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The Order of Oddfish

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90-Second Newbery: DiCamillopalooza!

November 6, 2012

HEY! Check out 826NYC’s auction of great spooky, monstrous art by big names in the kidlit world like Brian Floca, Dav Pilkey, Mo Willems, Lane Smith, Adam Rex, Brett Helquist, Tony DiTerlizzi, and more!

Just a few weeks until the New York screening of the second annual 90-Second Newbery Film Festival on December 2! I’m co-hosting it with Jon Scieszka (The Stinky Cheese Man) along with special guests Newbery winners Kate DiCamillo, Rita Williams-Garcia, and Margi Preus. We’ll also have picture-book behemoths Dan Yaccarino and Brian Floca on hand for Caldecott-related tomfoolery. Just you wait!

Speaking of Kate DiCamillo, here are some great recent 90-Second Newbery movies of her 2004 Newbery Medal winning A Tale of Despereaux and 2001 Honor Book Because of Winn-Dixie.

The first one, above is, is by Chicago theatrical group Play Mechanics. It’s of A Tale of Despereaux, and it’s first-rate, with lots of satisfying details: the costumes (those huge ears for Despereaux!), the cauliflower attached to Miggery Sow’s head (in the book she’s described as having “cauliflower ears”), the awkward way Despereaux reacts when the princess talks to him, the wonderful mugging of “no rats, no more soup!” and not one but TWO grisly mouse-tail mutilation scenes. Cleverly resourceful special effects, too—watch for where Despereaux is made too look as though “falling” down the stairs by running the footage of him walking up the stairs backwards and at a higher speed. Inspired! Well done, Play Mechanics!

I also have not one but two versions of Because of Winn-Dixie to share. The first is from “Abby Kelly’s Book Club” at a charter school in Worcester, Massachusetts:

It was a great choice to give it a flying start with the energetic, violent scene of the dog going crazy (and I like the mustache!). Almost terrifying! This is by far the most enthusiastic, committed dog performance I’ve ever seen in a 90-Second Newbery movie. I also like how the story is presented like an impressionistic series of climactic scenes, rather than laboriously linking all the causes and effects. Great fun and a winner!

The other Because of Winn-Dixie is by Jacqueline and friends at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C. (which I visited this past spring and got to speak to the students—I had a great time!):

Having the story be narrated from the point of view of the dog was a marvelous twist. The dog costume was well-done, too; kind of reminded me of “Blue” from Blue’s Clues? The music going throughout was a good touch and propelled the story along nicely. The parrot costume was glorious; you should hold on to that for next year’s Mardi Gras. Well-shot and well-acted all around. Another excellent adaptation!

Thanks, everyone! And remember, the deadline for entries is November 10. Keep ‘em rolling in!