Cartoon Cow's Mixed Message

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My son, who’s nearly 3, is way into the Discovery Kids program Wilbur, about a cute baby cow in red overalls and his friends on the farm. 

Like most parents, we endure a daily struggle to limit Gavin’s television consumption. With a couple editors as parents, he probably gets more books stuck under his nose than most toddlers. 



Wilbur’s a pretty likeable bovine with an endearing habit of pronouncing the word marvelous "MOOvelous." 

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But what perplexes me is that the entire program is focused on reading. Wilbur and his barnyard friends read a book each issue, they sing a song about the virtues of reading books (the chorus of course includes the line "Book are MOOvelous!"), and the Wilbur TV Website states: "Get a jump-start on teaching early literacy skills to your child with this captivating new series designed to nurture a love of books and reading."


I appreciate that Wilbur touts the virtues of reading over, say, Lucky Charms or Texas Hold ‘em, but it seems awfully strange to have the main character on the show essentially telling the viewer, over and over, to shut off the set and do some reading.

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