Anytime Playdate: Inside the Preschool Entertainment Boom, or, How Television Became My Baby’s Best Friend

Dade Hayes, Author Free Press $25 (239p) ISBN 978-1-4165-4683-2

After introducing his infant daughter to TV, Variety editor and author Hayes (Open Wide: How Hollywood Box Office Became a National Obsession ) begins to wonder how the $21-billion preschool market—TV shows, DVDs, CDs and tie-in toys–works behind the scenes. He sets out to question the experts, including honchos at Nickelodeon and CTW, as well as entrepreneurs such as Julie Clark, whose brainchild was Baby Einstein. Hayes gives a nod to the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation of no screen time for children under two, but also notes that only 6% of parents are aware of it. He learns, too, that there has been no government research to study preschool media use. Raised on Mr. Rogers and Sesame Street in a pro-TV family (his father worked in the biz), Hayes doggedly follows the paths of such heavy hitters as Dora the Explorer and Blues Clues, dissecting their appeal and pondering the merits of TV for the very young even while continuing to let his daughter tune in. While one pundit notes, “The content on television... can open windows and widen horizons for children who otherwise don’t have those experiences,” the effect is eerily chilling when Hayes’s newborn son tilts his head toward the screen. (May)

Reviewed on: 04/21/2008
Release date: 04/01/2008
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-4165-6433-1
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-1-4165-4684-9
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