Buttons & Figs
By Mary Field,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Wacky, silly use of language to teach literary nonsense.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this podcast.
Includes many examples of nonsense literature and prompts for kids to create their own writing. Provides activities, resources, and prompts that can easily transfer to educational lessons or settings.
Creativity can be found when playing with words, meanings, and sounds. Language can be used to create silly stories filled with nonsensical words and unique meanings.
Positive Role Models
Kids and adults can use language to be silly and express creativity. Creator Pamela Rogers' passion and talent for engaging kids in creative and clever writing shine throughout each episode. Kid listeners and fans of the show are featured.
Violence & Scariness
Some Halloween episodes use descriptive language that may be inappropriate for younger listeners. For example, one scene is described as having ropes, needles, chairs, and cold metal cuffs, paired with the phrases "man was a hunter and I was the prey" and "body rotted away on a cold metal chair." (These episodes include age recommendations in their titles.)
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Buttons & Figs, created by Pamela Rogers, is a one-of-a-kind podcast that aims to inspire kids to see nonsense literature as a form of play and fun through expression. The show is quirky and odd in a way that's enticing, and the high-quality audio, sound effects, and creativity behind each episode will keep listeners of all ages engaged. The variety of episode structures, lengths, and content matches the show's overall angle that nonsense writing can be unpredictable, silly, messy, and filled with creative play. A level of understanding and ability to think critically is required for comprehending the cleverness found within the nonsense literature genre. Examples of well-known works like Eric Carle's "The Nonsense Show" are included in some episodes. A few specific Halloween episodes include more mature verbal content (ex. "body rotted away on a cold metal chair"), but these shows have age recommendations included in their titles.
Where to Listen
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What’s It About?
BUTTONS & FIGS is a unique podcast that offers kids the opportunity to learn and interact with nonsense literature, a lesser-known genre of writing that has an air of silliness and fun. The podcast and its resources aim to inspire kids to think critically and express themselves creatively. Each episode differs from the next. Some offer short interactive activities that encourage play with language. Some introduce mentor texts as models for listeners. Others have kids publish their own nonsense stories by reading them aloud on the show.
Is It Any Good?
This is an excellent listen for teachers and parents looking for ideas, activities, and mentor texts to use in more traditional learning spaces like a classroom or after-school writing club. Several of the resources found on the podcast's website are adapted for classroom and teacher use.
The show's creator, Pamela Rogers, also offers workshop-style sessions tailored to groups through libraries or schools. Many of the shows feature kids that Rogers has worked with or who are devout fans of the podcast. So if a young listener is a big fan of the show or nonsense lit, odds are good that they might get an opportunity for their own cameo on the show at some point.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the meaning of nonsense literature. How is it used in the Buttons & Figs podcast?
What is a simile? Can you use a simile in a nonsensical and silly way?
Have you ever made up a word or language? If so, what was it and what were some of the words? If not, can you think of a language you would make up?
- Release date: September 7, 2016
- Genre: Educational
- Average Run Time: 18 minutes
- Website: https://buttonsandfigs.com/
- Host: Pamela Rogers
- Publisher: Independent
- Pricing structure: Free
- Last updated: January 27, 2023
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Where to Listen
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