index.

3: Educational and funny. Eckstein manages to thread his dry sense of humor throughout the historically accurate and informative history of the snowman.

2: It fosters an individual exploration of snowman culture. Check out this great stuff I found on Etsy! Currently over 22,000 results to my "snowman" search! I personally love the pearl snowman earrings...

1: Eckstein facilitates a very interesting discussion about snowmen and their place in the art world. Did you know that in 1400's, the artists in Florence would populate the city with snowmen? I was particularly struck by his statement that a snowman could be the only life size sculpture an individual ever creates.

I've continued to think about this idea of snowmen and sculpture. It is a fantastic and supremely easy, cleaner way to introduce a young person to art and the art of sculpture.

Thanks to Joe, I've been listening to this tune non-stop. I never thought of calling a guy a "snowman." The male equivalent of ice queen? Maybe! Enjoy...

Bears - I'm a Snowman - by the Pop Sucker

This winter, I urge you to read The History of the Snowman and make a snowman with a young person you love.

Happy Holidays!

Children's Television: Style and Scientific American

I wanted to share these two articles with you all...

I know a few people who don't love Charlie Brown, but they still love to hate him as they watch his holiday specials. Whether you enjoy sad Charlie or not, you can absolutely appreciate this take on Peanuts style thanks to Design Sponge. Check it out!

Scientific American published an article highlighting four children's television programs that promote interest in science among young viewers. Their picks were: The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!, Peep and the Big Wide World (produced by WGBH!), Dinosaur Train, and (one of my favorites) Go, Diego, Go!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Why I'm lucky to be going to Tufts...

There are many reasons! I have had an amazing year and a half at Tufts, and I only expect it to get better. This evening, I met with my media peers to brainstorm for some awesome new projects we'll be working on. One of our projects is being developed to better serve our group and our reference needs. It can take hours to find the right articles on children's media. Often times, I find myself searching for a document and then end up emailing Sabrina...because I know she will have the perfect article for me to read! One of our brilliant Ph.D. students, Rachel, came up with a way for us to store and share all of our references in RefWorks.

If you have not used RefWorks, you are missing out! It is a great way for you to store you references, properly cite them, and assist you with in-text citation. Please check it out! I had never used it before and spent an hour in the library just completely amazed! It is brilliant. The best part is, as students we can share our references with others who may not use RefWorks. Interested in developing a show and want to investigate attention and children's television? Can't find any great references? I bet we've got 'em...or will once this project takes off next semester.

Please look for more updates on our RefWorks project. I think this could have a major impact on our individual writing and publications as well as a huge impact on the field and the sharing of resources.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I should be writing, but...

I'm in the midst of completing an Intellectual Development final essay. I'm currently sitting in the library, staring at my empty bag of trail mix (except for the raisins..yuck!), procrastinating online, and doing my best to muster up the courage to finish and submit this work. In my quest for distraction, I found this video. In it, Lisa Henson discusses the company's history and their future plans. The Henson Company has been doing a lot of great work and are really making an impression on new young audiences with their program Sid the Science Kid. Please check the video out!

PS They also released a new line of Fraggle Rock merchandise. I've got my eye on those adorable little Doozers and Sprocket!

Monday, December 6, 2010

I Love Merch

Did I mention that before heading to Disneyland I dedicated way too much money to buy Mickey Mouse "stuff?" In a week, Joe and I will be checking out Weezer in concert playing songs from the Blue Album. Yes, I REALLY want to hear "Surf Wax America" and sing along to "Buddy Holly," but I just can't stop thinking about all the cool stuff they could be selling at the merch table. Just yesterday, I was on Etsy thinking, "I could really use a Gryffindor scarf or this awesome snitch locket." I realize this is a problem. I am a most desirable candidate for "All-American Capitalist/Consumer." Is this a result of my upbringing in America? Perhaps my father's obsession with keeping toys in the box (you know, for collection value) and his abundance of electric toy trains in the basement did it to me. I just don't know.

I was inspired to write this blog because of an article I found online. It's from England. They're are taking over children's television! To them I say, "Welcome to our world." Get it? Have you ever visited FAO Schwartz? Not only is our toy market reliant on lovable, desirable characters, for many years our television market was consumed with programming based on commercial properties. In fact, we even passed a law banning more than 12 minutes of commercial material from being put on television per hour.

Licensing is part of the process now. If you know Disney, you know that they actually release their toys before the films even come out! The merchandise supports the program and the program supports the merchandise. It seems like you can't have one without the other anymore.

Please read this article...and share your ideas below!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Cookie Monster Should Host SNL

For most, it's Saturday Night Live. For me, it's Sunday Morning Syndication. I wake up on Sunday mornings with excitement coursing through my veins. Thanks to the magic of Hulu, I get to watch my favorite TV show a day after it airs. I never miss an episode! I replay the parts that I particularly like or that I think might be fun for others to watch. My SNL love is not new. In the '90s, my uncles would tape SNL and replay the parts that they really liked and thought were appropriate for me. Once I reached high school, I would stay up and watch on my own. It was an event each week...something I looked forward to!

I was so thrilled when I saw Sesame's campaign for Cookie Monster to host. In many ways, I think Sesame Street primes children to watch shows like SNL. They're extremely close in style and parody some of the most important cultural events, making them available for public consumption. The picture they took is BRILLIANT! The video is damn funny. Check it out...

In support of Cookie's desire to host SNL, I decided to coach him a bit. We discussed the format of the show, practiced using cue cards, took turns screaming "Live from New York, it's Saturday niiiiiiiiight." I even lectured him on pacing himself at the after party. Here are some pictures from our work together...

Reviewing the show format

"Don't forget to thank Lorne Michaels!"

Studying current events for Weekend Update

I wish Cookie Monster the best of luck as he works towards achieving his goal. Can you think of any special or unique ways of supporting him and his efforts?

I'll be watching, Cookie...the next morning...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

CD61 Challenge!

So here's the deal: this afternoon I will be sharing of my media work and experiences with Martha Potts' CD61 course for Tufts undergrads. I decided to present them with a challenge similar to one David Kleeman facilitated at the Fred Forward Conference last March. As students of personal and social development, they have a chance to pitch me a unique show with a curriculum based on their coursework this semester. These pitches will be posted in the comment field below and are limited to 2-3 sentences. Consider it a digital elevator pitch!

Their deadline is 11:59pm on Friday, December 3rd. The times on my blog are completely I will be online at 11:59pm noting who is last to post. THE WINNER will receive a copy of the book The World According to Mister Rogers. That book has been a huge source of inspiration and support throughout my post-college life. One quote, in particular, helped me write my admissions essay for Tufts. I'll be announcing the lucky student on the blog Sunday evening. Only CD61 students are eligible!

I don't think a contest like this would ever work with industry professionals. People would be far to scared to share their ideas in such a public forum. I certainly would! I'm hoping that these students will be open and will not share a sacred idea that they have been harboring forever. I also TRUST EVERYONE OUT IN THE ETHER to respect these students and their ideas. If you're interested in something you hear, maybe you should consider scouting out some Tufts students for a series development!

Post away, CD61...