Like Scholastic’s other Storybook Treasures releases, “Merry Christmas, Splat…and more winter stories” collects beautifully animated and narrated versions of four books. This time these stories are centered around Christmas and Wintertime in general.
The collection includes:
Splat the cat wants a really big gift from Santa for Christmas. Worried that he wasn’t well behaved enough throughout the year, he makes a last-ditch effort to be REALLY good before Santa arrives on Christmas Eve.
It is Christmas Eve and Fletcher the Fox eagerly awaits Santa’s arrival, but he’s worried that Santa won’t be able to find his burrow in all of the snow.
This is the true story of Willie Bentley, an inquisitive Vermont boy who loved to examine and study snowflakes and discovered a method of photographing snowflakes called microphotography.
This is the story of a girl and her father who go wolfing late one night in the moonlit Winter woods in search of the Great Horned Owl.
Both of my girls (ages 4 and 6) enjoyed these stories, with “Merry Christmas, Splat!” definitely being their favorite. They both found it funny and my 4 year-old has specifically requested several repeat viewings of that story in particular.
While I wasn’t familiar with any of the books animated in this collection, my 6 year-old proudly exclaimed “I know Fletcher!”, when “Fletcher and the Snowflake Christmas” started up, as she had read a different Fletcher book in Kindergarten (she’s now in First Grade). Though she had to ask me what type if animal Fletcher was, she enjoyed this new tale as well.
“Snowflake Bently” uses an interesting blend of animation and live action to illustrate this true story. When this one started, once again Emily got all excited saying “oh oh oh Daddy, I KNOW THIS STORY! (told me the entire plot) and said that her teacher had also read it to the class in Kindergarten. So obviously it was a pretty memorable story. However, even the narration by Sean Astin wasn’t enough to keep this Goonies-loving dad from feeling like this one dragged on a little too long, but it seemed to hold the girls’ interest just fine for the full 15 minutes.
Finally, “Owl Moon” is beautifully descriptive story, with some nice illustrations. Its soft narration and soothing soundtrack make it a perfect way to finish off the collection, calming and lulling the kids to sleep. It reminded me a bit of the “Crow Call” story that we saw in a previous Scholastic Storybook collection.
No author interviews this time, but the lone behind the scenes extra was fun. A little cheesy and specifically geared toward children, the animators did a nice job of bringing things down to a kid-friendly level so they can understand the process of taking a book and animating it, from laying out storyboards, to preparing the artwork. Adults will find this bonus feature interesting as well, at least I did.
What’s Included on the DVD:
- Video: 1.33:1
- Audio: English Dolby Digital 2.0
- Subtitles: (Read-Along Feature)
- Merry Christmas, Splat (7:39)
(written and illustrated by Rob Scotton, narrated by John Keating)
- Fletcher and the Snowflake Christmas (8:33)
(written by Julia Rawlinson, illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke, narrated by Katherine Kellgren)
- Snowflake Bentley (15:23)
(written by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, illustrated by Mary Azarian, narrated by Sean Astin)
- Owl Moon (8:00)
(written and narrated by Jane Yolen, illustrated by John Schoenherr)
- Behind-the-Scenes Look at Creating Animation for Fletcher and the Snowflake Christmas (8:22)
This wintry mix of stories are perfectly suited for the season and are a well produced series of short films with nice animation and narration. I can easily see “Merry Christmas, Splat!” becoming an annual holiday tradition in our household and I expect that we’ll be watching the entire collection numerous more times as the Winter weather starts rolling in.