GROWING UP HAPPY: Captain Kangaroo Tells Yesterday's Children How to Nurture Their Own by Bob Keeshan

GROWING UP HAPPY: Captain Kangaroo Tells Yesterday's Children How to Nurture Their Own

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Two books in one: a reprise of Bob Keeshan's life as Captain Kangaroo and as father and grandfather, and a compendium of advice on raising children in today's society. The Captain Kangaroo show is nearly 35 years old and is still being programmed on many public TV stations. In terms of style and production values, Captain Kangaroo falls somewhere between the slickness of Sesame Street and the quiet afternoons in Mister Roger's Neighborhood. Philosophically, ex-Marine Keeshan is closer to Fred Rogers, a longtime friend, believing that children need to build self-esteem and do that best through one-on-one relationships. As nearly as possible, he designs the show so that he is ""talking to one child at home."" The anecdotes about the successes and travails of the Captain Kangaroo show and the evolution of the regular characters are interesting, although Keeshan dwells too long on his early days in TV. Still, early Captain fans will be happy to know what has happened to this one and that one of their favorites. Meanwhile, Keeshan smoothly weaves this history in among anecdotes about his own three children and six grandchildren in order to frame the advice he is giving to parents. Some of it is eloquent reinforcement of old ideas (""If an alphabet toy teaches the alphabet, violent toys teach violence""). But Keeshan also accepts the realignment of families: single parents, working mothers and grandmothers, day-care centers, the collapse of traditional supports are a fact. To deal with today's family realities, Keeshan emphasizes that each individual in society is responsible for each child. That's pretty politically advanced for a man who dresses in a funny red jacket with huge, baggy pockets and has a friend named Mr. Green Jeans.

Pub Date: Sept. 22nd, 1989
Publisher: Doubleday