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Scholastic Video presents
Make Way For Ducklings...and more Robert McCloskey stories (1969-85)

"That looks like just the place to hatch ducklings!"
- Mrs. Mallard, to Mr. Mallard, in the title story

Review By: Jon Danziger   
Published: July 14, 2004

MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 00h:31m:20s
Release Date: June 29, 2004
UPC: 767685962138
Genre: animation


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ B+CB B-

DVD Review

Robert McCloskey's playful children's books have weathered the years marvelously; his stories are sweet without being saccharine, and appeal to children and parents without patronizing to either. This disc brings together three of his stories, in video versions that will serve as fine introductions if you haven't read them, and nice visual representations if you have.

In the title story (11m:13s), Mr. And Mrs. Mallard search for just the right spot in Boston on which to hatch their ducklings, and the good nature of the Bay Staters, to say nothing of their generosity with peanuts, make the family of ducks right at home. McCloskey's original drawings are the only illustrations as Owen Jordan narrates; no live action animation, but there's charm to spare here, in McCloskey's old world of cops in uniforms covered with brass buttons, Studebakers on Boylston Street, wonderful old bicycles, and the like.

Next, a little girl finds her thrill gorging on fruit, when she eats way too many Blueberries for Sal (08m:30s). She and her mom discover that also on Blueberry Mountain are Little Bear and her own mother; but no worries, as there are plenty of blueberries to go around. As with the previous story, McCloskey's drawings are the only thing to look at, but they're plenty adequate.

Finally, a summer at the beach house is a Time of Wonder (12m:37s), in a story that is more atmospheric than narrative—it's basically without characters, but is heavy on descriptions of details: the air after the rain, porpoises frolicking in the water, the last boat trip before returning home. It probably won't be as loved as either of the first two stories here, but it certainly has its virtues.

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

 

Image Transfer

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


Image Transfer Review: The image quality is pretty shoddy, unfortunately; each of the stories is full of scratches, and are frequently badly faded and discolored.

Image Transfer Grade: C

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: There's a certain amount of hiss, but everything is perfectly understandable.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 3 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. two bonus stories (see below)
  2. the title story dubbed into Spanish
Extras Review: Two more McCloskey stories in the extras package are well worth watching, too. First, there's a crusty old sort named Burt Dow: Deep Water Man (09m:21s), who is sort of a children's book Ahab, contending with the whales off the New England coast, and winning their favor with decorative Band-Aids. Then, Lentil (08m:41s) is not a bean, but a little boy who wants to sing; he doesn't have the voice for it, though, and settles for a harmonica instead, using it to win over the hearts and minds of the good people of his hometown of Alto.

English subtitles are available under the Read Along option; the trailer is for the series of Scholastic releases; and you'll also find the title story dubbed into Spanish.

Extras Grade: B-

 

Final Comments

A charming bunch of stories that have stood up well over the decades, and are likely to be as beloved by our children, and generations to follow.

 


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