For about a year, I ran a kid’s department at a Barnes and Noble store. While that idea may make some folks break out in a cold sweat, I have to say I really loved that job. What I do now may be more technically interesting/challenging, when it comes to just pure fun potential, that job was the bee’s knees. One of the best parts (other than storytime and crafts) was seeking out new titles, or rediscovering old ones. I always just loved kids lit.
This has spilled over into our TV experience around here, as so many shows are based on books. In some cases, this works. In others, not so much. While the Bubble Guppies and Team Umizoomi are still popular, we watch them less and less in favor of other shows. (I should also qualify all this by saying our kid does not spend all her time in front of the boob tube. We read to her lots, play games, go outside, etc… This is for those intervals where we need to cook a meal, I need to get some computer work done for my job, or she’s just entered the bitching hour before dinner and bed and is just generally cantankerous.) For instance, the Olivia books by Ian Falconer have translated reasonably well into cartoon form. Miss Spider? Not really. The only thing remarkable about that one (other than some of the odd discrepancies in characters’ rendering as previously discussed) is that Kristin Davis does the voice of Miss Spider. Charlotte from Sex and the City???? Somehow that’s just wrong. I can picture some SatC episodes (such as the one where Charlotte got her “rabbit” and the girls had to have an intervention) and I’m just kind of creeped out.
I always thought the Toot and Puddle books (by Holly Hobbie, if I’m not mistaken) were sweet little books. The illustrations were very cute as were the matching plush toys available. The cartoon sucks. It ought to be called “Toot and Boring.”
The worst offender by far is Little Bear. If I’m not mistaken, I’ve ranted about this one before as being a contender for the most boring cartoon ever, right up there with Franklin. It’s painful. There are other odd things about it, too, such as the fact that all the adult bears get to wear clothing whereas Little Bear is nekkid. It somehow seems really vulgar when they show his nekkidness next to his father in full dress (including vest with pocket watch). Then again, I guess we should be grateful that there are adult/parental bears present. Most cartoon “children” live in “Children of the Corn” worlds where no grown ups are around.
But I digress. Little Bore (oops…Little Bear) is made worse by the fact that it’s a Maurice Sendak creation (the artwork, anyway). The same genius behind the imagery of Where the Wild Things Are was unwittingly hijacked into this travesty of a cartoon. It just breaks my heart every time. I recently saw an episode where Little Bore had a mask. I don’t know why. I simply can’t stand to watch it. In any event, the mask looked just like one of the Wild Things and I had to turn off the TV. How does this happen? Someone ought to have intervened and stopped that.