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Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Costume Party - Golden Shape Book [1976]

by Fred Rogers
illustrated by Jason Art Studios

While the Golden Shape Book without a title that was discussed a few weeks ago was shaped like the Neighborhood Trolley, this particular book is a little less "shape" and a little more "book." I suppose it holds the shape of Lady Elaine's Museum-Go-Round, but when there's nothing more to that shape than two straight lines and a couple of curved edges, it's somewhat difficult to pass this off as a "shape" book.

Either way, The Costume Party is another book from my own childhood that has withstood the test of time. It starts off with yet another kingly idea from King Friday -- a Neighborhood costume party to be held at the castle. Luckily, Lady Elaine has plenty of costumes for everyone at the Museum-Go-Round.

Daniel, X the Owl, and Henrietta Pussycat look at a variety of costumes and hats before making their final decisions.

As they look through the costumes, interestingly enough, Henrietta Pussycat speaks in full sentences which lack her typical "meow" laced dialect:
"Now Henrietta Pussycat makes up her mind. I will wear a big hat and high-heeled shoes and a long dress and some beads," she says. "I'm going to pretend to be grown up."
Ultimately, everyone finds a fun costume and arrives at the castle.

Queen Sara welcomes them all:
"Of course, you're really yourselves, even in your costumes -- and when you take your costumes off, you'll still be yourselves. We like you any way you are."
Mister Rogers himself concludes the book by talking about pretending and the fun that a person can have while dressing up and pretending. While the art in this book is certainly very well done, I wonder how Mister Rogers can be comfortable on this final page when his legs seem to have disappeared.

One other thing I noticed as I read through this book was the newspaper on the floor as Bob Dog reveals himself as Super Dog. Look closely. Could that be Mister Rogers there on Page 2 of the daily news?


Golden Press
Western Publishing Company, Inc.
Racine, Wisconsin
© 1976 by Fred M. Rogers

For more on The Costume Party, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Episode 1465 - Goes to School

Original Air Date: August 31, 1979

  
For details on Episode 1465 visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Episode 1464 - Goes to School

Original Air Date: August 30, 1979

  
For details on Episode 1464 visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Everyone Is Special - A Tell-a-Tale Book [1975]

by Fred Rogers
illustrated by Jason Art Studios

In this story, King Friday declares that he will make life easier by requiring everyone to look the same. Since he is the king of the land, he feels it best that everyone look like him.

Everyone, including King Friday himself, becomes increasingly frustrated by the fact that they cannot tell each other apart. Lady Elaine Fairchilde decides that it is in the best interest of the entire Neighborhood for her to confront King Friday about the problem. In doing so, King Friday comes to the realization that every individual is special and he should do his best to help people be themselves.

The next day, King Friday declares that his rule was unfair and invites everyone into the castle for a party to celebrate their differences.

The inside cover of both the front and back of this book show a pretty decent illustration of the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.

As the reader, it is very obvious that everyone in the Neighborhood is upset by King Friday's look-alike rule. Upon closer inspection, however, a reader with a keen eye will catch that not everyone is upset. Donkey Hodie seems somewhat pleased to be wearing his King Friday mask.

Also, I always knew that King Friday was a very self-centered King, but seriously...making Prince Tuesday's teddy bear wear a mask, too? Now that's some serious narcissism.

For more on Everyone Is Special, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Episode 1463 - Goes to School

Original Air Date: August 29, 1979

  
For details on Episode 1463 visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Episode 1462 - Goes to School

Original Air Date: August 28, 1979

  
For details on Episode 1462 visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Episode 1461 - Goes to School

Original Air Date: August 27, 1979

  
For details on Episode 1461 visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Episode 1760 - Ready to Read

Original Air Date: September 1, 2000

  
For details on Episode 1760, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Let's Be Together Today LP [1968]

7470 / 80264 / X4RM-0282
RUNNING TIME: Approximately 34:08


Let's Be Together Today was first released in 1968 before two re-releases over the following two decades. Full of "songs and thoughts on growing for children and their families," this album communicates a message of confidence in true Mister Rogers fashion.

 
SIDE 1


Let's Be Together Today
Mister Rogers' encouragement for children to play with others. While he encourages the idea of playing alone sometimes ("Oh, some days it's good to play alone.") in this song he promotes the idea of interacting with and learning from others.


The Clown in Me
Mister Rogers talks about how it's sometimes difficult for children to communicate with and understand adults. Through this light-hearted song, Mister Rogers encourages pretend and make-believe but also touches on the importance of being oneself at times as well.


Everything Grows Together
This song is in response to a young boy whose toy dog lost and ear in the wash. Mister Rogers uses this cumulative song to teach that people are not just "sewn together or stuck together."


Parents Were Little Once Too
Mister Rogers teaches that adults were once children, too: "It's great for me to remember as I put away my toys, that mothers were all little girls one time and fathers were all little boys."


Alphabet Song
A little different than the traditional A-B-C song we've all heard countless times in our lives. Mister Rogers sings through the alphabet slowly and then speeds up a bit before offering listeners the opportunity to sing on their own.


One and One Are Two
A very simple song about arithmetic that provides a slightly random lesson on a few basic addition problems before counting to ten at the end ("One and one are two, two and two are four, four and four are eight, and eight and two are ten"). Fairly predictable until Mister Rogers throws you a curve with "eight and two are ten."


What Do You Do
This song, performed on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood with some degree of frequency, encourages listeners to deal with their anger in constructive, healthy ways. After one time through the song, Mister Rogers says, "That's important, isn't it? Let's sing it again," before he sings the song a second time.


SIDE 2


Please Don't Think It's Funny
A very important song to help children understand that it's okay to have different feelings: "Please don't think it's funny, when you want the ones you miss. There are lots and lots of people who sometimes feel like this."


I Hope It Will Rain
Mister Rogers pretends he is taking a trip to different places where it is raining. This song teaches how to say "it's raining" in several different languages including French, Spanish, German, Italian, and Taiwanese. Following the song, Mister Rogers talks about how thunderstorms can be scary sometimes. He plays some music that sounds like "rain sounds" and encourages listeners to immitate the thunder.


I'm Taking Care of You
A short, but wonderful song for children sung from the caring perspective of their parents: "Once I was very little too, now I take care of you."


I'm a Man Who Manufactures
The music for this song was written by John Costa who served as the musical director and pianist for Mister Rogers' Neighborhood until his death in 1996. This song, about a man who manufactures chairs, is followed by some time of pretend where Mister Rogers makes the noises of many common tools.


I Like to Be Told
I feel like this song is intended more for parents than it is for children. While validating the feelings of children, Mister Rogers encourages parents to openly communicate with their children.


Peace and Quiet
Mister Rogers sings this very simple song as a bedtime song to help young people slow down, get comfortable, and rest.

Mister Rogers finishes this album by talking about the importance of communication between children and adults before he wraps up with an abbreviated version of Let's Be Together Today.


For more on this version of the Let's Be Together LP, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Episode 1759 - Ready to Read

Original Air Date: August 31, 2000

  
For details on Episode 1759, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Episode 1758 - Ready to Read

Original Air Date: August 30, 2000

  
For details on Episode 1758, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Episode 1757 - Ready to Read

Original Air Date: August 29, 2000

  
For details on Episode 1757, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Episode 1756 - Ready to Read

Original Air Date: August 28, 2000

  
For details on Episode 1756, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Golden Shape Book [1975]

This book was one of my own from my childhood. My brother and I had many books growing up and this was among the piles that could be found on our shelves. From 1975, this is from the book's second printing. As you can see from the cover, the book was purchased for a wallet-draining 39 cents.

While there is no actual title for this book, the main feature of this Golden Shape Book is that when opened, the cover forms the shape of the Trolley.

The story found in the twenty-four pages of this book is based on a bouquet of flowers sent to the Neighborhood of Make-Believe on the Trolley by a very svelte-looking Mister Rogers. Everyone sees the flowers and wonders who they are for. As it turns out there is one flower for each person in the Neighborhood.

On the last page, Mister Roges presents the reader with the one remaining flower: "It's for you. You're my special neighbor, too."

One of the things that stood out to me in this story was the fact that Prince Tuesday is a baby as opposed to the young boy we are used to seeing in the most recent episodes of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.

Copies of this book are frequently available on eBay for less than $10 if you'd like to read the complete story.
For details about this book, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Episode 1710 - Brave and Strong

Original Air Date: August 29, 1996

  
For details on Episode 1710, visit the Neighborhood Archive.