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Neal Livingston, 1990. VHS cassette, 5:00 min., $125.00
Distributed by Atlantic Independent Media, Box 1647, Stn. M, Halifax, N.S. B3J 2B3

Kindergarten to Grade 6/Ages 5 to 11
Reviewed by Wendy Zwaal.

Volume 19 Number 1
1991 January

Neal Livingston divides his year between the city and the woods of Cape Breton. The similarities that he sees between these two landscapes are the focus of the video Trees and Elevators.

The intention of the video is to show Primary grade children how nature is reflected in man-made structures. Livingston accomplishes this through a series of visual presentations. Images of ordinary phenomena are followed by those of related urban structures. Livinston compares glass and water, spider webs and office buildings, flowing water and traffic flow, and waterfalls and escalators. The images of nature are presented in seasonal order, beginning with winter. The video has no narration and is accompanied by a sound-track that suggests movement.

Trees and Elevators helps the viewer see ordinary natural and man-made structures from a different perspective. However, I must admit that when I first viewed the video, I did not understand it. The review copy did not indicate the intended use or audience. My reaction (and, similarly, of others who pre­viewed it) was to interpret the work too deeply. Following a discussion with the distributor, I found the video quite comprehensible. While children do not search for deep underlying themes, adults showing the video will likely require some guidance. A teacher's guide or some information regarding the possible uses of the video should accompany it.

Wendy Zwaal, Newmarket Public Library, Newmarket, Ont.
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