Beliefs Ethics

NEWS FEATURE: New `Kingsley’s Meadow’ Video: Fun and Thoughtful

c. 2000 Religion News Service

(UNDATED) Perhaps he isn’t quite as magical as Aslan, the famous Christ figure of C.S. Lewis’ “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” series, but the lion named Kingsley who is the principal character in a popular children’s video series teaches Christian faith in a fun and thoughtful way.

Kingsley, a teen-age puppet-lion designed as a hero appealing to little folks ages 2 to 6, shows human children and puppet friends in his meadow _ named “Kingsley’s Meadow,” of course _ the importance of virtues and values in life.

Each video features lessons taken directly from the Bible. And there’s nothing humdrum nor inappropriate about these stories. Woven into colorful productions with bright scenery, dance, songs and performances by children, they create a world in which kids interact with the central character as they sing and act out Bible stories.

In the two newest selections in the series, Kingsley’s Meadow No. 5, “1-2-3 Count on Me,” and Kingsley’s Meadow No. 6, “Just the Fact Facts, Mac,” children learn the significance of forgiveness and dependability in the first video and the importance of truthfulness and respect in the second.

These are definite, easy-to-understand ideas, but gentle truths taught with humor, honesty and openness.

In “Count on Me,” the present-day teen-age Kingsley takes his audience back to his boyhood, telling the simple story of how he learned to forgive when another child stole his scooter, or “scooterator” as the contraption is described in the story. Kingsley’s own dad uses a Bible story to show his son how even the most hateful behavior can be forgiven if one’s heart is in the right place.

Turning to the biblical character of Joseph, Dad relates how Jacob loved Joseph over all his sons, giving him a multicolored coat that made him the envy of his brothers. So angry and wrapped up in their hurt were his siblings that they stole Joseph’s coat and threw him in a deep hole.

Later they sold their brother into slavery to a man from Egypt, taking 20 pieces of silver in exchange for a member of their own family.

At first Joseph’s traumas _ all portrayed by younger actors with narration _ continue. The wife of the man who bought him tells a lie about Joseph and Joseph is thrown in prison. Only his ability to interpret dreams saves him when the king of Egypt asks for assistance. A famine ensues and when the brothers come to Egypt to buy corn, there is a dramatic reconciliation.

Joseph forgives his brothers and the youthful Kingsley forgives the boy who stole his scooter. A trio of singing flowers chirps joyfully: “I forgive you. I forgive you. Yes I do and it’s true, I forgive you. And I feel so much better now that I forgive you!”

Like the best books of yesteryear, these videos are designed to touch kids’ hearts and minds, entertaining them and teaching them moral values.

In each story, children follow their lion buddy into an amazing meadow inhabited by lovable characters, including Petals _ a trio of puppet flowers _ an offbeat chipmunk named “Monk” and other wacky folks.

The brains behind this creativity is two-time Billboard Award winner Tony Salerno, the series creator. A seasoned producer, Salreno brings almost decades of experience producing quality children’s products to the work. The series is produced by Son Wonder in cooperation with the American Bible Society and Tyndale Entertainment.