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The Order of Oddfish


90-Second Newbery: A Cricket in Times Square and Frog and Toad Together

October 11, 2011

The deadline for the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival is less than a week away―October 17! So get those entries in. (By the way, I have somewhat belatedly created a Facebook page and Twitter (@90secondnewbery) for the 90-Second Newbery, so if you’re so inclined, feel free to “like” and “follow” them.)

Today, two entries! The above video of A Cricket in Times Square (Newbery Honor, 1961) is by Brandon Will. He helped me out a couple months back when I impersonated Audrey Niffenegger for charity. Brandon’s an up-and-coming writer himself, he works at my favorite neighborhood bookstore the Book Cellar (just five minutes from my house!), he’s a fellow Michigander, and he’s an unrepentant Bob Seger apologist (I remain Seger-averse, but Tal Rosenberg’s excellent Reader article about young Seger makes a good case).

Anyway, Brandon is a puppeteer, and he decided to do A Cricket in Times Square in the style of a video from Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” project encouraging LGBT youth. A fantastic idea, a great mash-up of two video memes! And now I know the secret history of Tucker Mouse and Harry Cat. It makes sense! Thanks for a funny and oddly moving entry!

The next film was made by my friend and brother-in-law, Chris Norborg, and nieces Sophia and Graciela. Here they reenact the chapter called “The Dream” from Frog and Toad Together by Arnold Lobel (Newbery Honor, 1973). I hadn’t known that Frog and Toad won a Newbery, but it’s true! That’s great, because I love this book, and this adaptation!

Tremendous job, Sophia and Graciela! I love how Toad says “can you do THIS?” while banging discordantly on the piano, or wobbling through a ballet stance. Extra points for resourceful use of flashlights during the Toad show. And Chris makes a rather terrifying disembodied announcer voice! “The greatest toad will now . . . “ What pitiless emcee is doing this to her?! Anyway, a super movie. (And I believe this has the youngest cast in all our Newbery films so far!)

I will be posting the Newbery submissions fast and furious in the next couple weeks as they come in. Thanks, everyone, for all your submissions, and I hope you New Yorkers and Chicagoans can come to the screenings (November 5 and 16, respectively!) All details of the film festival are here, and as mentioned, you can now also keep up to date on our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter at @90secondnewbery too.