Tag Archives: Eric Metaxas

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

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

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

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 #4: The Fool and the Flying Ship (1991)


The Fool and the Flying Ship (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:

The Fool and the Flying Ship (1991)

Narrated by: Robin Williams
Music by: The Klezmer Conservatory Band
Illustrated by: Henrik Drescher

As everyone knows, “The Fool and the Flying Ship” is my all-time favorite story from Rabbit Ears and what I loved so much about this story was that the narration, the music and the illustrations all combine effortlessly to create one hilarious and wild take on the ancient Russian folktale!  Robin Williams was brilliant in narrating this story as he brought so much humor to the story and made the story fun to watch!  The Klezmer Conservatory Band’s music brings in a creative flair to the story and Henrik Drescher’s illustrations is the icing on the cake as they are bizarre yet creative at the same time and really brings in a unique spin on this ancient folktale!
So, what did you liked or hated about Robin Williams’ narration on “The Fool and the Flying Ship?”
Please feel free to answer below!

The Fisherman and his Wife by Eric Metaxas


The Fisherman and his Wife Book Cover

 

Blog 2 InfoGenre: Fairy Tale / Drama / Family / Magic

Year Published: 1989

Year Read: 1993

Series: Storybook Classics

Publisher: Rabbit Ears Books

Blog 1 Introduction logo

Most of the Rabbit Ears Series that I have seen were mostly aimed at children and would not contain material objectionable to younger children. However, The Fisherman and his Wife was the first story from Rabbit Ears that I have watched that actually kept me at the edge of my seat. The illustrations, the music, and the overall mood of the story are somewhat intense and gloomy at the same time, which has become one of my most watched Rabbit Ears story other than “The Fool and the Flying Ship.”

Blog 4 Pros

Like every Rabbit Ears story, there is a combination of narration from various celebrities, music, and illustrations to complement to the story without using animation to tell the story. The Fisherman and his Wife is no different from the other Rabbit Ears stories and is narrated by none other than Jodie Foster. Jodie Foster’s narration is monotonic as she speaks solely in a gloomy tone giving the story a mysterious edge. Diana Bryan’s dark silhouette illustrations enhances the story by creating frightening allusions for the story such as the large appearance of the flounder and scenes where the sea changes color dramatically from light blue to dark purple when the storm is approaching towards the fisherman. Van Dyke Parks’ music is extremely mesmerizing as the music resembles a sort of old England tune giving the story a mysterious yet elegant feeling that ranges from the fisherman’s mysterious encounter with the flounder to the elegant lifestyle of the fisherman’s wife.

The Fisherman and his Wife

Blog 5 ConsParents should know that younger children may be frightened by this video because of the intense scenes involved in this video. One such intense scene involves the storm causing chaos where it goes, as dark silhouette houses and boulders come crashing down the hill and bright flashes of lightning fill the screen every few seconds. Also, to add to the intensity of the storm scene, when the fisherman approaches the sea, the sea starts changing colors drastically from a lively blue color to a dark and foreboding purple color. Many children may find the disturbing images, such as the brief scene where the flounder’s eyes turn red during the storm and the dark silhouette images of the boulders and clouds overwhelming the screen, to be frightening indeed. However, this scene is not as bad as those gory scenes you would find in horror movies nowadays.

Blog 6 OverallThe Fisherman and his Wife is simply perfect and breathtaking. The images by Diana Bryan bring an eerie feel to the story but keeps the story fast-paced. Also, I enjoy how the moral of the story was established by starting off with the fisherman’s wife wanting to be more powerful than anyone and then suddenly she loses all that power because she was so greedy. This moral applies to anyone who want many materialistic things but ends up losing everything in the end. Despite the intense scenes, this video is worth watching over and over again.

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.png1989 Parents’ Choice – Honor Award – Silver

 

5 stars

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

Princess Scargo and the Birthday Pumpkin by Eric Metaxas


Princess Scargo and the Birthday Pumpkin Book Cover

Blog 2 Info

Genre: Native American / Birthday / Folktale / Sacrifice

Year Published: 1992

Year Read: 1993

Series:  American Heroes and Legends

Publisher: Rabbit Ears Books

Blog 1 Introduction logo

“Princess Scargo and the Birthday Pumpkin” is a wonderful tale from the genius minds of Rabbit Ears about a young Native American princess named Scargo who learns about the power of sacrificing the things you love to save the people you love.  Geena Davis’ tender narration along with Michael Hedges’ Native American inspired music and Karen Barbour’s beautiful illustrations makes “Princess Scargo and the Birthday Pumpkin” an instant classic for the young and old.

Blog 3 Summary

A drought came to the land and the ponds were dried up which made the Nabscuet tribe upset because they needed the fish to survive on.  So, Chief Segam called for a meeting and they decided to dig up a lake to withstand the drought, therefore, when the rains come, the hole will be filled up and a new lake would be created.  Everyone in the tribe helped out with the lake, except for Princess Scargo who could not work because she was a princess of a great chief.  Unfortunately, even though everyone tried to work on the lake, the fish continued to die.

Finally, the rains came and filled up the hole to that created a lake and everyone celebrated.  Unfortunately, it would be a long time before the fish returned to the lake and Princess Scargo was sad because she wanted to help out the tribe so badly.  As Princess Scargo went to the forest to stare at the fish in her birthday pumpkin, she got an idea and realized what she must do…

Blog 4 Pros

Geena Davis does a fantastic job at narrating this story of a heroic Native American girl who must sacrifice her most precious gift to save her people.  Geena Davis’ narration is extremely tender, making this story extremely pleasant to listen to.  Michael Hedges’ music is truly inspiring as he captures the true essence of Native American music as the music is deeply mesmerizing and magical.  Karen Barbour’s illustrations are beautiful and colorful, especially of the images of the birthday pumpkin with the images of all the animals in the forest being drawn on the outside and when the scenes came where they showed the inside of the pumpkin being filled with fish, the images were mesmerizing and beautiful at the same time.

Blog 6 Overall

“Princess Scargo and the Birthday Pumpkin” is a wonderful tale about the power of sacrificing the things you love to save the people you love and many children will enjoy this classic tale for many years to come.  I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since there are some difficult words in this book that smaller children might have a hard time understanding, such as the names of the tribes.  Parents might want to help children understand the names of the tribes of the Indians by reading the names to them first.

5 stars

 

 

Also reviewed at: Rabbit Ears Book Blog