June 2007 | Vol. VI - No. 6
Preschoolers: Enthralled by Morality
All 4 Kidz Life Lessons Got Kids Talking
Most Roundtable participants were surprised by how strongly the moral dilemmas presented in a new set of books from All 4 Kidz affected their children, and how each book opened up a new series of discussions. Though some moms took issue with flaws in grammar and presentation, most of them were impressed by the range of emotions and reactions addressed in the stories. [Editor's note: The publisher assured TDmonthly that the flaws will be resolved before the next printing.]
The product was rated with 1 to 5 TD (for TDmonthly!) stars; 5 is the highest mark.
Participants were World Bank policy advisor Gail Richardson with Alexander (6 years) and Jessica (4); finance executive Shannon Harris with Tripp (5); stay-at-home mother Heather Jones with Reece (7), Cameron (5) and Meg (3); sales executive Stephanie Kirby with Sarah (5) and Emma (4); and writer/editor Elise Yousoufian with Aaron (5) and Hanna (5).
Urban Kidz “I Promise” Series by ALL 4 KIDZ ENTERPRISES
Age: 2 to 9
Gender: Boys and Girls
What it is: A set of 12 values-based books designed to introduce children to the positive attitudes and knowledge they’ll need to overcome obstacles and succeed in life.
What the moms thought: Four Roundtable participants appreciated the packaging and that each book was accompanied by a read-along CD. Several were put off by errors in grammar and spelling — some intentional (e.g., Kidz), some not.
Yousoufian liked that “the stories show characters pondering the different reactions to situations — how they wonder what they can do or can’t do.”
Richardson agreed: “This toy set was terrific for learning life messages, such as doing your best, being kind to others, sharing, etc.” She also appreciated that the books were “relatively short, so we could read two before bed.”
Jones felt the books didn’t quite live up to their promise and weren’t sophisticated enough for Reece (7) and Cameron (5), who were critical of the storylines.
How the kids reacted: “Hanna and Aaron (both 5) were enthralled and wanted to be read or to listen to several stories in a row,” reported Yousoufian. “They listened very attentively and talked about some of the characters hours or days after having been read the stories.”
Jones relayed that Reece (7) questioned why Stevie didn’t try out for a team in “Proud to Be Me.” If Stevie really believed in himself, said Reece, he would have played for a team even if he couldn’t be the best.
Kirby’s kids “liked the number of books and the variety. They have listened to them a great deal over the past few weeks.”
Alexander (6) and Jessica (4) enjoyed having a choice among reading the book, listening to the CD, or doing both at once, said Richardson.
“The kids loved everything about the set,” she enthused. “Each story elicited some discussion — mainly about the main theme. Both kids told stories about how they had shared that day.”
Harris’s son was also thoughtful about the stories, particularly the one on bullying.
“My son had not encountered bullies before and was very interested to understand why kids are not nice to each other,” she said. “He specifically commented that bullies were not part of how kids should play together and that working out issues was a better way to be. My husband and I were thrilled with his approach!”
How to improve it: “I think this product requires several improvements related to editorial and audio quality — all of which can easily be made,” suggested Yousoufian. Mothers also mentioned inconsistencies within the set that should be addressed. In particular, they wondered why one book emphasized importance of healthy eating while another involved a girl who saved money to buy candy.
Roundtable summary: Richardson summed it up by saying the books “stimulated discussion like no other set of stories we have read.”
“Overall we found the books to be great reading and, more importantly, a great vehicle for discussing issues as a family,” agreed Kirby.
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Writer's Bio: ALISON MAREK is an award-winning writer, director and cartoonist whose work has been published by Fairchild Publications and DC Comics (Piranha Press), broadcast on Showtime and other cable networks, and viewed worldwide in film festivals. See her short films and print work on www.alisonmarek.com. Watch her nefarious villains in the web series www.MuggsMovers.com. Get inspired by her cartoons "Daily ARFFirmations to Unleash Your Inner Fido" at www.ARFFirmations.com. Phew! And then ... Read more articles by this author
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