CM . . .
. Volume IX Number 7 . . . . November 29, 2002
Shy, near-sighted Milo is teased mercilessly by his classmates. His poor vision not only makes schoolwork difficult, but it also causes problems on the soccer field. Only his friend, Gwenny, offers him support. Finally, Milo gets eyeglasses. Feeling powerful and more self-confident due to his vastly improved vision, Milo shuns his pal, Gwenny, in order to be a part of the popular group. His inclusion in the group is short-lived, however, when his glasses are accidentally shattered in a soccer game. Predictably, Milo finally realizes who his true friends are. Using puppet animation, filmmaker Brian Duscherer tells Milo's story with empathy and compassion. The animation is somewhat stiff and stilted, due, perhaps, to the medium employed, a far cry from the kind of animation to which kids these days are accustomed. However, the story soon engrosses viewers, causing them to pay more attention to the film's message. The characters' features are exaggerated, the likely purpose of which is to add humour and sustain the audience's interest. Several themes are intertwined throughout the 22-minute film: the need for all children to feel valued and included by their peers, bullying (a timely topic), acceptance and true friendship. Though the main characters are in the first grade, the film, nonetheless, will spark discussion at all grade levels. The interior of the video case contains discussion questions as well as a brief list of recommended reading on wearing glasses and bullying and the titles of several NFB videos related to the theme.
Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian at Bird's Hill School in East St. Paul, MB.
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