CM . . .
. Volume XX Number 36. . . .May 16, 2014
The Fox and the Chickadee.
Evan DeRushie (Writer & Director).
Montreal, PQ: National Film Board of Canada, 2012.
7 min., 36 sec., Home & Classroom Use Download, Free for CAMPUS members, $5.95 Download HD, $3.95 Download.
Preschool-grade 3 / Ages 3-8.
Review by Harriet Zaidman.
There’s no end to the creativity in animation these days. The Fox and the Chickadee, released through the NFB, is proof of the talent and tenacity of its creator. Evan DeRushie raised money through Indiegogo and the National Film Board and recruited a team of specialists in the stop-motion field to produce a realistic and beautiful short fable about how brains can overcome brawn.
A fox bites through a rope that has snared a chickadee in a farmer’s field. The scraggly predator, obviously scrounging for food in the snowy surroundings, plans to snack on the small bird. But the wily chickadee convinces the fox that, using her brains and diminutive size, they can outwit the farmer and get into the henhouse where the fox can feast on far fatter fowl.
The fox is so taken with the thought of juicy chickens that he doesn’t realize that the chickadee’s been systematically entwining him in the rope. The chickadee orchestrates his own escape and the fox’s demise. All’s well that ends well in this story, if you’re a chickadee.
DeRushie, who wrote the fable, does a masterful job of recreating a snowy wood where the two cold, desperate animals meet. The fox especially is worse for the wear in the long winter. He has that lean, hungry look, which makes his remarks, “It’s nothing personal” and “There’s no use fighting it. It’s our nature” so appropriate, and then so drôle when the tables are turned on him.
The dream scene is made from cut paper stop-action, an effective counterpoint to the realistic materials used for the main story. Violin music adds a sense of discordance, danger or fun to the narrative.
This short video would complement a unit on fables, provide an example of how students can write a modern fable, or serve as an excellent example of stop-motion video for would-be filmmakers.
Harriet Zaidman is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.
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