At The Zoo

Blog 1416 – 08.06.2019

At The Zoo

I am really enjoying my new project, David Reads Children’s Books, where I am trying to capture recordings of as many children’s books as I can. Not because I think I have a great speaking voice or even the wisdom or taste to pick out the best or most important books that should be read to children but because there is a child, a baby in me, that has always enjoyed being read to. If no one else gets anything out of this project, and I hope that many will, my favorite Baby will get lots of smiles and good night stories.

As a very young child I remember my mother reading to me and my brother at night. My parents never had a lot of money to spend on us nor themselves when us boys were at home but they did let a door to door salesman talk them into buying a set of hard bound children’s books for us. I am sure as most things my folks bought that they had to be paid for them on time in small payments. My brother’s and my favorite story was about the animal’s Christmas At The Hollow Tree Inn. It was the one we always requested mom to read. It was one of the longer stories and had several illustrations. I can still see in my mind’s eyes the one of Mr. Dog in his Santa Suit handing out gifts to all on Christmas morning. Christmas was my Mom’s and our favorite day of the year. It was just another day of the year to dad and one I think he spent calculating how long it would take to pay for the few extras we had gotten for Christmas. Thanks to Christmas At The Hollow Tree Inn, we three Christmas Day lovers got to have Christmas many nights throughout the year through the magic of one great bedtime story.

There was no Reading Rainbow, Sesame Street and no Mister Rogers when I was a boy but there was Captain Kangaroo, Mister Greenjeans, Bunny Rabbit, and Mister Moose. And the Captain always had story time at the Treasure House, with Tom Terrific stories and many other illustrated children’s books. Thank you, Captain for all those wonderful gifts you gave us Baby Boomer kids. For many years even after I was grown I watched the Thanksgiving Day Parades on CBS especially to see Captain Kangaroo, who for many years was the Grand Marshall of the Macy’s Parade in New York City. Last time I saw the Captain was in the Tom Arnold funny movie The Nothings, portraying himself, Bob Keeshan.

Midway through Captain Kangaroo’s twenty-nine year TV run from 1955 to 1984, in 1968, Fred Rogers began his long running children’s program on PBS called, “Mister Rogers Neighborhood.” Mister Rogers’ show was on the air with new productions till 2001. Levar Burton has hosted PBS’s Reading Rainbow for over twenty years now. This Thanksgiving Tom Hanks will play Mister Rogers in A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood. There is even a scene in the movie where Mister Rogers meets Captain Kangaroo. Though he outranks him, the Captain as always is gracious and Mister Rogers also is kind. Salutes to three of the greatest story tellers who ever lived and read to kids. I am proud in my small way to continue their work and be a help to kids, parents, grandparents, and great grand parents everywhere at story time.

Your friend and fellow traveler,

David White

At The Zoo

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