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/.
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