Run, Sockeye, Run:
The Life Cycle of the Sockeye Salmon.
Vancouver: Insight and Sound Creations, 1995. 23 minutes, VHS, $250.00
Grades 4 - 10 / Ages 9 - 15.
Okay, sockeye, listen up! The sooner we get started the sooner we'll be on our way . . .
SO BEGINS the award-winning documentary Run, Sockeye, Run. A computer-animated `Salmon Leader' coaches his `team' of Adam River Sockeye on their formidable journey up the Fraser River to their spawning grounds. The novel approach adds interest and variety to this depiction of the life-cycle of the salmon.
Run, Sockeye, Run uses appropriate vocabulary to accurately outline the different stages of the salmon's journey from the Pacific Ocean to the spawning grounds of the Adam River in British Columbia. The spectacular photography clearly shows the geography of the route (with map inserts to orient the viewer). The footage also provides an excellent portrayal of the dangers and enemies the fish face on their upstream adventure. Underwater close-ups offer valuable insights into spawning activities ranging from males battle for a mating opportunity to the wonders of egg hatching.
The `real-life' sequences are enhanced by narrated information and musical interludes. The film concludes in the same animated format with which it begins.
The video is well paced to both sustain viewer interest and retrieve information. The musical interludes prevent visual information powerfully without the need for narration; these pauses encourage the viewer to watch closely and make the video a good way to strengthen both visual and verbal skills.
And the computer-animated salmon `coach' is a clever technique, though it would be more effective if the tone of his dialogue varied more; as it is, it's not also easy to pull out the facts in his narration, especially where the information isn't obvious in the visuals. The map inserts, though useful, would be clearer if they were larger and better labelled.
But most of the footage is clear and crisp, and overall, Run, Sockeye, Run is an imaginative video well worth considering as a resource for educational collections.
Highly recommended as an introduction to or elaboration on topics such as life cycles or animal science studies.
Janice Foster is currently the teacher-librarian/enrichment facilitator at Oakenwald Elementary School in Winnipeg.
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