To paraphrase the classic blues lyric, parents don't know what the little kids understand. But they were young once, and should also relate to the delightful, universally appealing short films that comprise this addition to the essential Scholastic Video Collection of picture book adaptations. In Rosemary Wells' Noisy Nora, narrated by Mary Beth Hurt, a young mouse resorts to furniture-toppling distractions when her parents seem to be paying more attention to her new baby brother and older sister. In Peter McCarty's T is for Terrible, a T-rex can't help it if being monstrous is in his nature. In Cannonball, based on John Burningham's book, Cannonball Simp, a homeless dog gets into a struggling circus clown's failing act. In Ezra Jack Keats' Goggles, two boys try to keep menacing "big boys" from taking their newfound prized possession, a pair of motorcycle goggles. Except for the near-half-hour Cannonball, all the films clock in at less than ten minutes, ideal for short attention spans. Each film is faithful in the design and voice of the source material, and the different visual styles, ranging from limited animation to live-action, keep attention riveted. Included as an extra feature, this volume's buried treasure, the 1961 Oscar-winning classic, Munro, will appeal more to adults. Jules Feiffer's subtle and subversively funny satire will no doubt go over younger children's heads, but they can certainly identify with this story of an army draftee who can't get anyone in authority to acknowledge that he's only four. While not as thematically cohesive as previous volumes, this engaging collection is another highly recommended foray into the world of books that will inspire budding readers.
by Craig Butler review