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The Order of Oddfish


90-Second Newbery: Musical Edition!

April 7, 2014

Whoops! I got to the end of the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival season and realized there were some really good videos that were submitted that I somehow neglected to put on the blog. They’re quality, though, so let’s check them out!

Full disclosure: those kids in that dead-on “Subterranean Homesick Blues” parody version of From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler above are my niece Amalia and my nephew Domingo. Guitar and singing by my brother-in-law and sister-in-law Chris and Alice. But it’s great, I swear! No nepotism here! If it was terrible, I’d kick them to the curb! I have no loyalty to family, only slavering devotion to the quality of the 90-Second Newbery! The movie sums up the book quickly and wittily, the Dylan impression is pretty good, and c’mon, my niece and nephew are adorable.

I admit it, I do love it when folks do their 90-Second Newberys in musical form. Katie Stringwell’s kids at the Eola Road Branch of the Aurora Public Library in Aurora, Illinois got into the musical spirit of it too, with this version of Louis Sachar’s Holes, in the style of a Charlie Daniels-esque country song:

The Aurora Public Library has submitted great movies in the past, and this one is no exception. According to Katie, the kids filmed this during one of the hottest part of the summer, and you can really tell! I love the decision to tell the story as a ballad. What a great device to convey a lot of narrative information quickly! Not only was the song ace, but I loved the acting: Stanley’s look of trepidation in the first shot, and Kissin’ Kate’s no-nonsense, tough-lookin’ ways. And I liked how they’re freaking out in the background while the treasure chest is being opened. Good lizards, and it’s a nice detail how Stanley and Zero are reading “Diggers”!

Thanks for these musical 90-Second Newberys, guys! Looking forward to seeing what you all make next year! (A Disney musical version of something? A Gregorian chant? A Captain Beefheart-style freakout? A Gilbert-and-Sullivan patter song? An avant-garde droning while a tiny German man sweatily and frantically recites a series of zeroes and ones? ALL OF THE ABOVE?!)