The book opens with another message for parents from Mister Rogers:
Music has always been an important part of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. Through our Neighborhood songs I've been able to share everyday thoughts and feelings that I believe are central to childhood. The songs have given me ways to express a full range of human emotions, from the good feelings children can have of pride, caring, and love...to difficult ones, like anger or jealousy or fear.
The "musictivity" book offers some ways to build on the ideas in the songs and to encourage children's creative play about the themes. When we help children talk and play about things, they're more likely to go on and use those ideasin their everyday experiences. At the same time, it's so helpful to show them we value their imagination adn their creativity, both essential for self-esteem and learning.
We're grateful for all that you bring to our songs and to these activities. Music has always enriched and nourished my life. Whatever ways you have of appreciating music can make a real difference to the children in your family or in your care.
Parents are encouraged to listen to the recording and work through the corresponding activities with their children as they talk about the themes. The final two pages of the book include an extensive list of suggestions for parents as they work with children on these lessons.
The activities themselves are quite creative and very relevant to the Neighborhood program itself. Included are such things as finding Xs hidden in X the Owl's tree, finding silly things that don't belong in Mister Rogers' fish tank, and helping characters find their ways to their Neighborhood homes. Scattered throughout the activities are pages containing the lyrics to the various songs on the recording.
Overall, this is a terrific collection of music and lessons for young people. However, there is one aspect of this book that I don't particularly care for. It seems that in the Mister Rogers books from the 1970's the characters were illustrated very similarly to the ways they appeared on the show itself. In this book though, the characters have been given somewhat of a modernized update -- a change I'm not so much a fan of. The character receiving the biggest makeover seems to be Lady Elaine. As you can see from the image below, she no long has her regular red-nosed appearance. Instead, she looks more like the kind old woman next door who got dressed with her eyes closed. The changes to the characters appearances is a very small price to pay, however, for a publication that is otherwise a very solid educational tool.
For more on this Musictivity set, visit the Neighborhood Archive.