Scholastic Video // 2001 // 46 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Chief Justice Michael Stailey // January 15th, 2004
Beloved stories come alive in a celebration of friendship, learning, and growing up.
Even more animated tales from the Scholastic Video Collection. For those who haven't read the reviews of Harry the Dirty Dog and More Terrific Tails, Good Night, Gorilla and More Bedtime Stories, or The Snowy Day and More Ezra Jack Keats Stories, Scholastic has compiled a DVD series of classic and award winning children's yarns told in animated form. This particular release focuses on animal tales.
Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type (9 min, 2001)
Written by Doreen Cronin. Illustrated by Betsy Lewin.
Narrated by Randy Travis.
Farmer Brown has a barn filled with talented cows that love to type. So much so, they have begun sending memos demanding electric blankets for those cold country nights. When the farmer refuses, the cows go on strike and convince the hens to do the same. Using a duck as an intermediary, the cows and farmer cut a deal -- relinquish the typewriter in exchange for the electric blankets. While he may think he's out of the woods, Farmer Brown forgets there are many more intelligent animals on his farm.
Thoughts: A humorous modern tale the kids will be sure to enjoy, even more so with the energetic reading of country singer Randy Travis.
The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash (5 min, 1991)
Written by Trinka Hakes Noble. Illustrated by Steven Kellogg.
When a routine school field trip to a local farm turns into one crazy adventure, one mother has a hard time believing her daughter's tall tale. However, working backwards from the end to the beginning, it turns out the whole mess was the result of Jimmy's pet Boa Constrictor who only wanted to meet the other animals.
Thoughts: A quick yet entertaining adventure that takes on the best elements of a Little Rascals episode.
The Pigs' Wedding (7 min, 1990)
Written and Illustrated by Helme Heine.
Narrated by Rex Robbins.
Porker and Curly Tail have agreed marry before a large group of family and friends. When the guests arrive in less than appropriate attire, Porker comes up with an ingenious way to class things up -- custom painted outfits. Complete with a musical dance sequence, the wedding comes off without a hitch, until a sudden storm washes away their new formal attire and leaves everyone in attendance happy as pigs in mud.
Thoughts: Clever and engaging, this Norwegian tale is sure to leave your little ones smiling.
Presented in 1.33:1 full frame format, the transfers for the three main films are, on the whole, a step above those found on other discs in the series. Click, Clack, Moo is the most immaculate, done in digital computer animation. The more traditionally animated stories suffer from a fair amount of grain and dirt. It doesn't appear as if New Video wanted to invest much in cleaning up the prints. The same holds true for the Dolby 2.0 audio track. The newer the tale, the cleaner the track. Then again, a quick narrative and underscore don't really demand a high end remastering. After all, the kids don't care.
The bonus materials spotlight two stories from the Netherlands...
The Cow Who Fell in the Canal (8 min, 1985)
Hendrika is an unhappy farm cow who wants to see the city. Her depression causes her to eat and eat until she becomes fat and accidentally topples into the canal. Landing on an old raft, she floats through the countryside and into the city, her dream come true.
Charlie Needs a Cloak (8 min, 1977)
Charlie is a shepherd who needs a new cloak for the winter and spends the year making one. Comes across more like a lesson in turning sheep's wool into clothing.
The remaining bonus materials, similar to other Scholastic Video releases, include a read-along feature (English subtitles) and a studio trailer. The one difference here is a Spanish version of Click, Clack, Moo for the little ones who are starting their foreign language work early.
At $14.95, New Video has done a nice job at bringing diverse and entertaining stories to children who may spend more time playing video games or watching TV than reading. If it interests them in picking up more books, then all the better. This court is adjourned.
Review content copyright © 2004 Michael Stailey; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Scholastic Video
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 46 Minutes
Release Year: 2001
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Bonus Stories" "The Cow Who Fell in the Canal," "Charlie Needs a Cloak," "Click, Clack, Moo" (in Spanish)
* Read-Along Option
* Studio Trailer