British hospital's digital series gives children's classics a new twist


In one of the stories, Alice helps Tweedledee overcome his fears and worries through play after Tweedledum leaves for the hospital. The story is read by British actor Matt Lucas. Photos: The Power Of Play

We know how the poem in Alice In Wonderland goes: “Tweedledum and Tweedledee agreed to have a battle; for Tweedledum said Tweedledee had spoiled his nice new rattle...”

They fight over the broken rattle until a crow swoops down and scares them, causing them to forget their argument.

Now there is a new take on this story on The Power Of Play, a children’s literature hub brought to you by the Great Ormond Street Hospital (Gosh) Charity in Britain.

The Great Ormond Street Hospital is a children’s hospital located in London.

In the new poem Dee Without Dum, Tweedledee is all alone after Tweedledum leaves for the hospital. He is worried and lonely, but Alice helps him overcome his fears through play, music and laughter.

The story is read by British actor Matt Lucas, making it a unique way to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s Alice Through The Looking Glass.

In a new Peter Pan story, Tinker Bell is determined to help him  Peter Pan cope after he finds himself without the Lost Boys.In a new Peter Pan story, Tinker Bell is determined to help him Peter Pan cope after he finds himself without the Lost Boys.

“The world of childhood has changed so much since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Children have missed out on time with family, school and play dates. Now, as well as everyday challenges, like falling out with friends or first-day-at-school nerves, they are having to cope with the worries of living with a global pandemic. There is one simple, powerful tool you can use to help the children in your life with these worries – play,” says a statement on the British hospital’s website.

The Gosh Play team, a group of specialists at the children’s hospital that uses play techniques to help children overcome challenges and build emotional resilience, has developed a series of free activities and resources to help children through life’s challenges.

The stories have been created by Adam & Eve/DDB, the characters’ IP owners and Gosh’s play team.

Each story offers children a specific kind of support, including how to deal with anxiety, loneliness and fear of the unknown.

For children, dealing with a serious illness can be tough. In a mini 'Beano' comic strip, Dennis – along with sidekick Gnasher – explores how play can help him cope.For children, dealing with a serious illness can be tough. In a mini 'Beano' comic strip, Dennis – along with sidekick Gnasher – explores how play can help him cope.

In a statement, Laura Walsh, head of play at Gosh, said: “Using our years of experience as play specialists at Gosh, we have teamed up with Gosh Charity and some much-loved children’s characters to create our Power of Play hub and bring to life the transformative power of play.

“We’re really proud to offer parents free, trustworthy, practical tips and resources to help their children embrace play to overcome their worries and discover all that life has to offer them.”

Besides the Dee Without Dum poem narrated by Lucas, other activities and stories include a new Peter Pan tale – a first one in 15 years – illustrated by Julian Beresford, in which Tinker Bell comes up with a game to give Peter the confidence he needs to make new friends.

'The Paper Dolls' by Julia Donaldson and Rebecca Cobb explores the imaginative ways children can cope with loss.'The Paper Dolls' by Julia Donaldson and Rebecca Cobb explores the imaginative ways children can cope with loss.

There’s also a story revolving around new siblings and change; an exclusive issue of Beano where Dennis and Gnasher learn how to deal with a cancer diagnosis; and activity sheets inspired by children’s books like Julia Donaldson’s The Go Away Bird (illustrated by Catherine Rayner) and The Paper Dolls (illustrated by Rebecca Cobb).

There are video guides from the Gosh Play team, too, showing play techniques parents can use with their children to help them deal with change and uncertainty.

A new Horrid Henry animated story and an audio book from CBeebies’ JoJo and Gran Gran will also join the line up on the hub in October.

More here.

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