CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Produced by Ronald A. Weinberg; directed by Peter Sandier

Cinar Films/France Animation, 1990. VHS cassette, 24:00 min., $300.00
Distributed by T.H.A. Media, 39 Baywood Rd., Rexdale, Ont. M9J 3Y8

Grades 1 to 6/Ages 6 to 11
Reviewed by Frances Daw Bergles.

Volume 19 Number 5
1991 October

Called The Ice Queen's Mittens by the distributor but bibliographically designated as above, this charming animation is an update and expansion of the Mother Goose rhyme.

Hoodwink the Rat (voice by Bryan Adams) is sent on a mission by Freezelda the Ice Queen (Lauren Bacall) to bring back live kittens to make soft, furry mittens before her hands become icy and cause her heart to warm.

Hoodwink lures the kittens, Tom, Dick and Harriet (of course!), into the Fearful Forest using their mittens as bait. That is how they lost their mittens. However, Mama Cat, far from being the discipli­narian of the classic rhyme, sets off to find her children. With the assistance of kindly Old Man Winter, Freezelda's arch foe, Mama Cat tracks down the kittens to the Ice Palace, where they are saved — just as they are about to lose their skins.

Designated for elementary school age children, the video will in fact appeal to audiences of all ages. Language is a key element of this production. Rhymes, puns and word plays enliven the action. Younger audiences will identify with the use of current idiomatic expression. The kittens, for example, are "too cool" to wear their mittens, protesting that "only nerds" wear them. Adults will enjoy the sophisticated use of language. One of my favourite alliterations was "kitten-carrying carnivore." My only caveat is that very young children may find some sequences, such as the threatening wolves, scary.

Crayon Animation, a subsidiary of Cinar, a Montreal production and distribution house active in interna­tional co-productions, was formed in 1989 and is one of the newer players in a growing list of top quality Canadian animation houses. The director, Peter Sandier, formerly worked for Potterton Studios and was one of the animators of that company's classic, The Selfish Giant. The Ice Queen's Mittens is one of a thirteen-part series (only five of which seem to be available from T.H.A. Media for a package price of $1350). Each depicts a classic nursery rhyme with a twist. This is currently a popular concept among children's librarians and was the theme of a recent program at the Saskatoon Public Library. The series, which was co-produced with France Animation, is produced in both English and French. Production values are high — not surprising, as costs ran between $350,000 and $500,000 for each episode.

Finally, high praise from my twelve-year-old, who proclaimed the produc­tion "decent."

Frances Daw Bergles, Saskatoon Public Library, Saskatoon, Sask.
line indexes


1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


The materials in this archive are copyright © The Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission Copyright information for reviewers

Young Canada Works