Magazine article Strings

Arthur Advocates All Genres

Magazine article Strings

Arthur Advocates All Genres

Article excerpt

BELMONT, MASSACHUSETTS-If you have a toddler in the house, you are probably well-acquainted with a bespectacled eight-year-old aardvark named Arthur and D.W, his opinionated little sister. Stars of the PBS series Arthur, they first appeared in a number of charming books by author and illustrator Marc Brown. My almost-fiveyear-old, Lenora, is addicted to Arthur and pleads with me to let her watch the show in either the early morning or the early evening (those clever PBS people show Arthur just at dinner-making time). Arthur and his friends are just regular kids-even if they are aardvarks, dogs, rabbits, and so on-with everyday problems, and they are refreshingly real. I find that the lessons they learn are ones that are pertinent to growing kids, and Lenora frequently uses them to create analogies to her own world. Music has played a prominent role on the series (Arthur plays the piano), and one of my favorite shows was about how Arthur got over stage fright: he imagined that the entire audience was made up of his smiling grandmother.

A new musical Arthur show has made its appearance, in which D.W goes to a performance by Yo-Yo Ma. Expecting to be bored to tears, D.W instead becomes a most enthusiastic fan. She drafts Ma to speak at the local library about music, not knowing that her brother and his friend Francine have invited jazz great Joshua Redman to perform there on the same day. The kids imagine that a musical fight will erupt between classical and jazz camps, only to discover that the two musicians respect each other and make wonderful music together-they even improvise together on D. …

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