DVD: Chrysanthemum…and More Mouse Mayhem


Title: Chrysanthemum… and More Mouse Mayhem 

Publication Date: 2008
Publisher: Scholastic Storybook Treasures
ASIN: B00113ALMC
Format: Animated, Color, DVD
Plot summary: This DVD features animated videos based on classic children’s stories, such as Kevin Henkes’ Chrysanthemum, Owen, and A Weekend with Wendel. The disc also includes 2 bonus stories.

  • Chrysanthemum: Chrysanthemum feels insecure about her name, then realizes that it’s absolutely perfect for her. (Story written/illustrated by Kevin Henkes, narrated by Meryl Streep)
  • Owen: Owen is getting too big for his security blanket, so his mom comes up with a solution. (Story written/illustrated by Kevin Henkes, narrated by Sarah Jessica Parker)
  • A Weekend with Wendel: Sophie learns to stand up for herself when bossy cousin Wendell visits. (Story written/illustrated by Kevin Henkes, narrated by Mary Beth Hurt)
  • The Caterpillar and the Polliwog: A polliwog talks to a caterpillar and wonders when he would turn into a butterfly. He was surprised when he turned into something very different altogether. (Written/illustrated by Jack Ken, narrated by Ruis Woertendyke and Melissa Leebaert)

Audience: K-2

Strengths: 

  • Children who enjoy these books will love seeing their favorite stories come to life. Adults will appreciate the priceless casting — especially Meryl Streep and Sarah Jessica Parker — where each narrator perfectly captures the story’s tone and characters.
  • Beginner/struggling readers will enjoy reading along with the DVD.

Weaknesses: 

  • The video adaptations of these books were all well-down, and this can be said for most volumes in the Storybook series. However, the DVDs can use a re-release with more bonus features, perhaps with interactive, educational games that children can access on the computer or right from the DVD menu. Some DVDs have special features such as games or author/illustrator interviews, but not all. This does not detract from the quality of the videos, but in the age of apps, online educational games, and interactive ebooks, Scholastic might need to add more to the DVD sets to compete for the attention of young viewers.

Uses: 

  • As part of an author study on Kevin Henkes. Students can view these after reading the books.
  • Struggling readers can turn on the caption and read along with the video. This helps develop fluency and confidence.
  • These stories have important themes that children can learn from: loving who you are even when others make fun of you, becoming more independent in a big kid’s world, standing up for yourself, and being comfortable in your own skin.
  • Teachers/moms/school counselors can use these stories with younger grades to teach about self-confidence and bullying, character traits (each story showcases some desirable and undesirable traits), etc. Kids can role-play and act out what they would do in similar situations.
  • The videos bring words on paper to life. Teachers/librarians can have kids do the same with similar books. They can create their own live-action version of their favorite books. This reinforces cooperation, group work, etc.
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