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Book Review: Street Gang

It should be well known by now that I am a nerd. I wear the name proudly. When we first visited our new library, I dawdled up and down the non-fiction section looking for some good biographies and how-to books. I found this awesome gem: Street Gang by Michael Davis.

It is a history of the awesome TV show, Sesame Street! I've loved this show since before I can remember- my mom would turn it on and I'd come crawling as fast as lightning  down the hallway to watch the antics of Bert and Ernie and the lovable Grover. Now that I am a mom, Chucky and I watch Sesame Street together often. It's even the theme of her upcoming birthday party. But all of that has nothing to do with the book.

The book reads very easily- it goes through the many collaborators and creative people involved with the beginning of the show and their resumes, all leading up to when they finally got the revolutionary show on the air. I had not realized how much research went into making an educational television show- they had professors and academic panels reviewing each segment and testing it on preschoolers to see just how much a child was learning from Big Bird and Mr. Hooper. The book also shows a great deal of the politics behind a multi-cultural, woman-lead show. Obviously, I wasn't around then, so I had no clue just HOW much it shook up government funded television. The book is full of great factoids, like how Julia Child's cooking show in Boston opened up the idea that educational television can be enjoyed outside of a classroom setting, or that Joss Whedon's father Tom was one of the first writers on the show! You literally read the show growing from a dinner party question of "Can television teach children?" to a world wide phenomenon in just a few hundred pages.

I highly highly HIGHLY suggest this book to anyone who watches the show- the behind the scenes information is just too interesting to pass up! if you go to you can get the book autographed for free by the author, Michael Davis. There's a whole bunch of information and extra chapters on that site too.

Note: I was not asked to write this review, I was not compensated in anyway, Michael Davis has NO clue who I am. I just really enjoyed the book and thought some of my friends would like it as well.


miss jen says:
at: Jan 11, 2012, 10:46:00 PM said...

Mr. Hooper. He was fun! Cookie Monster always messed up his store. And David, his clerk got along great w/ Big Bird. Susan & Gordon, Luis & Maria! You loved the people as much as the muppets! Mr Snuffle-upagus was imaginary (tho not any more). Elmo hadn't arrived on the scene yet so Super Grover was your fave. After all, he starred in your favorite book, The Monster @ the End of the Book! Ahhh! Good Times! Love ya!