'Little Angels': New DVD Series is a Blessing for Pre-Schoolers
Roma Downey, of "Touched by an Angel" fame, has teamed up with writer Phil Lollar ("Adventures in Odyssey") to produce a series of animated programs targeting the pre-school market. The programs are built with solid Christian values and wonderful life lessons told in a way that young children will understand them.
WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - "Little Angels" is an animated DVD series created exclusively for preschool-aged children to teach not only practical learning skills, like ABCs and 1,2,3s, but also to introduce them to the spiritual, moral and ethical principles of the Bible. It has already received numerous endorsements, including the Seal-of-Approval from the international organization, MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers).
The series was created by Roma Downey, best remembered as Monica in "Touched by an Angel," along with writer Phil Lollar, who was a part of the creative team behind "Adventures in Odyssey."
"Little Angels" features preschool twins Alex and Zoe, who are blessed in having eight Little Angels watching over them - both figuratively and literally! These Little Angels are painted on the ceiling of their bedroom, so they are the first things the kids see when they wake up in the morning and the last thing they see before they fall asleep at night. But when the children really need their help, these angels come to life, helping to guide them through the challenges of their young lives.
Each program contains approximately 30 minutes of content, made up of 4 stories that are short enough to keep a preschooler's attention while still telling an important story. Accompanying these episodes, Roma Downey also has recorded some "Life Lessons for Grown-ups," where she shares ideas with parents on how to further apply these principles in their children's lives.
This is truly a family project as Ms. Downey's daughter is one of the singers for the project and her son played guitar for some of the music tracks. The concept was 18 months in development before being released to the public.
"We are so glad to be bringing this to market after all this time, love and attention to detail," Downey indicated. "It's a beautiful children's project."
"This is an animated DVD series that has been designed especially for the preschool audience to teach them practical learning skills, like ABC's and 1,2,3's. But it also to introduces them to the spiritual, moral and ethical principles of the Bible and engages them in timeless Christian values," she explained.
Downey indicated that there was a strong commitment from the beginning that the series contain quality animation, good writing and overall excellence in productions values. For this reason, she wanted Phil Lollar to be a part of the team from the very beginning.
"Having raised a family myself, you can have all the best intentions in the world but if it is not funny and fun and colorful and cute and engaging, that pre-school audience won't sit down and watch it."
As a grandfather I have to agree. I watched the sample videos thinking how my grandchildren would respond to them. When they are visiting, I am invited to join them in following the exploits of Dora the Explorer and other such shows. They will love these videos.
Values driven and Biblically based, children are exposed to lessons on such topics as perseverance, jealousy, fear, kindness, etc. They are able to visit, with the help of their guardian angels, many of the great heroes of the Bible including Adam and Eve, Noah, Jonah and Joshua.
"It's a really great device for us to teach the children through song and through using their imagination how to learn their ABC's and how to identify and name the animals," Downey said.
".of being able to introduce them to our beloved Bible characters. One of our angels is a painter; his name is Uriel. Every time he shows up he brings his canvas and his paintbrush. He paints pictures. for example, he paints a picture of the Garden of Eden or he paints a picture of the Ark, and then, in something of a dream, the children, with the angels, are able to go into the canvas and time travel back into the time of the Bible."
They are not just visiting these characters; they are also learning valuable lessons. For example, in one episode Alex is frustrated that he can't learn to tie his shoelaces. He decides he's just going to give up and only wear his shoes that have the Velcro straps.
So, the angels take the twins back in time to Noah, who tells them how much he had to put up with in building the Ark. He had to keep going over many years only based on God's direction. His neighbors ridiculed him and he could have easily given up. Instead, Noah continued to follow the Lord.
I asked Ms. Downey how the idea for the Little Angels began, wondering if there was more to it than just her identification with Monica from "Touched by an Angel."
"When I was a little girl growing up," she explained, "and, as you know, I grew up Catholic, we would have night time prayers. One of those prayers was a prayer to our guardian angel. It may be the first prayer I remember learning. This served as the core inspiration, which is asking your guardian angel to look after you, 'to light and guard, to rule and guide.'
"I thought it would be a marvelous idea to create an environment where the children are reminded constantly that they do have angels looking after them. The angels bring the message - the angels are just the messengers and the message is about God's love. I love God, I love children and I love Angels, so this was a bit of a no-brainer to it for me."
"Little Angels" also contains some small bits of content that will entertain adults who are watching. I saw this come through in the episode where the twins are visiting Adam and Eve. Here we see Eve just chattering away telling the twins all the little details while Adam patiently waits until she's done.
Downey really sees a long and wonderful future for her eight little angels through more DVD's, CD's and books. They are also planning on a line of toys to be in production for next year. She also has a vision for nursery décor, where a toddler can have his or her own guardian angels watching over them from the ceiling.
For more information about the "Little Angels," you can visit their website at littleangels.com.
Randy Sly is the Associate Editor of Catholic Online and the CEO/Associate Publisher for the Northern Virginia Local Edition of Catholic Online (http://virginia.catholic.org). He is a former Archbishop of the Charismatic Episcopal Church who laid aside that ministry to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church.
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