A series of character-building dolls inspired by a Muppet-like TV show will soon hit the market.
"Good News Dolls" hit the market Nov. 15.
Good News Toys, a series of 16 hand-crafted dolls, are a creation of the Chrisagis Brothers, whose TV show and tour featuring the puppet Good News Gang sparked the new line of dolls. The dolls will be available Nov. 15 at www.goodnewstoys.com and various Christian bookstores.
All of the dolls, most of which cost $23.99, come with a CD that includes stories and songs for character-building.
"We are shocked when we go into schools and churches how many kids don't think they're worth anything," said Brian Chrisagis from the brothers' business in Yorkville, Ohio. He said the "latchkey" phenomenon is still strong, and its effects are detrimental to self-worth.
Each doll conveys a specific value or theme. For example, the Whozee-Whatzit teaches self-worth, Molly Parsons teaches gossip is hurtful, and Beartholomew teaches patriotism.
Each CD features one or two songs and lasts between 12 and 30 minutes. It progresses like a musical, scripted by the Chrisagis brothers.
"The songs really do teach a message," said Shawn Chrisagis. "The skits are sometimes funny, sometimes very serious." All in all, though, they rely on humor as a teaching tool.
Twins Brian and Shawn have worked in the entertainment field for more than 20 years. As puppeteers, their "Good News Gang" TV show ran on the Wheeling, W. Va., CBS affiliate for three years before becoming syndicated on the Sky-Angel satellite network.
"They're very sincere in what they do," said Kathy Johnson, Sky Angel's vice president of programming. "I highly recommend the TV show, and if their products are like the TV show, they're probably going to have a winning product line."
The Chrisagis brothers decided about a year ago to proceed with the line of dolls, hoping to get them in U.S. stores after deciding there was a market—and need. The dolls were designed by the twins themselves, patterned after the puppets on the show, and manufactured in Hong Kong.
"We want the dolls to be play for the kids," Shawn said, "but also the CDs can teach something." The dolls come with accessories that can be removed so younger children can play with them.
The dolls are created to emphasize innocence, Shawn said, adding that too many kids' products use sexual overtones.
"We're trying to keep them [children] young as long as we can," Shawn said.
And yet, the Chrisagis brothers said the dolls aren't just for children.
"Each one is made not just for the child. It's actually made for the family," Brian said. "Parents should sit down with their children and listen with them."
Cliff Vaughn is culture editor for EthicsDaily.com.
The Good News Toys Web site is www.goodnewstoys.com.