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The Order of Oddfish


Tacoma Screening of the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival this Saturday!

February 22, 2013

We’re having two screenings of the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival this weekend: Saturday (2/23) in Tacoma, WA, at the Tacoma Public Library, and two screenings on Sunday (2/24) in Portland, OR at the Central Library downtown. My co-host on Saturday is author Kevin Emerson (The Lost Code and more) and my co-host Sunday is author Dale Basye (Heck: Where the Bad Kids Go). Check events sidebar for details!

Last time I highlighted 90-Second Newbery videos I received from Portland. Today I want to focus on Tacoma. I previously featured two versions from Tacoma of Frog and Toad Together, by Sara Truscott and Jake & Nikki, respectively. But those aren’t the only fantastic videos I got from Tacoma!

For instance, check out the above 90-second adaptation of the very first Newbery Medal winner, The Story of Mankind by Hendrik Willem van Loon (1922!). It takes guts to adapt this 500+ page book, but Jennings Mergenthal and Max Lau of Tacoma were up to the task. With stop-motion clay, no less! I loved it! The running gag about the Crusades had exquisite comic timing. The absurd “India” conclusion to the “Exploration” bit was funny too. I loved the way we could watch humanity evolve from a fish to a modern human all within seconds! And the sound effects were bang-on, too—from the clanging swords to the superheroic music when Napoleon appears.

With Max and Jennings’ permission, I tweaked the sound effects a little for the video featured above. If you want to see their original version, along with their other stop-motion clay creations, check out their YouTube channel here. Lots of great videos here!

Another standout from Tacoma was also comes with the Newbery’s inaugural year of 1922, the Honor Book The Old Tobacco Shop by William Bowen. Here adapted by a mysterious Tacoma entity known only as “Parker”:

I never read The Old Tobacco Shop, but now it’s clear I absolutely must read it as soon as possible. A boy smokes some magical tobacco and goes on a hallucinatory journey with clown-pirates? They don’t make children’s books like they used to. Looking forward to showing this on Saturday!

To see all the 90-Second Newberys I received from Tacoma this year, head over to this special page I set aside for them. Really intriguing stuff, including The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle done entirely with dogs!