Scholastic Treasury of 100 Storybook ClassicsFall 2008 DVD
Ages: 3 - 8 yrs.
Producer: New Video
DVD Price: $99.95
Review:It really doesn't get any better than this: Scholastic has compiled DVD versions of 100 beloved children's books into a simply packaged 16-DVD collection. The titles, authors, narrators and musicians are seemingly endless. Cyndi Lauper reads and provides songs for There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, while John Lithgow does a masterful job of narrating the charming Officer Buckle & Gloria. Debby Boone narrates a live-action rendering of Marjorie Flack's Angus and the Ducks. Several Kevin Henke stories, among them Chrysanthemum, Owen and A Weekend with Wendell, come to life with narrations by, respectively, Meryl Streep, Sarah Jessica Parker and Mary Beth Hurt. One DVD offers a mischief theme and features animated takes on Curious George Rides a Bike, Flossie and the Fox, The Great White Man-Eating Shark, Cat and Canary, and The Happy Lion. Maurice Sendak merits a DVD of his own, with Where the Wild Things Are, The Nutshell Kids and In the Night Kitchen receiving the animated treatment. The DVD also features an informative live-action "Getting to Know Maurice Sendak" extra. Crockett Johnson's wonderful Harold and the Purple Crayon, A Picture for Harold's Room and Harold's Fairy Tale are realized without losing any of the simplicity that made their print counterparts so evocative and easy to follow, while farm animals are the focus of a DVD that includes Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type, The Pigs' Wedding, The Cow Who Fell in the Canal, The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash and Charlie Needs a Cloak. Africa gets its due in a set of folk tales that includes the particularly colorful Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears (narrated by James Earl Jones in that authoritative basso voice of his), A Story, A Story, and Who's in Rabbit's House? And there are (mild) frights aplenty in the DVD that highlights A Dark, Dark Tale, By the Light of the Halloween Moon, The Three Robbers, The Teacher from the Black Lagoon and What's Under My Bed?. The challenges of growing up are explored via a set that boasts the touching Is Your Mama a Llama? (read by Amy Madigan), Goose (narrated by Laura Dern), Five Creatures, Leo the Late Bloomer and Elizabeti's Doll (narrated by Lynn Whitfield). And, quite deservedly, both Ezra Jack Keats and Robert McCloskey merit DVDs devoted to their respective classic stories. The quality of the animation varies from title to title, with much of it extraordinary and some of it rudimentary at best, not surprising considering how old (and old-school) some of the animated segments are. Any parent who fears that their children may miss out on the experience of actually reading books by watching these DVDs can click on the "read along" feature on each and every story, thereby enabling kids to join along with the narrator in telling the tales; true, it's not exactly the same as hunkering down with a book, but some exposure to these stories is better than none at all. And ten of the stories, including Curious George Rides a Bike, Stone Soup and Where the Wild Things Are, are given the Spanish-language treatment. All in all, one can't demand much more bang for the buck than Scholastic's Treasury of 100 Storybook Classics, which clocks in at nearly 900 minutes and retails for less than $100.
Ian Spelling ©2008 Parents' Choice
Ian Spelling has spent two-plus decades working as a freelance journalist, the past 12 of them as a full-time freelance writer covering movies, television, music and comedy. He's written for The New York Times Syndicate, Reader's Digest, OnDirecTV, SCIFI.COM, TV Guide, The Bergen Record and many other outlets over the years. Spelling, who hails from Merrick, New York -- the home of Amy Fisher, Deborah Gibson and Lindsay Lohan -- currently lives in northern New Jersey with his wife, Linda, and their two children, as well as the world's best dog, Oreo.
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