Elizabeth's Reviews > Sesame Street: A Celebration of 40 Years of Life on the Street

Sesame Street by Louise Gikow
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Jan 19, 10

Read in August, 2009

How could I not give this book five stars? As contributing editor, I was one of a team who put this baby to bed after almost three years of blood, sweat and many, many sleepless nights and we are all as hopelessly in love as any parent might be, not least because, for many of us on the editorial team, Sesame Street was so much a part of our own happy childhood memories.

Being behind the scenes of the show for so long, both author Louise Gikow and I have enormous respect for the creative maelstrom that is usually hidden from your view but which routinely swirls around the familiar faces you see on Sesame Street every day. We both hope you feel we've captured a little of that daily excitement, that we invite you to stand just to the side of the camera as it focuses on the street through the rare images we uncovered and in the glimpses at the people and documents that you know so well or that helped to shape the show. We'll certainly be reading these reviews avidly to see how we can make the second edition even better.

I can tell you that it was inconceivably difficult to make many of the choices for this book, one reason why we are very interested in readers' takes on the final result of those decisions. Sesame's history is so rich and multi-layered — covering as it does themes of media culture, popular culture, education and equity in an ever-evolving world, global policy, urban environment, birth, death, where your taxes go and, naturally, loveable and furry Muppets — it is a daunting task to tackle that story. And after years of digging, the thousands of photos we eventually discovered were likewise so compelling. After a time, it became physically painful to make the final selections about what went into the book...and what did not. There are dozens of remarkable people and stories associated with this forty-year experiment in teaching children with laughter.

We also hope it's an informative and engrossing book for all those interested in developing television and other media themselves, as it presents a kind of blueprint for the production of innovative and even revolutionary content in what, at the time, was a very new and controversial media itself.

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