I reviewed the original Booples cartoon a year or so ago, and really liked it for what it had to offer—scripture memorization, the easy way. Truth is, I know that words put to music are much easier to memorize, but I’m just not a musician. I’m a storyteller… which also helps with memorization, incidentally. A story is an excellent mnemonic device. So, when Booples came along, combining the stories, the verses, and the songs, I was pretty pleased!!
This second installation is pretty much more of the same. Some of the episodes on the DVD are better, while others are pretty corny. I had hoped the visual cartoon quality would improve a little this go-round, but I understand the fact that indie filmmakers don’t have giant pocketbooks to make all their dreams come true. Still, the device is successful. My kids not only remember the words to Bible verses, but they remember the application through the stories.
A true story: My oldest daughter was unprecedentedly generous to her little sister one day. I asked her why she did what she did and what prompted her kindness (you know, one of those typical stupid mom questions that she’ll roll her eyes at when she’s older). She shrugged and said, “I don’t know. I just wanted to share. Like that story.” Then she flippantly went off bobbing her head and singing to herself, “Be kind and compassionate to one another…” I’m not sure I could ask for a more ideal use of film in my child’s life.
There is an ongoing debate about whether there truly is a market for “Christian” films and family friendly movie fare. One side argues for clean, moral content, while the other side argues that audiences are already too film savvy to go for it. I think there is definitely a market in children’s programming. Not only will young children ALWAYS go for a cartoon, but parents are still quite protective of their children at young ages. They want only the “best” information going in—hoping that the best information will also come out one day. But we have to be careful not to let television and film become a crutch, an excuse not to teach. Plopping a kid down in front of Veggie Tales or Booples doesn’t necessarily produce clear-thinking, well-behaved teenagers. I believe media is a tool in the hand of a parent. “Good” media and “bad” media can achieve the same result, if handled right.
In the end, I support the ventures of independent filmmakers like Bear Cahill (Booples) who give parents alternative media to work with—because even I don’t always feel like being a model parent every day. There are just some days when I don’t feel like making up a spontaneous Bible lesson or finding applications for the shows that don’t have anything good to say. Sometimes, it’s nice to have a break. Sometimes, I simply need to veg out and let someone else do the talking (and singing, and dancing, and entertaining!). So I’ll keep my Booples DVD handy. Give them a try while they’re still way cheaper than Veggie Tales. You can find them online at www.Booples.com.