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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: May ::
Re: Baby Shakespeare
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1165  Tuesday, 22 May 2001

[1]     From:   Janet Costa <
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        Date:   Friday, 18 May 2001 06:53:49 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1156 Baby Shakespeare

[2]     From:   Kezia Vanmeter Sproat <
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        Date:   Friday, 18 May 2001 10:54:32 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1156 Baby Shakespeare

[3]     From:   Laura Blankenship <
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        Date:   Friday, 18 May 2001 10:42:07 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1156 Baby Shakespeare

[4]     From:   Richard Burt <
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        Date:   Friday, 18 May 2001 12:06:09 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1156 Baby Shakespeare

[5]     From:   Tanya Gough <
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        Date:   Friday, 18 May 2001 12:41:47 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1156 Baby Shakespeare

[6]     From:   Eva Dikow <
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        Date:   Friday, 18 May 2001 23:00:27 +0200
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1156 Baby Shakespeare

[7]     From:   Tanya Gough <
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        Date:   Monday, 21 May 2001 10:14:43 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1156 Baby Shakespeare


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Janet Costa <
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Date:           Friday, 18 May 2001 06:53:49 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 12.1156 Baby Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1156 Baby Shakespeare

'Baby Shakespeare' is indeed part of a series designed for babies, maybe
partly in response to Teletubbies.  The music, bright colors, and format
have been designed to cue a baby's attention to the rhythms in various
composers, and the Shakespeare one emphasises the beats of Shakespeare's
poetry. Its overall impact is not to turn Baby into an editor or theatre
buff, just to stimulate those all important senses.

I might suggest an accompanying toy for a baby's bath: a Shakespeare
duck can be found at www.celebriducks.com. They also have one of
Elizabeth I.    Resistence is futile.....

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kezia Vanmeter Sproat <
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Date:           Friday, 18 May 2001 10:54:32 EDT
Subject: 12.1156 Baby Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1156 Baby Shakespeare

Buyers need first to read the work of David Elkind, "The Hurried Child."

Kezia Vanmeter Sproat

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Laura Blankenship <
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Date:           Friday, 18 May 2001 10:42:07 -0500
Subject: 12.1156 Baby Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1156 Baby Shakespeare

I have not seen any of the videos, but have seen them debunked in
various parenting magazines and on NPR.  I have babies, and have read
the real thing to them instead.  My five-year-old has heard The Tempest
and was once subjected to Gawain and the Green Knight.  My two-year-old
hasn't heard Shakespeare yet, but has been through two readings of
Paradise Lost--once in utero and once around 3 months.  Frankly, I think
these experiences will have more effect on their intelligence than the
videos you mentioned.  Not to mention their natural inclinations.

Laura Blankenship

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard Burt <
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Date:           Friday, 18 May 2001 12:06:09 -0400
Subject: 12.1156 Baby Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1156 Baby Shakespeare

I bought it, and it is a disappointment from a critical perspective.
Just the 'I know a bank where the wild thyme . . ." speech form MND.
Rest is not Shakespeare.   The title is misleading, in other words. Our
son likes it (he's 18 months), though he likes Baby Mozart better.

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tanya Gough <
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Date:           Friday, 18 May 2001 12:41:47 -0400
Subject: 12.1156 Baby Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1156 Baby Shakespeare

>What in the
>world IS this?  If anyone knows, please share.

We finally cracked open a copy to satisfy our own curiosity.  Basically,
the videos offer up a surreal visual pastiche, with overlapping text and
vocabulary building.  The opening of Baby Shakespeare shows a sock
puppet dragon, named bard, but with a reading of Ogden Nash's Custard
the Dragon heard overtop, giving the impression that the dragon might
actually be named Custard.  Then a group of children sing the ABC song,
followed by the introduction of the word "train", a few poems and
classical music accompany a "music video" of toys in action.  The next
word is "flower", which is reinforced by Bard the dragon sneezing up the
word (my mother is concerned my little nephew might grow up thinking the
word for sneeze is flower), then a brief quotation from Midsummer
Night's Dream - the only actual Shakespeare in the video.  Apparently,
"Shakespeare" is taken euphemistically to mean "poetry".

All in all, the tape is an oblique, disjointed array of images and
sounds, kind of like the Teletubbies on ecstasy. No story line, no
linear progression of thought.

Weird.

Tanya Gough
Poor Yorick Shakespeare Multimedia
www.bardcentral.com

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Eva Dikow <
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Date:           Friday, 18 May 2001 23:00:27 +0200
Subject: 12.1156 Baby Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1156 Baby Shakespeare

I am not sure whether this is about the same thing but about a year ago
I read a couple of articles in German magazines which said that there
were a lot of going-ons in America as to how to upspeed babies'
capacities and intellectual development.

I suppose the 'Baby Shakespeare' might be something along this line and
I read it as a further development in the sad development of "we need
*educationel* television for children younger than those who watch
Sesamy Street" which also brought us the Teletubbies...

In the articles I read they talked about teaching children to read at
the age of three or even earlier.

Who knows, in a couple of years we might be confronted with legions of
toddlers telling us "Nothing will come of nothing: I want more
porridge"...  Even if I don't think very highly of a development which
draws always more and always younger children for more and more time in
front of the television I must say that Shakespeare seems to be somewhat
of an improvement after the Teletubbies ;-)

Eva Dikow

[7]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tanya Gough <
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Date:           Monday, 21 May 2001 10:14:43 -0400
Subject: 12.1156 Baby Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1156 Baby Shakespeare

A quick followup on the Baby Shakespeare video:  apparently my 14 month
old nephew loves the tape to bits, and my mother claims it's a wonderful
introduction to classical music and themes.    I still think the lack of
linear thinking is a bit disturbing, but perhaps that's a grownup
bugaboo, brought on by an unfortunate incident with the teletubbies a
few years back.

Tanya Gough
Poor Yorick Shakespeare Multimedia Catalogue
www.bardcentral.com

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