Former leading New Zealand publisher and bookseller, and widely experienced judge of both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, talks about what he is currently reading, what impresses him and what doesn't, along with chat about the international English language book scene, and links to sites of interest to booklovers.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
How Oscar Got Grouchy By MICHIKO KAKUTANI writing in The New York Times, January 15, 2009
STREET GANG The Complete History of Sesame Street By Michael Davis Illustrated. 379 pages. Viking. US$27.95.
Recent DVD collections of early “Sesame Street” episodes were called “Old School” and came with a peculiar warning: “These early ‘Sesame Street’ episodes are intended for grown-ups, and may not suit the needs of today’s preschool child.” That warning is a measure of how the series has changed in the nearly four decades since its debut in 1969. The old episodes not only have a handmade, anarchic charm that underscores the show’s debts to “Laugh-In,” the Marx Brothers and vaudeville, but they also are blessedly free of the uptight, sunnily upbeat, politically correct tone that has crept into more recent incarnations.
Back in the day, Oscar the Grouch was really grouchy (never mind that anger isn’t considered constructive), Cookie Monster really gobbled down cookies (never mind that empty calories aren’t healthy), and Big Bird’s invisible friend Snuffleupagus was really invisible to everyone but Big Bird (never mind suggestions that the giant yellow bird might have been hallucinating).