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Mose the Fireman by Eric Metaxas

Mose the Fireman Book Cover

Blog 2 Info

Genre:  Adventure / New York / Firefighters / Tall Tale
Year Published: 1993
Year Read:  2009

Publisher: Rabbit Ears Books

Series: American Heroes and Legends

Blog 1 Introduction logo“Mose the Fireman” is a brilliant story from Rabbit Ears Productions about how New York’s greatest fireman, Moses “Mose” Humphrey single  handily saves New York city from fires everywhere. Michael Keaton’s New York accented narration along with Walter Becker and John Beasley’s jazzy music and Everett Peck’s scratchy yet hilarious illustrations make “Mose the Fireman” a worthy video for children to watch for many years.

Blog 3 SummaryMoses Humphrey was born in 1809, the same year that Abraham Lincoln was born and one winter, there was an enormous fire in New York and it spread all over the city. While the firemen were putting out the fire, there was suddenly a huge explosion from one of the buildings as the top half of one of the buildings was blasted to pieces and the pieces of the top half of the building fell into the East River. The firemen thought that everyone who was trapped in the building was given up for dead until one of the fireman from engine number  forty heard a cry in a busted hog head. When the firemen went to inspect the hog head, they found a small red-headed baby inside the hog head and the firemen of engine number forty decided to adopt the child and they named him Moses, but everyone called him Mose.

Blog 4 ProsMichael Keaton’s narration is brilliant and creative as he uses a New York accent to narrate the story, giving the story a spirited feel of the city of New York. Also, Michael Keaton sounds extremely rough yet smooth when he is narrating this story, making the characters, mainly Mose, somewhat tough guys while they save the town at the same time. Walter Becker and John Beasley’s music is jazzy and truly captures the spirit of New York. The music is also frenetic during the action scenes, making the scenes stand out very well as there is some tension added towards the music and yet the music is still jazzy enough to make people dance through the dramatic scenes rather than wait  in anticipation about what is going to happen next in the scene. Everett Peck’s illustrations are scratchy yet hilarious at the same time, giving a rough feel to the story. The illustration that is the true highlight of the story is the illustration of Mose himself as he has a squared chin and is extremely muscular and yet has a friendly  smile on his face throughout the video, making him somewhat a tough character who loves to help people wherever he goes.

Blog 6 Overall

“Mose the Fireman” is a great story for children who love to read stories about the world of firefighting and who also love to read about various tall tales in America . I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since some of Michael Keaton’s narration might be a bit too hard for smaller children to understand.

017784-blue-chrome-rain-icon-symbols-shapes-shapes-diamond1994 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award (audio)

017784-blue-chrome-rain-icon-symbols-shapes-shapes-diamond1994 Parenting Magazine Video Magic Award (Top 10 Videos of 1994)
5 stars

Also reviewed at: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

Anansi by Brian Gleeson

Anansi Book CoverBlog 2 Info

Genre:  Comedy / Jamaica / Animals / Morals / Trickery
Year Published: 1991
Year Read:  1993

Publisher: Rabbit Ears Books

Series: We All Have Tales

Blog 1 Introduction logoI have seen many videos from Rabbit Ears Productions and my favorite ones were “The Fool and the Flying Ship” and “The Fisherman and his Wife.” But now, I have stumbled upon another video from the Rabbit Ears series that has also become a favorite of mine and that video is “Anansi.” “Anansi” has become one of my favorite Rabbit Ears videos because of its Jamaican theme story and Denzel Washington’s dazzling narration. Unlike, most Rabbit Ears stories, “Anansi” has two stories combined into one story.

Blog 4 Pros“Anansi” is full of positive  elements that I would like to point out. One of those positive elements is Denzel Washington’s narration. Denzel Washington does a terrific job at narrating this story as he speaks with a fluent Jamaican accent making the audience believe that he is really from Jamaica. Probably one of the most memorable quotes  spoken by Denzel Washington was when Anansi was telling the other animals he will not eat anything until the eighth day which he brilliantly states, “Me eat on the eighth day!” Another positive element in this story was the music done by UB40. UB40 provides the perfect Jamaican score to match  the laid back mood of the story. One great example of UB40’s masterful skills in making Jamaican music was when they start to pace up the beat when Anansi is dancing around trying to get the hot beans off his head and when they create a sharp beat of saws and hammers when reacting the scene where the African-Americans were being sold to slavery in the beginning of the story. The last positive element that I would like to point out is in Steven Guarnaccia’s illustrations. Steven Guarnaccia’s illustrations are jagged yet creative in making the glorious drawings of Anansi and his animal friends. My favorite illustration by Steven Guarnaccia was of Anansi the spider himself as he was portrayed as a Jamaican spider with black dreadlocks and a yellow and orange Hawaiian T-shirt.

Blog 6 Overall

“Anansi” is a classic among both adults and children because the children will enjoy the colorful drawings done by Steven Guarnaccia and the masterful storytelling by Denzel Washington. Parents would also enjoy this story because they may have been big fans of Denzel Washington and would not be disappointed for his performance in this short  story. Since, there is nothing inappropriate in this story, “Anansi” is a perfect video to watch for the entire family. However, due to lack of animation in this video, some kids who are more familiar with action may find this video a tad bit boring, but Denzel Washington’s narration, UB40’s music and Steven Guarnaccia’s illustrations will keep the kids interested.

017784-blue-chrome-rain-icon-symbols-shapes-shapes-diamond1991 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award

017784-blue-chrome-rain-icon-symbols-shapes-shapes-diamond1991 Parents’ Choice Gold Award

017784-blue-chrome-rain-icon-symbols-shapes-shapes-diamond1991 California Children’s Video Award

5 stars

Also reviewed at: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

Follow the Drinking Gourd by Bernardine Connelly

Follow the Drinking Gourd Book Cover

Blog 2 Info

Genre: Family / African American / Slavery / Drama / Racism
Year Published: 1992
Year Read:  1993

Publisher: Rabbit Ears Books

Series: American Heroes and Legends

Blog 1 Introduction logo
“Follow the Drinking Gourd” is another tender story from Rabbit Ears’ “American Heroes and Legends” series and it masterfully details the story of how a family of African-American slaves tried to escape slavery through the Underground Railroad.  This story is clearly one of Rabbit Ears’ best stories and also their most dramatic story ever created.

Blog 4 ProsMorgan Freeman’s tender narration is perfect for this story as he narrates with emotion and coolness about a family’s efforts to escape the hardships of the cotton plantation.  Morgan Freeman’s highlighted moment in this story comes when he makes a “FWAP!” sound effect when Mary’s mother covers her daughter’s mouth with her hand.  Taj Mahal’s guitar music is memorizing and perfect for the mood of this story, which is sad and tender as he expresses the family’s feelings about being slaves in a sorrowful guitar solo and when he sings the lyrics to the song “Follow the Drinking Gourd,” he sounds so dense and sad yet beautiful and peaceful.  Yvonne Buchanan’s illustrations are colorful and beautiful especially of the image of Mary herself as a light brown haired beauty who wears an old fashioned red checkered dress, as shown on the cover.

Blog 6 Overall“Follow the Drinking Gourd” is a true dramatic story about the Underground Railroad and it shows the bravery of the family in a positive light as they struggled to find the freedom that they longed for.  This story is a true masterpiece and is probably one of Rabbit Ears’ finest stories ever told and children ages five and up will truly appreciate this story of courage and wit.

017784-blue-chrome-rain-icon-symbols-shapes-shapes-diamond1993 Worldfest Houston Gold Award

017784-blue-chrome-rain-icon-symbols-shapes-shapes-diamond1993 Chicago International Children’s Film Festival Special Animation Jury Award

017784-blue-chrome-rain-icon-symbols-shapes-shapes-diamond1993 The New York Festivals Gold Medal
017784-blue-chrome-rain-icon-symbols-shapes-shapes-diamond1993 Parents’ Choice Silver Honors (video)

017784-blue-chrome-rain-icon-symbols-shapes-shapes-diamond1994 National Educational Film and Video Festival – Gold Apple

017784-blue-chrome-rain-icon-symbols-shapes-shapes-diamond1994 Parents’ Choice Gold Award (audio)

017784-blue-chrome-rain-icon-symbols-shapes-shapes-diamond1995 Grammy Award Nomination – Best Spoken Word Album for Children

5 stars

Also reviewed at: Rabbit Ears Book Blog