January 29, 2015

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Pick of the Day: Hooray for Amanda & Her Alligator! | DVD

Hooray for Amanda & Her AlligatorHooray for Amanda & Her Alligator! DVD. 12 min. Weston Woods. 2013. $59.95. ISBN 9780545570336; CD $12.95. ISBN 9780545570381; Tr w/CD $29.95. ISBN 9780545570299.
PreS-Gr 2–The film version of Mo Willems’s winning title (HarperCollins, 2011) is true to the picture book’s spare atmosphere, employing plenty of white space to highlight the main characters and action. Movement adds humor to this already amusing work; the way Alligator fiddles with his tail, the positions Amanda assumes while reading, and the characters’ dancing are agreeably emphasized. Close-ups of the comical covers of the books Amanda is reading are another treat for viewers. The author’s daughter, Trixie, gives just the right voice to Amanda while Willems provides the perfect Alligator. The dramatic narration and the voice of Panda are presented by Willems’s wife, Cher. The action is accented by folksy, mostly solo banjo accompaniment with crescendos that add voices and whistling. Alligator’s thinking cap sounds are aptly interpreted as those of a high-scoring pinball game. The DVD’s read-along subtitles and the CD’s page-turning prompts make this early reader/picture book crossover, with its simple language and short chapters, an even more valuable beginning reader tool. As the credits roll, the DVD adds uproarious content: Panda and Alligator conspire to build a jet pack, and the viewer is treated to Alligator’s precarious flight. The bonus DVD interview with Willems reveals the shocking truth about his true feelings for pandas–hilarious.–Constance Dickerson, Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library, OH

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