Scholastic Video // 2010 // 62 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Clark Douglas // December 5th, 2010
The #1 Award-Winning Children's DVD Series.
Wish you could read to your kids more often but just don't have much time on your hands? While there's no substitute for actually spending time reading a book to the little one, I suppose The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs...and More Animal Adventures is the next-best thing. Several children's books have been lightly illustrated and are read in their entirety for your family's enjoyment. In addition, text appears on-screen as the stories are read so the kiddies can follow along and improve their reading skills.
The following five stories are offered on this DVD:
"The True Story of the Three Little Pigs": The Big Bad Wolf is disgruntled about the fact that no one seems to know the real story of how things went down between himself and the pigs way back when. It's a fun, gently macabre variation on a well-known tale, and the animation is warmly delightful. Written by Jon Scieska, illustrated by Lane Smith and narrated by Paul Giamatti (American Splendor).
"The Pigs' Wedding": Porky and Curleytail are getting married, but their guests are all filthy and don't have any proper attire. The two lovebirds concoct a solution involving a whole lot of paint. The tale is slight but pleasant enough, and the very spare animation gets the job done. There's a musical number, too! Written and illustrated by Helme Heine.
"Henry Builds a Cabin": A bear named Henry decides he needs a place to live and begins building a cabin. However, Henry ends up building something vastly bigger than he initially planned. The artwork has a distinct, attractive look but the short receives almost no actual animation (just a few simple things, like a hammering motion when Henry works on his cabin). Written and illustrated by D.B. Johnson and narrated by James Naughton (The Devil Wears Prada).
"Wallace's Lists": Wallace enjoys keeping lists of absolutely everything in his life -- his possessions, things he likes, types of weather and so on. I can dig it. However, the story is about the virtues of spontaneity and improvisation, which Wallace learns about when a neighbor named Albert turns up. The animation is quite active in this short, though the illustrations it's based on are very simple. Written by Barbara Bottner and Gerald Kruglik, illustrated by Olaf Landstrom and narrated by Zach Braff (Scrubs).
"This is the House That Jack Built": A slightly irreverent re-telling of that long-winded story about the cat that killed the rat that ate the cheese that lay in the house that Jack built. The occasionally loopy animation is fun, preventing the story from becoming wearisome. Written and illustrated by Simms Taback and narrated by Mandy Patinkin (The Princess Bride).
The DVD transfer is mostly excellent, though "The Pigs' Wedding" looks a bit dingy at times. Audio is sturdy, with emphasis on narration (speaking of which, Paul Giamatti does a particularly delightful job with "The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs"). Extras include interviews with Joe Scieszka and Lane Smith in addition to discussion questions to be used after kids watch the DVD.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Scholastic Video
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 62 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Discussion Questions
* Official Site