Storytime Pup: The YouTube channel for kids
“Storytime Pup” is a YouTube channel for kids aged 3 to 8 that is both fun and educational. Created by father of three Bill McManus – a father to three “all grown up” children, Ryan, 24, Colin, 21, and Shannon, 17 – the series gives kids the ability to follow along as Storytime Pup reads some of the top children’s books by many great and award-winning authors.
With over a hundred books to choose from, the success of Bill’s idea has resulted in more than 100,000 views. In this profile, Bill was kind enough to share some of the stories behind the creation and motivation of this loveable character.
How did the idea for Storytime Pup come about?
I was tired of the stress of the corporate world and wanted to start a fun project or business. I love children and wanted to start a children’s YouTube channel. My wife suggested I read children’s books. I thought videos of me just reading books might not be engaging or entertaining enough. I then started to think about what my kids loved when they were young. My son Ryan just loved Barney the Dinosaur. So, I thought of a big lovable character reading children’s books might work. I immediately thought of a big white puppy dog and Storytime Pup was born.
How long does it take to put together each episode?
It depends on the length of the book and the number of illustrations. It typically takes 2 to 3 hours. Creating each video requires a multi-step process, consisting of:
- Image capture of all illustrations
- Audio recording
- Video recording
- Video/Audio/Music syncing and editing
- Video rendering/upload
What has the best piece of feedback you’ve had from a viewer/parent been?
I have gotten lots of great feedback on the Storytime Pup Channel. I would have to say the best feedback is when parents tell me that they have made Storytime Pup part of their nightly bedtime ritual. I have also received some great photos of kids enjoying Storytime Pup and this touches my heart.
What was your favourite book to read to your kids?
Wow, that is a tough question. I used to read to my children every night. Even as they got older when we started reading books like the Harry Potter series. So, I read a LOT of books. But I do have some memorable ones that were the kids’ favorites.
My son Ryan really loved construction. I remember reading Road Builders by Barbara G. Hennessy nearly every night. My son Colin liked Sesame Street’s Grover. I remember reading Grover’s Adventure Under the Sea by Jim Henson, Children’s Television Workshop. I can still hear him saying “yoo-hoo, dolphin”. My daughter Shannon loved to look for the mouse on each page of Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown.
Which book would you most like to turn into an episode?
I would love to do Put Me In The Zoo for old-time sake. It really was one of my favorites when I was a kid. Or any of the Dr. Seuss children’s books. I was in contact with them, but sadly I was not given permission. I have to be careful not to violate any copyright laws. I get written permission from every author of the books I feature on my channel.
How has parenting changed in the last 30 years, specifically regarding the role of dads?
It seems to me that parenting has become less “hands-on” than it used to be when I was growing up or when I was raising my kids. People seem so busy with their lives and careers these days. I don’t see as many parents outside playing ball with their kids, sled-riding or flying kites. Society has really changed us. I like the “good-old days”; I like to keep things “old school”. My boys tease me about that. That’s why I kept Storytime Pup kind of “old-school; no real flashy graphics. An old-school twist on new technology to try to entertain and bring the joy of reading to kids.
What do we do right as dads? What do you think we can do better?
What do we do right? Most dads like to laugh and play and act silly. We truly act like kids sometimes. Acting child-like is great. Kids love it. Do more of it, Dads!
What can we do better? Spend more quality time with our kids. They grow up way too fast. Then you will long for the days when they were little like I do. Put your computers and cell phones away. Take your kids, fishing, camping, wrestle on the floor with them or play hide and seek. And last but not least, read to them every night. It is a great bonding time. And maybe even watch the Storytime Pup Channel with them.
Finally, we like to end all of our profiles by asking our “Heart Talks” question: What five things do you think your kids should’ve known by the time they turned 18?
- The importance of family.
- The importance of respect.
- How to love themselves and others.
- To do what they love to do and what makes them happy.
- They need to understand that life is precious and short. Live, Laugh and Love as much as you can.
As we mentioned earlier, there are over one hundred videos to choose from with new videos added every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. You’ll find the Storytime Pup YouTube channel here.