Perhaps it is unfair to expect a biography of Sesame Street to have the same magic as the show itself but Street Gang – The Complete History of Sesame Street is long on information and short on magic. If you like biographies, Street Gang is interesting but not much more than that. If you are a Sesame Street fan, this book will not get a cookie.
This is a well written, competent book. It focuses on the various travails and tribulations of Joan Ganz Cooney and Lloyd Morrisett, V.P. of the Carnegie Foundation to get the show together and on the air and in the beginning keep it there.
Street Gang – The Complete History of Sesame Street also features chapters on Jim Henson, the early years of children’s TV including a not so rosy look at Captain Kangaroo, and the problems the show encountered with various educational experts and so on.
Other chapters have biographical information about the various actors who played the humans and Muppets on the show. These chapters are rather formulaic: so and so grew up in this place and then this happened and that explains why years later he or she joined Sesame Street. Michael Davis does not always paint a rosy picture
Street Gang – The Complete History of Sesame Street fails in capturing the magic of the Muppets and the show itself. You get the mechanics and the stories but Davis fails to really make it more than just biographical and historical information.