CM . . .
. Volume IX Number 20. . . . June 6, 2003
What do toxic waste dumps and Christopher Mulumba's room have in common? They're both hazardous to one's health. Christopher is a nice, helpful boy who hates to clean his room. Oozing with mold, mildew and fungi, Christopher's room creates fear in his mother who thinks she sees snakes; in his friends who are afraid of rat bites; and in his gold fish who are afraid that they will die from a lack of oxygen. Life, in all its forms, continues on as usual until the day that a cockroach scurries across the floor. Christopher's gold fish discuss the situation with Mr. Cockroach who comes up with a plan.
In the middle of the night, Mr. Cockroach, and others of his species from around the world, don gas masks and invade Christopher's room. Awakened by Mr. Cockroach's dive on to his tongue, a horrified and scared Christopher watches as the cockroaches form messages on the wall demanding that the room be cleaned. Swarmed by the insects, Christopher screams and runs from the room for the cleaning supplies. Vacuumed, mopped, and dusted, Christopher's room sparkles. Happy gold fish are given fresh water and a clean fish bowl. Exhausted, Christopher goes back to sleep, and Mr. Cockroach goes away. In the morning, Christopher's family and friends can't believe that Christopher has an immaculate room! Christopher's mother asks him what happened to make him clean his room. Christopher smiles and keeps his secret about the "night of the cockroaches."
Parents, teachers, librarians, and care givers of all kinds will be interested in using this video for health related themes and projects. Discussion questions on rules of cleanliness at home and school, cockroaches, and environmental links to health are included in the video's packaging. Horrified facial expressions, exaggerated disorder, and extreme solutions result in a humorous presentation on wellness. Somber lighting and music and the narrator's hushed serious tones serve to create humour by accentuating the absurdity of the situation. Children and adults may find that the video had a greater impact and humour in comparison to the book of the same name book by Itah Sadu.
Denise Weir is a consultant with Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, Public Library Services.
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