Monday, January 28, 2008

Hermie and Friends: Buzby and the Grumble Bees-A Review....or.... The thing that kept my daughter from going to bed tonight

Article by Scott Tingley, January 28, 2008

It has been a common theme on this blog for me to use some cute little story involving my three year old daughter. It is a hook that comes in handy for these kinds of reviews and I think it ads a nice touch. That was then. Now all that I can think about is the hour I just spent sitting on my daughter’s bedroom floor trying to convince her that she, in fact, did not need to “read” me the book again after I had just read it three times; and NO, she did not have to call her Grammy to thank her for the book again [Note to self: all new books are to be given in the morning so that the girl has time to get used to it. No new books at supper time!]

In summary, I would like to thank Superstar Christian grown-up book writer Max Lucado for keeping me from getting to my marking and planning. Thanks a lot for a series of books that keeps my daughter interested and excited about reading. Thanks a lot!

Review redo:

Remember those episodes of The Cosby Show where the whole family goes into “Lesson Teaching Mode”? You remember the ones – when someone needs to be reminded about what kind of person they really are so the rest of the family play-acts to draw attention to a certain quality a family member is forgetting they have? Great stuff.

Now picture that instead of comic genius Bill Cosby and an ensemble cast of talented actors you have the talents of comic geniuses Tim Conway and Don Knotts (together again!) providing the voices for a couple of odd looking caterpillars (now picture that you can’t actually hear them because this is a book. Remember? They do the voices for the videos, but I’ll get to that). In my daughter’s favorite new obsession – I mean book - the two friends help Buzby Bee teach his niece and nephew about manners.

Hermie and Friends: Buzby and the Grumble Bees is a lot like all of the other Hermie books and videos I have come across in the last couple of years. It has a very clear lesson that gets taught in a not very subtle way. The first time I saw one of the books I thought that there was no way it was going to be any good – just a money grab by a company that thinks they know what parents want their kids to read. Then I watched one of the videos and realized to my joy that one of my favorite comedy teams was providing the voices. That allowed me to have an open mind and I realized that I was looking at the series all wrong. I was not doing what I am able to do with most books. I was not able to keep in mind that these books and videos are not written for me. They are written for 2 year olds up to maybe 4-5 year olds [note that the videos are fun for older kids as well and the Christmas Fruitcake one has a great Deputy/Landlord joke). My daughter does not need subtlety in her morality plays. The value needs to be presented and the misbehavers need to learn the lesson. The behaving lesson of this book is the only reason that I was able to convince her to go to bed.

This is a Christian book, but I don’t think it is only for devout, or even practicing church goers. The uncle bee prays for help on one page. It is right there but to me it does not feel in-you-face. If you don’t have a problem with someone praying then you should be alright with it.

The 3D art is not a style I tend to enjoy, but kids love it, so what do I know?

Would I be a bad father if I hid this book tomorrow? Never mind. I know.

By the way, this board book comes with “an interactive CD-ROM with read-along story, song,coloring pages, computer game, wallpaper, and screensaver for use onWindows® PCs. The read-along story is also playable on a CD player.” (from I haven’t checked it out yet, but it sounds like something my kids will really enjoy.

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