________________ CM . . . . Volume VI Number 5 . . . . October 29, 1999

cover Mr. Bear's Song: The Art and Craft of Making a Book.

Elizabeth Walker (Director). George Johnson (Producer).
Montreal, PQ: National Film Board of Canada, 1997.
16 min., 25 sec., VHS, $39.95.
Order Number: C9197 133.

Subject Headings:
Authorship-Juvenile films.
Book industries and trade-Juvenile films.
Publishers and publishing-Juvenile films.

Grades 3 and up / Ages 8 and up.
Review by Luella Sumner.

**** /4


"Storytelling is a tradition and the only way you can carry on a tradition is to keep on creating something new."

"Making your own story is one of the most important things you can do in your life."

This video follows the process of creating a book, from writing it, making engravings for the illustrations, to printing it page by page on a letterpress printing machine, creating beautiful end papers, a cover, and binding it all together. The story is a simple one: Mr. Bear plays a song on his flute to the little bears every night. One day, they take the flute and try to play the song as they wander through the woods. Late in the day, unable to play the song or find their way home, they hear Mr. Bear's song being played. Following the sound, they find their way home. Mr. Bear had made another flute and played the song to lead them home. They go to bed safe and sound and happy.
     The video follows the printing process, from ink mixing to final product, without any spoken explanation of what you are seeing on the screen. If teachers are to use the video to teach a class, as is suggested on the video jacket, they will have to be versed in the technology so that they can answer the inevitable question, "What is she doing now?" The ink is mixed and applied to the printing machine. The type is set for each page and the engravings positioned for printing. The pages are printed individually, fed into the press by the author. The end papers are created individually, and then the pages are hand sewn together. Lastly the cover is added. It is a wonderful thing to see each book produced so lovingly.
     The author and artist, Fiona Garrick, uses a fascinating Japanese art form called suminagashi to create the beautiful end papers. The video jacket gives a brief explanation of the art form and a list of materials and the method used. Each creation is unique as the paint swirls and eddies in the water bath and is transferred to the paper when the artist feels the moment is right.
     The music for Mr. Bear's Song is also included on the jacket, written for recorder. The information on the jacket adds to the viewer's pleasure and understanding of a thoroughly enjoyable video.

Highly recommended.

Luella Sumner is a librarian at Red Rock Public Library, Red Rock, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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ISSN 1201-9364