Tag Archives: animals

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

Peachboy by Eric Metaxas


Peachboy (1991)Blog 2 Info

Genre: Japan / Monsters / Fantasy / Folktale

Year Published: 1991

Year Read: 2008

Publisher: Rabbit Ears Books

Series: We All Have Tales

Blog 1 Introduction logo

“Peachboy” is one of the classics from Rabbit Ears’ “We All Have Tales” series and is probably the most dramatic and heartwarming story out of the whole series since “East of the Sun West of the Moon.” With Sigourney Weaver’s tender narration, along with Ryuichi Sakamoto’s mesmerizing music and Jeffrey Smith’s beautiful illustrations, “Peachboy” is an instant classic that cannot be beat!

Blog 4 Pros

Sigourney Weaver’s narration is so tender and soothing that she helps reinforce the intensity of this story, especially during the scenes of the emotional loss for the parents who lost their children to the ogres. Ryuichi Sakamoto’s music brilliantly captures the Japanese influence of the story making this story dramatic. Jeffrey Smith’s illustrations are beautiful as they brilliantly capture the essence of the Japanese characters. The image that probably stood out the most would be the image of Momotaro himself as he has a small and distinguished looking mustache and wears a traditional green Japanese outfit with a red belt that makes him look more heroic.

Blog 5 Cons

Parents should know that the scene with the ogres might be a little scary to younger children. The ogres are drawn so realistically that smaller children will definitely be frightened and what will frighten children even more is the fact that these ogres had kidnapped many of the village’s children when they were young. This part of the story might scare young children as they will probably think that the ogres will kidnapped them at the middle of the night and parents should explain to their children that this is merely a fairy tale and that most of the creatures in this book (except the dog, pheasant and ape) are imaginary.

Blog 6 Overall

“Peachboy” is a fantastic tale from Japan about the true power of friendship and courage and children will easily watch this video over and over again. I would recommend this video to children ages five and up since the scenes with the ogres might be too scary for smaller children.

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 #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

Story Discussions #2: East of the Sun West of the Moon (1991)


East of the Sun West of the Moon Book Cover

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:
East of the Sun West of the Moon (1991)

Narrated by: Max Von Sydow
Music by: Lyle Mays
Illustrated by: Vivienne Flesher

One of my favorite stories from the “Rabbit Ears: We All Have Tales” Collection, Max Von Sydow was fantastic in narrating this story about true love and I really loved the fact that this story has a strong female protagonist who actually went on a journey to save her prince from a spell cast on him by an evil troll queen!  Lyle Mays’ music was truly beautiful and it fit the soothing mood of this story and Vivienne Flesher’s artwork greatly brought out the beauty of this story!

So, what did you liked or hated about Max Von Sydow’s narration on “East of the Sun West of the Moon?”

Please feel free to answer below!