Scholastic Video // 2011 // 199 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Erich Asperschlager // January 22nd, 2012
"Make way for ducklings!"
Parents want their children to read more books. Their children want to watch more TV. Scholastic provides the perfect compromise with its Storybook Treasures DVD series, re-imagining classic kids books for the small screen. Their new Caldecott Favorites collection features 20 classic kids' stories, across three themed discs:
Disc One: The Ezra Jack Keats Collection
* The Snowy Day
A boy named Peter explores his neighborhood's snow-covered streets in this Caldecott Medal winner.
* Whistle for Willie
Peter wants to call his dog, Willie, but doesn't know how to whistle.
* Peter's Chair
Peter has trouble adjusting to having a new baby in the house.
* Pet Show!
Archie looks everywhere for his cat so he can be part of the pet show.
* The Trip
Louie misses his friends, so he makes a lightbox that lets him visit them.
* Apt. 3
While exploring their apartment building, Sam and Ben meet a special neighbor.
Disc Two: Antarctic Antics
* Antarctic Antics by Judy Sierra
Like an animated March of the Penguins: The Musical, this collection of 11 songs range from Shel Silverstein-esque poems to surf pop tunes.
* In the Small, Small Pond by Denise Fleming
Narrated by Laura Dern. A poem about life in a small, small pond.
* Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson
The woodland animals have a party in bear's cave while he hibernates.
* Bark, George by Jules Feiffer
Read by John Lithgow. George's mother tries to teach her pup how to bark, but he makes other animal noises instead.
* Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina
The story of a peddler who runs afoul of a gang of cap-stealing monkeys.
* The Hat by Tomi Ungerer
An amazing hat helps a poor beggar do amazing things.
* The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Grey Bridge by Hildegard H.
After being overshadowed by a shiny new suspension bridge, a little lighthouse proves he still has worth.
Disc Three: Make Way For Ducklings
* Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
In this Caldecott Medal winning story, Mrs. Mallard and her ducklings go for a police-escorted waddle through downtown Boston.
* The Story About Ping by Marjorie Flack
When a small duck named Ping misses a ride home, he has his own adventure on the Yangtze river.
* The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Anderson, adapted by Jerry
The classic tale of an outsider who discovers his true self. I still cry at the end.
* Angus and the Ducks by Marjorie Flack
Live action story featuring a button-cute Scottish terrier named Angus. Complete with cheesy Broadway-style theme song my daughter loves.
* Cat and Canary by Michael Foreman
When the feline half of a pair of interspecies best friends takes a wild kite ride, the other launches an aerial rescue.
* Wings: A Tale of Two Chickens by James Marshall
An illiterate chicken gets kidnapped by a fox, and her friend devises a plan to bring her home.
There are only a handful of Caldecott Medal and Honor winners in this set, but don't let deceptive marketing keep you from picking this up for your kids. Caldecott Favorites is more than three hours of fun children's books brought to life. While some are close-ups of static pages, most are animated -- from simple flourishes to full cartoons. There's even one live action story, Angus and the Ducks. The full screen video quality varies from story to story. Some of the older films show their age (especially in the Keats Collection), but the books' individual art styles are well-reproduced. The stereo audio is equally solid, delivering music and narration -- including famous voices like John Lithgow and Laura Dern -- in a clean, balanced mix. All of the stories have the option to watch with "read-along" captions. The only extras on the set are Spanish versions of The Snowy Day, Whistle for Willie, and Make Way for Ducklings.
Books on video might sound like an excuse for kids not to read, but DVDs like Caldecott Favorites are a way to expose your children to a variety of stories in a way they will enjoy. With classic tales by Ezra Jack Keats, Esphyr Slobodkina, and Robert McCloskey, this new Scholastic collection is a great value, however you measure it.
Review content copyright © 2012 Erich Asperschlager; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Scholastic Video
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 199 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Spanish Versions
* IMDb: The Snowy Day
* IMDb: Antarctic Antics
* Official Site