Scholastic Video // 2006 // 62 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // March 17th, 2006
Families are the focus for this buffet of Scholastic read-alongs. Three stories, plus a hefty bonus, comprise the selection for this disc, and the illustration styles range from pan and scan over the original book drawings to partial animation. What they all have in common: the desire to make you well up with emotion as the sight of families who love each other, no matter how poorly drawn their teeth are.
* "I Love You Like Crazy Cakes"
By Rose Lewis; Narrated by Mia Farrow
Two countries, miles apart. In one, Chinese babies lie in cribs hanging out with nannies, but lacking mothers. In the United States, Rose Lewis (the author based this story on her own experiences) longs for a child. She hops a plane to find herself a young'un and returns with some precious cargo. Ensuing scenes of cuddling will surely melt your stone heart.
* "Three Cheers for Catherine the Great!"
By Cari Best; Narrated by Ekaterina Gordeeva
Young Sara's Russian grandmother is set to celebrate her birthday and implore her family and friends to come bearing no presents. Instead of showing up with loot then, everyone presents grandma with something special and simple: a haircut, a dance, a song. But what is Sara to do? She spend most of this story's impressive 18 minute runtime determining the "no present" -- until it hits her. The old battle axe doesn't know how to read or write English, so Sara will teach her! (Good luck with all that.)
* "Five Creatures"
By Emily Jenkins
This simple tale tells us about a family and their two cats, and how everyone gets along with each other. There's some counting lessons thrown in as well, if the incessant meowing doesn't get you first.
Nice, sweet stories, all three of them. That's about all there is to say. If you're intent on cramming as many of these read-alongs as possible down your kid's throat, here's the family-oriented disc to complete your collection. Only one bonus story comes with, but it's a big 25 minute one: "Uncle Elephant," by Arnold Lobel, a trippy tale about a young elephant and how he bonds with his cool, wrinkly uncle with the unoriginal name. The stop-motion puppetry used for this story is actually pretty neat-o.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Scholastic Video
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 62 Minutes
Release Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* "Uncle Elephant"
* Read Along
* Auto Play