If there is a child in your house that has a favorite book that you refuse to keep reading umpteen times a day, or are trying to pry small eyes away from the television and towards an actual book, I just might have a solution! I have discovered a series of DVD’s that my two children and I can enjoy without feeling guilty about watching.
Scholastic has a series of DVD’s that take favorite picturebooks, and some chapter books, released in a form everyone can enjoy. The picturebook DVD’s typically include the words at the bottom of the screen with a read along feature and the original artwork. This just might get a young television fan interested in picking up a book that they have seen, or checking out more by an author on the library shelves. Many of the stories are read by the authors and some contain interviews with those authors that the adults will appreciate even more than the kids do. Here are some of my favorite examples of great children’s books that use the actual text of the book in order to excite children about reading.
1. Chrysanthemum is a DVD with Chrysanthemum, Owen, and Weekend with Wendell by Kevin Henkes. It also has Picnic by Emily Arnold McCully, Monty by James Stevenson, and Wizard by Jack Kent. The DVD is recommended for ages 2 through 7 and has a read along option available. Narrators on this DVD include Meryl Streep, Sarah Jessica Parker, Mary Beth Hurt, and Marlene Danielle.
2. Click, Clack, Moo, Cows that Type by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Betsy Lewin and narrated by Randy Travis is the title story for my second pick in this section. Other stories on the DVD include The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash written by Trinka Hakes Noble and illustrated by Steven Kellogg with the voices of Brianna Kittrell and Heidi Stalling; The Pigs’ Wedding written and illustrated by Helme Heine; The Cow Who Fell in the Canal written by Phyllis Krasilovsky, illustrated by Peter Spier, and narrated by Rex Robbins; and Charlie Needs a Cloak written and illustrated by Tomie de Paola. This disc is recommended for ages 2 through 8 and includes English and Spanish language track (for title story only) with optional “read along” track.
3. How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? by Jane Yolen is the title track on two different DVD’s. One also has In the Small, Small Pond by Denise Fleming, Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin by Lloyd MoMoss, All the Colors of the Earth by Sheila Hamanaka, The Napping House, Joey Runs Away, and Picnic. The stories are narrated by Jane Yolen, and Laura Dern; the illustrators are Mark Teague and Marjorie Priceman. The other DVD with How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? as the title track is a selection of several of Yolen’s How Does a Dinosaur series and other dinosaur related books.
4. Swimmy is the title story in this collection of stories from Leo Lionni. The other stories included are Frederick, Fish is Fish, It’s Mine!, Cornelius, Each Peach, Pear, Plum, Hush Little Baby, and Let’s Give Kitty a Bath. These eight classic Leo Lionni animated stories are recommended for ages 3 through 9.
5. There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly is a classic tale. On this DVD is the version adapted by Simms Taback which is narrated and sung by Cyndi Lauper. The disc also includes Antarctic Antics, written by Judy Sierra and illustrated by Jose Aruego & Ariane Dewey; Musical Max, written by Robert Kraus and illustrated by Jose Aurego & Ariane Dewey (narrated by Mary Beth Hurt); Keeping House written by Margaret Mahy and illustrated by Wendy Smith; and Waiting for Wings, written by Lois Ehlert. This disc is recommended for ages 3 through 8 and has a Spanish version of Musical Max.
6. Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems starts off a DVD that also has Shrinking Violet written by Cari Best and illustrated by Giselle Potter; Possum Magic written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Julie Vivas; Planting a Rainbow written and illustrated by Lois Ehlert; Brave Irene by William Steig; and Will I have a Friend? written by Miriam Cohen and illustrated by Lillian Hoban. There is a read along option on the disc as well as an interview with Mo Willems. The disc is recommended for ages 2 through 8.
For more great picturebooks and short chapter books turned into DVDs, you can search for the Scholastic Storybook Treasures series. But do not forget to take a look at the original versions of these great stories as well!