Around 1998 or so we got a call at The Ink Tank from producer Sonia Rosario who was working to WGBH to develop a literacy show with some of the creative forces behind Sesame Street.
The show, "Between the Lions", was being created by a new company, Sirius Thinking. The principals behind the show were Christopher Cerf, Sesame Street's great post-Joe Raposo composer, Michael Frith, coming from the Creative Director position at Henson where he created "Fraggle Rock", and Norman Stiles, head writer of Sesame Street for many seasons.
They were producing two episodes as pilots.
We were asked to create all the animation for these two shows and well as three live action segments.
We budgeted the work load of the series based on the promise of producing all the show's animation.
When the series went into full production, various studios were contracted at the rates we labored to figure for the pilots. It took Brian and I about two solid weeks to figure out such a complex budget.
I admit, that bothered me at the time. The world keeps spinning and we've gone on to do good work for the show as well as other projects with the WGBH, Sirius Thinking and other folks involved in the show.
That's the problem with "caring" about the work. You can also be let down.
I don't even remember creating the above board. I don't recognize the illustration either.
The series has a dual pedagogy. The overall "theme" story uses the "whole language" technique. It's sort of like immersion. Words are introduced in context and highlighted.
These are boards for the "whole story".
A variation on his highlighting technique made into some segments in the broadcast series.
Ultimately, Between the Lions chose my favorite designs. In a rare move they picked the least "cartoony".
Michael Frith suggested something in the style of Walter Crane.
These are screen grabs from the "textless" version of the film. The funny framing is to make space for copy.
One guess who animated it. A quick glance at the crows on top or the fox on left should be plenty of material.