Drums, please! – DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince
Yeah, let’s have a drum roll, why not? I am SO proud to introduce the musical preschool show my sister, Polly, and I been developing with Martyn at King Bee Animation over the last three years – longer if you count the time I spent writing and recording the songs.
And here she is ready for roll-out to the industry at this week’s Children’s Media Conference (CMC) in Sheffield – Daisy Digs It!
About Daisy Digs It
I use the word ‘she’ to describe Daisy Digs It because she’s like a boat, a vessel containing everything that’s important to me – my work as a children’s writer and musician; my passion for outdoor learning; my love of fantasy children’s fiction.
But I also do it because she is ‘girl-skewed’, meaning she has a feisty, inquisitive, modern, ‘can-do’ heroine at the heart of the action.
Actually, this isn’t the first iteration of Daisy (along the way, there have been several different versions) and it isn’t even the final one. Although Polly and I loved this image, we still wanted to make a few changes – tweaking the colour palette and adding a daisy key chain after a suggestion by Martyn’s daughter, who thought it would be cool if Daisy had a daisy clipped to the pocket of her dungarees.
The final Daisy is the one you see at the top of this post and she was created, along with the show’s other characters and backgrounds, by designer, Patrycja Kaczmarek.
The essence of Daisy
Patrycja has definitely caught the essence of Daisy, a little girl who loves singing, digging and finding out about the world, who digs anywhere you can use a spade and who loves making friends with the animals, plants and other characters she meets along the way.
But there’s more.
Daisy can morph. She can shrink to the size of a wildflower, grow wings like a butterfly or tunnel underground like a worm. She doesn’t always do this (only when the story demands) but it’s a great way for her to step into her new friends’ shoes and discover what makes them tick.
Music in Daisy Digs It
To me, this ability to take on the characteristics of others is an extended form of empathy and it comes in handy when Daisy sings and plays with the characters she meets, intuitively picking up their musical styles – blues, jazz, Motown, ska, calypso, samba, Afrobeat, folk, rap, disco, punk and more – and jamming with them.
This is such a key part of early years music teaching – listening, dancing and playing along to music from across the world; recognising and honouring children’s musical heritages – that I wanted to put it at the heart of the show.
I’ll write more about the music in Daisy Digs It in my next blog post so for now, I’ll just say that the show is packed with children’s songs that are catchy, relatable, singable and fun.
A ‘fun lovin’ criminal‘
Which brings me to the other main Daisy Digs It protagonist – miniature wire-haired dachshund (‘badger hound’) and ‘fun lovin’ criminal’, Badger.
Badger is Daisy’s best friend. A lovable clown, he’s drawn to the baser things in life – smells, dirty water, rotten food – and likes nothing more than rolling in soil, compost, mud and anything else he can get his paws on.
As such, he’s perfect for demonstrating the muckier aspects of outdoor learning – something kids love and something I’ve learned a lot about since I started teaching music in outdoor settings!
As you’ve probably guessed, outdoor learning is a key theme in Daisy Digs It – as is messy play. Other themes are curiosity, exploration, discovery and making friends. And magic and music.
It’s probably best if I sum it up as I’ve done in our pitch bible – the illustrated guide we’ll use to introduce the show to broadcasters at the CMC:
‘Daisy and Badger get down and dirty with nature in this magical, musical edutainment series about digging in, getting messy and making friends.’
I can’t wait!