Slim Goodbody : About Us
Who is Slim Goodbody?
In 1975, John Burstein created the Slim Goodbody character to help him teach healthy living at the Floating Hospital in New York. Five years later, the character exploded on PBS with his first television series, The Inside Story. Today, Slim Goodbody hosts the amazing National Bodyology Tour and now dozens of new characters enhance the full K-8 school curriculum.
Slim Goodbody has entertained children with his unique, exciting and enlightening shows for 30 years. Currently his programs air on over 120 public TV stations nationwide and he has authored more than a dozen children's books. Donning his signature outfit, he educates children by combining humor, music and incredible visuals into an inspiring performance.
How did you come to create Slim?
I had a summer job on board a ship called the Floating Hospital. It's run by a charity. It used to take disadvantaged families for a day's outing around Manhattan. My job was to play music on board. As the ship was involved in health education, I started writing songs about the body and then developed the concept of Slim Goodbody.
What did you do pre-Slim?
I did some acting in NY - way off - Broadway. I studied dance in Belgium, and dramatic literature at University.
Has the bodysuit evolved over the years?
Yes, I've had about a dozen or so. The painting gets better. I've added things like the diaphragm and changed the background colors a bit.
What do you do to stay slim for the bodysuit?
Swim, do aerobics, ride a bike, lift weights and eat right. I try to work out regularly.
Of the various things you've taught kids, which one has the biggest impact?
It's hard to say. My fundamental message is "Your body is full of wonders. That makes you wonderful. Respect and love yourself. You are a miracle". My chief desire is to help children build self-confidence and develop self-respect.
Do you write the songs?
About 80%. I also work with an enormously talented friend, Chris Staudt, who does the arranging and other compositions.
Is being Slim Goodbody your full time career or do you have other projects?
Creating educational programming for children is my full time career. I have created two animated math series - one for kids called Math Monsters, one for teen-agers called X-Power (on algebra). I tour with Symphony orchestras in a young people's concert I created called Symphonasaurus. I also write kids books including a new series of Health books with My Weekly Reader.
Have you tailored what you do in the wake of the reports of childhood obesity?
This has been a growing problem - pardon the pun - for years. I am working on two new shows - "Lighten UP" a series for PBS and a stage show by that same title. I also finished a series of classroom exercises called "Deskercises".
On that topic, how do you address such a subject with sensitivity?
You can't point a finger. You just have to explain key concepts - like calorie in/calorie out, media literacy, 5 a day, etc. and hope the children will put it together.
How did you come to develop Symphonasaurus?
I've always loved classical music. Before this concert I used to do another show with orchestras called A Celebration of Your Self.
Also, what about Math Monsters? It seems like you have a fairly eclectic educational range.
Absolutely. Otherwise boredom would set in. I have learned to enlist the talents of experts to help with the curriculum decisions. My talent is in content delivery.
You've been Slim Goodbody since 1975. Do you ever hear feedback from now grownup students? You're definitely a nostalgic figure to some.
All the time. As I tour the country (about 8 weeks a year) many teachers who were raised with me now bring their kids. I feel honored - not old.
Interview by: Zulkey.com
The Press Speaks
A pioneer in the field of health and body education, Slim Goodbody has been teaching kids about everything from their vertebrae to their ventricles for 30 years.
- Nick Jr.
"Using mostly his own compositions, Slim has created routines on hygeine, exercise and good eating for TV, books, records and personal appearances."
"You may not know this, but a Slim Goodbody phenomenon exists right under our very noses, affecting millions of kids..."
- San Francisco Chronicle
"Burstein developed Slim Goodbody after he encountered a number of children who expressed anxiety and confusion about the workings of their bodies. He has since performed for millions - to unanimous rave reviews."
"Slim Goodbody has an obvious rapport with his audience, performing for millions of enthralled children each year."
- The Boston Globe
"As heroes go, Slim Goodbody is just about perfect."
- TV Guide
"Slim Goodbody's greatest power is that of persuasion."
- The Washington Post
"John Burstein (a.k.a. Slim Goodbody) really puts his heart - and his lungs, stomach and liver - into his work. In a body stocking painted with designs of the his internal organs, [Burstein] has already invited millions of youngsters to "take a look inside and see... what goes on inside of me."
- People Weekly
"I liked it when he sang that food went down, down, down"; said Erika Berson, 8, of Brooklyn, tracing the route of food through her own body. "I never knew it went like that before."
- The New York Times
"Though [Slim Goodbody's] talks are basically aimed at children, adults can enjoy them as well, since his performance is entertaining as well as informative..."
- The Daily News
"Health educators have raved about Burstein#39;s contribution."
- The Chicago Tribune
"Slim Goodbody teaches kids to feel good about their bodies."
- The Philadelphia Inquirer
Slim Goodbody's gift for communication and his love of children will send kids off on a natural high.
- The Parent's Magazine
Slim Goodbody is spreading the message of healthy living.
- The New York Magazine
There is a fabulous audience out there to echo Slim Goodbody's rallying cry: "I'll take good care of my body"
"He's kept a very consistent message on healthy living and lifestyle and providing a good role model as well. And he's making it fun and I think that's the important thing," said Becky Smith, executive director of the American Association for Health Education in Reston, Va.
- USA Today
The huge afro disappeared years ago, but the heart, lungs, stomach and liver look the same. The organs are painted on the colorful body suit worn by the super hero of children's health, Slim Goodbody, who continues to captivate young audiences three decades after he became a regular on CBS Captain Kangaroo.
- Yahoo Asia
Today, when Burstein steps on stage as Slim Goodbody, his goal is same as ever: to motivate people to make better choices.
- The Star : The Kansas City Star