Jury Coordination and Notes

Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood: It’s a Beautiful Day Collection – Comprehensive Set of Shows by the Esteemed Mister Rogers

This special set of 32 memorable episodes and over 15 hours of content celebrates the 50th anniversary of the beloved Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, the pioneering children’s television series from The Fred Rogers Company. Mister Rogers helps children learn the importance of being kind to others, appreciating what makes everyone unique, recycling and taking care of our planet, and much more in the classic series. The new release also includes a very special bonus episode – the series premiere, in original black-and-white! Through his popular daily TV visits, generations of young children have grown up with the kind and gentle Mister Rogers, who created a calm and safe place that welcomed all to his neighborhood. With real-life guests, adventurous field trips and charming make-believe segments, the iconic Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood encouraged kids ages 2 to 5 to learn about themselves and the world around them, speaking directly to the series’ young audience with his unique one-to-one affirmation of their self-worth. Celebrity guest stars have included: Tony Bennett, Julia Child, Margaret Hamilton, Michael Keaton, Yo-Yo Ma, Wynton Marsalis, Rita Moreno, and Bill Nye. KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer, Terry S. comments, “I will always have a special place in my heart for Fred Rogers, for his kindness and understanding of teaching and learning for the preschooler.” See her full review below.

Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood: It’s a Beautiful Day
By Terry Solowey, KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror

This is a wonderful collection of shows by the iconic Mister Rogers. I have fond memories of representing this program when I worked at WNET in New York launching the Ready to Learn program. I represented all the programs on PBS at that time, in workshops teaching preschool instructors how to use TV as an educational, interactive tool to supplement and enhance their curriculum. I will always have a special place in my heart for Fred Rogers, for his kindness and understanding of teaching and learning for the preschooler.

It is a walk down memory lane to view several episodes from the 60s to the following decades. It is interesting to note that, through the years, Mr. Rogers maintained the same routine which made him unique, influential and well celebrated for his kind manner – teaching children that they are special and unique in their own right. He is known for greeting children everyday by coming through his door, taking off his jacket and shoes, and putting on his sweater and sneakers. He invites his audience to share some time to explore, discover and learn new things. He sings to “make the most of this beautiful day, won’t you be my neighbor?” You feel as if he is talking directly to you.

The topics of the episodes varies, from helping children know what to expect on their first day at school to talking about different kinds of families from birds to people, learning about sharing, giving and receiving, and encouraging generosity and gratitude. Children learn about the world and how to live in it.

We are introduced to friends, neighbors and workers such as Mr. McFeeley, the speedy delivery man, Lady Aberlin, a good friend and Joe Negri, a music shop owner, photographer, builder, handyman and guitar player – a man of many talents and trades. We are also introduced to Daniel Tiger, who currently carries on Mister Rogers’ tradition in the animated series.

One of my favorite segments is on disc four, Encouraging Generosity and Gratitude. Here we see how fortune cookies are made: from mixing flour and eggs, that become cookie batter ready to go into baking pans on a conveyer belt, to how the fortune message is put into the baked cookie shape and packaged. Mr. McFeeley delivers fortune cookies to Mister Rogers, who shares some with him. Both men are happy to give and receive. In the trolley car segment and land of make believe, even though King Friday thinks fortune cookies are silly, others on the show love them. The magical part is when a special fortune cookie man pops out and speaks in Spanish and delivers fortune cookies through his fortune cookie hat to others. Daniel Tiger says, “Anything can happen in the land of make believe.”

Another segment that stands out features the celebrated children’s author Eric Carle, who invites Fred into his art studio and shows him how he makes his colorful art papers, which he turns into collages for his picture books. He reads “Head to Toe,” pointing out how different animals move their body parts and they both move their body parts along with the story. Eric Carle gives him a book as a gift, reinforcing the lesson of generosity and gratitude.

I give this DVD 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for young children ages 2 to 5 as well as parents, caregivers and early childhood teachers. If you are a fan of the current Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, then Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood is a must see for its ground breaking educational and entertaining programming. This DVD streets on March 27, 2018 so be sure to check it out.

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