Case Number 21148: Small Claims Court


Scholastic Video // 1968 // 66 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // April 17th, 2011

The Charge

Stories to celebrate Asian heritage.

The Case

Here's another themed collection of old-school Scholastic read-along stories, grouped together to give some love to "Asian heritage," which here refers to China and Japan. Alas, no love for the Koreas.

"Tikki Tikki Tembo"
By Arlene Mosel
When I worked in a preschool years ago, this was one of my favorite books to read during storytime. It's intoxicating fun to say "Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo" over and over. And like any good storybook for babies from way back when, the central conflict features children in mortal danger of excruciating death.

"The Tale of the Mandarin Ducks"
By Katherine Paterson
No content to cede adult thematic to material to Tikki, this story tells of a cruel Chinese lord who captures a beautiful drake. A female servant, overcome with compassion, releases the drake, and the lord's one-eyed warrior sidekick is wrongfully blamed. The two are brought together in their shared love for the duck, though when the lord discovers their relationship he orders them drowned! Luckily, they're saved by the duck and the duck's girlfriend who transform into Imperial messengers. Wow.

"Grandfather's Journey"
By Allen Say
A far more sedate tale. The writer details the trips of his grandfather from Japan to the USA and back again. Pretty meek stuff compared to the bad-assness that precedes it.

"The Stonecutter"
By Gerald McDermott
This is more like it. A stonecutter craves more and more power from the mountain spirit, demanding to be the sun and a thundercloud so he can wreak havoc on civilians. In the end, he asks to be a mountain and I'm pretty sure he's damned for an eternity of weeping and gnashing his teeth in the bowels of the rock.

"Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China"
By Ed Young
Just as terrifying as it sounds. Why are those kids sleeping in the same bed as that demonic wolf with the glowing white eyes?!

"Sam and the Lucky Money"
By Karen Chin
Thankfully, we end all this soul-rending horror with a nice story about a kid who decides to spend his money not on toys or candy, but buying a pair of shoes for a homeless man. I'm sure the unabridged version had him murdering the guy in the back alley afterwards.

Full frame, 2.0 stereo, and a read-along option.

The Verdict

Not Guilty. I hear Tarantino is looking at a feature film adaptation.

Review content copyright © 2011 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 80

Perp Profile
Studio: Scholastic Video
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)

* English

Running Time: 66 Minutes
Release Year: 1968
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* None

* None