________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 16 . . . . April 4, 2008

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Asthma Tech. (Talespinners Collection 2).

Jonathan Ng (Writer & Director). Michael Fukushima (Producers). Sally Bochner & David Verral (Executive Producers).
Montreal, PQ: National Film Board of Canada, 2007.
7 min., 9 sec., VHS or DVD, $99.95.
Order Number: 153E 9907 148.

Kindergarten-grade 4 / Ages 5-9.

Review by Harriet Zaidman.

**** /4

   
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"Mind Me Good Now!" (Talespinners Collection 2).

Chris Cormier & Derek Cummings (Directors). Michael Scott (Producer). Michael Scott & Graydon McCrea (Executive Producers).
Montreal, PQ: National Film Board of Canada, 2007.
8 min., 15 sec., VHS or DVD, $99.95.
Order Number: 153E 9907 152.

Kindergarten-grade 4 / Ages 5-9.

Review by Harriet Zaidman.

**** /4

   
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MAQ and the Spirit of the Woods. (Talespinners Collection 2).

Phyllis Grant (Writer & Director). Kent Martin & Michael Fukushima (Producers). Kent Martin & David Verrall (Executive Producers).
Montreal, PQ: National Film Board of Canada, 2007.
8 min., 29 sec., VHS or DVD, $99.95.
Order Number: 153E 9907 220.

Kindergarten-grade 4 / Ages 5-9.

Review by Harriet Zaidman.

**** /4

   
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Oma's Quilt (Talespinners Collection 2).

Izabela Bzymek (Writer & Director). Svend-Erik Eriksen (Producer). Rina Fraticelli (Executive Producer).
Montreal, PQ: National Film Board of Canada, 2007.
12 min., 52 sec., VHS or DVD, $99.95.
Order Number: 153E 9907 222.

Kindergarten-grade 4 / Ages 5-9.

Review by Harriet Zaidman.

**** /4

   
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The Girl Who Hated Books. (Talespinners Collection 2).

Jo Meuris (Director). Tamara Lynch (Producer). Sally Bochner & David Verrall (Executive Producers).
Montreal, PQ: National Film Board of Canada, 2007.
7 min., 21 sec., VHS or DVD, $99.95.
Order Number: 153E 9907 153.

Kindergarten-grade 4 / Ages 5-9.

Review by Harriet Zaidman.

**** /4

   
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Jaime Lo, Small and Shy. (Talespinners Collection 2).

Lillian Chan (Writer & Director). Michael Fukushima (Producer). Sally Bochner & David Verrall (Executive Producers).
Montreal, PQ: National Film Board of Canada, 2007.
7 min., 48 sec., VHS or DVD, $99.95.
Order Number: 153E 9907 154.

Kindergarten-grade 4 / Ages 5-9.

Review by Harriet Zaidman.

**** /4

   
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Tzaritza (Talespinners Collection 2).

Theodore Ushev (Writer & Director). Marc Bertrand (Producer). Michèle Bélanger & Marcel Jean (Executive Producers).
Montreal, PQ: National Film Board of Canada, 2007.
6 min., 58 sec., VHS or DVD, $99.95.
Order Number: 153E 9907 151.

Kindergarten-grade 4 / Ages 5-9.

Review by Harriet Zaidman.

**** /4

This set of seven short animations is a follow-up to a successful collection produced by the National Film Board earlier in the decade. The stories and characters represent the variety of faces and backgrounds of contemporary Canada, from Caucasian to Asian, aboriginal to West Indian to Bulgarian, and are based either on original stories or inspired by books. Each DVDs runs about 8 minutes and is produced individually, using a variety of eye-catching artistic methods. The animations are a delight, and they display the immense talent pool of Canadian artists and filmmakers and show the many different ways a story can be shown. While not all the stories are equally strong on plot and character development, they are still worth watching for the animations. Teachers can use all the DVDs to augment units on folktales, the family and health. Some can be used as  story-starters for children who can take the premise and add their individual twist to make it their own.

 
     Asthma Tech.

     Winston has severe asthma and hates not being as physically able as the rest of the children. He discovers that he can draw well and creates Asthma Tech, a boy whose asthma doesn't stop him from being a superhero. The other children are drawn to him, and Winston starts to draw them into his hero's adventures. He includes a classmate who has been bullied in the past. The children work together, and Winston's asthma is not an issue anymore. The transformation of Winston's drawings into art will inspire kids to draw their own graphic stories.

 
     "Mind Me Good Now!"

     A Trinidadian version of Hansel and Gretel in which a boy leads his sister into territory that their mother has forbidden them to go. They get lost and end up in the house of a wicked cacoya (witch) who plans on eating them. But the little girl uses the resourcefulness her mother taught her to outwit the cacoya. She saves the day, and they run back into their mother's loving embrace. This story is funny and beautifully presented.

 
     MAQ and the Spirit of the Woods.

     Maq is a young Mi'gmaq boy who is clumsy and without confidence. An elder gives him a piece of pipestone, from which he carves a small figure. He is proud of his work and sets out to impress his grandfather with his artistry. In the woods, Maq is joined by another traveler, Mi'gmwesu, and they strike up a quick friendship. Mi'gmwesu and Maq share stories, medicine and food. They laugh and sing together, after which Maq realizes that it's more important to share the knowledge of how to carve than the object itself. When Maq arrives at his grandfather's village, he discovers that Mi'gmwesu is the spirit of the woods who has helped him on the road of life.
 

     Oma's Quilt.

     This adaptation of Paulette Bourgeois's picture book is gorgeously presented. It captures the warmth of the story about how a little girl helps her mother and grandmother adjust to the changes that occur when the grandmother must sell her house and move into a seniors' residence. Grandmother's world is now reduced to a tiny room; her life has been packed into boxes that overflow her daughter's house. But Emily, the granddaughter, finds a way to keep a little bit of everything from Grandmother's past, and, by doing so, she eases the changes that are inevitable.
 

     The Girl Who Hated Books.

     Unlike her parents, Meena is a non-reader, and, much to the little girl's annoyance, the house is overflowing with books. One day, the books tumble down, and the characters escape their stories. The house is full of animals, birds and people until Meena reads them back into their stories. When her parents return home, they are delighted to find her reading. The problem in this story is too simply solved, but children could easily use the  ideas it offers to write their own stories.
 

     Jaime Lo, Small and Shy.

     Jaime's father must return to Hong Kong, where he was born, to work for eight months. Jaime misses him terribly and is hurt when her father cannot return as promised on Father's Day. She finds a way to comfort herself and make him feel less lonely by sending him drawings of their family. They are with him even though he is away.
 

     Tzaritza.

     Lili is a six-year-old girl from Montreal, but her father comes from Bulgaria and misses his own mother, Baba. Lili, Dad and her dog are transported to Bulgaria, but their visit is too short. Lili, whom Baba calls Tzaritza (little queen), uses a shell, also called tzaritza, to bring about Dad's greatest wish. Soon Baba joins them in their home. The plot is simple but represents the best hopes of a young girl for her family. The unique presentation mixes abstract art with concrete materials and whimsy. The motion never stops in this potpourri for the eyes.
 
Highly Recommended.

Harriet Zaidman is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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