Children’s Book Review: Daniel’s Grr-ific Stories!

daniels-grr-ific-stories!-9781481443913_hrDaniel Tiger (a.k.a., “D. Tiger,” according to our three-year-old) continues to be a hit around here. I expressed some skepticism two-and-a-half years ago toward a tiger replacing Mr. Rogers (see here). And of course no one could ever fill those shoes and that sweater. But Daniel Tiger–both the character and the show–has turned out to be pretty awesome.

 

Now… Books!

 

Yes, we enjoy the show. And the music is a favorite soundtrack at home. Last year our three-year-old (then two) got the toy trolley and some character figurines for Christmas.

I wonder whether the franchise has been slow to merchandise since heavy consumerism isn’t exactly a Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood value. However, I have wished on numerous occasions for D. Tiger books to read to my daughter. Now Simon & Shuster and The Fred Rogers Company are releasing a slew of volumes for children.

 

Daniel’s Grr-ific Stories! (6 of Them!)

 

One such release is the surprisingly affordable six-book boxed set: Daniel’s Grr-ific Stories. It includes six short stories (22 pages of story text in each) with full-color illustrations:

  • Welcome to the Neighborhood!
  • Daniel Goes to School
  • Goodnight, Daniel Tiger
  • Daniel Visits the Doctor
  • Daniel’s First Sleepover
  • The Baby Is Here!

As with the show, each book uses an interesting (and, let’s admit it, cute) narrative to help children deal with the many and diverse feelings that life throws their way.

Daniel is a big helper with the new baby–he helps get her room ready, holds her when she’s born, and even helps change a diaper! Smoother sailing then one might expect when a new baby comes and shakes up a family dynamic. (This may be one reason Honest Toddler does not like Daniel Tiger.)

The books are true to the show, which is nice–you’ll see, for example, familiar songs here:

Daniel is not sure what he’s going to do at the sleepover. He sings, “When we do something new, let’s talk about what we’ll do!”

Daniel and Prince Wednesday have a pajama dance party and brush their teeth together, but then Daniel gets scared:

Now it’s time to turn out the light and go to sleep. But wait! There is a great big shadow on the wall. It looks scary to Daniel! What could it be?

But, lest you worry our own child should get scared, the authors are on it:

Daniel remembers, if something seems scary, “See what it is. You might feel better.”

Sure enough (spoiler alert), “It’s just Mr. Lizard!” It was only a stuffed animal.

“When we do something new, let’s talk about what we’ll do!” comes up, too, when Dr. Anna sings it to Daniel in his check-up. Nothing to fear. He’s growing stripes just as he should!

All six of the books are of the quality you’d expect. (Though, be advised: they’re paperback.) Your kid may want you to read all six before going to bed, but one or two or three will probably fill 10–15 minutes easily enough. There’s a lot of good content here.

The illustrations are well-done, too:

 

Welcome to Music Shop

 

Waiting for Doctor

 

Baby Sister

 

Plus, A Super-Cute Growth Chart

 

Also included in the six-book box is a full-color growth chart parents can put on the wall. It starts at 17 inches (so you hang it 16 inches above the floor) and goes up to 59 inches. Daniel, Miss Elaina, Prince Wednesday, O the Owl, and Katerina Kittycat are all there cheering for your growing wee one. A nice touch is that at three parts there is, “Now I’m big enough to _” that you can fill in.

 

Growth chart

 

Where to Get It

 

Here’s what the whole thing looks like:

 

Box Contents

 

You can find the boxed set at the publisher’s page here, and here at Amazon.

For how much is here, both the list price and the discounted price on Amazon make it easily worthwhile.

 


 

Thanks to the good folks at Simon & Schuster for sending the boxed set for review, though that did not influence my opinions.

TV on a Stick, from Amazon, $19

Fire TV Stick

 

For $19 (until 9:00 a.m. EST on Wednesday, October 29), Amazon’s Fire TV Stick is on sale:

Fire TV Stick connects your HDTV to a world of online entertainment. With a huge selection of movies and TV episodes, voice search that actually works, and exclusive features like ASAP and Prime Music, Fire TV Stick is an easy way to enjoy Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus, low-cost movie rentals, live and on-demand sports, music, photos, games, and more.

According the the product page, you plug the stick in at your HDMI port, connect to the Internet, and then watch any number of shows and movies and subscription services through your TV.

Check it out here.

 

(Words on the Word is an Amazon affiliate, which means Amazon pays us back with a portion of any referrals. We would have posted about the Fire TV Stick anyway.)

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood

daniel tiger

 

How do you follow Mr. Rogers? Well, you don’t, really. Which helps to explain PBS’s decision to move to an animated tiger as the leading host and tour guide of the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.

I’ll admit: I was skeptical of Daniel Tiger at first. So is my five-year-old, every time we turn it on for our two-year-old to watch. (The former sits down with the latter for every episode, though, every time.)

Mr. Rogers’s pastoral sense and uncanny ability to love, honor, and celebrate children is not quite replicated by Daniel Tiger, but Daniel does pretty well–better than I thought an animated character could do. Here’s a short clip (30 seconds) that represents how Daniel models dealing with disappointment:

 

 

It’s not uncommon for my two-year-old to answer Daniel Tiger’s questions and comments, which Daniel puts to the viewer in much the same way that Mr. Rogers did.

Daniel Tiger mp3Best of all–there’s a soundtrack for the show. This has a noticeably positive effect on our two-year-old and his assessment of life in the early morning, without having him in front of a screen. Nearly every morning at our house now begins with a collective listen through this album. The music is catchy! I have to try really hard not to sing these songs to people around me.

The big hit lately around our house has been these printable pages of the characters in Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.

Unfortunately, my quoting, “When something seems bad, turn it around–find something good!” doesn’t always work for my two-year-old when he’s really grumpy. But it’s hard being two! And Daniel Tiger seems to get that, keeping a positive outlook throughout all the vicissitudes of toddlerdom.

My 5-year-old son reviews Wild Kratts

My 4-year-old son is now my 5-year-old son. We thought it would be a good idea for him to review his new favorite show, Wild Kratts. Here he is:

I watched it on TV and then I noticed it on there, and it became my favorite movie to watch.

It’s about Martin and Chris, and they are the Wild Kratts. Their colors are blue and green. Chris is green; Martin is blue.

Aviva, Koki, and Jimmy are in Wild Kratts, too. Aviva makes motions, like materials to help the Wild Kratts. Koki writes stuff up and checks what’s happening around the world. Jimmy controls his controller and it gets the miniaturizer to do stuff. Like, he pushed the top level button and it just, like, gets the miniaturizer to get going.

People stand on it and turn it on, and when you turn it on, it goes shoop! and then you’re that small. One of them or the other of them or two of them [Chris and Martin] get small. When they get small they check out little creatures, like a worm. That was one of them that they did a miniaturizer for.

My favorite part about the show is seeing new animals, like: a spider, a hort-hog [AKJ: warthog, he means], and… a horse. I don’t know if they have a horse one.

The tortuga is a flying kind of turtle. They get in it and it helps them fly around. They fly to wherever the rescue needs to be. (They rescue creatures.)

It’s on at 3:30 on channel number 3, PBS Kids Go. All those kids movies are called PBS Kids Go.

My brother likes it. He really sings it a lot. Now I think he really likes that one.