Charismatic clown fish Nemo swims back into theaters—and the hearts of youngsters—on September 14 with the re-release of the animated classic newly converted to Disney Digital 3D. First presented by Pixar and Walt Disney Pictures in 2003, Finding Nemo (G) garnered acclaim from critics and audiences alike, earned status as the second-highest grossing movie of the year, and sailed away with numerous awards including the Oscar for Best Animated Feature.
With its timeless themes of family love and burgeoning independence, delightfully unique characters, and blithe blend of humor and adventure, the movie has been captivating viewers ever since (it’s been a best-selling DVD and was named to the American Film Institute’s 2008 list of top 10 animated features). The motion picture will be released on Blue-ray on December 4th, and the underwater antics of Nemo and his friends may soon continue—director Andrew Stanton is reportedly onboard to spearhead a sequel.
Set in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the story follows the adventures of Marlin (voiced by Albert Brooks), an over-anxious single-parent clown fish, and his son Nemo (Alexander Gould), a vivacious youngster who is just starting school and can’t wait to make new friends and explore his world. When Nemo is snatched by a scuba diver—ending up in a dentist’s office fish tank in Sydney—the ordinarily mild-mannered Marlin is determined to mount a rescue mission. Accompanied by the always-bubbly Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), a kindhearted but forgetful Pacific blue tang, this daring dad embarks on a quest to track down Nemo—swimming through uncharted territory and taking on stinging jellyfish, menacing sharks, and other dangers—while also searching for the wisdom to trust in his son’s abilities. Meanwhile, Nemo has been stirring up the fish tank with a few escape plans of his own.
Kids can cruise over to the movie website to watch previews, play an online game, and access activities. One video clip showcases US Olympic Team swimmers, while others feature interesting behind-the-scenes commentary from the movie’s animators. A scroll-down characters section, divided into ocean dwellers and the tank gang, introduces each player with a colorful visual, species identification, notable quote, brief bio, related videos, and downloadable wallpaper images.
The movie’s second big-screen splash is sure to generate a new school of Nemo fans, ready to join the ranks of kids already familiar with the film from family DVD screenings. Spiff up your collection with some new and re-issued tales guaranteed to reel in movie aficionados and expand the viewing experience to the written page. Finding Nemo (Golden Bks./Random House, 2012; PreS-Gr 4), a “Big Golden Book,” welcomes readers with a colorful cover featuring a face-to-face image of the three fish protagonists. The narrative recounts the movie’s highpoints with just enough detail and dialogue to satisfy those conversant with the plot, while keeping the action moving forward quickly. Attractive double-page paintings, imbued with opulent marine hues and luminous lighting, convey the events, play up the humor, and depict a dynamic cast of characters. The book’s straightforward language and sentence structure, clear transitions between scenes, and steady pacing make it accessible to newly confident readers as well as share-aloud audiences.
Finding Nemo: Read-Along Storybook and CD (Disney Pr., 2012; PreS-Gr 4) allows readers to dive into the action with a lively retelling of the plot. Youngsters can trawl the words and illustrations on the pages of the staple-bound paperback while listening to the audio CD, a beguiling narration enhanced by dialogue performed by the movie actors, music, and sound effects. Utilizing some of the same images as the Big Golden Book, the lush double-page paintings provide plenty of details to hold the eye while emphasizing events described in the text.
Nemo’s Big Adventure (Random House, 2012; PreS-Gr 4) celebrates the film’s foray into its new format with a streamlined retelling and sparkling 3-D images (3-D glasses are included). The clearly written narrative efficiently describes the movie’s major plot elements and underscores exciting moments. Scenes from the movie illustrate the text, and the 3-D special effects add greatly to the presentation. Featured front and center, the characters seem to swim right off of the pages, the ocean backdrops have detail and depth, and the illustrations are filled with energy and motion.
Random House has re-issued two “Step into Reading” (Step 1) easy readers that will win over beginners with familiar film characters, simple texts and large-size type, and vibrant artwork. One tale introduces the Best Dad in the Sea (2003) and his son, accentuating the personality differences between the two (“Marlin is careful. ‘Slow down, Nemo!’ Nemo is not. ‘Come on, Dad!’”) and their enduring affection for own another while touching briefly on the movie’s plot. Colorful and uncluttered, the full-bleed illustrations support the text with clearly conveyed details.
In an original story based on the characters, Nemo dreams of joining the school swim team but worries that the small-size fin he was born with will hold him back. Never fear, Dory is determined to help, providing cheerful encouragement and the advice to Just Keep Swimming (2005; both PreS-Gr 1). The rhyming text is filled with repetition and buoyant rhythms that will encourage beginning readers, and the stylized cartoon artwork, set against clean white backdrops, provides visual clues and creates a sense of excitement. Adorned with fan-grabbing covers featuring the undersea heroes, these very basic beginning readers are available in sturdy library bindings and will become staples of your easy-reader collection.
MARSOLI, Lisa Ann, adapt. Finding Nemo. illus. by the Disney Storybook Artists. “A Big Golden Bk.” Golden Bks./Random. 2012. Tr $9.99. ISBN 978-0-7364-2922-1.
Finding Nemo: Read-Along Storybook and CD. illus. by the Disney Storybook Artists. Disney Pr. 2012. pap. w/CD. $6.99. ISBN 978-142316028-1.
WRECKS, Billy. Finding Nemo: Nemo’s Big Adventure. Random. 2012. pap. $4.99. ISBN 978-0-7364-2968-9.
TYLER, Amy J. Finding Nemo: Best Dad in the Sea. illus. by the Disney Storybook Artists. “Step into Reading.” Random. 2003. (2012 reissue). PLB $12.99. ISBN 978-0-7364-8021-5; pap. $3.99. ISBN 978-0-7364-2131-7.
LAGONEGRO, Melissa. Finding Nemo: Just Keep Swimming. illus. by Atelier Philippe Harchy. “Step into Reading.” Random. 2005. (2012 reissue). PLB $12.99. ISBN 978-0-7364-8041-3; pap. $3.99. ISBN 978-0-7364-2319-9.
This article was featured in School Library Journal's Extra Helping enewsletter. Subscribe today to have more articles like this delivered to your inbox for free.