Dear Adult Guidance Partner:
The Our Pond stories were specifically written to best serve the needs of Ronald McDonald House families. During early test runs, we learned the absolute value of an adult friend being there, with a young listener, as a direct partner in the experience. The adult can answer questions to promote understanding or ask his or her own question, such as "What do you think is going to happen next?" or "Why was JAZZ trying to get the pony on her feet?" The adult becomes a team member and helps to maintain the focus on the story rather than outside events. The adult models his/her participation according to the best results as he or she sees them.
We are often asked, “How old must my child be to enjoy the stories?” The answer to that question is that the supporting music tends to become an explanatory entity in itself. As each animal in the story has its own signature tune, the range of interest and understanding is vastly increased, even for younger children. Put this together with an adult who is willing to help interpret, and the total value of the experience is greatly increased.
You will note that there is no violence in our stories. We do not promote hatred of any kind. In the structure of the story we present a problem to the Friends of Our Pond. They cannot solve it alone. Each animal has its own special skills. They have to combine their efforts in a creative way. There is always hope, and, of course, the Friends of Our Pond always win.
Simeon Wood, our wonderful English musician, weaves the music in support of the story. The story action culminates in a huge success supported by strong, symphonic melodies. The magic of modern communication allows you to play and listen to anything you wish to hear--over and over again. We have even provided a listing of our dear animal Friends, including a brief narration describing their individual skills. This is immediately followed by a sample of the animal’s signature music. This can be used as a reference for identifying each animal as it makes an appearance in the whole story. Suppose you and your young listener choose a favorite animal. Listen to its description a few times. Then make a drawing of it. This can add yet another dimension to the whole experience. I have seen a lot of children’s drawings in my life. Some of them looked very wild indeed, but every one of them was a true rendition of a creative idea. (By the way, we chose this approach not to show a professional artist’s interpretive picture or any photograph but to leave the fun of imagination to the young person and their own private creativity.)
Fred and Angela Close