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Story Discussions #5: Brer Rabbit and Boss Lion (1992)


Brer Rabbit and Boss Lion (1992)

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:

Brer Rabbit and Boss Lion (1992)

Narrated by: Danny Glover
Music by: Dr. John
Illustrated by: Bill Mayer

Out of the two versions of “Brer Rabbit” that I have seen Rabbit Ears Productions done, “Brer Rabbit and Boss Lion” is easily my most favorite version of this tale!  I loved the way that Danny Glover narrated this story as it was full of excitement and intensity and I think the highlight of Danny Glover’s narration was when he voiced Boss Lion and made him sound so menacing.  Dr. John’s music was really unique for this story as the blues sounding melodies made this story a treat to listen to and Bill Mayer’s exaggerated artwork of the characters really added a lot of humor to this tale!
So, what did you liked or hated about Danny Glover’s  narration on “Brer Rabbit and Boss Lion?”
Please feel free to answer below!

 

Brer Rabbit and the Wonderful Tar Baby by Eric Metaxas


Brer Rabbit and the Wonderful Tar Baby (1990)

Blog 2 Info

Genre:  Animal / African American / Trickery / Contraptions
Year Published: 1990
Year Read:  1993

Publisher: Rabbit Ears Books

Blog 1 Introduction logo

This is a Grammy-award nominated story that is masterfully done by the folks at Rabbit Ears. Danny Glover’s raspy yet calming narration and Taj Mahal’s solo guitar music helps complements the story of those two tricksters, Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox.

Blog 4 Pros
Danny Glover does a great job at narrating this story as he provides inflections throughout the story such as going deep when he does Brer Fox and going high-pitched when he does Brer Rabbit. Danny Glover’s narration is calm and energetic and makes this story great to listen to on the ears. Taj Mahal’s solo guitar music is excellent as the music greatly matches the story’s calm mood and southern roots.

Blog 5 Cons
Although, I found nothing inappropriate about this story, I felt that Henrik Drescher’s illustrations were a little awkward for this story. Since, the mood of the story is calm and sweet, Henrik Drescher’s illustrations are a bit wild and blunt and the illustrations usually take the attention away from the main story. I did not like how the contraption came to be as it looks like a black jug that has wobbly legs attached to it instead of an actual person, which is normally seen in the other versions of this story.

Blog 6 Overall
Overall, this is a great story that fans of the Brer Rabbit would greatly appreciate. Both Danny Glover and Taj Mahal make a great team at providing the southern theme for this story. However, the illustrations may need to be improved to match the mood of the story.

Blog 7 Awards

http://etc-mysitemyway.s3.amazonaws.com/icons/legacy-previews/icons/blue-chrome-rain-icons-symbols-shapes/017784-blue-chrome-rain-icon-symbols-shapes-shapes-diamond.png1991 Grammy Awards – Nomination Best Recording for Children

4 stars

Also reviewed at: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

Brer Rabbit and Boss Lion by Brad Kessler


Brer Rabbit and Boss Lion (1992)

Blog 2 Info

Genre:  Animals / Folktale / African American / Trickery
Year Published: 1992
Year Read:  1994

Publisher: Rabbit Ears Books

Blog 1 Introduction logoBrer Rabbit has remained to be one the most popular folktales in American history. Of all the stories about Brer Rabbit’s escapades that I have heard, “Brer Rabbit and Boss Lion” remains to be one of my most favorite escapades of Brer Rabbit. Rabbit Ears’ version of how Brer Rabbit outsmarts Boss Lion is probably one of the most memorable versions since Danny Glover’s narration and Dr. John’s music greatly enhance this story.

Blog 4 Pros

Danny Glover’s narration is a hoot as he energetically tells the story of how Brer Rabbit outsmarted the big, bad lion. His voice goes from high-pitch as he voices Brer Rabbit and Brer Pig, to a deeply threatening tone when he voices Boss Lion. My favorite part of Danny Glover’s narration was when he voices Brer Pig’s discomfort about feeding Boss Lion by sounding so high-pitched and whiny that it makes this situation funny, even though the audience knows he is going to be eaten. Dr. John’s gritty blues music greatly matches with the chaotic tone of the story as the folks of Brer Village struggled to deal with Boss Lion. Dr. John uses somewhat chilling saxophone music to perform the intense scenes with Boss Lion. Bill Mayer’s illustrations are pure genius as it is both humorous and intense at the same time. His images of Boss Lion are beautifully detailed as Boss Lion is seen with pimples all across his face and his excessive drooling and sharp teeth greatly emphasizes the ugliness of Boss Lion. Also, the image of Brer Rabbit is greatly appreciated as he wears blue jean overalls to portray his tough exterior.

Blog 5 Cons

Parents should know that the image of Boss Lion may scare younger children, as I described in the pros section. Also, even though this story is great, it has many dark themes such as Boss Lion eating up the folks of Brer Village and threatening to eat Brer Rabbit a great number of times. But, that is not as bad as certain movies where the main protagonist would usually get killed during the movie and Brer Rabbit does make it out of this situation alive. However, I do feel sorry for the other folks of Brer Village, such as, Brer Pig and Brer Goose, getting eaten by the vicious Boss Lion.

Blog 6 Overall

“Brer Rabbit and Boss Lion” is a great video for everyone because of its occasional dark humor, such as, Boss Lion eating Brer Pig before he used the milkshake Brer Pig brought him for shampoo.  Also, families would enjoy the way that Brer Rabbit outsmarted Boss Lion in his own game and came back to the village as a hero.  This video / book is an instant treat for both children and adults, but parents may want to make sure that their children can handle the intense scenes of Boss Lion.

Blog 7 Awards

http://etc-mysitemyway.s3.amazonaws.com/icons/legacy-previews/icons/blue-chrome-rain-icons-symbols-shapes/017784-blue-chrome-rain-icon-symbols-shapes-shapes-diamond.png1992 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Awards – Platinum Award Winner

http://etc-mysitemyway.s3.amazonaws.com/icons/legacy-previews/icons/blue-chrome-rain-icons-symbols-shapes/017784-blue-chrome-rain-icon-symbols-shapes-shapes-diamond.png1993 Grammy Awards – Nomination for Best Album for Children Spoken Word

http://etc-mysitemyway.s3.amazonaws.com/icons/legacy-previews/icons/blue-chrome-rain-icons-symbols-shapes/017784-blue-chrome-rain-icon-symbols-shapes-shapes-diamond.png1993 American Library Association – Notable Children’s Recording

5 stars

 

Also reviewed at: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

John Henry by Brad Kessler


John Henry (1992)

Blog 2 Info

Genre: Tall Tale / African-American / Railroads / Humor

Year Published: 1992

Year Read: 1992

Series: American Heroes and Legends

Publisher: Rabbit Ears Books

Blog 1 Introduction logo

“John Henry” is a Grammy- nominated video by the folks from the famous Rabbit Ears Productions. In this tale, America’s greatest tall tale hero, John Henry, faces his biggest challenge against the steam drill, which will decide the fate of all the hard working people in the future. Denzel Washington’s energetic narration, along with B.B. King’s soulful and jazzy music and Barry Jackson’s exuberant illustrations, all combine to make “John Henry” an instant treat for children young and old.

Blog 4 Pros
Denzel Washington’s narration is energetic, especially when he sounds like he is in awe when he narrates John Henry’s spectacular spectacles, such as being born with a hammer in his hand. The scene that I thought was Denzel Washington’s greatest performance was the scene where John Henry is telling the stranger off about the steam drill as he goes into detail about how a man has a big heart while a steam drill only has a cold and steel heart. B.B. King’s music is simply soulful and jazzy, giving this story a soulful edge to the famous tall tale. I especially love the song that B.B. King sings about John Henry being a natural man and carrying a hammer in his hand and I love how that song is repeated throughout the story, so that it can remind the audience about what type of person John Henry is. Barry Jackson’s illustration are colorful and creative, especially of the image of John Henry himself as John Henry mainly wear a white t-shirt and blue jeans and is always looking happy and confident about himself, which sends a great message about the importance of being confident in the activities that you do. I also love the image of the stranger as he is wearing a yellow suit and even has a gold tooth in his mouth, which indicates that he is a city slicker.

John Henry

Blog 6 Overall
“John Henry” is probably one of Rabbit Ears finest stories ever created as it talks about the importance of self-confidence and determination in doing the activities that pleases you. I would recommend this video to children ages five and up since I do not find anything inappropriate in this video.


Just a little heads up, this is the review for the video version of this tale, but because the video version is exactly the same as the book version of this tale, this review accounts for both the book and the video.

Blog 7 Awards

https://i2.wp.com/etc-mysitemyway.s3.amazonaws.com/icons/legacy-previews/icons/blue-chrome-rain-icons-symbols-shapes/017784-blue-chrome-rain-icon-symbols-shapes-shapes-diamond.png1993 CINE Golden Eagle Award

https://i2.wp.com/etc-mysitemyway.s3.amazonaws.com/icons/legacy-previews/icons/blue-chrome-rain-icons-symbols-shapes/017784-blue-chrome-rain-icon-symbols-shapes-shapes-diamond.png1993 Chicago International Children’s Film Festival Special Animation Jury Award

https://i2.wp.com/etc-mysitemyway.s3.amazonaws.com/icons/legacy-previews/icons/blue-chrome-rain-icons-symbols-shapes/017784-blue-chrome-rain-icon-symbols-shapes-shapes-diamond.png1993 Parents’ Choice Gold Award (video)

https://i2.wp.com/etc-mysitemyway.s3.amazonaws.com/icons/legacy-previews/icons/blue-chrome-rain-icons-symbols-shapes/017784-blue-chrome-rain-icon-symbols-shapes-shapes-diamond.png1993 Parents Magazine Parents Prize

https://i2.wp.com/etc-mysitemyway.s3.amazonaws.com/icons/legacy-previews/icons/blue-chrome-rain-icons-symbols-shapes/017784-blue-chrome-rain-icon-symbols-shapes-shapes-diamond.png1993 Parenting Magazine Best Videos of the Year

https://i2.wp.com/etc-mysitemyway.s3.amazonaws.com/icons/legacy-previews/icons/blue-chrome-rain-icons-symbols-shapes/017784-blue-chrome-rain-icon-symbols-shapes-shapes-diamond.png1994 Parents’ Choice Gold Award (audio)

https://i2.wp.com/etc-mysitemyway.s3.amazonaws.com/icons/legacy-previews/icons/blue-chrome-rain-icons-symbols-shapes/017784-blue-chrome-rain-icon-symbols-shapes-shapes-diamond.png1995 Grammy Award Nomination – Best Spoken Word Album for Children

 

5 stars

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog