Wolf! Wolf! Judge Clark Douglas has seen a wolf! No, really!
Your favorite classic children's stories brought to life on DVD.
Wish your kids would spend more time reading instead of sitting in front of the television? Why not compromise and let 'em do both with The Boy Who Cried Wolf…and More Children's Fables from the Scholastic Storybook Treasures collection? Essentially, the DVD offers animated versions of five children's books, faithfully read word-by-word. However, they're also designed to enhance reading skills—as the narrator reads the story, the words appear on-screen so the kids can follow along.
The following five shorts are offered in this collection:
"The Boy Who Cried Wolf": A bored shepherd boy attempts to generate some excitement by telling the whole village that wolves are trying to eat his sheep. This cautionary tale about lying is a very traditional version of the story. The animation is clean and fluid; one of the slickest-looking installments of the set. Written by B.H. Hennessy, illustrated by Boris Kulikob and narrated by Peter Scolari (Bosom Buddies).
"Charlie Needs a Cloak": Poor Charlie's cloak gets torn and tattered, forcing him to spin a new one out of wool. The story offers kids a simple lesson on how wool is sheared from sheep, washed and eventually turning into clothing. The animation is simpler than in "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" but still satisfyingly busy. Written, illustrated and narrated by Tomie dePaola.
"Rikki-Tikki-Tavi": A family rescues a little Mongoose, who returns the favor by defending his family from a deadly cobra. I always loved this story as a kid, though its presentation on this disc is a little dry. This is partially due to the fact that we're offered a series of still images from the book rather than animation. Written by Rudyard Kipling, adapted and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney and narrated by Michael York (Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery).
"Seven Blind Mice": A group of blind mice discover some sort of large thing nearby and attempt to figure out what it is. The first six mice all come up with different conclusions, forcing the seventh mice to put the pieces together and solve the mystery. This was the only story in this collection I wasn't previously familiar with, but it's a charming little tale (if more specifically geared at very young kids than the others). The colorful animation is charming. Written and illustrated by Ed Young and narrated by B.D. Wong (Jurassic Park).
"Stone Soup": A group of French soldiers attempt to procure food and shelter from the selfish residents of a French village. This fun story about resourcefulness has long been popular with kids. Like "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi," this short only offers stills taken directly from the book. Written, illustrated, and narrated by Marcia Brown.
The DVD transfer is solid enough, though "Charlie Needs a Cloak" suffers from a few scratches and flecks. In addition, there's some color bleeding throughout "Stone Soup" (the grayscale palette with generous dashes of bright red littered throughout lends to this). The simple mono audio is effective enough, with an emphasis on the narration (small-scale musical scores and occasional sound effects are present, but less prominent). Supplements include interviews with Boris Kulikov and Ed Young and some discussion questions for parents.
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Studio: Scholastic Video
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