Tag Archives: Denzel Washington

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

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

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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

App Review: The Velveteen Rabbit and John Henry


Here are medgirl2001’s thoughts on the Velveteen Rabbit and John Henry!

medgirl2001's blog

Today, I’d like to talk about two more apps from Ruckus Media in their Rabbit Ears Entertainment series, The Velveteen Rabbit and John Henry. Both are universal apps for the iPad and iPhone. The format of the two apps is similar. Each offers three choices upon opening the app – “Watch the Video,” “Read the Book,” and “Read and Record.”

“Read the Book” is what it sounds like – the stories are offered along with lovely illustrations. Pages are turned with a familiar page swipe. Unlike some other children’s book apps for the iPad and iPhone, there are no interactive elements or sounds when this mode is chosen. There are occasional subtle animation effects as new text slides into place over an illustration. The formatting and sizing of the images is excellent, especially on the iPad. The end result is an experience much like reading a traditional children’s book…

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