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The Order of Oddfish

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Countdown to Chicago 90-Second Newbery, Part 1

January 28, 2016

I was on the “Write Of Your Life” Podcast a few weeks ago! Stacy Curtis interviews me about the creative process and I reveal was a “vomelette” is.

The Chicago screening of the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival is coming to the Vittum Theater (1012 N. Noble) this Sunday, January 31, 2016, from 3-5 pm! It’s technically sold out, but seats always open up, so if you want to come I recommend you get on the wait list here.

Here are some movies we’ve received from the Chicago area this year! Eti Berland is the superstar librarian who handles all the social media for the 90-Second Newbery (she has also, ahem, been on the Newbery committee). This year, she and Ashley Hamernik of the Evanston Public Library worked with the EPL Homeschool Group to make this great adaptation of Ingrid Law’s 2009 Honor Book Savvy in the video above!

I liked the stylish way this movie efficiently introduces the premise of the book, with the voiceover and subtitles over the intriguing images (loved that cute turtle!). And whoever played the owner of the cafe brought real energy into that firing scene. (And that was a nice waitress costume)! The electrical sound-effects paired with the lights turning on and off was a resourceful way to represent the brother’s “savvy” of having control over electricity. Everyone did a great job acting and the green-screen work was very well done! We’ll be showing this at the screening on Sunday, see you there!

And next up is Shannon Hale’s 2006 Honor Book Princess Academy by Muskaan, Suzan, Liza, Valentina, Amani, and Pia of the Niles Public Library:

Fun and ambitious! The extensive green-screen made it feel like a movie with authentic locations. That’s hard to pull off! Good cinematography, good use of music, and great acting from the star and everyone else (with a breakout performance for Tutor Olana!) The cruel girls were wonderfully nasty, the angry mob of miners was appropriately menacing, and the prince was pretty adorable. We’ll be screening this on Sunday too!

And finally we have Laura Ingalls Wilder’s 1938 Honor Book On the Banks of Plum Creek by Nora, Hazel, and Violet:

I like how this focused just on the daughters’ experience in the story—that went a long way to winnowing down the story to a manageable size. And it was a good idea to give each sister her own introduction right at the top, to make all the characters clear. The subtitles help kept the plot understandable. I liked the running joke about how small the house is, with a cool use of that little door in the side of the house! And the three sisters’ freaking-out “Home Alone” hands-on-the-face reaction to the tininess of the house was fantastic. When grasshopper storm comes, I love how hard the girls sold it, with insane panic and crying, and the camerawork felt appropriately frenetic. It’s the enthusiastic acting that put this one over the top! (And great prairie dresses too!) We’ll be showing this one on Sunday too!

By the way, Violet in this movie went to preschool with my daughter Lucy Momo! Here’s a picture from a few years ago, of them outside the school, when we all spelled out their names with dandelions:

Looking forward to the screening this Sunday!