PERFORMING ARTS

Kindness and Wonder: Why Mister Rogers Matters Now More Than Ever

Dey St: HarperCollins. Oct. 2019. 256p. ISBN 9780062950741. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062950758. TV
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Edwards (The Tao of Bill Murray; The World According to Tom Hanks), a childhood fan of the award-winning Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, grew to appreciate the TV show’s messages of kindness, sensitivity, and integrity. Here, he shares host Fred Rogers’s absorbing life story, achievements, and focus on music, education, and theology and explores how and why Rogers developed the show during television’s emerging decades. With a memorable cast of puppets, trips to the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, celebrity guests, and everyday visitors, Rogers made his young viewers feel special. This engaging, perceptive narrative examines the show, its popularity, its long-term cultural impact, and the criticisms it received when it was broadcast. Edwards also offers ten ways anyone can use Rogers’s guiding principles, among them telling the truth, seeing the best in others, and being kind to strangers, as well as touching examples of how Rogers exemplified these ideals. Whimsical line drawings and a list of further reading enhance the text.
VERDICT All readers will find inspiration in this uplifting book, particularly in today’s complex world. Pair with Maxwell King’s The Good Neighbor for a multifaceted look at an innovator of children’s television. [See Prepub Alert, 4/8/19.]

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