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Scholastic Video presents
Good Night, Gorilla...and more bedtime stories (1982-99)

"They give a big kiss. They turn out the light. They tuck in their tails. They whisper 'Good night.' They give a big hug, then give one kiss more. Good night! Good night, little dinosaur!"
- Narrator (Jane Yolen), from How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?

Review By: Jon Danziger   
Published: August 31, 2003

Stars: Anthony Edwards, Jane Yolen, Melissa Leebaert
Director: Maciek Albrecht, Daniel Ivanick, Paul Gagne

MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 00h:23m:05s
Release Date: August 26, 2003
UPC: 767685952535
Genre: animation


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ B+C+B B

DVD Review

I can tell you from experience: parents are looking for a boost wherever they can get one when it comes time to put the kids to sleep. Scholastic provides four well-chosen bedtime stories, some or all of which may be familiar to their intended audience from the children's books on which they're based.

Jailbreak! That's what's up in the title story, Good Night, Gorilla (08m:51s), when the primate at the local zoo slips the key ring out of the pocket of the unsuspecting zookeeper, voiced by Anthony Edwards, stat. The only mischief the gorilla has in mind is freeing his animal pals, and soon it's a caravan over to the zookeeper's house. There's very little dialogue here, and the sweet little anthropomorphic animals will demand the visual attention of their intended viewers.

It's Pleistocene era bedtime in the next story, How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? (07m:08s), an animated version of a charming story book by Jane Yolen, with illustrations by Mark Teague. (It's a perennial favorite in our house.) Imagine dinosaurs striding the earth not as predatory, but getting into their jammies and tucked under the covers, acting much like pre-schoolers fighting the parental imperative to go to sleep. A delightful story, and a parental favorite for helping lure the little ones to sleep.

Oh, dear, did you forget to send a card? It's our favorite satellite's special day in Happy Birthday, Moon (06m:38s), in which Bear decides that the underappreciated moon needs a bit of a celebration, too. It's an amiable story, but it features perhaps the stupidest hero in all of children's literature, one who cannot distinguish between his own echo and the voice of his alleged conversation partner. If your very little ones are looking for someone to condescend to, this is the ticket.

Finally, a fateful flea disrupts the serenity of The Napping House (04m:28s), in an animated version faithful to the drawings from the book of the same name by Audrey and Don Wood. Things start quietly and then get a little riled up, and I can tell you from experience that, while this is a fine little story, it may not be the very best choice for just before bedtime.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: There are a fair amount of scratches on almost all of the short films; Happy Birthday, Moon looks especially faded and worn out. You won't find shimmering Pixar-style animation here, but things aren't so distracting as to keep your kids from wanting to watch these.

Image Transfer Grade: C+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: The sound quality is always at least adequate, though on a couple of the stories, especially How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night?, the sound editors seem to have gotten a little goofy and peppered the tracks with a few too many sound effects.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 4 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. three bonus stories (see below)
Extras Review: Three more stories nearly double your pleasure under the Extras menu.

The dulcet tones of Forest Whitaker provide the narration for The Paperboy (08m:15s), about a dedicated little fellow and his trusty dog, bringing all the news that's fit to print to the good people of the neighborhood. It's an early morning story—the boy rises before dawn to make his rounds—but the soothing musical score and the richness of Whitaker's voice may make you think about going napsy-bye yourself.

The title character in Patrick (06m:35s) strolls through the market and settles on a fiddle; he has chosen wisely, because the music that comes out of the violin has magical, transformative powers, turning cows' spots into multicolored stars, and just generally bringing happiness and merriment to the landscape. This wordless story doubles as a child's introduction to Dvorak, as well.

It's never too early to learn to accessorize, as Bodiglio, an Italian war veteran, discovers when he's blessed by the appearance of The Hat (06m:05s). The mystical powers of the Hat are extraordinary—it can swoop up escaped rare birds, smoke out the bad guys, even find Bodiglio a bride. It's a whimsical little tale, if a little heavy handed with the stereotypical thick Italian accents.

As with many of Scholastic's other titles, the trailer is for their entire series of releases, and the Read Along option offers English subtitles.

Extras Grade: B

 

Final Comments

When a warm glass of milk and a kiss just aren't going to do the trick, these night-night stories will come in especially handy.

 


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