Category Archives: Actresses

Thumbelina by Hans Christian Andersen


Thumbelina (1989)

 

Blog 2 Info

Genre:  Denmark / Fairy Tale / Family / Romance
Year Published: 1989
Year Read:  1994

Publisher: Rabbit Ears Books

Blog 1 Introduction logo“Thumbelina” is one of the most cherished stories in the Rabbit Ears Storybook Classics series and is surely a classic in its own right. Kelly McGillis’ tender narration, along with Mark Isham’s memorizing music and David Johnson’s exquisite drawings, combine to make “Thumbelina” one of the tenderest stories in Rabbit Ears history.

Blog 4 Pros

Kelly McGillis’ narration is extremely tender as she makes this story extremely touching and soothing to watch and she also greatly expresses Thumbelina’s sorrow of being married to the mole in a sorrowful tone which brought life to that scene. Another great aspect of Kelly McGillis’ narration is that she provides a wide variety of vocal talents like Robin Williams when she uses a high-pitched voice to voice the field mouse and a croaking voice when she voices the toad. Mark Isham’s music is extremely soothing and memorizing to listen to and the scene where Mark Isham’s music takes center stage is in the scene where Thumbelina finds the flower angels’ kingdom as Mark Isham accompanies this scene with soothing guitar sounds. David Johnson’s illustrations are extremely beautiful and light toned especially when he illustrates Thumbelina as an extremely beautiful girl with blond hair wrapped up in a braided ponytail and who wears a blue overall dress. Also, the scene where there is an image of the white marble palace by the lake is extremely breathtaking as you can see the reflection of the palace in the lake.

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Blog 6 Overall

“Thumbelina” is probably Rabbit Ears’ most beloved story and it will surely be an instant treat to children young and old. I would recommend this story to children ages three and older since it has nothing inappropriate for the children.

Blog 7 Awards * 1989 Grammy Award Nomination for Best Recording for Children

 

5 stars

Also reviewed at: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

Rumpelstiltskin by Christopher Noel


Rumpelstiltskin Book Cover

Blog 2 Info

Genre:  Fairy Tale / Germany / Audiobook / Family
Year Published: 1991
Year Read:  2006

Publisher: Rabbit Ears Books

Series: We All Have Tales

Blog 1 Introduction logo

Rabbit Ears Productions is widely known for their celebrity narrated stories. The production also many stories that were highlights of the 1990s. “Rumpelstiltskin” is a popular story from Rabbit Ears “We All Have Tales” series and is greatly enhanced by Kathleen Turner’s narration, Tangerine Dream’s haunting music and Peter Sis’s delicate drawings.

Blog 4 Pros

Kathleen Turner’s narration is extremely brilliant as she uses a somewhat menacing voice foreshadowing Rumpelstiltskin’s ulterior motives. Also, Turner does an excellent job at being brilliantly scary towards the end of the story when Rumpelstiltskin meets his demise. Tangerine Dream’s haunting music provided the perfect mysterious atmosphere to the appearance of the little man to enacting Rumpelstiltskin’s frightening dance number when the queen searches for him. Peter Sis’s drawings are delicate yet haunting, especially of the image of Rumpelstiltskin pulling off his mask, revealing a skeleton face.

Blog 5 Cons

Parents should know that younger viewers may be frightened by the theme of Rumpelstiltskin trying to take the child away from the queen. Since, many children are getting kidnapped in the world today; many young viewers may worry about being kidnapped by a little man. Also, since Rumpelstiltskin’s reasons for wanting the child is made unclear, children may fear that Rumpelstiltskin may hurt the baby boy.

Blog 6 Overall
“Rumpelstiltskin” is another Rabbit Ears story that is mysterious and haunting, just like “The Fisherman and his Wife,” and is full of engaging music and images that create a wondrous world full of mystery and enchantment. This is a great film for the whole family watch, but parents must warn their children about the theme of child-kidnapping before letting them watch this video.

5 stars

Also reviewed on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

Finn McCoul by Brian Gleeson


Finn McCoul Book Cover

Blog 2 Info

Genre: Ireland / Giants / Folktale / Humor / Family

Year Published: 1991

Year Read: 2009

Publisher: Rabbit Ears Books

Series: We All Have Tales

Blog 1 Introduction logo

“Finn McCoul” is an Irish folktale from the creative company Rabbit Ears Productions and is about how Finn McCoul must face his nemesis Cuculin and only his wife, Una, knows how to handle the giant brute. “Finn McCoul” is a great tale about true cunning that many children will enjoy for many years.

Blog 3 Summary

When Finn McCoul was born, he was no bigger than a fire-breathing dragon, which was too small for a giant. King Coul, Finn’s father, was so displeased at the size of his son that he throws Finn over the castle wall and into the water. Luckily, King Coul’s mother sees Finn in the water and she saves him from drowning and she decides to raise the boy herself in the woods. Many years later, Finn grows up into a man and he decided to leave his grandmother to become a great hero. Eventually, Finn finds a giant woman named Una who was extremely beautiful and they got married and lived on top of a mountain in a castle.

However, the reason why Finn made his home on top of the mountain was because it was the only way to avoid Cuculin. Cuculin was a fearsome giant who once flatten a thunderbolt into a pancake and he would always show it to his foes to remind them of the beating they are about to receive from him. Cuculin tried to find Finn McCoul, but Finn would always run away from him before battle. One day, Finn was helping his friends build the causeway from Ireland to Scotland when he started gnawing on his thumb. Whenever Finn starts gnawing on his thumb, he immediately sees the future and he found out that Cuculin was coming after him and he decided to go straight home to Una. When Finn got home, he told Una about Cuculin and she tells Finn that she needs time to think about how to deal with Cuculin.

What is Una’s plan and can Finn defeat Cuculin?

Watch the rest of this video to find out!

Blog 4 Pros

Catherine O’Hara does a splendid job narrating this story especially as she uses an Irish accent so effectively to narrate this heroic Irish tale. Boys of the Lough’s music is beautiful and truly captures the true spirit of Irish music as the tunes are cheerful and old fashioned. Peter deSeve’s illustrations are beautiful and hilarious at the same time, especially during the scenes of Cuculin lifting up Finn’s house to make the wind move away from the house as he was instructed by Una to do so.

Blog 6 Overall

“Finn McCoul” is a wonderful tale from Ireland about how it is wise to be cunning whenever a bully threatens you and it will be an instant classic for children who love comedy and folktales. I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since there are some Irish names that might be too hard for smaller children to pronounce such as “Cuculin” and “Una.”

5 stars

Also reviewed at: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

Puss in Boots by Eric Metaxas


 

Puss in Boots Book Cover

Blog 2 Info

Genre:  France / Fairy Tale / Animals
Year Published: 1991
Year Read:  2009

Publisher:   Rabbit Ears Books

Series: We All Have Tales

Blog 1 Introduction logo“Puss in Boots” is another classic story from Rabbit Ears Productions about how a clever feline tries to make his master a prince in order to save his own life.  With Tracey Ullman’s hilarious narration, Jean Luc Ponty’s elegant music and Pierre Le-Tan’s beautiful illustrations, “Puss in Boots” will be an instant treat for children both young and old.

Blog 4 Pros

Tracey Ullman’s narration is hilarious and creative at the same time as she narrates this story with such energy.  Tracey Ullman effectively uses both a proper tone and a French accent to narrate this story as she narrates the story in a proper tone and she uses a French accent when she is voicing the characters.  One of my most favorite scenes in this video was when Puss in Boots was pretending to be dead and a rabbit approaches him and says:

“Oh!  Looks like that there kitty is dead!  I guess I’ll just help myself to some of that there lettuce he’s got in his bag.  Uh-huh! Yep!”

Jean Luc Ponty’s music is extremely elegant and modern at the same time as he uses an electronic keyboard to capture the modern day feel to the story while at the same time, he brings an elegant sound to the score to emphasize the fairy tale element feel to the story.  Pierre Le-Tan’s illustrations are beautiful as the images are extremely colorful and the characters in the story also look a bit hilarious since their heads are all the same oval shape, even Puss in Boots has the same shaped head as the human characters do.

Blog 5 ConsParents should know that the narration in this story might be a bit too hard to follow, especially when Tracey Ullman uses a French accent in voicing the characters and she tends to jumble her words a bit when she is speaking in a French accent.  Also, there is some advanced vocabulary in this video that younger children might not understand very well and parents should try to go over the words with their child so that way they would not be very confuse with the words.

Blog 6 Overall“Puss in Boots” is a hilarious and wonderful classic from Rabbit Ears that will have children rolling around laughing for a long time.  I would recommend this book to children ages six and up since there is some vocabulary that smaller children might have a hard time understanding and because the narration might be a bit too hard to understand since Tracey Ullman is barely understandable when she is speaking in a French accent

5 stars

Also reviewed at: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

Story Discussions #6: Koi and the Kola Nuts (1991)


Koi and the Kola Nuts (1991)

Hey everybody! Welcome to “Story Discussions,” where we talk about various Rabbit Ears stories each week and you can talk about what you liked or hated about the Rabbit Ears story we will discuss for that week.

 
This week’s Rabbit Ears story we will be discussing this week is:

 
Koi and the Kola Nuts (1991)
Narrated by: Whoopi Goldberg
Music by: Herbie Hancock
Illustrated by: Reynold Ruffins

 

I have always loved reading African folktales and “Koi and the Kola Nuts” was one of my favorite stories ever being told!  I loved the fact that this story is trying to teach children about the importance of showing respect to other people, such as Koi in this story is trying to earn the respect that he deserves when his own village didn’t even respect his prescence after his father dies and he has to end up doing so many difficult tasks to prove to a new village that he came across that he deserves their respect.  Whoopi Goldberg’s narration is truly uplifting and I loved the way that she brings so much emotion and drama to this story. Herbie Hancock’s African influenced music greatly complements the story’s exotic nature and Reynold Ruffins’ illustrations are gorgeous to look at as everything looks so colorful and they really capture the beauty of Africa!

 
So, what did you liked or hated about Whoopi Goldberg’s “Koi and the Kola Nuts?”

 
Please feel free to answer below!

A Gingerbread Christmas by Tim Raglin and Eric Metaxas


 

A Gingerbread Christmas (1991)

 

Blog 2 Info

Genre:  Christmas / Food / Fantasy / Family
Year Published: 1991
Year Read:  2009

Publisher: Rabbit Ears Books

Blog 1 Introduction logo

“A Gingerbread Christmas” is one of the holiday classics featured in the Rabbit Ears collection and is about how two living gingerbreads, both of royalty, try to save Christmas in Gloomsburg after the Mayor cancels it. Susan Saint James’ energetic narration along with Van Dyke Parks’ charming music and John Spiers’ illustrations, “A Gingerbread Christmas” is one holiday classic that will never be forgotten.

Blog 4 Pros

Susan Saint James’ narration is both energetic and creative at the same time as she uses a New York accent for Hank and possibly an Italian accent for Ginger and Spice, which brings charm to her narration and the story. Van Dyke Parks’ music is charming and beautiful as it sounds like something you would normally hear in many Christmas specials on TV. Van Dyke Parks uses an acoustic keyboard to make the music sound dramatic and cute, which is perfect for the story. John Spiers’ illustrations are cute and creative, especially of the image of the Prince and Princess of Gingerbread, as they look stout and cheerful. Even though the colors are a bit washed out, they still give a comfortable feel to the story.

A Gingerbread Christmas

Blog 6 Overall

“A Gingerbread Christmas” is a cute holiday classic about the importance of celebrating the true meaning of Christmas and also getting into the Christmas spirit, no matter how busy one may be. I would recommend this book to children ages four and up since there is nothing inappropriate in this story.

 

5 stars

Also reviewed at: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

Story Discussions #1: The Velveteen Rabbit (1985)


The Velveteen Rabbit

 

Hey everybody! Welcome to the first ever “Story Discussions,” where we talk about various Rabbit Ears stories each week and you can talk about what you liked or hated about the Rabbit Ears story we will discuss for that week.

This week’s Rabbit Ears story we will be discussing this week is:

The Velveteen Rabbit (1985)

Narrated by: Meryl Streep

Music by: George Winston

Illustrated by: David Jorgensen

I actually enjoyed this version of “The Velveteen Rabbit” as Meryl Streep provided a sweet natured voice to accompany the narration of this story and George Winston’s music is soothing enough to listen to throughout this story.  I also loved the themes that this story tackle, such as what does it mean to be “real?”

So, what did you like or hated about Meryl Streep’s narration on “The Velveteen Rabbit?”

Please feel free to answer below!

Rabbit Ears Treasury of Storybook Classics Volume 1: Pecos Bill and Puss in Boots


Blog 2 InfoGenre: Tall Tale / Fairy Tale / France / Humor / Animals

Year Published: 2007

Year Read: 2011

Series: Rabbit Ears Treasury: Storybook Classics #1

Publisher: Listening Library (Audio)

Blog 1 Introduction logo

Imagine two of your favorite celebrities (Robin Williams and Tracey Ullman in this case) narrating stories that are targeted towards children. That is a fantastic thought is it not? That is what I thought whenever I listen to any of these classic “Rabbit Ears Treasury” audio CD series and this small collection which is called “Rabbit Ears Treasury of Storybook Classics Volume 1: Pecos Bill and Puss in Boots” is definitely an audio CD that is right up my alley!

Blog 3 SummaryI have pretty much already summarized both of these stories through their book counterparts, so I will just briefly summarize each story:


Pecos Bill
Told by: RobinWilliams
Music by: Ry Cooder

Pecos Bill

Join the wild and rollicking adventures of America’s number one cowboy, Pecos Bill! Listen to the stories of how Pecos Bill created the first cattle drive, meet up with a sassy yet beautiful cowgirl and managed to wrestle with a cyclone single-handedly!


Puss in Boots
Told by: Tracey Ullman
Music by: Jean-Luc Ponty

Puss in Boots

When the youngest son of a miller wanted to eat Puss in Boots, Puss in Boots tries to help the youngest son win the hand of the king’s daughter and get a kingdom in order to save his hide!

Blog 4 Pros
Be amazed! Be very, very amazed at what two small stories can pack into an hour!

These two tales that are considered the more hilarious and modernized versions of the classic fairy tales are pure epic classics!

My favorite of the two stories is probably “Pecos Bill” because Robin Williams has always been one hilarious actor and his narration of this ancient tall tale really brought this story to life! I really loved the spectacular adventures that Pecos Bill endures such as lassoing a cyclone in the west! Ry Cooder’s music is simply magical and fits the playful mood of the story perfectly as it gives the story a more energetic feel. In the second story, “Puss in Boots,” Tracey Ullman is just as hilarious in her narration as Robin Williams was in narrating “Pecos Bill.” I always have a thing for actors portraying certain accents fluently and Tracey Ullman portrayed both a French accent and a British accent within this story with such clarity that I actually imagined myself living during those times.

Jean-Luc Ponty’s music is extremely graceful and it fits the somewhat sophisticated mood of this story perfectly as the music is mainly composed of violin musical pieces.

Blog 5 Cons

There is only one small and tiny problem with this audio CD and it is that there is no book to accompany it. For those of you who have grown up with the Rabbit Ears stories during the 80s and 90s, you might remember that there used to be a little something called books and cassettes where the books are sold along with the tape cassettes that contain the stories being narrated by the celebrities. So, you might be a bit disappointed that there are no books accompanying these audio CDs because, if you wanted to share these stories with your children or with your friends, then it might be a bit difficult to show them how the story goes without the book being accompanied with the audio CD.

Blog 6 Overall

Overall, “Rabbit Ears Treasury of Storybook Classics Volume 1: Pecos Bill and Puss in Boots” is definitely one collection of classic stories that you certainly do not want to miss and it will definitely remain with many children for years to come!

Now before I close up this review, I would like to ask you all a question:


Question:
Have you heard of Rabbit Ears Productions before?

If you had heard of this company before, relate your favorite stories or your experiences with this series or if you have not heard of this series before, go ahead and check out this fantastic series!

5 stars

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

 

Koi and the Kola Nuts by Brian Gleeson


Koi and the Kola Nuts (1991)

 

Blog 2 Info

Genre: Folktale / Africa / Respect / Royalty / Animals

Year Published: 1991

Year Read: 1999

Series: We All Have Tales

Publisher: Rabbit Ears Books
Blog 1 Introduction logo
I have grown up with this story ever since I was a child and I still love it to this very day! “Koi and the Kola Nuts” is an African folktale from the folks at Rabbit Ears and it is about how a young and proud chief’s son named Koi tries to journey to a land where it treats the son of a chief with respect while meeting several friends along the way. With Whoopi Goldberg’s amazing narration, Herbie Hancock’s brilliant African styled music and Reynold Ruffins’ colorful illustrations, “Koi and the Kola Nuts” is a truly wonderful folktale that everyone will love for many years to come!
Blog 4 Pros

This story was simply amazing! Whoopi Goldberg has done an excellent job at narrating this story as she brings a royal tone to the story, especially in voicing Chief Faliliki. I also loved the way that Whoopi Goldberg voiced Koi as being a young boy who is proud yet kind-hearted at the same time as it really made me relate more to Koi’s situation to find a village that treats him better. I also loved the way that Whoopi Goldberg brings humor to the story, especially during the scene where the villagers chant out this verse when Koi comes to town:


“He’s no son of a chief.
He’s merely a thief.
There’s nothing worse,
Than an ozu with a curse.
Let’s have a great big feast,
Or a little one at least.”

And when Whoopi Goldberg was literally laughing while saying this verse, it really made me love this scene even more! Herbie Hancock’s music was beautifully mesmerizing as it has African sounds embedded throughout the music and it really made me fully appreciate the beauty of African music while at the same time, providing the story a calming feel. Probably the highlight of Herbie Hancock’s music was during the scene with the alligator where the music turns dark and deep and it greatly complemented with the frightening appearance of the alligator and moving smoothly with the underwater scene the alligator was in. Reynold Ruffins’ illustrations are extremely colorful and beautiful, especially of all the different animals that Koi encounters. My favorite image from this story has to be where Koi meets the alligator and when the alligator licks its jaws to indicate his point of eating the Rainmaker’s dog, his tongue is pink and ridged which gives him a somewhat frightening expression.

Koi

Blog 5 Cons
Parents should know that there is a theme of cannibalism in this story as Koi is threatened many times throughout this story that he will be eaten by the villagers unless he can complete the tasks set out for him. This might be extremely upsetting for younger children and parents might want to wait a few years before they show this story to their children.

Blog 6 Overall

Overall, “Koi and the Kola Nuts” is a brilliant story that both children and adults who are huge fans of African folktales will easily love for many years. I would recommend this story to children ages six and up since the cannibalism theme might frighten smaller children.

5 stars

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog