Did the Scooby Gang Need a Backstory?


Thanks to Netflix, I discovered Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated. This animated series ran from 2010-2013 and followed the Scooby gang in their hometown of Crystal Cove, known for its history of eerie supernatural events. Trivia on the IMDB states in developing this series that the producers went back to the 1968-69 development art, which included information like the Scooby gang’s ages, their parents, and home and school life that never made it onscreen. While each of the 52 episodes stands alone, there are intra-episode story arcs: like the locket Daphne finds, the mysterious and helpful Mr. E, and the developing romances between Fred and Daphne and Shaggy and Velma.

Admittedly, we see this more and more in the animated TV world. I wonder, however, if the Scooby gang needed a backstory or intra-episode story arcs. Amazingly, all the kids’ parents are super-annoying. Fred’s dad is the mayor of Crystal Cove and has plans Fred Jr. will follow in his footsteps. Daphne’s ultra-rich parents don’t like her hanging around with Fred and the rest of the gang because she needs friends and love interests closer to their social standing. Velma, whose figure and overall looks get an update, has parents preoccupied with their ownership of the Crystal Cove Museum. In the first episode, Shaggy’s parents meet him at the jail where he and his friends are being held after their latest mystery, which winds them up in trouble with the law. They tell Shaggy they are worried about this “mystery phase” and strongly suggest he find new friends.

This all leads me to the episode, “Gatorsburg,” where the Mystery Machine breaks down (well, has it’s engine stolen) and the teens call their parents asking for a lift. Three of the four sets of parents are way too busy to help out, and Shaggy’s parents don’t answer the phone because it is still-life night and the Mrs. is painting a portrait of the Mr. This forces the gang to stay in Gatorsburg overnight and solve another mystery, but doesn’t this make their parents about as useful as the invisible adult characters in Charlie Brown who are so insignificant their words only come out as sounds (want, want, want, wah)?

Different Scooby-Doo adaptations give the characters different backstories, so why bother? In the new movie, Scoob!, Shaggy Rogers meets a talking stray Great Dane, who is hiding from a bicycle cop on the Venice Beach strip, for taking off with a block of lamb from the Greek restaurant. When the officer confronts Shaggy about owning the pup, he asks the boy what the dog’s name is. Looking at his box of snacks and after a bit of back and forth, he tells the officer the dog’s name is Scooby Dooby Doo.

Just like they did when they created the How the Grinch Stole Christmas movie starring Jim Carrey, it appears children and teens like their comic book, story book, and animated characters to have a past and to be able to outwit their parents. I can’t say I am a fan of it. Give me the original versions of these classics that just told the present-day story and ended in half an hour.

What do you think? Should the characters have backstories? Do you like some backstories more than others? Is there a backstory for a favorite character that bugged you?

Most Popular Children’s Book the Year You Were Born



Not that I have a lot of free time, but when I do it is neat to check out articles about popular things from the year I was born. While on MSN today, this article was one of those on their homepage: “The Most Popular Children’s Book The Year You Were Born.” It starts with 1950 and goes through last year. What a joy going remembering some of the books from my childhood. I also learned that Corduroy by Don Freeman was the most popular book in 1968–the year I was born.

Enjoy traveling through this history of children’s books at MSN.

Blogging at Christian Children’s Authors: Themes in Children’s Literature



Check out my post at Christian Children’s Authors where I compare discuss how some of the themes from books of my youth still appear in popular books today. You can find it at http://christianchildrensauthors.com/2015/07/17/themes-in-childrens-literature-then-and-now/

In My Mailbox

These are some books that arrived unsolicited this week.

Classic illustrations convey the magic of St. Nick’s visit, from the shadows cast by his sleigh to the twinkling eyes and rosy cheeks of his friendly face.

A fresh take on a timeless fairy tale

This stunning edition of the favorite fable about a little girl in red on her journey through the woods makes brilliant use of laser die-cut paper and silhouette-like illustrations to enliven every page. Sybille Schenker’s evocative and exquisite illustrations bring a unique beauty and graphic excellence to this beloved favorite.

A young bird finds the strength to overcome bullying

Little Raven was last to hatch in the nest and the last to learn to fly, but he was the first to be teased and ridiculed. His only wish was to fly and play with the others, so one day he took a dare and, to show his courage, Little Raven decides to fly to the moon. Beautifully produced and with artwork from an acclaimed illustrator, this picture book gently handles the issue of wanting to find acceptance.

One of the best loved of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales, this retelling of The Snow Queen is both delightful and accessible.

These timeless, classic stories have been gloriously illustrated and made accessible for younger children to read alone, or for all the family to enjoy together. This fresh approach brings the stories and their characters to life. There are also special pages giving background detail to set the scene of each story.

When the Snow Queen abducts her friend Kai, Gerda sets out on a perilous and magical journey to find him.

Aesop’s Fables and Tales from The Brothers Grimm


Illustrated by Ayano Imai, this new interpretation of Aesop’s Fables is a beautiful addition to your library. Imai’s delightful illustrations bring these classic fables to life again for the modern reader. Though I feel the moral stories behind them will be lost on today’s youth, I don’t believe we should stop exploring the classics with them and opening the door to meaningful discussions.

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Author : Aesop
Illustrator : Imai, Ayano
11.5 x 8.5 in
32 pages
Color throughout, laminated hardcover with jacket
US$ US$17.99, Can$19.99
ISBN : 978-988-8240-52-4Grimm Fairy Tales_HK Cov_zz_Layout 1

Selected and illustrated by Lizabeth Zwerger, this collection of Grimm Fairy Tales explores old favorites like “Hansel and Gretel” and “Briar Rose” along with some lesser known ones. Zwerger’s artwork is stunning and captures the classic feel to these original tales. While definitely a well put together collection, the content of some of these stories can be a bit frightening for young readers.

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Author : Grimm, The Brothers
Illustrator : Zwerger, Lisbeth
9.5 x 11.5 inch
96 pages
Color throughout, laminated hardcover
US$ US$29.99 Can$32.99
ISBN : 978-988-8240-53-1

I received unsolicited copies of these books from a publicist. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.