Nineties Nostalgia*: The Book Place
*Alliteration is awesome.
The first of a new [irregular] series of posts, in which I reminisce about things from my childhood. I predict that the majority of these posts will be about 90s television.
One of the few clips from The Book Place available on the internet, guest-starring none other than Ben Folds!
The Book Place [an educational program that aired on Channel 7 between 1992 and 2003] was one of those shows that I only ever watched on school holidays. Featuring a puppet worm – appropriately named Bookworm – it mainly consisted of books being read to small children. Strangely, there is very little information about this show online – I can’t find a Wikipedia page or an IMDb listing. What I did find, however, was the tracklisting for The Book Place Album, featuring such delightful tunes as “Shang Wang Doodle”, “The Frog Song” and “The Yuketty – Poo Song”.
I don’t remember any of these songs. In fact, I don’t remember all that much about the show, aside from the theme song [“It’s a magical place, in The Book Place, where anything can happen…”], Bookworm, and the fact that books were read.
The internet has given me two other pieces of information about The Book Place [thanks, Google]. The first is a series of quotes about its background from a forum poster known as Asherbella [edited for very basic grammar/punctuation]:
‘The Book Place’ was devised by childhood education ‘experts’ after child psychologists said that ‘Fat Cat’ on Channel Seven had absolutely no therapeutic/educational value to children: so that’s why ‘The Book Place’ was based on literature study/engagement.
A good psychologist friend of mine, Dr. Drake, helped devise this TV show.
The worm was devised as a model of ‘industrious enthusiasm’ to inspire children to associate reading books with a figure that represented ‘considerate, engaging & diligent’ interest in literature. Originally they were going to choose an owl (ie. associated with wisdom) but a UK childrens’ show had already patented a ‘book owl’ and Aussie producers didn’t want to be accused of plagiarism. So they went with the ‘book worm’.
The worm was originally going to be beige in colour, but after it was made the producers reckoned it looked like a big turd, so they changed the colour to orange! True! lol
– via SameSame
I don’t know exactly how accurate this information is, but it does make sense. The show, or what I remember of it, certainly was trying to promote reading. Although, I’m not sure if they did a terribly good job. While I remember watching The Book Place, I don’t really remember enjoying it that much. Yes, it’s an iconic piece of Australian children’s television [despite the internet almost forgetting its existence], it really was quite boring.
The other thing that the internet gave me, was this interview with a “former child star of The Book Place“. It really proves the show’s low production value – shooting kids in people’s lounge rooms and paying them with chocolate bars.
So, I’m calling out to you, people of the internet. Australian children of the 90s – did you watch The Book Place? What do you remember?