bride of the tornado cover dare to know cover order of oddfish cover

The Order of Oddfish


90-Second Newbery Film Festival 2023: OGDEN, UTAH!

February 21, 2023

At last, we’re back to live screenings! On February 18, 2023, we kicked off the TWELFTH season of the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival at the Treehouse Museum in Ogden, Utah. (Check out our complete schedule here, with additional live screenings in Chicago, Boston, Brooklyn, Trenton, and San Antonio.) Thanks to Lynne Goodwin, Rob Goodwin, Wes Whitby, and the rest of the folks at the Treehouse who made this show run so smoothly.

And check out the opening skit above, in which co-host Keir Graff (author of The Tiny Mansion and more) and I consider all the Newbery-winning books that have been banned recently, which erupts into a “Marge vs. the Monorail” Simpsons-style song-and-dance number. (There’s always a song-and-dance number at the start of these shows. Sorry.)

We showed a mix of movies from Utah and across the country. Some of those movies from Utah were made right at the Treehouse, at a workshop I taught back in July. For instance, here’s an adaptation of “The Garden,” a short story from Arnold Lobel’s 1973 Honor Book Frog and Toad Together, by Parker, Beatrice, Crew, Max, and James:

In the original story, Toad plants some seeds and is very impatient waiting for them to grow. It’s a gentle story about learning how to wait for good things. But this group decided what the story really needed was three ruthless assassins who are out to destroy Frog and Toad! Check out my complete review here.

The next Ogden-made movie is by Georgia and James, an adaptation of E.B. White’s 1953 Honor Book Charlotte’s Web. Ingeniously, they retell the story in the style of Suzanne Collins’ book and movie The Hunger Games:

Ingenious and funny! Here’s our complete review on the 90-Second Newbery website.

The next Treehouse-made is by Wren, Lyla, Evie, Faith, and Parker, and it retells Kate DiCamillo’s 2014 Newbery Medal Winner Flora and Ulysses in the style of an action-packed movie trailer:

Outstanding performances, snappy camera work, and ace editing really made this movie come together! Complete review at the 90-Second Newbery website.

But that’s not all! On their own, Ben and Theo of Holladay, Utah made this goofily amusing adaptation of Arthur Bowie Chrisman’s 1926 Newbery Medal Winner Shen of the Sea:

Shen of the Sea is a long book of sixteen stories. Instead of trying to cram all of them into a short movie, this movie focuses on just one vignette, “That Lazy Ah Fun.” In the original story, the servant Ah Fun is ordered by Dr. Chu Ping to make a fire. Instead of using proper kindling and firewood, Ah Fun thoughtlessly throws into the fire the doctor’s medical books, cane, and various medicines . . . and the unexpected combination of ingredients leads to an explosion and the invention of gunpowder! Here, Dr. Chu Ping is hilariously reimagined as a weird dirtbag weirdo, complete with sunglasses and mullet-y hair. Entertaining and bizarre! Complete review here.

Thanks again to the staff at the Treehouse, my co-host Keir Graff, and Utah Humanities for making this show possible . . . and most of all, the young filmmakers! Remember, it’s never to early to start making your movies for next year’s screening. They’re due January 2024, but you can turn them in anytime. See you at the Treehouse next year!

(Want to bring the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival to your town? Drop me a line at

The 90-Second Newbery relies on private donations and grants to keep going. It’s only through your generosity that we can continue bringing public screenings and book-to-movie workshops to libraries and schools nationwide. You can make your (tax-deductible!) donation here. Donations are handled through our fiscal sponsor Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization.