Executive Producer for the new faith-based educational series, LITTLE ANGELS
For preschoolers and kindergartners comes a new faith-based educational series, LITTLE ANGELS, from Executive Producer Roma Downey (“Touched by an Angel”) and Writer Phil Lollar (“Adventures in Odyssey”) on DVD from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. Paula K. Parker recently spoke with Roma Downey about the inspiration and design for this series.
Paula K. Parker: How did LITTLE ANGELS come about?
Roma Downey: For many years I had the privilege of playing an angel on television, bringing a message of God’s love. On a weekly basis, I got to share that message to millions of people. It was such a joy for me, particularly as a person of faith. Now that my own children are teenagers, I thought it would be great if I could bring that same message to a pre-school/kindergarten audience.
I’ve worked with a wonderful animation team, to come up with a beautiful look. I worked with a great writer, Phil Lollar, who wrote for the series, “Adventures in Odyssey.” My intention and design was to create a series that would not only teach young children practical life skills – such as their ABCs, naming and identifying animals, counting and so on – but to be able to introduce them to age-appropriate beloved Bible stories. To offer a tool to families that would help support traditional family values, because the DVDs have many themes throughout them; cooperation, sharing, kindness, forgiveness, dealing with fear; all of the challenges any preschooler would have to face.
The main characters are twins, Alex and Zoe, who are four years of age. On the ceiling of their nursery is a mural of eight little angel characters. When the mom and dad aren’t around, the angels come to life and they fly down and they serve as teachers, protectors and guides to the children.
For example in one episode, our little boy Alex is having trouble tying his shoelace. He wants to give it up because it’s too much hard work. The angel said, “You can’t do that. If every time something got difficult, everybody quit, nothing would happen. Look at Noah, for example.” One of our little angels is Uriel – he’s a painter – and he paints a picture of the ark. Then we have this great device, where the angels and the children are able to go into the picture – as if in a dream – and they end up back in the time with Noah, who’s hammering on the boat. He says, “Ah, you don’t think I didn’t want to quit? This is so hard and I’ve been doing this for years. But God told me to do it and I’m obeying God and trusting God.” Then the rain comes and the children get to watch Noah save the animals two-by-two. Then when the flood rises, a little wave washes the children back into the nursery. Then the angels say, “See; if Noah had just quit, the animals wouldn’t have been saved.” Then Alex gets it and he says, “Okay; I’m going to tie my shoelace.” It’s a lovely little lesson that is so valuable to children, who will always associate the story of Noah with perseverance.
It’s cute and funny and I know, having raised my own kids, I can introduce them to something good for them, but they’re not enjoying it, they won’t sit and watch it. It was important to us to come up with stories lines that were cute and funny, with great animation.
PKP: What is the format of each DVD?
Roma Downey: We have each story broken down segments of seven and a half minutes each. Then we have music videos. There is also a section called, “Little Life Lessons with Roma,” where I talk to parents and encourage ways that families can deepen the stories and find new and imaginative ways to interact with their preschooler. What we found is that if your child watched this and then you sat down for snacks or for dinner, this is a great opportunity to have that bigger conversation about God and to remind your children how much Jesus loves them.
PKP: I understand that MOPS endorsed this series?
Roma Downey: Yes; this is a first time for MOPS and we’re proud to carry the MOPS Seal-of-Approval on all of our DVDs. We also got endorsed by Focus on the Family. We all know that parents are busy and if they’re in the store shopping, this will be a great way for them to know that LITTLE ANGELS is a product they can trust.
PKP: Where can parents purchase these DVDs?
Roma Downey: We’re going into Christian book stores; between now and February, we’re there exclusively. Or you can purchase them from littleangels.com. We also have an apps coming on iTunes on offering daily prayer with your child.
PKP: Last words?
Roma Downey: One of the inspirations for LITTLE ANGELS was a prayer that was taught to me when I was a child and I shared with my own children. At the end of each DVD, Alex and Zoe mom will say this to the children, when she says goodnight. The mom doesn’t have a very large role in the series, but she is there and when she does speak, I voice the role of the mother.
God in Heaven, My Savior Dear, Watch over my children and draw Thou near. Send Your little angels to be at their side To light, to guard, to love, and to guide.