Monday, March 16, 2009

Book Report- "Street Gang- The Complete History of Sesame Street" by Michael Davis

I watched Sesame Street when I was growing up, and we only had 2 tv channels with our rabbit ears on the tv. I watched Sesame Street several years later when my brother was the right age for it (he is 9-10 years younger than me). Now I am watching Sesame Street again because I have a daughter who is soon to be 3. I actually turned it on when she was still a newborn. She didn't have the attention span for it at first, and we had a long time where we watched "Elmo's World" but didn't watch the rest of the show. Now we've moved up to actually watching the whole show, not every day, but on a Saturday or a Sunday morning when we're moving a little slow... we might have it on. I'm watching it and seeing there is a mix of old and new episodes being shown. I've seen Northern Calloway, and I've seen Abby Caddaby.

So when our university library purchased "Street Gang", I was first or second in line to get the book and begin to read it. It took longer than I thought. It's a pretty thick volume, and there is a lot of history there. This isn't only a history of "Sesame Street", it's a history of children's television. You learn a lot about Captain Kangeroo, a little about Barney, and some of the other shows along the way too. And of course you learn about Jim Hensen, beginning and end.

This is not the kind of story that "flows". It's a book of research, compiled from hundreds of interviews, hours watching videotapes, and the author doing his homework. He didn't live these stories. This is some of Joan Cooney's story maybe, but again she's not telling it. The book covers a lot of territory, and I learned a lot more about the background of things than I expected. I also didn't learn some of what I was looking for too. I have more questions now, but I guess I'll find those answers on the internet.

It is a detailed book, if you ever wanted to know about how Sesame Street got on the air in the first place, this explains it. If you wanted to know where Kevin Clash came from, or "Gordon", this book will tell you. It was a heavier book than I expected it to be, but it was definitely an educational read. There are some interesting reviews on "Amazon" as well. Might want to check them out before you spend money on this book. However, if your local library has it, and you have the time for a book that goes well over 300 pages, then give it a read.

1 comment:

  1. I probably wouldn't check out the book after reading your review of it. Kudos to you for reading it despite its lack of flow.

    BTW I commented also on your last post.