Scholastic has done it again. They have taken four terrific tales, added music, a fantastic narrator, read-along words, and a little fancy camera work or some simple animation to make these stories shine. This collection stands out because of the attention to details such as choosing appropriate background or accompaniment music, making the illustrations seem to come to life, and even highlighting parts of the illustrations that might otherwise have gone unnoticed.
THE MAN WHO WALKED BETWEEN THE TOWERS (Written and illustrated by Mordicai Gerstein, narrated by Jake Gyllenhaal) Inspired by the true story of Philippe Petit and his daring 1974 high wire walk between the twin towers of the World Trade Center.
CROW BOY (Written and illustrated by Taro Yashima) A small shy mountain boy who is different from the others gains acceptance when he imitates the voices of crows in the school talent show.
THE DINOSAURS OF WAREHOUSE HAWKINS (Written by Barbara Kerley, illustrated by Brian Selznick, narrated by Jonathan Pryce) An awe-inspiring tale of how Waterhouse Hawkins built the first life-sized dinosaur model that stunned the world.
MISS RUMPHIUS (Written and illustrated by Barbara Cooney, narrated by Claire Danes) Alice Rumphius dreams of traveling to faraway places and making the world more beautiful. Inspired by a true story, Miss Rumphius shows us how we can all make the world a more beautiful place. (At the end of this story, the audience learns about the inspiration behind the story and the “story behind the story”. It is a nice touch.)
For those who use the “Five in a Row” Curriculum, you will already know and love the stories of “The Man Who Walked Between the Towers” and “Miss Rumphius”. If these stories are unfamiliar to you, I know you will come to love them. All four stories are meant to encourage children to follow their dreams and be inspired.
I really appreciate the read-along feature which shows the words the narrator is using AND highlights each word as it is spoken. It can be turned off, but research has shown that leaving it on can help support and encourage reading skills. I like to leave it on, even if I if my non-reading kiddos are watching the story.
There is something to be said for taking the time to read and interact with your child over a story. There is also something to be said for giving them the opportunity to hear someone else read the story and highlight things that you and your child may not have focused on. The background and accompaniment music make parts of the story stand out. The cat in the “Miss Rumphius” story even purrs when it is shown on the screen. I enjoyed sitting in my recliner with a lap full of kids and listening to someone else read these familiar tales!
“The Man Who Walked Between the Towers…and more inspiring tales” is available from Scholastic Storybook Treasures for $14.95 in the US and $19.95 in Canada.
If you like this series, I would encourage you to check out this and other selections from Scholastic Storybook Treasures. There are hundreds of stories available. They are truly treasures worthy of addition to your home video library. Check them out and use the search function to find out if they have your favorite book on video. I have my eye on several.
Here is one fabulous collection I would like to own:
Here is another:
An adventure awaits!
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