And Then It’s Spring, 8 min., Weston Woods, DVD, 1-800-243-5020, Ages 4-8
The long, brown time of winter finally gives way to the new green of spring in Julie Fogliano's story, tenderly illustrated by Erin Stead. Little touches of animation, bird sound effects, and perfect pacing allow children to experience waiting patiently for seeds to sprout while taking time to listen, observe, and imagine.
The Ant and the Grasshopper, 6 min., Weston Woods, DVD, Ages 3-6
When the hard-working ant meets the musical grasshopper, she takes a break to enjoy the boogie band. The band then accompanies her back to the colony, bringing its "joyful noise" underground. Blues musician, Chris Thomas King, provides the perfect soundtrack and narration. Rebecca and Ed Emberley's vibrant book comes alive with great sound effects and animation by Soup2Nuts.
Bear Has a Story to Tell, 9 min., Weston Woods, DVD, Ages 2-6
Fall is here and while Bear really wants to share his story, his friends need help getting ready for winter. Erin Stead’s spare illustrations gently animated by Cha-Pow!, a full cast of narrated voices, and an engaging soundtrack enhance Philip Stead’s lovely story of patience and friendship.
Bink & Gollie: Two for One, 14 min., Weston Woods, DVD, Ages 4-8
Friends Bink and Gollie experience a roller coaster of emotions at the state fair: failure, disappointment and ultimately satisfaction. Lively animation of Tony Fucile’s art, spots of brilliant color, and a full cast of narrators recreate three vignettes that exemplify the bonds of friendship in the adaptation of this beginning reader by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee. (2014 Carnegie Medal)
Blackout, 7 min., Weston Woods, DVD, Ages 4-8
John Rocco’s Caldecott Honor Award-winning book is enhanced with animation, sound effects, a jazzy musical score, and Stanley Tucci’s droll narration. A sudden blackout becomes not a disaster but a chance for a family to get together with neighbors and each other in this story, which is truly a love song to a city.
Children and Grief, 40 min., Professor Child, DVD, 1-541-598-4077, All ages
Powerful and emotional, this documentary-style film features children sharing about the loss of a loved one. A difficult and painful subject is humanized and made accessible through the honesty and bravery of the young people interviewed.
Coretta Scott, 7 min., Weston Woods, DVD, Ages 4-8
Phylicia Rashad brilliantly narrates Ntozake Shange’s fine poetic text that pairs wonderfully with Kadir Nelson’s epic artwork in this iconographic depiction of the civil rights movement in the U.S. and honors one of its most important inspirations, Coretta Scott. A fascinating bonus feature includes many historic photos. Music by Michael Bacon. Perfect timing for the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington (1963).
Creepy Carrots! 10 min., Weston Woods, DVD, Ages 4-8
Jasper Rabbit loves the delectable carrots he finds in Crackenhopper Field, yanking them out of the ground and devouring them on his daily walk home. But when the carrots begin to stalk Jasper, he devises a plan to keep himself safe from the carrots...and they from him! Spooky narration and sound effects, eye-popping spot colors, and exuberant animation bring to life Peter Brown’s pictures in this adaptation of the 2013 Caldecott Honor Book.
Frenemies: Unhealthy Friendships and What to Do about Them, 21 min. Human Relations Media, DVD, 1-800-431-2050, Grades 3-7
Friend, enemy, or "frenemy?" In this live action film, realistic scenarios are presented, then dissected, in order to help tweens and teens recognize when a friendship has become unhealthy, when it might be fixable, and when it should be abandoned.
Hooray for Amanda & Her Alligator, 12 min., Weston Woods, DVD, Ages 4-8
Amanda’s alligator is lonely and disgruntled when Amanda’s away but delighted with the surprises she brings when she returns. However, one day her surprise evokes complicated emotions, even jealousy. Skillful animation by Pete List and humorous, multi-voiced narration lift this engaging chapter book for early readers by Mo Willems to new heights of fun and comfort for its child readers.
I Want My Hat Back, 9 min., Weston Woods, DVD, Ages 4-8
Bear is asking every woodland animal he encounters if they have seen his hat, when a comment from Deer reminds him of where he last saw it – on Rabbit’s head! Digitally created in Chinese ink for the book, these simple drawings, gently animated, keep step with the toe-tapping music. Narrated by a full cast, including Daniel Pinkwater as Bear, this video enhances the 2012 Geisel Honor Book by Jon Klassen.
Lemonade in Winter, 12 min., Weston Woods, DVD, Ages 3-7
Lemonade stands are common enough in summer, but why not have one in winter? Lemonade, limeade, and lemon-limeade! Pauline and John-John brave the mean winter wind to bring a touch of summer to their community and, hopefully, make a few extra cents of their own. Animation of G. Brian Karas’ childlike drawings enrich Emily Jenkins’ gentle brother-sister story of math, counting, and thinking outside the box.
Lost and Found, 55 min., Entertainment One, DVD, 1-516-484-1000 x233, Ages 7 and up
On his doorstep a small boy finds a penguin, whom he assumes is lost, and he determines to deliver the penguin home even if it means rowing to the South Pole. Inspired by Oliver Jeffers’ book, the film uses stunning animation, understated narration by Jim Broadbent, evocative music by Max Richter, and breathtaking photography to recreate the gentle story of how a friendship grows and satisfies all yearning.
Nelson Mandela, 10 min., Weston Woods, DVD, Ages 4-8
Following Mandela's life from childhood through his election as president of South Africa, Kadir Nelson's richly illustrated biography is brought to life by narrator Forest Whitaker in this iconographic film.
A Sea Turtle Story, 10 min., National Film Board of Canada, DVD, 1-800-542-2164, Grades 5 and up
Beginning with a mother sea turtle laying eggs on a moonlit beach, this quiet but sparkling claymation film follows the life of one baby turtle until she returns to lay her own eggs.
Split: Divorce Through Kids’ Eyes, 28 min., Ellen Bruno, DVD, 1-800-343-5540, All ages
In this powerful documentary, children share personal stories of divorce with honesty and depth. Short chapters, such as "what happened,” "wishing,” and "what helps,” explore a broad range of experiences, and the diverse cast adds value to this remarkable film.
Those Darn Squirrels! 8 min., Dreamscape Media, DVD, 1-877-983-7326, Ages 4-8
In this iconographic rendering of Adam Rubin’s hilarious picture book, grumpy Old Man Fookwire is rescued from solitude by squirrels (fuzzy little geniuses!) when his beloved birds fly south for the winter. Daniel Salmieri’s illustrations come to life with animation by Epipheo, and narration is by the incomparable Kirby Heyborne.
The 2014 Carnegie Award/Notable Children's Videos committee included:
Joan Atkinson, Chair, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Alan Bern, Berkeley (Calif.) Public Library
Lizabeth Deskins, Hilliard City (Ohio) School District
Caitlin Dixon Jacobson, Ketchikan (Alaska) High School Library
Nancy Eames, Toledo-Lucas County (Ohio) Public Library
Susan Dove Lempke, Niles (Ill.) Public Library
Laura Lutz, Convent of the Sacred Heart, New York
Rachel Wood, Arlington (Va.) Public Library