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Learning More About the Green Bear Next

with Dennis DeShazer, Jon Green | March 21, 2006

Today on the broadcast, Dennis Rainey talks with Exclaim Entertainment co-founders Dennis DeShazer and Jon Green about BOZ, the green bear next door. Dennis and Jon, creators of BOZ, tell Dennis about BOZ's new children's videos coming out soon--"Thank You God for...Friends and Helpers" and "Thank You God for...Colors and Shapes". BOZ will also be making a special appearance on today's show.

Today on the broadcast, Dennis Rainey talks with Exclaim Entertainment co-founders Dennis DeShazer and Jon Green about BOZ, the green bear next door. Dennis and Jon, creators of BOZ, tell Dennis about BOZ's new children's videos coming out soon--"Thank You God for...Friends and Helpers" and "Thank You God for...Colors and Shapes". BOZ will also be making a special appearance on today's show.

Learning More About the Green Bear Next

With Dennis DeShazer, Jon Green
|
March 21, 2006
| Download Transcript PDF

Bob: You've heard of Barney, the big purple dinosaur, and Bob the Builder, Thomas the Tank Engine.  If you have children under the age of six, these are familiar household names.  Today, we want you to meet BOZ, the big green bear who lives next door, and his friends, Drew and Gracie.  They may be the next familiar names around your household.

Gracie: What do we make with these pieces?

Drew: Almost anything.  There are all kinds of shapes in here.

BOZ: [chuckles] If we're going to build something, we'll need some tools.

Jon: He is a joyful, green bear, full of life, full of energy, lives in a treehouse that is beyond belief.

BOZ: Yes, we will need a hammer, but what I mean was …

Jon: He lives next door to the Baxter family, and key among the Baxters are Drew and Gracie Baxter, four-year-old twins, and so BOZ and Drew and Gracie set out to explore and discover God's world together.

BOZ: [Sings]

Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Tuesday, March 21st.  The thing that makes BOZ different from the others is that BOZ can help your children learn about God.

 And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us.  I have to tell you, it took me a little by surprise the other day when I walk in the conference room, and you're sitting there all alone in the conference room watching a video for preschoolers, you know?  Here you were, watching BOZ and Drew and Gracie, and I thought, "Don't you have work to do or something?"  What were you doing?

Dennis Rainey: Well, two points – number one, as a grandparent, I'm always looking for great resources for the moms of our grandchildren because I've called them in the middle of the day, and I've heard that panicked feeling, that "How did you and Mom do it?"

 But I was also just taking a look at a brand-new DVD for preschoolers, ages one to six, called "BOZ."  And he's a green bear who lives next door.

Bob: Here's the thing that surprised me, though.  When I came in, you didn't even hear me come in, you stayed glued to the TV, and you were singing along with BOZ and the kids.  And I thought, "Dennis is reverting back to his childhood" – I mean – I'm sorry – I thought Dr. Rainey is reverting back to his childhood.

Dennis Rainey: Thank you.

Bob: Do you want me to continue to call you Dr. Rainey on today's program?

Dennis Rainey: I do, I do, because one of our other guests' first name is Dennis, and it's very confusing to have two Dennises, and, besides, I'm kind of looking for some respect.  I was not singing the song or humming along, although it is catchy, I must admit.

Bob: You were tapping your feet, and you were drooling a little bit, as I recall.

[laughter]

Dennis Rainey: I am a grandparent but I'm not drooling yet.  We are joined by a couple of co-founders of Exclaim Entertainment – Dennis DeShazer and Jon Green both join us on FamilyLife Today.  Jon, Dennis, welcome back.

Dennis DeShazer: Thank you for having us.

Jon: Yeah, we appreciate you having us on the show.

Dennis Rainey: We appreciate, after yesterday, you guys coming back.

[laughter]

 Both Dennis and Jon were a part of helping create and market and brand a purple dinosaur called "Barney," and people would say, as you mentioned earlier, Bob, that they wished there was a Barney that was kind of anchored in Scripture and – although Barney was good to talk about character qualities, and he was a good dinosaur, but the Christian community is always looking for well-done resources and tools, and you guys have done that.  You have created a green bear who lives next door.  Tell us about BOZ.

Dennis DeShazer: He is a joyful, green bear full of life, full of energy, lives in a treehouse that is beyond belief.  He lives next door to the Baxter family, and key among the Baxters are Drew and Gracie Baxter, four-year-old twins, and so BOZ and Drew and Gracie set out to explore and discover God's world together.

Bob: And Mom and Dad Baxter live with Drew and Gracie?

Dennis DeShazer: Absolutely.

Bob: The grandparents live nearby, right?

Dennis DeShazer: That's right, they are just a couple of blocks over – Grammy Bee and Grampy Bee, and we think that's important to show the extended family that's so much a part of our lives these days – that we stay connected. 

Bob: And there are kids in the neighborhood, too?

Dennis DeShazer: Absolutely, Marcus, Bria, we have Ramone and Darby, so we have lots of kids.

Bob: And all of them love coming over to BOZ's house or over to his treehouse and, in fact, I wanted to see if we could talk to him again, because we've already talked to BOZ this week, and I kind of enjoyed talking to him.  Can we see if we can get him back on the phone?

Dennis Rainey: I'd love to.  He referred to me as Doctor.

[phone is ringing]

BOZ: EEEEEyelllllow?

Dennis Rainey: Hello, BOZ!

BOZ: Oh, ho, ho, Dr. Rainey!  It's good to talk to you again.

Dennis Rainey: Say hi to Bob Lepine.

BOZ: Hello, Bob.

Bob: Hi, BOZ.  Hey, we appreciate you taking a few minutes to talk to us.  We've been talking about your new DVDs that are coming out, you know what I mean?

BOZ: Oh, yes, mm-hm.

Bob: Tell us a little bit about the stories on these DVDs.  You and Drew and Gracie are having some adventures together, and you've got two DVDs.  Tell us about what's on them.

BOZ: Well, one of the DVDs is called "Colors and Shapes," and it's pretty self-explanatory, but, you know, it's all about finding the wonderful colors and shapes that God has given us.  They're everywhere, especially around Grammy Bee's garden, where we spend some time in that DVD.  And, oh, we have a lovely song called "God's Green Earth is Not Just Green," although, I must say, it is kind of my favorite color.

Bob: We can see that.  And do you sing this song, BOZ?

BOZ: Oh, yeah, I love to sing.  It's one of my favorite things in the world.

Bob: Sing a few bars of "God's Green Earth is not Just Green," can you do that?

BOZ: Sure, it goes, [sings "God's Green Earth is not Just Green"].

Bob: BOZ has got a pretty good voice, doesn't he?

BOZ: Oh, thank you very much.

Bob: You sing very nice.  Do you do any other styles – rap or opera or anything?

BOZ: Oh, I experimented with hip-hop for a while, but I just really like to keep in nice and friendly and melodic, you know?

Bob: That's probably a good idea.

Dennis Rainey: You know, BOZ, I couldn't help but listen when you were talking about colors and shapes, you began with God's green earth, and …

BOZ: Absolutely.

Dennis Rainey: And everything begins with God in your relationship with these two youngsters.

BOZ: Sure it does.  You know, God loves us, and we love to try to find in every episode how many ways we can find to show how much we love Him.

Bob: Now, the second DVD, you said one is about colors and shapes, what's the other one about?

BOZ: Oh, I'm so glad you asked.  The other one is called "Friends and Helpers," and it's all about how we can show God how much we love Him by helping and sharing with one another.  For example, there is one story where we have to go – me and the kids have to go around to Grammy Bee's house after she hurts her ankle, so we help her do some chores, and we have a lot of fun while we're doing it.  We sing some songs, and we even have what's called a "Helper's Fair." 

 We also learn that friends can help each other learn new things because Bria helps Gracie learn how to jump rope, and Gracie helps Bria learn how to play hide-and-seek.

Dennis Rainey: I noticed in one of those episodes, you actually gathered up and did some spring cleaning of your treehouse, is that right?

BOZ: [giggles] Yes.

Dennis Rainey: You showed the kids how they could do some cleaning and maybe give their toys or their things to other youngsters who have needs?

BOZ: Mm-hm, we all learned a great lesson in how to help others who need our help by sharing our clothes and food and even our toys.  Even Mr. Baxter shared his favorite toy when he was little.  It was an action figure called Rescue Man.

[laughter]

Bob: Now, you're telling me that on one of these DVDs, you're teaching kids how to clean their room?

BOZ: Absolutely.

Bob: I'll buy that, you know what I mean?  I'll buy that.

BOZ: I like to lead by example, Bob.

Bob: I think there are some other moms and dads who would get that DVD just to hope that it might catch on, you know?

Dennis Rainey: You know, there is one point of concern, though.  I hear some traffic in the background near your treehouse there, BOZ.  Is your treehouse and everything around it really a safe place for young kids to go visit?

BOZ: Oh, absolutely.  We live in a wonderful neighborhood where eavesdropping respects the speed limit, traffic is kept to a minimum, an we've got lots and lots of room around the treehouse to play.

Bob: Speed bumps, you got speed bumps in the road?

BOZ: Well, I have a great big speed bump in front of me.  It's called my belly.

[laughter]

Bob: BOZ, thanks again for taking some time with us.  Now, at the end of each DVD, you have a closing little song you sing, right?

BOZ: Yeah, it's a little thing I made up just to sort of sign off every day.  It's a wonderful way to end the day, and it's just a little song that goes, "Wherever you are, near or far, God loves you, and I do, too."

Bob: I'm sorry, I didn't know …

BOZ: I like to leave my audience speechless, Bob.

Bob: You did that, yeah.

[laughter]

 So you're really following in Barney's footsteps here, aren't you?

BOZ: Barney?

Dennis Rainey: Who is Barney?

[laughter]

Bob: Thank you, BOZ, for spending time with us.

BOZ: Oh, it's always a pleasure to talk to you, Bob and Dr. Rainey, and do call again.

Dennis Rainey: I'll do it. 

BOZ: Bye-bye.

Dennis Rainey: Thanks for being on FamilyLife Today.

BOZ: Okay.

Bob: You just like calling him because he calls you Doctor.

Dennis Rainey: I do.  I think it's time we had some respect around here.  You know, one of the things that struck me as I watched the DVD is BOZ is very upbeat, and he's pleasant and happy, and I don't want to sound strange here, but he really does sound like he's giving young people some hope for a pleasant life.  Like, if you follow what he talks about doing, you can have a positive perspective, an outlook on life.

Dennis DeShazer: I'm so glad to hear you say that.  One of the underscores of the show is that life is a celebration.  God has given us this world we live in.  He's given us ourselves and our friends and our neighbors and our family, and it's to be enjoyed and celebrated, and he is full of life, he's full of joy.  He is a friend to those kids in the neighborhood.  He doesn't try to be their parent.  There's a lot of learning that goes on where the kids discover things for themselves, and we think that's really important but, yes, there is, I think, just running throughout these shows is a love of life and a love of God and a sense that you know what?  When things are in good shape, and you've got strong families, and you've got strong friends, it's a great place, isn't it?

Dennis Rainey: Yeah.

Bob: Dennis, we've touched on this already this week, but our three-year-olds, our four-year-olds, they are learning about life every day.  They are like sponges, they are absorbing new information.  The whole world is new to them.  What they learn at those ages gets planted deep inside of them and lasts a lifetime, doesn't it?

Dennis DeShazer: It does, and, you know, that's a big reason that we decided to make BOZ, because in those early years the foundation is being laid not only for family relationships but the relationship with God, relationship with their friends.  As a parent, I look at my children who are now seven and eight, and sometimes it catches my breath that, wow, have I done this the right way so that – because I know they're going to remember this.  I know that this is going to matter in their lives, and I think what we're trying to do with the character of BOZ and with the programming is really help parents, be a resource for them to highlight the values that they're already teaching their children.  It's just nice to have media supporting you on that rather than working against, as we know it can sometimes.  And so it's important to us.

Dennis Rainey: Dennis, before we came into the studio, I asked you how long it took to create an episode of BOZ, one of these DVDs, and you told me five years.

Dennis DeShazer: That's right.

Dennis Rainey: Because this first one has taken five years to roll out, but you're going to be delivering a lot of BOZ to the neighborhood in the coming months and years.  What are some of the other themes that you have that are coming along soon?

Dennis DeShazer: Later in the year, we'll have a show that centers on imagination, and the gift of imagination that God has given us, and so it's going to be a really fun series of episodes.  And then we have another one that will be called – let me get this right – "Bananas, Bubbles, and Busy Bodies," which is really about taking care of me.  You know, it's a child taking care of themselves.  So it's how do they get healthy, what are those routines in the morning, the washing of the hair and the hands and the keeping clean.  You know, every parent wants a little help there with that bedtime routine.

Dennis Rainey: You just sold Bob a second set.  A clean room and now …

Bob: … they're brushing their teeth, too.

Dennis DeShazer: That's right.

Bob: I'm sold right there.

Dennis DeShazer: Those are those moments during a day that you just want a little help.

Jon: Well, I think the "Squeaky Clean" song will really go over big.  That will resonate, and parents will appreciate "Squeaky Clean."

Dennis Rainey: Jon, how do you decide what subjects you do cover on these DVDS?

Jon: Well, we took time early on and talked with moms, and we wanted to find out what they would be interested for us to produce.  And so much of what we're doing is born out of what we call "kitchen table research."

Dennis DeShazer: It's real parents giving real suggestions about these topics.

Bob: And you've also wanted these DVDs to be crafted in such a way that families can share them with other families without feeling really heavy-handed.  God is a part of everything that's in the DVD, but it just seems natural and normal.  It doesn't seem preachy, you know what I mean?

Dennis DeShazer: That's great to hear.  That was so important to us, because I think you can overload a preschooler, and you have to really think about how are they thinking about God and how are they thinking about their relationships – not what you want them to learn but what helps them learn?  And so we think it's important to talk like they talk and approach God as being a loving force in our lives, I mean, the guiding force in our lives, and our parents being those laps that you get in at the end of the day and share all those things you've discovered and explored.  So we really want to model.  I mean, you have to be concrete with this age group.

Dennis Rainey: You've already talked about some of these, but I'm thinking of Kentucky Fried Chicken has "the Colonel's seven herbs and spices."  You undoubtedly have Exclaim Entertainment's …

Jon: The secret sauce?

Dennis Rainey: Yeah.  Can you share a couple of others, because these really are going to be successful, I believe.  It's centered on God, it deals with modeling and being an example in everyday language where children live, you've talked to parents.  Are there a couple of others you can share with us as to how you put this together so it's going to win big with kids?

Dennis DeShazer: You know, I think it's a matter of watching children watch television or watch videos, and you learn a lot that way.  It sounds very simple, but you have to really be careful about it.

 There's a lot about color, the simplicity of the songs, the catchiness of the melody.  It's the simplicity of the scripts, the story line, how does it all come together?  You know, they like stories, just as you know from reading to them.  So you have to capture those elements and mix them all into that sauce.

Bob: You mentioned that you have a seven-year-old and an eight-year-old at your house.

Dennis DeShazer: Right.

Bob: They've undoubtedly watched what Dad is working on, what you're creating.  They're a little outside of the target, and I'm thinking, you know, sometimes eight-year-olds can be too cool for this little-kid stuff.  Is that the response you've gotten from them, or do they get engaged by this?

Dennis DeShazer: They've been very interested.  You know, I took home some clips.  For the longest time I didn't have a full episode to show them, so I just had little bits from the show, and I will say my daughter, who is my younger child, was, after two listens, was – I heard her humming it or singing a little bit of it around the house.  So I know that got in her head.  And my son is the eight-year-old, and he really likes him, and he gives me criticism.  He gives me tips.

Dennis Rainey: Well, you played the clips for your kids.

Dennis DeShazer: Right.

Dennis Rainey: Why don't we play a clip right now for our audience?  Which one do you want us to listen to?

Dennis DeShazer: Why don't we do "That's Imagination."  This is from "Colors and Shapes," that video, and the kids, at that moment, are thinking about a lot of different things that they can make out of circles, triangles, and squares.

[audio clip]

Gracie: What do we make with these pieces?

Drew: Almost anything.  There are all kinds of shapes in here.

BOZ: If we're going to build something, we'll need some tools.

Drew: Tools?  Oh, yeah, I know what kind of tools we need.  We need a hammer.

BOZ: No, I mean, yes, we will need a hammer, but what I meant to say …

Drew: Oh, we also need a screwdriver.

BOZ: Well, sure, I was just thinking …

Gracie: And we'll need a wrench.

BOZ: You're right!  We can use all kinds of tools to build things.  But the most important tool of all is … our imagination!

[sings "That's Imagination"]

Bob: You know, you can see where …

Dennis Rainey: … that's fun …

Bob: … a child, a four-year-old is going to be glued to that, right?  They're going to be listening, they're going to be paying attention, they're going to be singing along.  Pretty soon the parents are going to be, "I wish you'd stop singing that song."

Jon: No, they won't do that.

Bob: They'll be thrilled that the kids are planting that kind of message in their heart.

Dennis Rainey: That's exactly what I was thinking, Bob.  You know, how many times have we watched some children around a TV, whether it be perhaps our own children or grandchildren or somebody else's children watching videos that you kind of go, "I don't know about that."  You know, I just wonder what are they hearing and what's the philosophy, what's the worldview behind that video?  Well, here's a DVD around a green bear that is unashamedly connecting a preschooler to God and how He has put the earth together in terms of colors and shapes and family and friends and relationships, and I just want to thank you, Jon and Dennis, for your work.  I'm real excited about what Exclaim Entertainment has done here and about this green bear.  It really was fun to talk to him earlier, and I can kind of picture him visiting with some of my grandchildren in the future and thanks for the privilege of partnering with you and for the great job you did on these DVDs.

Dennis DeShazer: Thank you very much.

Jon: Thank you.

Bob: The fact is, we ought to let our listeners know – you were able to get a sneak preview of the BOZ DVDs, and you've already had your grandchildren look at them, and you reported back to me that they're hooked, right?

Dennis Rainey: Yeah.

Bob: So there you have it from Grandpa Rainey, ladies and gentlemen.  Boz is a hit with the grandkids, and if you are interested in getting the first two DVDs, "Thank you, God, for Friends and Helpers," or "Thank you, God, for Colors and Shapes," go to our website, FamilyLife.com.  You'll see BOZ's picture there on the website, click on his picture, it will take you to a page where you'll find out more about BOZ and about Gracie and about Drew and about the family, and you can also order from that page the two DVDs.  And if you order those today, we'll send along at no additional cost a FamilyLife exclusive.  It's a CD that has the songs from the DVD on them so that the kids can continue to listen to those songs even when they're not around the television, and we'll send you a coupon that's good for a free BOZ stuffed toy, a plush toy, that is a big green bear.  Actually, he's about – what would you say – that's about 10 inches tall, right?  We'll send you the coupon for the free stuffed BOZ and the CD that has our conversation about BOZ.

 All of that's available, again, go to our website at FamilyLife.com, click on BOZ's picture and follow the steps so that you can order these resources.  We'll have them sent to you.  If you'd prefer, you can call 1-800-FLTODAY, and we'll have somebody on the team help you out with your order and make the arrangements so that you can get all these resources sent out to you.

 Keep in mind, if you would, when you contact FamilyLife Today we are listener-supported.  Folks like you are the ones who help us with the financial needs of this ministry.  During the month of March, when you make a contribution to FamilyLife Today, we'd like to send you a thank you gift.  It's a set of our Resurrection Eggs, a dozen plastic eggs that tell the Easter story to children and help them understand what took place during Jesus' last week of life on earth.  And if you already have a set of Resurrection Eggs at your house, consider getting a set to share with a friend or a family member, someone in your neighborhood or someone in your workplace.

 Again, if you'd like a set of Resurrection Eggs, we'll send them to you as our way of saying thank you with a donation of any amount during the month of March.  You can to go to our website at FamilyLife.com to make a donation, or call 1-800-FLTODAY.  In either case, let us know that you'd like a set of these eggs sent to you.  Either mention it to whoever you're talking to on the phone or if you're filling out the donation form online, you'll see a keycode box.  Just type the word "eggs" in there, and we'll know that you'd like to have the Resurrection Eggs sent out to you.  Again, thanks for your financial support, we appreciate it.

 Now, tomorrow on the program, we're going to meet a mom from Southern California who decided enough was enough when it came to immodesty in high school.  She launched a fashion show for teenage girls that turned out to be quite a hit.  We'll meet her tomorrow, I hope you can be with us as we talk with her.

 I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team.  On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine.  We'll see you back tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

 FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ.

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