Todd's TV

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
Todd's TV Book Poster Image
Funny way to talk about how much TV is too much.

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Kids say

age 2+
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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value
Positive Messages

The message comes through clearly: Let your child watch too much TV, and your relationship will suffer. Worse still, you may find your child learns more from the TV than from you.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Todd’s parents are well-intentioned and loving, but things go pretty far before they realize they need to do a better job. Once they step up their act, however, they’re the parents every child wants, and every parent hopes to be.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this book won’t reassure them about how much television their kids are watching! The message is pointed at parents, who probably won’t think much of Todd’s parents. But they’ll probably recognize -- guiltily -- a little bit of themselves.

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What's the story?

Todd’s parents love him very much, but they are very busy and have lots of grownup things to do. So they often set him in front of the TV. One day, when his parents realize neither one can make it to his parent-teacher conference, the TV offers to take their place. They agree, and from that point on the TV takes on more and more parenting duties -- even driving Todd to school and taking him on vacation. His parents are grateful … until the TV proposes adopting Todd. Alarmed, they try all sorts of tricks to wrest their son away from the TV. But it’s Todd who proposes a simple, effective solution: Turn it off.

Is it any good?

There are plenty of laughs here, but parents might not enjoy this as much as their children. Regardless, it’s a wonderful jumping-off point for talking about the role of media in the life of a family.

Most parents agree TV shouldn’t be used as a babysitter … but nearly everyone does it. This sly story places the blame squarely -- and uncomfortably -- at the feet of parents who make excuses for parking their kids in front of the television. Children will find the idea of a walking, talking TV taking Todd to school hysterically funny, and they probably will recognize how Todd’s parents use the TV to keep their son occupied.

Black, white, and gray chunky illustrations with pops of tomato red color are funny and engaging.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about their relationships with the television. Does the TV -- or certain characters on your favorite shows -- sometimes feel like part of the family?

  • Todd seems to have a lot of fun with his TV. Why do you think he suggests turning it off?

  • Todd's parents are concerned about the new laptop. How do you think the family could keep the computer from taking over Todd’s life, much like the TV did?

  • Do you ever spend an entire morning or afternoon watching TV? What would you be doing if the television were turned off?

  • What kind of rules does your family have about watching TV or using the computer? Are there rules for parents too?

Book details

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