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The Order of Oddfish

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90-Second Newbery films from the Foote School in New Haven, CT: 2013!

In both 2011 and 2012 I received a bunch of 90-Second Newbery videos from Jim Adams’ English class at the Foote School in New Haven, Connecticut. I was delighted with their work, which you can see here (2011) and here (2012). Back in 2013, Jim sent me a bunch of brand-new, lovely videos for this year’s film festival. Now’s the time to post them watch them! (Wondering what the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival is? All is explained here.)

First is the batch is Armstrong Sperry’s 1941 Medal winner Call It Courage, as adapted by Jaden, Sammy, and Zane:

How brilliant to do the entire thing in Minecraft! Especially an adventure story like this, with big vistas and difficult-to-film landscapes—computer assistance is the perfect solution. Compelling and very watchable. I’m looking forward to seeing many more 90-Second Newberys done in Minecraft. It opens up all kinds of storytelling opportunities!

The next is Louis Sachar’s 1999 Medal winner Holes, as adapted by Jack:

Very enjoyable! I liked best the punch-out right before they run away from the camp, and the strange red wig towards the end.

Next is Robert C. O’Brien’s 1972 Medal winner Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, as adapted by Page and Serena:

Lots to love in this one too, especially the owl’s voice, the breaking-out-of-the-cage scene, and the protracted crazy running around and screaming at the end!

Next is the 1960 Medal winner Onion John as adapted by Christopher, David, Joshua, and Khelan:

I particularly loved the way the kid who played Onion John spoke his lines in a kind of moon-man nonsense language. Great commitment to the part! They efficiently and amusingly boiled the story down here to its most basic elements. I enjoyed this more than the book, frankly!

Next is Phyllis Reynolds Naylor’s 1992 Medal winner Shiloh as adapted by Andrew and Kartik:

Well-shot, tightly scripted, and good acting all around — and it’s so refreshing that you used an actual dog! (Though, do my eyes betray me, is the dog playing Shiloh replaced by a stuffed animal midway through the movie? I hope nothing bad happened to the real dog!)

Finally we have Betsy Byars’ 1971 Medal winner Summer of the Swans as adapted by Emi, Lilah, and Lilly:

Good job with this one, too! Full disclosure: I’ve never actually read Summer of the Swans. But this movie was so clearly scripted, with a careful cause-and-effect linking between each scene and the next, it still made sense! Perhaps not surprisingly, making sense is rare among 90-Second Newbery movies. Well done!