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The Order of Oddfish


90-Second Newbery: Portland 2013

I received many wonderful submissions from Portland, OR for the 2nd Annual 90-Second Newbery Film Festival, which screens in Portland on Sunday, February 24, 2013. Let’s check them out!

The first, above, is Portland Community Media’s adaptation of Arnold Lobel’s 1973 Honor Book Frog and Toad Together. Five different teams worked on animating the five vignettes in the book in five different ways! “The List” is done as a silent movie with intertitles in a gentle, casual hand-drawn style. I liked the sunset effect in particular. “The Garden” was done as a three-dimensional cut-paper stop-motion movie—I loved the weird voices, the cotton clouds, and the “night” effect! The third, “Cookies,” uses sock puppets and a gorgeously elaborate set. I particularly liked Frog and Toad’s voices, the effect of going “through” the window, and the birds attacking the cookies! The fourth, “Dragons and Giants,” is an great Claymation that boasts a terrifyingly slithery snake and flying bird (I also like the totally stripped-down dialogue)! The last one, “The Dream,” is a slickly (computer?) animated, atmospheric piece that is just as dreamlike as the story. Tremendous job, Portland Community Media!

Next: 1964 Newbery Medal Winner It’s Like This, Cat by Emily Neville, as done by Danny Garrison & Co.:

The script was swift and witty, the acting believable! I loved the grizzled-at-12 resignation of the “mistakes . . . yeah, I’ve made mistakes” line. The spaghetti-sandwich making was strangely disturbing. And the west-side-story Sharks vs. Jets dance in the aisle of the store was quite funny!

The next one is courtesy of the Fairview-Columbia Library’s Teen Council. It’s of Scott O’Dell’s 1961 Newbery Medal winner Island of the Blue Dolphins:

Resourceful use of homemade puppets and cardboard cutouts! Ingenious puppet work, good use of the flashlight as a spotlight, and I especially liked the exchange “Come back or I’ll be stuck on the island for 20 years!” “But it’s my fishing spear!” “Fiiiiine” and when Karana bellows “Revenge!” (Nice flying devil-fish, too.)

Next: E.L. Konigsburg’s 1968 Medal Winner From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, as interpreted by Claire, Kaura, Kieran, Dalya, and Bayard:

Great camera work, nice editing, and the black and white was a good choice—especially how they switched to color for the final shot. All the acting was great, especially the accent on Frankweiler herself!

Next: Beverly Cleary’s 1982 Newbery Honor Book Ramona Quimby, Age 8 as adapted by Xela and Riley of West Sylvan Middle School:

I liked the nice use of pigtails to make the girl playing Ramona look even younger. The raw-egg on the head scene—which is essential to get right if you’re doing this book—was done perfectly, with complete commitment and marvelously extended mocking laughter! I also thought the music cues were spot on, especially when Ramona is running away and going to the principal. Nice ambitious green screen work, too!

Next: the Gregory Heights Library Teen Council did an adaptation of Louis Sachar’s 1999 Newbery Medal winner Holes:

Very enjoyable Holes! I liked the nighttime scene with the lizards. And the over-the-top acting at the end when they’re saying “There is no file here” and “you’re arrested” was amusing. I also was pleasantly puzzled at the Sploosh commercial with the credits. Well done!

Next: the Seaside Public Library of Seaside, OR checks in with their own adaptation of Frog and Toad Together:

Delightful! I love that they did it in the style of a black-and-white movie, very clever! And also that they covered all the vignettes in the book, instead of just one. Ambitious and fun!

Finally: Kate DiCamillo’s 2004 Newbery Medal Winner The Tale of Despereaux as interpreted by the Rockwood Public Library’s Teen Council. Go!

I enjoyed the nice big ears on Despereaux. The rat falling into the chandelier, followed by the puppet-king’s pronouncement, was choice. The “Wait! I’m going to kill you!” and “Soup is illegal!” “But soup is good!” exchanges were high points too. Well done, Rockwood!

I’m looking forward to seeing you all in Portland this Sunday!