________________ CM . . . . Volume V Number 1 . . . . September 4, 1998

cover Ernie's Idea.

Claire Maxwell and Peter Vogler (Directors), Svend-Erik Eriksen and Claire Maxwell (Producers)
Montreal, PQ: National Film Board of Canada, 1997.
13 min. VHS, $29.95.
Order number C9196 048.

Grades 1 and up / Ages 6 and up.
Review by Katie Cook.

*** /4

"Opportunity knocks, but ideas aren't nearly so polite." Ernie is a normal guy with a normal job at the Normal Nuts and Bolts factory. He is the seventeenth best sorter, and happy to be so. Then, out of the blue, he gets an idea, a small yellow one. This is not done in his neighborhood, and the disgruntled neighbours even consider calling the police. Worried about losing his job, what is Ernie to do?

      This delightful animated film is based on a short story by Peter Vogler. Ernie is someone to whom all viewers can relate. His predicament is entertaining and engaging. The message, while easy to discern, is not so blatant as to turn the viewers off. In fact, the message is perfect for the medium used.

      The full colour animation looks like pencil crayon colouring. Wonderful visual gags abound. The police men are true Canadians, chomping on donuts and none too thin. Ernie's co-worker causes a work stoppage by leaving his thermos on the line. The narrator is talking about one thing while the viewer sees things "as they really are." Verbal puns also engage the viewer. The narrator has a wonderful voice for reading and "is" Ernie's voice.

      This video contains a users guide for teachers and trainers or facilitators in the non-educational sector. The questions are thought-provoking and intelligent, sure to foster additional discussion. While not exactly curricular, this video will aid in teaching thinking skills, a major component of any course. Applicable to various grade levels and subject areas, this video is recommended for purchase. Winner of the 1997 Yorkton Short Film and Video Festival for Best Animation.


Katie Cook is a social studies teacher and teacher-librarian at the Steinbach Regional Secondary School in Steinbach, Manitoba.

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

Copyright © 1998 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364