The most successful children's shows are often a bit on the strange side. Just look at the phenomenon that is SpongeBob Squarepants. And who can forget Teletubbies (although some of us wish we could)?
My kids' latest TV obsession is the weirdly wonderful Adventure Time on the Cartoon Network. The animated series explores the adventures of a boy named Finn and his best friend and adoptive brother, Jake, a dog who can magically change shape and size. The two buddies live in the post-apocalyptic Land of Ooo, where they have a number of rather unusual friends, like Princess Bubblegum.
I am forever trying to balance the time my kids watch TV and play video games with time spent reading, writing and drawing. Ironically, it was a couple of TV-related books that helped pull my son away from the TV recently. When "Adventure Time Big Dude-L Book" and "Adventure Time Destination Ooo" arrived in the mail, he was eager to get reading and doodling. These Penguin books are geared to kids ages 8 to 12, although I think they would work well for younger (and older) kids.
In fact, Adventure Time Big Dude-L Book is one of those children's books that I just want to dive into myself. It's the type of book that allows you to use your imagination while at the same time giving you prompts that help you along.
For example, this page asks you to draw some of the shapes that Jake might morph into. My son used his knowledge of the show to come up with some cool drawings.
Adventure Time Destination Ooo is a "travel guide" that covers all things Adventure Time. It tells your child all they could want to know about the show's characters and settings, its languages and customs, its history and its food.
I like these books because they encourage kids to explore a beloved show while building their own creativity. It's a win-win for me and the boy.
What was your favourite cartoon as a kid?
*I was provided with books for review purposes. All opinions are my own.