Tag Archives: storybook classics

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

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

Story Discussions #3: Pecos Bill (1988)


Pecos Bill (1988)

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:

Pecos Bill (1988)

Narrated by: Robin Williams
Music by: Ry Cooder
Illustrated by: Tim Raglin
Another personal favorite from the “Rabbit Ears: Storybook Classics” series, this tale was just so fun to read and I really enjoyed Robin Williams’ hilarious narration as he gave each character a lively personality and it made the story really interesting to sit through!  I also loved Ry Cooder’s music as it fits perfectly with the story’s western theme and also gives this story a very upbeat tone.  Tim Raglin’s illustrations further brings out the colorful world of this old tall tale as the landscapes that Pecos Bill visits are colorful and vibrant at the same time!
So, what did you liked or hated about Robin Williams’ narration on “Pecos Bill?”
Please feel free to answer below!

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

 

How the Leopard Got His Spots by Rudyard Kipling


How the Leopard Got His Spots Book Cover

Blog 2 InfoGenre: Africa / Changes / Friendship

Year Published: 1989

Year Read: 1994

Series: Storybook Classics

Publisher: Rabbit Ears Books

Blog 1 Introduction logo“How the Leopard Got His Spots” is the fourth of the “Just So Stories” to be introduced in the Rabbit Ears Storybook Classics Series. The story features narration from Danny Glover, African music from Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Lori Lohstoeter’s colorful and beautiful illustrations.

Blog 4 ProsDanny Glover narrates the story with an African accent, making this story filled with an African culture feeling to the story. Also, Danny Glover’s narration is full of energy as he seems to be ecstatic about narrating this “Just So” story. Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s African influenced music is mostly filled with the vocal talents of each member and in perfect harmony, they create a soothing and energetic vocal sounding music that greatly enhances the African roots of the story. Lori Lohstoeter’s illustrations are beautiful and colorful as the illustrator masterfully illustrates each animal with vibrant colors, especially when they changed their colors. The illustrations that are the true highlights of this story are the images of the Leopard drawn as an extremely beautiful creature as he is mostly yellow at first and is more beautiful when his skin is full of purple and reddish spots. Also, the Ethiopian is drawn as a calm and chubby man and when he changes his colors, he becomes more vibrant as he gets darker.

Blog 5 ConsThe only problem I found with this story is that Danny Glover’s narration is a bit difficult to understand. Danny Glover sounds as if he has a sore throat when narrating this story as his voice tends to give out on him at certain times such as, when he was describing the animals in the High Veldt and you can barely hear the words “Eland” and “Hartebeest” since his voice gets soft at these words.

Blog 6 Overall“How the Leopard Got His Spots” is another classic from the “Just So Stories” collection and is truly a memorizing story about going through changes in life. This story is probably the most energetic and attractive of the four “Just So Stories” introduced on Rabbit Ears and is surely to delight children ages eight and up.

Blog 7 Awardshttp://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

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.png1990  Grammy Award Nomination – Best Recording for Children

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.png1990 Action for Children’s Television (ACT) Award

5 stars

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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