Pick of the Week

Kids Rock On

Who's pink and purple and bouncy and fun? This person's favorite saying is, "Come on! Let's go!" If you are a parent with a child between 1 and 6, you probably know the answer to this. If not, follow along!

This pink-and-purple, cauliflower-loving singer is Deedee Doodle. Deedee is a member of the Doodlebops, a multi-colored rock band for preschoolers. The Doodlebops appear daily on the Disney Channel in their own television program. The trio consists of Rooney Doodle on guitar, Moe Doodle on drums and Deedee on keyboard and keytar. Their faces match their colorful clothes in hues of pink, yellow and blue.

Don't be scared off by their colors, though. These guys are very different from purple Barney and yellow Big Bird. The Doodlebops are not walking stuffed animals--or however you might characterize Barney. The Doodlebops are played by Canadian actors Lisa Lennox (Deedee), Chad McNamara (Rooney) and Jonathan Wexler (Moe).

According to public relations director Jenifer Maninger, the show was created in 2005 in Toronto for Canada's CBC. The Doodlebops are currently on their first-ever U.S. tour.

"The tour started this past September in New York City at Madison Square Garden," says Maninger. The tour will hit 80 U.S. cities.

"This is the first time Doodlebop fans have the opportunity to see them perform live in person. The reaction has been incredible. Fans are completely enamored with them. Children are dancing and singing (throughout the whole show). And the parents know the words and are singing along.

"The (90-minute) live show starts off with the Doodlebops asking the audience if they want to be honorary Doodlebops. All the kids say yes. Then they recite the Doodlebops pledge."

The pledge is sung at the beginning of the television show and also appears on their Web site.

We promise to share
We promise to care
All together as a team
Just stick to it
We can do it
We can do anything
Stand tall, say it loud
We're together and we're proud
Deedee, Rooney, Moe
We're The Doodlebops

The pro-social messages such as sharing, caring and working together are a theme in the Doodlebops' music and show.

"The show provides messages for situations children deal with every day," explains Maninger. "These are characters children can look up to. It's a fun way to learn the messages."

In a recent episode, Deedee was awestruck when her hero, musician Zimmy Zimzam, came to visit. Deedee talked constantly about Zimmy and began to change her music and dance moves to "zimify" her band. Rooney and Moe gently told her to refocus her attention. And Zimmy cheerfully told Deedee to be who she was and not to mimic him. Afterward, they burst into song, singing: "Just be yourself. Be the best you can be."

While their positive messages are great for kids, adults can get nice reminders about friendship, working together and caring for each other. I found myself nodding along to the idea of "just be yourself." And their music is even catchy.

"This is Beatle-esque music," says Maninger. "There are elements of Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder. The music is cutting edge."

Not to mention the dance moves. David Connolly is the choreographer for the live show. He has choreographed shows on Broadway and the Miss America pageant, says Maninger.

"The Doodlebops teach children about physical activity through the dances. They teach children dance moves so they aren't just sitting on the couch. ... These characters have had a positive impact on them. That's important when you look at the news stories about childhood obesity."

A recent show included the zigzag zone dance. Viewers were asked: "Who's tired of sitting?" And then encouraged: "Get up and dance with us!" Moves were explained step by step. It was a lot more fun than gym class used to be.

The live Doodlebops show will incorporate elements of the television program. Bus Driver Bob, a recurring character, will appear. And viewers will see Moe determine if he should pull the hanging rope, with everyone telling him not to. New elements include four backup dancers, a large video screen behind the band showing colorful graphics and lights, some new songs and a few surprises.

Maninger says many kids have shown up at the live shows dressed as their favorite character. She has seen little girls in pink wigs like Deedee. "These kids are mesmerized (by the Doodlebops). They never take their eyes off them."

Doodlebops Live! comes to the Tucson Convention Center Arena, 260 S. Church Ave., at 1:30 and 6:30 p.m., Friday, Jan. 26. Tickets are $20, $25 and $35. Call 321-1000 or visit ticketmaster.com.

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