New Scholastic DVD Another Winner From Scholastic

Courtesy:  Scholastic/New Video/New Kideo

Courtesy: Scholastic/New Video/New Kideo

Scholastic’s new DVD, Bink & Gollie…and other stories of Friendship is another enjoyable presentation for any young viewer.  The stories culled for this collection of stories are presented on a single disc just as with The Red Hen, Stone Soup and other previous releases from Scholastic.  And just as with previous Scholastic DVD releases, the stories included on this disc stand out not just for their stories, but also for the artwork used in each story.  The artwork whether static illustrations or moving, give each story its own identity and show that hand drawn animation and art in general still very much have a place in today’s world of art.  Together, the art and stories presented here make this latest collection one more wonderfully enjoyable release.

This latest collection from Scholastic opens with a series of shorts involving the characters Bink & Gollie.  The two young ladies cannot agree on anything in each of their adventures.  Yet in the end, they learn that despite their own biases, they have to come to compromises.  On the surface, learning about the importance of compromise is itself an important lesson for viewers.  It teaches young viewers that while they may not agree with someone else’s views on this or that in the world, it’s okay to have one’s own view.  But to try to force one’s views on another is wrong.  Both younger and older audiences will appreciate the different ways in which this message is conveyed through the series of shorts involving the two young ladies.  Older audiences will appreciate the interview with illustrator Tony Fucile included as a bonus feature.  It is interesting to note considering the animation used in these shorts that Fucile’s resume includes having worked on some of Disney and Pixar’s biggest titles including: The Little Mermaid, The Incredibles, Aladdin, The Lion King and others.  Considering his resume, having done the illustrations for these stories was quite a step in an opposite direction.  That’s not a bad thing, either.  It is just one more showing of his talents as an artist.  And it makes one hope to see even more work from Fucile in future Scholastic DVD releases.

The Bink & Gollie shorts are enjoyable in and of themselves.  But they are just part of what parents and children will enjoy in this latest release from Scholastic.  Just as endearing is the trio of stories included along with those of Bink & Gollie.  Each one presents a scenario of completely unlikely friendships that still worked.  In “A Sick Day for Amos McGee”, audiences are treated to the story of a zookeeper who was so beloved by the animals for whom he cared at his zoo that they came and cared for him when he had to stay home sick one day.  “The Other Side” is an endearing tale of two young girls from two different ethnic backgrounds who break all the social norms and sit together on a fence that separates their two communities.  What is so interesting here is that the fence is a physical object, but it is also used as a metaphor for the barrier between blacks and whites.  By the girls climbing on it, it represents them not just breaking the norms of their time, but physically overcoming that barrier.  This is still something that blacks and whites are still trying so hard to do even now in the twenty-first century.  So it’s a story that is still very relatable to this day.  Author Jacqueline Woodson hints at this in the bonus interview included in the disc’s bonus features.  Her interview is definitely a bonus, as it adds quite a bit of insight into her now decade old book. 

The last of the three included stories on this DVD follows the theme of polar opposites defying social norms to become friends.  “Cat and Canary” sees a cat and a canary living together in an apartment.  One would automatically think that this would lead to a conflict.  But the pair’s secret is that they are friends.  Not only that, but Cat is friends with all birds, unlike other cats.  The friendship results in quite the adventure for Cat, which audiences will have to discover for themselves.  It’s just one more enjoyable story that viewers will enjoy watching and reading time and again on this DVD.

The stories included in this new DVD are heartwarming and funny in their own way.  But there’s an added element to the stories that makes them even more enjoyable.  That element is the inclusion yet again of the read-along feature.  This is a standard that Scholastic has included in all of its previous DVD releases.  It allows young readers and audiences to not only watch the stories, but literally read along with the narrator in each feature.  This is a wonderful tool both in the living room and the classroom in developing children’s reading skills.  Being that the world is becoming increasingly digital, this makes for one more opportunity for parents to spend time with their children at home, and for teachers to teach outside the box in the box that is a classroom.  So regardless of where or how it is used, Bink & Gollie…and other stories about friendship proves yet again why Scholastic continues to be a leader in children’s education.  The DVD is available now.  It can be ordered online direct from the New Kideo website at http://www.newkideo.com/scholastic/bink-gollie-and-more-stories-about-friendship/

Parents and educators can keep up with all of the latest news on new releases and more from Scholastic online at http://www.facebook.com/Scholastic and http://www.scholastic.com.  

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Scholastic’s new dvd set is a treasure trove of family fun

Courtesy: New Video Group

The most recent Storybook Treasures collection from Scholastic and New Video Group is, much like the first two collections, a properly titled set.  The three discs included in the set are loaded with fun and family friendly stories based on some of the greatest children’s books ever written.  Along with entertaining young audiences, it also educates them with stories that teach valuable lessons.  Add in original animation and a read along option, and families have a collection that will be a favorite for one child to the next.

All three discs in the collection offer their own share of fun and learning.  Among some of the most enjoyable stories included in the set are stories of a little squirrel that had to overcome his fear of the world, a group of singing farm animals, and a little dog who couldn’t bark.  There’s even a fun and insightful story of a little squirrel who had to overcome his fear of the world.

In the story of “Scaredy Squirrel”–narrated by David de Vries–audiences are introduced to a little squirrel who is scared of the outside world.  He goes through every day of his life doing exactly the same thing without coming out of his tree.  He even has an emergency kit and emergency plan in case anything should ever happen to him.  The emergency kit is stocked with all kinds of items, from band-aids to anything else that a person could imagine.  Scaredy Squirrel goes about his daily routine every day until a bee comes along one day and changes everything for him.  When the bee buzzes Scaredy Squirrel, he’s forced to jump from his tree.  In the process, he forgets his emergency kit.  But that’s not an entirely bad thing.  Because of what happens, Scaredy Squirrel discovers that he didn’t even know he was a flying squirrel.  So now, he was far less frightened of the world.  He even tosses out his emergency kit, and changes up his daily routine.  The story teaches young audiences that change is a part of life.  And change can be a good thing.  So why be afraid of the outside world and its change.  It teaches viewers to embrace life and change.  This is in itself an important lesson.

“Scaredy Squirrel” teaches a valuable lesson about accepting change and everything that the world has to offer.  It’s only one of the many high points of Scholastic’s Storybook Treasures Vol. 3.  Along with teaching valuable life lessons, the collection also entertains audiences.  One of the funniest stories included in this set is “Doby Dooby Moo.”  “Dooby Dooby Moo” is narrated by country legend Randy Travis.  It tells the story of a group of farm animals who decide to enter a talent contest at the annual county fair to try and win a trampoline.  As they’re practicing for the talent show, the farmer who owns the animals is keeping a close eye on them.  He wants to catch them in the act.  One can’t help but wonder if this story was the influence behind Nickelodeon’s cg-based movie and short lived tv series, “Barnyard.”  The animals do win the trampoline.  It’s thanks to Duck singing ‘Born To Be Wild.’  Think that’s outrageously funny?  Try having one of the judges in the talent contest being a cat.

“Dooby Dooby Moo” is a wonderfully hilarious short story.  It’s not the only funny story included in the set, either. “Bark, George” is the lead story on the set’s third disc.  It is among the silliest stories in the entire collection.  Acting legend John Lithgow narrates the story of the little dog, George who tries to bark, but can’t.  George’s mother tries again and again to get George to bark.  But each time he tries to bark, he makes a different noise.  First he meows like a cat.  And then he quacks like a duck.  Then he oinks like a pig and even moos like a cow.  Unable to figure out what’s wrong, George’s mother takes him to the vet to get checked out.  The vet tells George to bark.  Again, George meows instead of barks.  So the vet puts on a pair of gloves and reaches down inside of George.  To everyone’s surprise, the vet pulls a cat out of George.  The vet says again for George to bark.  This time, George quacks.  So again, the vet reaches in.  This time he pulls out a duck.  Then again, the vet repeats his procedure, and pulls out a pig and then a cow.  Finally after all the animals are out, the vet once more tells George to bark, and he does.  George’s mother is so excited that George can bark that she takes him out and tells him to bark for everyone.  Much to her surprise, instead of barking, George simply says, “Hello.” 

Audiences of all ages will love the inanity of George’s story.  It’s just a fun, turn off your brain moment for the whole family.  And it’s just one of so many included throughout the entire three disc set that will make it a family favorite.  Whether for such funny moments, or for the educational moments, Scholastic’s Storybook Treasures Vol. 3 is loaded with plenty of treasures for the whole family.  It’s one of those collections that will be fun for parents and kids, and even for grandkids.  It’s one of those sets whose stories are so timeless and fun that it will be a staple in any family’s home library for generations to come.

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