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Produced by Hayley Marnoch; directed by Xander Dobrowolski
Children's Knowledge Shows, 1991. VHS cassette, 7:00 min., $79.00. Includes Come Sit by Me (reviewed vol. XVIII/6 November 1990, p. 269).
Distributed by Magic Lantern Communications, #38 775 Pacific Rd., Oakville, Ont. L6L6M4

Kindergarten to Grade 5/Ages 5 to 10

Reviewed by Frances Bergles

Volume 20 Number 3
1992 May

is a Canadian video de­signed to introduce young children to AIDS: what it is and the idea that the disease need not ostracize children who have it. The film is based on the book of the same name by Dr. Margaret Merrifield with illustrations by Heather Collins.

The story is about Karen, a young girl who rejoins her friends after summer holidays. During the year she becomes best friends with a new boy named Nicholas. When it is learned that Nicholas has AIDS, the other children refuse to play with him. Karen, whose doctor mother explains to her that she cannot get the disease from playing, continues to play with him. When Karen is subsequent­ly shunned, her parents call a meeting with the parents of the other school children. The next day, on learning that Nicholas knows a great deal about dinosaurs, all the children ask Nicholas to "come sit by me."

The video is done in the iconographic style pioneered by Weston Woods Studios, in which visuals are taken directly from the book. While this style of filming is often denigrated, it can be effective and works well in this video. Narration is fittingly provided by the writer's young son, Michael Merrifield, who reads the text over the visuals and also tells us that the name Nicholas means "victory to the people."

The information provided in the video has been endorsed by the Alberta Health Depart­ment, which provides the book (published by Women's Press) as part of the Alberta AIDS Elementary Resource Kit. The video fills a gap in informational media for children.

Frances Bergles, Saskatoon Public Library, Saskatoon, Sask.

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