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The Order of Oddfish


90-Second Newbery: Another Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (2010) and Walk Two Moons (1995)

May 15, 2011

We are now officially overdue for the baby. Come out, baby, come out! We’re waiting for you!

On the bright side, this means I have time to tell you about this DROP-DEAD BRILLIANT entry I received for our 90-Second Newbery film festival. It’s another version of Grace Lin‘s modern classic Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. It’s a popular choice for the contest―here’s another film for the same book that I posted two weeks ago.

Please, please watch the video above. And make sure you have a friend on hand to catch your jaw on its way down to the floor. For this film is done entirely with shadow puppets!

From the spot-on original music, to the gorgeous puppets, to the ebullient narrator, to the visual inventiveness of every single shot, this is a piece of art that single-handedly raises the tone of this entire contest. It’s by author/illustrator Aaron Zenz and his three kids, who are the folks behind the blog Bookie Woogie. In the words of the 90-Second Newbery co-curator Betsy Bird, “if it doesn’t rock your socks off, nothing will.”

Do check out Aaron’s blog post about the making of this video. You can follow how the whole thing evolved, from initial drawings to final movie. The entire project took three months! They even got their friend Victor to do an original soundtrack for it!

Bookie Woogie is a family book review blog run by Isaac (age 12), Gracie (10), Lily (8), Elijah (5), and their dad Aaron (35). Those intrigued by Aaron’s handiwork should get his children’s books Chuckling Ducklings and The Hiccupotamus. Superlative job!

But that’s not all. I also received this worthy entry for the contest―for Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech, which won the Newbery medal in 1995.

It’s by undergraduates from Children’s Literature course at Longwood University. There’s much to like here, too! I’m particularly fond of the deadpan performance of “Josh M” as the lunatic brother Mike. There was also something comically perfunctory about the death of “Grams” that is perfectly in keeping with the spirit of the 90-Second Newbery contest (“Grams. Grams. Grams!”―then cut to gravestone).

Inspired to create your own 90-Second Newbery film? Anyone can enter. The details of the contest are here. I’m also extending the deadline from September 15 to October 17, so schools will have more time to make it part of their fall curricula.

Remember, the film festival is at the New York Public Library on November 5, 2011!