Little Thinker

All About Manners And Morals

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This tape was only the second in the Little Thinker collection, apparently before the producers of the series had determined what made the project work. Almost all of the later tapes had Nancy, the franchise's indefatigably perky, surname deprived hostess, leading the listener on an educational adventure to some exotic location. In those tapes, kids who were put off by Nancy's enthusiastic condescension (and a high percentage undoubtedly were) could still take interest in the imaginary journey or the surrounding cast of supporting characters. But in All About Manners and Morals, there's really no escaping her. The tape consists of a series of simplistic stories, mostly about animals and children, intended to dramatize time-worn sayings like "the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence" and "if you can't say something nice don't say anything at all." Nancy narrates the stories. She also introduces and explains them. And she plays nearly all of the characters. It's Nancy as Rex the Horse, Nancy as Freddy and Frieda Frog, Nancy as Patty the Pig -- and Nancy is not that great at doing character voices. The key to the success of the Little Thinker series was its ability to involve the listener in an engaging journey. The result of this early reliance on Nancy's storytelling ability is boring at best and nails-on-chalkboard irritating at worst.