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 Springtime Collection Lots Of Fun, Lessons For The Whole Family

Courtesy:  Scholastic/New Kideo

Courtesy: Scholastic/New Kideo

Scholastic’s latest collection of children’s stories is another enjoyable set for the whole family.  The Springtime Collection is a new three disc collection that culls the best of the company’s latest box sets and puts them together in this new triple-disc set.  And while it is billed as the Springtime Collection, there’s no getting past the inclusion of two Christmas themed shorts from the well-known children’s book series, Max and Ruby.  “Max’s Christmas” and “Morris’s Disappearing Bag” are both Christmas themed episodes.  Though, they are the only holiday themed episodes in the set. One of the pair is even told entirely in Spanish for Spanish speaking audiences.  It’s something minor by itself.  But in the grand scheme of things, that Scholastic would take this step shows a valid attempt to reach an audience as broad as possible.  It makes both this set and Scholastic even more worthy of praise.

The holiday themed shorts aside, what makes this set enjoyable is the inclusion of some of the most well-known of literary tales in the form of “Chicken Little” and “The Red Hen.”  Children will love these timeless tales, while parents will love experiencing them for the first time again with their own children.  That sense of nostalgia instilled in older viewers will help in making the viewing experience all the more enjoyable for the whole family.  Parents will thrill at seeing their children light up, watching the stories.  For parents to see these shorts through the eyes of their children will give them a whole new meaning for parents.  And for parents of older children, they will equally appreciate the read-along feature included once again with each story.  The read-along feature is a wonderful option for parents and their children to use together in aiding children’s reading skills.  It’s one more bonus for this set both in the classroom and the living room.  This and the lessons taught through each short contained on each disc make every episode important in its very own fashion.

Parents of older children will appreciate the read-along feature included once again on each disc in the set.  They will also appreciate the morals and lessons taught through each short.  Each one teaches a different lesson.  Those lessons vary from lessons of teamwork to problem solving, to friendship and more.  Ironically, these lessons are ones from which parents could also learn.  It’s one more way that this set proves to cross generations.

There is one more aspect of Scholastic’s new Springtime Collection that makes it stand out among current children’s programming and home DVD and Blu-ray release.  That remaining factor is that of each short’s animation.  In an age when so much CG-based children’s programming calls itself animated, each short included in this set has its very own animation style.  As is the case with a “greatest hits” record or anthology of DVDs/Blu-rays, each young viewer will respond in different fashion to each short’s animation.  As with the Spanish speaking episode, “Max’s Christmas”, this seems a nonfactor on a small scale.  But on a more macro level, the animation plays a big role in keeping a child’s attention, and thus increases the chances of a young viewer taking something away from each short.  Therefore, what would otherwise be something not that important actually plays a role just as important as that of the lessons and the stories themselves.  It’s one more aspect that makes all three discs in this new compilation all the more worth it both for teachers and parents alike.  It is available now online and in stores.  It can be ordered online direct from the New Kideo store at http://www.newkideo.com/scholastic/the-springtime-collection/.  Parents and teachers can keep up with all of the latest news and more from Scholastic when they “Like” the Scholastic Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/Scholastic and its official website, http://www.scholastic.com.

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Scholastic’s Latest A Delectable Dish Of A DVD

Courtesy:  Scholastic/New Video/Weston Woods

Courtesy: Scholastic/New Video/Weston Woods

Scholastic’s latest collection from its Storybook Treasures series is another hit for audiences of all ages.  This single disc compilation offers four more stories that not only entertain but also teach very important life lessons.  It’s all anchored by the famed children’s story, The Red HenThe Red Hen makes this compilation well worth the compilation’s price.  Though, it isn’t all that makes it so enjoyable.  Veteran actress Lily Tomlin (The Magic School Bus, Prairie Home Companion, Malibu Country) adds her touch to the short story, Bread Comes to Life.  And while it isn’t animated, this short story offers a nice little lesson how bread is made that easily understandable for younger audiences and just as entertaining.  Along with the entertainment factor of Bread Comes to Life, the other features on this disc offer their own entertainment from both their genuine animation and their lessons.  And as with Scholastic’s previous releases, this one also offers the option to toggle the read-along feature, depending on the age of one’s child/children.  It’s one more continued tradition that parents will enjoy whether they are first time audiences or more experienced.  And of course, let us also now forget the bonus recipe for Simply Splendid Cake that kids and parents can make together.  That recipe, along with the four features included here all come together for a compilation that will leave a great “taste” in any viewer’s mouth (ba-dump-bump-bump). Thank you, thank you.  I’ll be here all week!

The Red Hen…and More Cooking Stories is anchored by its title story.  The Red Hen is a story that both children and parents will enjoy because of its ability to connect to viewers.  The Red Hen wants to make a cake.  But no one will help her.  So she is left to do all the work of making a cake all alone.  When the work is all done and the cake is decorated, the cat, the rat, and the frog all offer to help her eat it, but get none.  There’s a very valuable lesson to be taught here.  It’s a lesson of cooperation and responsibility.  The cat, the rat, and the frog learned the hard way that no work means no reward.  This applies not just in the kitchen but in everyday life.  One reaps the rewards of the work that one does whether with a team or by one’s own self.  Considering this factor, “The Red Hen” instantly becomes that much more of a fit to start off this new set of shorts. 

The lesson on cooperation and teamwork makes for a wonderful start to this most recent set.  It’s not the only lesson taught.  “How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food” also teaches another important lesson for children.  It teaches a lesson about manners.  What young child doesn’t love dinosaurs?  By using that connection, it teaches children that while they may be wild creatures, even dinosaurs have manners.  So if dinosaurs can have manners, so can children.  They should use the dinosaurs as an example of what behavior is right and wrong.  And that it features actual animation instead of CG based visuals makes it that much more enjoyable, especially in an age when so much children’s programming is CG-based.

“The Red Hen” and “How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food” are both enjoyable additions to Scholastic’s latest Storybook Treasures compilation.  The other pair of shorts is entertaining for its own purposes, too.  And just as they make for their own entertainment, so will the bonus feature, teaching kids and adults how to make The Red Hen’s Simply Splendid Cake.  The Red Hen takes viewers through the process of making the cake in this bonus feature. She even makes certain to point out to younger viewers that they should not try to make the recipe on their own.  They should have adult supervision in making it whether for cupcakes or for an entire cake.  So not only does the Red Hen teach about cooperation and teamwork, she also teaches young viewers about safety in the kitchen.  It makes for one more positive to this already enjoyable set for the whole family.

The Red Hen…and More Cooking Stories is available now.  It can be ordered online at the New Kideo online store at http://www.newkideo.com/scholastic/the-red-hen-and-more-cooking-stories/

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