In today´s world, even pre-school age children are considered fair game by marketers. With so much emphasis on buying all the toys, games and gadgets they see on TV, it´s easy for little kids to become materialistic and to think that everything´s disposable. If they break a toy, no problem; they just move on to the next one. So whatever happened to the idea of kids having prized possessions that they lovingly cared for and treasured?
The average child is exposed to more than 40,000 television commercials each year according to the National Institute on Media and the Family. With that type of pressure, it´s no wonder that the material age is upon us and parents everywhere are clamoring for relief. And they might find it in the form of a story-telling motor scooter who yearns to be reunited with the boy who owned him decades earlier.
"Kids today are under constant assault from marketers and advertising," says author Douglas Charlton. "So it´s not surprising to me that they feel as though they don´t need to take care of their belongings because they´re just going to buy something new to replace it." The hope of instilling in children a true sense of sentimental value is what motivated Charlton to write his new book, Scoot and the Soaring Eagles.
Loosely based on Charlton´s own love affair with the Cushman Eagle motor scooter he bought with earnings from his job at the local drug store soda fountain; Scoot tells a tale of lost happiness from the corner of a junk yard where he´s surrounded by a collection of cars who´ve all enjoyed better days. All the vehicles longingly recall how much they were loved by their owners when they were shiny and new; a message that Charlton hopes will resonate with children. "I hope that hearing the story from Scoot´s perspective, of how much it meant it to be such a prized and treasured belonging, will inspire children to value what they have," says Charlton. "I want today´s children to learn what we did as kids, to take good care of their belongings, to work for the things they want and to never give up on their dreams. And I think you can share that message in a positive, non-lecturing way."
By featuring a Cushman Scooter as the main character in the story, Charlton´s book harkens back to the 1950´s and sends grown-up readers cruising down memory lane while sharing a slice of American nostalgia with younger readers. By appealing to readers from such a diverse age group, Charlton wanted to inspire grandparents to not only read to their grandchildren but also to share their own childhood stories. "I think the descriptions of the innocent fun the kids and the scooters have in this story are a great springboard for grandparents to talk about what they did for entertainment as kids," says Charlton. "When you look at the amount of time today´s kids spend watching TV or playing video games, they might be really surprised to learn what their grandparents did for fun."
Because kids have always seemed to have a natural attraction to scooters, Scoot´s character is vividly portrayed in the child-friendly illustrations on the cover and throughout the book. Scoot´s appearance is so charming that the book even includes an 8 page Scoot Coloring Book Section at the end of the story.
While today´s kids filter out all the advertisements aimed at them, Scoot and the Soaring Eagles can transport them and their families back to a simpler time. A time when Cushman motor scooters were all the rage. A time when a bunch of fun-loving kids spent their happiest moments riding together on their beloved motor scooters. And a time when kids took care of their most prized possessions.
For a review copy of SCOOT AND THE SOARING EAGLES, by Douglas Charlton (Douglas Charlton, 2006; 44 pp. paperback, $6.82) or to interview the author, contact Rachel Damien at 727-443-7115, ext. 206 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, publication, and mailing address with your request.