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Produced and directed by Michael Gerard

CBC Enterprises, 1990. VHS cassette, 30:00 min., $109.00.
Distributed by CBC Educational Sales, Box 500, Station A, Toronto/ Ont. M5W 1E6

All ages
Reviewed by Barbara Chester

Volume 20 Number 1
1992 January

As one views Tales out of School one is unsure of the purpose of the video. Is it to gain sympathy and thus financial support for Lucy Legrassa in her per­sonal struggle to keep Storybook Pub­lishing a reality, or is it to make viewers aware of the glut in the field of publish­ing children's writing? It does serve the unique purpose of making the viewer aware of the creativity, tenacity and love of writing of kids from across Canada.

The video shows the process that Lucy Legrassa and her panel of volunteer judges go through in choosing twelve winners from 8,000 stories submitted from across Canada. Lucy Legrassa states that the purpose of the annual contest and publishing of the winning stories is to give encouragement and recognition to youngsters who can find it nowhere else.

Although intended for adult viewers, the dramatizations of four of the win­ning stories could be effective motiva­tional material for six-to fourteen-year-olds. The stories are narrated by the authors and are acted out by them and their families.

One story, "More and More Potato Chips," written by a seven-year-old, will delight Primary children. Underwater photography is used effectively to tell a story by ten-year-old Duncan from the point of view of a 5-pound fish named Gill. The third dramatization is of a rather macabre story by fourteen-year-old Tawnya. "Kid of a Frustrated Farmer" will hold the interest of kids of all ages.

What is missing from this video is current information regarding Storybook Publishing. Is it still in existence and if so how can kids get information about the contest? As many elementary schools now have their own publishing centres, I recommend this video be purchased at the board level as a tool to encourage kids to write about what they know. This video also gives students an opportunity to see kids their own age as role models and to see writing as a valuable thing in their lives.

Barbara Chester, Victoria Terrace School, Fergus, Ont.
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