David Kamp takes readers behind the scenes to show how programs such as Mister Rogers' Neighboorhood, Sesame Street, and Schoolhouse Rock made it on air, explaining how like-minded individuals found their way into television, not as fame- or money-hungry would-be auteurs and stars, but as people who wanted to use TV to help children.
... a lively and bewitching recounting of a particularly ripe period in television and cultural history ... The genesis of [Sesame Street], which celebrated its 50th anniversary on air last year, has been the subject of several insider accounts, but Kamp finds new threads, especially about the socially and politically connected co-creators, Lloyd Morrisett and Joan Ganz Cooney ... Beyond grasping the (now terrifyingly astute) media literacy of little kids, these shows and their creators, Kamp says, gave us a huge sense of possibility. In the grimmest times, Sunny Days is a reminder of just how valuable that is.
For a broad cohort of readers, experiencing David Kamp’s history of the golden age of children’s television will be like spinning the dial on a radio set to pick up frequencies from childhood. As you turn the pages, songs and jingles from half-forgotten TV episodes start dancing through your head...If the tune brings happy associations, you’ll find much to appreciate in this affectionate chronicle of an exuberant cultural moment ... Whether it really nudged the needle of child literacy and numeracy is a question that Mr. Kamp touches on only lightly; his bias is toward affirmation, but this is not the book to consult for an exhaustive reckoning of monies spent and trajectories altered ... full of such nostalgic jolts for readers who grew up in those years. The book doesn’t paint a full picture of what happened, or what it all meant, but it makes the era a pleasure to revisit. And the songs!
... insightful ... Kamp does not disappoint the reader seeking joyful childhood memories ... It is almost impossible not to feel a warm blanket of nostalgia draped over you as you read; Kamp delivers a sense of comfort and familiarity on every page ... a love letter to the increasing influence of television ... The book doesn’t highlight only the rosy aspects of this budding new phenomenon, however; it presents the inevitable push-pull of progressive advancement in a fair light ... Kamp effectively reminds us that the 1970s were a time of hope, albeit a reality-based one.