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School Services of Canada, 1991. VHS cassette, 19:10 min., $99.95. (Meet the Author series).

Distributed by School Services of Canada, 66 Portland St., Toronto, Ontario M5V 2M8.

Grades 4 to 8/Ages 9 to 13
Reviewed by Ann Pagan.

Volume 19 Number 3
1991 May

This video about Gordon Korman, part of a series about Canadian authors, is both informative and entertaining. I introduced the video to a grade 5/6 class and it met with the same success as Korman's books.

The video begins with Korman giving a presentation to a group of elementary school students about one of his latest books. Radio 5th Grade (Scholastic-TAB, 1989). The author talks to his audience with the same ease with which he writes for them, and this comes across to the viewers.

We are immediately impressed when told that Korman wrote his first novel at the age of thirteen. Despite Korman's unusual precocious ness, kids can relate to him. Korman is shown relaxing while jogging, lifting weights, playing Nerf basketball, and spending time with friends and his family. In that respect, he is not very different from his viewing audience - he has established a rapport, and this is very important to the success of this type of video.

Korman stresses the importance of his own education in improving his writing skills and he talks about how he draws on his personal experiences for his material. Although he divides his time between Toronto and New York, he emphasizes his Canadian back­ground.

After viewing this video, most of the students (even the reluctant readers) were eager to read one of his books. Any educator who may doubt the value of video in the curriculum will be converted after seeing the reaction of students to this film. Short of having the author visit in person, this is a most effective way of promoting reading.

Technically speaking, the sound and colour are good and the background music is not intrusive. The interchange between the narrator and Korman himself works well - there is a good balance. A brief but helpful guide accompanies the video.

I highly recommend this video for grades 4 to 8.

Ann Pagan, Montreal, Que.
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