Two Can Learn Better than One!

Tags: celebrity

Celebrity Authors

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Preschool Children , Tags: authors, books, celebrity, writing

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Over the last decade, more and more celebrity books are appearing on children's bookshelves in bookshops. Amazingly, the likes of Madonna (The English Roses), Dolly Parton (I Am A Rainbow) and Jennifer Anniston (The Prettiest Actress) considered themselves worthy additions to the creations of AA Milne (Winnie The Pooh), Julia Donaldson (The Gruffalo) and Dr Seuss (The Cat In The Hat).

I wonder in a "Blind Submission" whether a celebrity's book would still make the grade.  Would Jamie Lee Curtis (Is There Really a Human Race?) make it to publication or Sarah The Duchess of York (Tea for Ruby), for that matter, without her name on the cover or the press attention it creates?  Would a child or a parent choose a celebrity title when placed along side a new Eric Carle (Very Hungry Caterpillar) or Ludwig Bemelmans (Madeline)?

The publishers choose to accept the book because they know, sadly, that the general public will buy a book by a celebrity rather than a non-celebrity, but nonetheless excellent other author, despite the fact it may not be as good! The publishers, naturally want to make money!

It must be frustrating for genuine, hardworking, long suffering children's authors.  The celebrities' books probably get the best spots on the shelves and zoom up the publisher's lists, demand greater advances and win more publicity.  The celebrities probably get the best interview requests and go on the better tv shows to talk about their books.  And, as they are probably not trained, they don't understand the "rules" of children's publishing so the end result is not that good! 

For example, when writing for children it is vital that the author doesn't scare the children; they should create suspense without terrifying them.  The words must be understandable but not patronising.  The story must be structured but not so much that it is confusing.  The writing shouldn't be too moralistic or try to teach too many lessons.  Overall, and most importantly, it needs to be a good story!  It's as simple as that.

Of course, some would argue that children don't know who Whoopi Goldberg (Sugar Plum Ballerina) is and she actually made it to the New York Times Best Sellers List! is.  But the parents, the ones paying for the  books, do!  Julie Andrews has written children's books, but under her unmarried name.  This is more like it!

Moon Walking!

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Child Development , Tags: alexander bell, buzz lightyear, celebrity, children, dalek, dr who, history, knowledge, mona lisa, moon, toy story, wallchart, world events

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It has been suggested in recent research that one in every five children in the UK thinks that the spaceman from the Toy Story films, Buzz Lightyear, was the first person to ever get to the moon and walk on it!

The study revealed in fact that twice as many knew it was a man called Mr Armstrong (Lance the Tour De France winner rather than Neil, though!) but still that leaves a significant number who didn't even know or who thought the fictional character (complete with laser beams, and a built-in force field) actually lived and breathed and went to the moon!

One third of the children asked could not name the inventor ot the telephone, who is Alexander Bell.  Noel Edmonds was even suggested as an answer.  Ten percent thought Rolf Harris painted the Mona Lisa and just over 10% considered Albert Einstein to be the brother of Frankenstein.  Apparently, 12% said that the battle of Britain happened in space (!) and one in six made out that the Daleks from Dr Who did at some point occupy Britain.

There were some 2,000 children questioned for the study, aged between 6 and 12 years old.  The questions were history based and also asked about current famous people.  The results showed that the children know much more about celebrities, television and film stars rather than important people from history.

However, we need to deal with this research carefully as it was conducted by the people launching the new Wallbook entitled What on Earth?. The wallbook features a time chart detailing all the major events that have taken place.  So, it was really a marketing ploy (with purposefully tricky questions, perhaps) rather than a scientific study.

Even so, perhaps we need to feed our children a more balanced knowledge!


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Hi! I'm Tikal the Toucan, the mascot for ToucanLearn. Follow my blog to find out interesting things relating to babies, toddlers and preschool children!

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