2009 Notable Children's Videos

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2009 Notable Children's Videos Committee: Kathy Krasniewicz, Chair, Perrot Memorial Library, Old Greenwich, Conn.; Edie Ching, St. Alban's School, Washington, D.C.; Pat Clingman, Kettering-Moraine Library Branch, Kettering, Ohio; Molly M. Collins, Malden Public Library, Malden, Mass.; Cora Phelps Dunkley, University of South Florida, Tampa, Fla.; Deborah B. Ford, Instructional Media Center, San Diego, Calif.; Christy Schink, Scenic Regional Library, Union, Mo.; Grace Shanahan, Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, N.Y.; Lisa Marie Smith, Vernon Area Public Library, Lincolnshire, Ill.; Linda Teel, Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, N.C.; and Bina Williams, Bridgeport Public Library, Bridgeport, Conn.

Art. 6min. Weston Woods Studios, DVD.  1-800-243-5020. Ages 3-7.

Art is a little boy who loves doodles and squiggles and dots and dreams.  With original music and narration by jazz artist Bobby McFerrin, Patrick McDonnell’s picture book swings to life in this animated film.

Bats at the Beach.  10min. Nutmeg Media, DVD. Ages 4-8.

Iconographic images from the illustrations by author-illustrator Brian Lies and music by The Flanks bring a moon-bathing bat family’s beach outing to life.  The text is an amusing rhyme, and viewers can follow along with the antics of one little bat throughout the story.


A Box Full of Kittens. 17min. Nutmeg Media, DVD. 1-877-262-3690. Ages 3-7.

This charming iconographic production of Sonia Manzano’s book introduces Ruthie, a superhero-loving Puerto Rican girl who longs to do something heroic for her expectant aunt.  The author’s enthusiastic narration brings humor, voice, and personality to each of her colorful characters.

The Boy Who Cried Wolf.  7min. Weston Woods Studios, DVD. Ages 4-9.
Kulikov’s folksy, warm and humorous illustrations of the B.G. Hennessy retelling are deftly animated and enhanced by the perfectly pitched narration of Peter Scolari. John Jennings’ jazzy music provides vivid accompaniment.

Bugs! Bugs! Bugs!   8min. Weston Woods Studios, DVD. Ages 2-6.

With lively music and vocals by Crystal Taliefero and Bob Barner’s simple verse and vibrant textural collages, this film about all kinds of bugs has high child appeal.  Includes a special bonus segment and interview with the author.

Come Again in Spring.  12min.  National Film Board of Canada.  DVD. 1-800-542-2164. Ages 12 and up.

This quiet animation of a Richard Kennedy story looks at the cycle of life and how an old man bargains with Death (who usually does things by the book) to gain more time in order to feed his birds in spring.

Diary of a Fly. 9min. Weston Woods Studios, DVD. Ages 3-8.

The latest outing in Doreen Cronin and Harry Bliss’ popular series is charmingly narrated by young actress Abigail Breslin whose voice, pacing and accent are pitch-perfect. Full animation, jazzy music, and hilarious text offer an unusual view of an endearing fly finding her way in the world.

Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners. 10min.  Weston Woods Studios, DVD.  Ages 4-8.

Learn how to be a good neighbor and friend in this lighthearted animated adaptation of the book by Laurie Keller.  Wonderful bluegrass style music and voices are provided by Jack Sundrud and Rusty Young.

Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists:  Mary Cassatt. 24min.   Getting to Know, Inc.  DVD. 1-312-642-5526. Ages 8-14.

The great American artist Mary Cassatt is portrayed in this animated tale full of humor and irreverence.  Learn more about Cassatt’s personal life and her influence on the Impressionistic art movement.

Grandfather’s Journey. 10min. Weston Woods Studios, DVD. Ages 5-10.

B.D. Wong is the masterful narrator of this poignant story of an immigrant’s love for both Japan and the United States. Allen Say’s Caldecott Award-winning family memoir is presented in iconographic format, accompanied by moving music by Ernest V. Troost.

Hannah’s Story. 29min. National Film Board of Canada, DVD. Ages 8 and up.

In this extraordinary documentary, we meet Hannah Taylor, a driven, compassionate 11-year-old Canadian girl who works to increase awareness of the homeless through her organization, The Ladybug Foundation.  Hannah inspires many of all ages, including the former Prime Minister of Canada.

I’m Dirty.  8min. Weston Woods Studios, DVD.  Ages 5-10.

A backhoe loader is the star of this animated version of the book written by Kate McMullan and illustrated by Jim McMullan.  Narrated by Steve Buscemi with music by David Mansfield, never has getting dirty on the job been so much fun!

Mack Made Movies.  14min.  Live Oak Media, DVD. 1-800-788-1121. Ages 4-8.

The story of film pioneer Mack Sennett’s life and career is told in this compelling and accessible iconographic version of Don Brown’s highly-honored picture book. Viewers will be entertained and educated by this story of the birth of cinema, fittingly utilizing limited animation and early filmmaking techniques.

Madam President.  9min. Weston Woods Studios.  DVD. Ages 6-10.

Lane Smith’s picture book story of a little girl who imagines what a day would be like if she were president is even more comical in this animated film.  A behind-the-scenes interview with the author answers the age-old question: “Where did you get the idea for this book?”

A Mama for Owen.  9min. Nutmeg Media. DVD. Ages 4-8.

After baby hippo Owen is orphaned in a tsunami, a new friend – an elderly turtle named Mzee – becomes his family. Author Marion Dane Bauer’s narration is perfectly paced, and John Butler’s gentle illustrations are well-served in this iconographic treatment.

March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World. 20min. Weston Woods Studios, DVD. Ages 8 and up.

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s sister, Christine King Farris, offers a unique perspective on events leading up to her brother’s historic speech in Washington in this film that combines the picture book’s original artwork by London Ladd and vintage photographs from the era. Lynn Whitfield’s  sensitive and stirring narration is enriched with audio clips of Mahalia Jackson’s powerful song, crowd noises, and clips from MLK’s speech. Music by Michael Bacon sets the tone for the film and seamlessly accommodates songs of the era. A beautiful celebration of the 45th anniversary of the March on Washington.  (2009 Carnegie Medal winner)

Pharm Parties:  A Lethal Mix.  24min.  Human Relations Media. DVD.  1-800-431-2050. Ages 13 & up.

Viewers learn of dangerous “pharm parties” where prescription and over-the-counter drugs are combined in bowls and made available like trail mix.  This impactful DVD presents riveting real-life stories of some who survived – and of some who did not.

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs.  8min. Weston Woods Studios. DVD. Ages 3-8.

Wolf just wants to set the story straight about what really happened with those pigs in Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith’s hilarious retelling of the classic tale. Paul Giamatti’s voice lends the right tone to this sardonic take, and Chris Thomas King’s lively score adds to the fun.  A bonus interview with Scieszka and Smith is included.

Understanding Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.  13min.  Human Relations Media,  DVD. Ages 12 and up.

The life-altering effects of alcohol use on a developing fetus are dramatically communicated through testimonials of a young victim, her adoptive mother, and medical experts, with a call to stamp out this preventable and devastating syndrome.

What Do You Do with a Tail  Like This?  8min.  Weston Woods Studios. DVD.  Ages 4-8.

In the animal world, noses, eyes, ears, mouths, feet and tails can do really remarkable things.  Steve Jenkins and Robin Page are an incomparable team and their admiration for animals shines through once again in this beautifully animated movie version of their book. James Naughton narrates.

You’re All My Favorites.  10min.  Candlewick Press, DVD.  1-800-733-3000. Ages 2-6.

This animated version of the lovely storybook by Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram is true to the gentle and reassuring tone of the text.  Alan Marriott gives voice to a whole family of bears, managing to make each character distinct, and Lester Barnes’ music is magically calming.