Celebrate the World! The "Hey Wordy!" Movie

55 min. Slangman Publishing. 2017. $14.99. ISBN 9781891888601.
K-Gr 2—This magical, musical adventure stars Dabblebee, played by musician and linguist David Burke, the sole live-action character set against the busy, almost psychedelic animation. During 10 separate, unrelated segments, Dabblebee travels around the globe with Wordy, a floating blue dictionary, and together they gather words from different languages to fill up Wordy's pages. The combination of live-action and animation is very upbeat. Featured languages include French, Japanese, Chinese, Italian, Korean, and Arabic. There does not appear to be any rhyme or reason to the words Dabblebee and Wordy explore, and some of the costumes and accents represent stereotypical, exaggerated reflections of each country. For example, when singing about France, Dabblebee sports a thin mustache, beret, scarf, and holds a paint palette. When singing about China, he is accompanied by animated chopsticks with slanted eyes, wide grins, and an unnaturally robotic, high-pitched voice. At times, on-screen vocabulary words appear and disappear before viewers can fully absorb them.
VERDICT Educators looking for true language learning, vocabulary introduction, and cultural celebrations should look elsewhere.

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