Thursday, September 11, 2014

Case Study No. 1568: Theo, Cleo, Lionel, and Leona

Between the Lions: Song - "Read a Book Today"
The "Between the Lions" lions -- Theo, Cleo, Lionel, and Leona -- team up to sing this catchy, New-Orleans-style, musical tribute to all the different kinds of books you can find at your local library (or anywhere else for that matter). The song's message -- "Books are ALL great in their way!" -- is designed to encourage kids, and everyone else, to "get wild about reading!"
Tags: Between the Lions reading motivation books literacy education Sirius Thinking WGBH PBS Kids Busterfield Memorial Library Theo Cleo Lionel Leona song Chris Cerf Christopher Paul Jacobs
Added: 4 years ago
From: BTLfanatic
Views: 119,130

"Read a Book Today!"
Lion Family
Between the Lions

We got long stories
Short stories
Art stories
Sports stories
Books about the Wild Wild West (yee haw!)
We got fairy tales
Scary tales
We've even got some hairy tales
It's hard to choose which ones are best (so hard!)
We got silly books
Sad books
Good books
Bad books
They're all great in their way
But whichever one you choose
Hey, you just can't lose
Come on and read a book today!
We've got books about space
And a book about a race
Between a coyote and a hare
We've got skinny books
Fat books
Dog books and cat books
And one about a snoring bear
(and two and three)
There's so many kinds of books
With different styles and different looks
Which are best, we just can't say (we can't say!)
But whichever one you pick
It'll do the trick
Hey, come on and read a book today!
Yeah, come on and read a book today!



Between the Lions is a PBS Kids puppet television series designed to promote reading. The show is a co-production between WGBH in Boston and Sirius Thinking, Ltd., in New York City, in association with Mississippi Public Broadcasting, in Mississippi. The show has won seven Daytime Emmy awards between 2001 and 2007. The target audience is children 5-8 years old. It has the same puppet style as Sesame Street and several season 2 episodes, notably in Dance in Smarty Pants, had a few characters from Sesame Street guest appearing. The show aired its first season on April 3, 2000 a week after replacing The Puzzle Place. Between the Lions started its 10th and final season on September 20, 2010 and the series finale aired on November 22 of that same year. It aired on PBS Kids and PBS Kids Go!.

The series focuses on a family of anthropomorphic lions operating and living in a large, busy library starring alongside a cast of unusual characters such as Click, an electronic, anthropomorphic computer mouse. The program's format is intended to promote literacy and reading, and is perhaps most notable for sections of every episode in which the lions introduce an existing picture book to the audience and read it, a book that often presents a moral. Some episodes even have featured adaptions of well-known folk-tales or ancient myths or fables, while others have featured popular storybooks such as 'Click, Clack, Moo! Cows that Type', or shown the lions learning or benefiting from the lessons presented by the story. Aside from this, the series often features an array of educational segments formatted each in its own distinctive style, particularly parodies of well-known media redesigned educationally for younger audiences or simple animations, some sketches more repetitive than others. A distinctive feature of the series is that it is virtually never set outside of the library, as it usually chronicles the lions' experiences within it. Another segment features a pair of pigeons named Walter and Clay comically infuriating a living bust of the library's deceased founder, Mr. Busterfield, located in an upper section of the library, that is normally intended for comic relief.

The main characters are the lion cubs Lionel (7 years old and in 1st grade) and Leona (4 years old) and their parents Theo (Theodore) and Cleo (Cleopatra), who read stories to the cubs in almost every episode, so they can get wild about reading.

Barnaby B. Busterfield III - A grumpy, armless, and legless rock statue that is the founder of the library, which is named after him, and lives on the second floor. He is often left annoyed by the antics of Walter and Clay Pigeon and, being a statue, can't go anywhere. He is more annoyed by the pigeons calling him "Buster" since he hates being called that for some reason. It is unknown if he knows the main characters or not.

Walter and Clay Pigeon - The two birds that Barnaby talks to, and they talk to (and annoy) him. That's why he says, "don't call me Buster!" Walter and Clay Pigeon are true urban birds, but let's just say that they're not the brightest lights in the sky—without each other's help, they might never manage to complete their own thoughts (for example, the Pigeons say, "We are going roller . . . uh . . . skating.").

Dr. Alexander Graham Nitwhite (often mispronounced as "Dr. Nitwit", which he hates being called, by his duck assistant, Watson and sometimes by other characters: a regular routine has Theo and Cleo saying hello to "Dr. Nitwit" and when they are corrected (Nitwhite) they proclaim "Right...") is a pelican scientist. In his skits, he announces to Watson that he's discovered "the only word in the entire English language" with a certain letter combination (which is nearly always related to the lesson of the whole episode). However, his "discoveries" always turn out to be incorrect, as Watson inadvertently points out; as such, his nickname is rather apt.

Information Hen - The library's information specialist. Each time she appears, she gives information about the library and reading to various callers.

Click - A live computer mouse shaped after the rodent of the same name. Click is a very high tech mouse in the fact that she can drag and drop objects and characters into and out of books and websites. When a character needs her, they only need to call out her name (usually screaming it if it's an emergency) since she doesn't mind helping others and will do what they tell her what to do. Her only hindrances are, being a computer mouse, she must always stay connected to a computer and that she is vulnerable to computer viruses, as shown in one episode.

Heath the Thesaurus - The library's thesaurus who is literally a giant dinosaur (a sauropod dinosaur-a Brontosaurus) as a pun on the word "thesaurus" or "the saurus" He often shows up unexpectedly when a character asks about a homophonic word or when a situation is called for one.

Grandpa Lion - Cleo's father and Lionel and Leona's maternal grandfather and also the father-in-law of Theo. He visits the library in Out in Outer Space and tells of his friend Ellen Ochoa the first Hispanic American woman in Outer Space. Lionel and Leona even made a biography of Grandpa Lion.

Aunt Priscilla and Uncle Otto Lion - Lionel and Leona's aunt and uncle who were told by Leona that they had 3 new cubs in But Mama But in which Leona visited in the episode. It would be that Aunt Priscilla and Uncle Otto would be Cleo's younger sister and brother and would be the maternal aunt and uncle of Lionel and Leona and the sister-in-law and brother-in-law of Theo Lion.



Five years in the making, Between the Lions has set out to get kids "wild about reading". Between the Lions is written by many of the major greats of Sesame Street, such as Christopher Cerf. Many former Arthur staff are involved as well, including Joe "Toolbox" Fallon and Ken Scarborough. New episodes are now airing! In every episode, there can be found countless sight gags, puns, parodies, songs, and more, all of which are designed to help kids better understand the pronunciation of everyday words.

The setting for the show is, fittingly, a library, where husband-and-wife team Theo and Cleo are the Librarians. Their inquisitive cubs, younger sister Leona and older brother Lionel, often help them out, while another character - the Information Hen - dispenses information to perplexed Library patrons.

Among the other colorful characters likely to be encountered, is a statue of the library's founder, Barnaby B. ("Don't Call Me Buster!") Busterfield III, who makes sarcastic comments about the silliness he often witnesses going on in the library. There are also two dim-witted pigeons, Clay and Walter (get it?) who hang around the statue, keeping him company - but he just wishes they'd go away!

Additional characters include Click the Computer Mouse, who has the amazing ability to extract characters from books and bring them to life, and can even place real people in books! Arty Smartypants is an oily entertainer usually seen "reading words without any assistance whatsoever!" And, believe it or not, Dr. Ruth Westheimer can sometimes be seen dispensing advice, also. (About words, of course!) And likeable, white-haired Fred Newman provides a vast repertoire of hilarious "mouth sounds."

Between the Lions was cancelled, but then brought back thanks to the help of Mississippi Public Broadcasting (MPB), working together with WGBH.

Yes, it's quite a library.

Between the Lions is funded in part by a Ready To Learn Television Cooperative Agreement from the U.S. Department of Education through the Public Broadcasting Service. National corporate sponsorship is provided by Chick-fil-A. Additional funding is provided by the Krueger Charitable Foundation.

The Between the Lions team is committed to making quality television available to all children. Each episode is accessible to blind and visually impaired viewers through WGBH Boston's innovative, Emmy Award-winning Descriptive Video Service (DVS). The series also is closed captioned by the Media Access Group at WGBH for viewers who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.

Between the Lions is seen on PBS, which means that it's broadcast time varies from station to station (10:30 on one station, 3:30 on another, etc). Check your local listings, for time and channel (the time and day listed below is for the New Jersey Network, or NJN).

Between the Lions Main Theme
[Female Vocalist]
Hey now Hey wow Here's how Come and read Between the Lions

[Female and Male Vocalists Harmonizing]
Come on Come in Begin The world awaits

[Female Vocalist]
Between the Lions Betweeen the covers of a book It's time to look Between the Lions

Behold the tales beyond the tails

[Female Vocalists Harmonizing]
Behind the door Become, explore

Come on Between the Lions Begin Between the Lions Be here Between the Lions!



"Between the Lions" is named for a family of lions - Theo, Cleo, Lionel, and Leona - who run a library like no other on earth. The doors "between the lions" swing open to reveal a magical place where characters pop off the pages of books, vowels sing, and words take on a life of their own. The series combines innovative puppetry, animation, live action, and music to achieve its educational mission of helping young children learn to read.

Since its premiere in April 2000 on PBS, "Between the Lions" has quickly become a favorite of kids, parents, caregivers, and teachers. The National Education Association (NEA) endorsed the series. According to Bob Chase, NEA President, "We strongly urge parents and caregivers to guide young children to Between the Lions and invite teachers to take advantage of the program and Web site for top-notch [resources] that extend learning."

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