26 June 2007
Arnie the Doughnut and Other Fantastic Adventure Stories - Scholastic DVD Review & Contest
The new DVD collection from Scholastic is fresh out of the oven, iced with chocolate, coated in rainbow sprinkles and is absolutely delicious. This grouping of five animated shorts is incredibly strong and is anchored by two runaway hits at the front of the disc, one featuring the title character, a charmingly verbose pastry, and the other a civic-minded insect. Arnie the Doughnut and Roberto the Insect Architect are two cartoons that go a long way in reminding this dad and author just how much creative juice exists in the world of children’s entertainment.
Laurie Keller (of Scrambled States of America fame) is the creative mind behind Arnie the Doughnut. As with the hilarious romp through a jumbled United States, her work here is pure kiddie comic genius. Her trademark style blending wit with whimsy, you know the same one that made you want to snuggle up with Rhode Island and shake a leg along side New Mexico, is all over this 17 minute film about a sprinkled breakfast treat unaware of his intended fate or purpose in life, which is, of course, to be eaten! Arnie’s story begins very early in the morning, as most days in a fine bakery will, when we met the star doughnut and his yummy peers and watch them as they go from raw dough to deep-fried goodness.
The fun really begins after Arnie is purchased a carried away by a hungry, doughnut-loving regular in the person of Mr. Bing. Here Keller’s dialogue-heavy approach to silly storytelling takes center stage as the relationship between the two characters, man and breakfast item, is formed, explored and defined. The banter back and forth about the potential alternative roles a doughnut can play in a household is a true pleasure to witness as is the eventual arrangement decided on at the end of the film. A child of almost any age will appreciate the absurd nature of talking food and the mere notion that a simple doughnut could stand in as house guest or even as a paperweight. The give and take during the brainstorming session between Mr. Bing and Arnie is classic, as is the voice of the baker, who Arnie, naive as to his true calling, phones to warn once he discovers that Mr. Bing eats one of his doughnut cousins everyday of the week.
Arnie the Doughnut, featuring the voice talents of Michael McKean (Spinal Tap, Best in Show, Laverne & Shirley), is sure to delight your entire household - from babies (not that they should be watching television) to grandparents - the story is that appealing. The 17 minutes of doughnut brilliance is worth the price of the DVD alone, but you would be remiss in stopping the disc from spinning too early. If you did, you would miss the wonderful story of Alberto, a kind-hearted termite with a passion for design.
Roberto the Insect Architect is a sweet and humorous tale of role reversal - a termite who dreams of constructing versus destroying. While not as laugh-out-loud funny as Arnie, Roberto the Animal Insect is filled with lovely storyboard illustrations and a warm narrative about following your heart amid negative feedback, ridicule and skepticism. Roberto puts his considerable talents to work for other bugs, who like him, find themselves unwanted and on the outskirts of (bug) society. What is super sweet about his work is that, while he eventually receives both, he seeks no credit or fame. How nice a message is that the hey-look-at-me YouTube generation we are currently living through?
The three remaining tales on the disc are pleasant, if not awe-inspiring or entirely memorable.
Arnie the Doughnut and Other Fantastic Adventure Stories is one of the most enjoyable Scholastic DVD collections to hit shelves this year. OWTK cannot recommend this DVD enough.
To stoke the interest of your little ones, click to enlarge then print off this coloring sheet of Arnie!
THE ARNIE the DOUGHNUT CONTEST!
OWTK has two copies of Arnie the Doughnut and Other Fantastic Adventure Stories to give away. For your chance to win, simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with ARNIE in the subject line. Two lucky winners will be selected at random on Monday, July 2nd 2007. Oh, one more thing OWTK will never share your email address or send you unwanted mail, so don't worry about that. Thanks for reading and GOOD LUCK!