Scholastic Video // 2003 // 56 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Dawn Hunt // May 12th, 2013
"Who will help me eat the cake?"
Another selection from Scholastic's "Scholastic Storybook Treasures" collection, The Red Hen...and more cooking stories is a delightful hour your little ones will enjoy watching.
"The Red Hen" -- Narrated by Walter Mayes, it's an animated tale of a hen who decides to bake a cake and keeps asking for help with all steps. Yet it's only when it's time to eat that anyone is interested.
"Bread Comes to Life" -- Narrated by Lily Tomlin(Malibu Country), it's a live action short detailing how bread is made with an emphasis on the different shapes it takes as well as its production on a mass scale.
"How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food?" -- Narrated by Jane Yolen, who also wrote the short story, it's the animated account that asks the titular question in an effort to teach proper table manners.
"Arnie the Doughnut" -- Narrated by Michael McKean (Clue), it's a cartoon about one doughnut's quest to become more than food for his human.
The Red Hen...and more cooking stories is a fast-paced production with the stories playing one after another. The variance in animation and video will engage youngsters and keep the stories distinct in their minds. All of the selections feature gentle humor, no gross out visuals or sight gags to worry about here. It's suitable for all ages and will especially appeal to those for whom these stories are already beloved tales.
The video changes from story to story. "The Red Hen" is presented in 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen while the rest of the stories are full screen. The palette, while always clear, also changes tonally depending on the story. "The Red Hen" has the most saturated of the palettes, with rich reds and turquoise. "Bread Comes to Life's" live action video is muted to better showcase the browns and tans of the crusts. "How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food?" is highlighted with a palette in a deeper set of tones than the other stories, and "Arnie the Doughnut" is illustrated to mimic chalk drawings so its palette is suitably pale for the most part. The Dolby 2.0 Stereo is perfectly serviceable as any music is definitely in the background and not competing with the narration. The best part of the audio is the read-along track.
The bonus features include a read-along track and a special video segment wherein The Red Hen teaches viewers how to make the "splendid cake" featured in the story. The video goes quick so if your little ones are interested have a paper and pen handy before you watch.
The Red Hen...and more cooking stories is another successful release from Scholastic, combining beloved stories with animation for little ones to enjoy. There's nothing offensive here and it's easy to recommend a purchase for those with kids or who simply love the stories themselves.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Scholastic Video
* 2.40:1 Anamorphic
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 56 Minutes
Release Year: 2003
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Baking Segment
* IMDb: Arnie the Doughnut
* Official Site