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Produced by Laura Helter
Frameline Productions, 1992. VHS cassette, 11:00 min., $89.00. Distributed by Magic Lantern Communications Ltd., Unit #38, 775 Pacific Rd., Oakville, Ont. L6L 6M4.

Subject Heading:
Rain forest ecology-Juvenile films.


Produced, written and directed by Francis Paynter
Woodpecker Films Inc., 1992. VHS cassette, 28:00 min., $299.00.
Distributed by T.H.A. Media Distributors Ltd., 1100 Homer St., Vancouver, B.C. V6B 2X6.

Subject Headings:
Old growth forests-United States.
Forest conservation.

Grades 3-6 / Ages 8-11 (Ana in the Rainforest)
Grades 7 and up / Ages 12 and up (Still Life for Woodpecker?)

Reviewed by Vicki McCudden

Volume 20 Number 6
1992 November

These were timely videos for me to review as I had just returned from a trip out west, where I spent time hiking and birding in incredible old growth forests and saw the results of large-scale logging. The two videos have the same central theme of the preservation of old growth forests, both tropical and temperate. We learn that these forests, irreplaceable because of their great age, are important to us for their great diversity and interdependence of plant and animal life. Both productions raise our awareness of and challenge us to learn more about the subject so we can make educated decisions about the future management of the forests.

Ana in the Rainforest is appropriate for children in the Junior grades. In it a young girl is completing a school project on the tropical rain forest. As she reviews what she has learned, she dreams that she and her pet iguana are in the rain forest. The dream sequence is semi-animated and is supported by realistic sound effects and soft music. A simple story-line helps hold our interest to the end. A lot of information is conveyed, but a young viewer would not be overwhelmed by facts. Viewers are given good insight into life in the various levels of the forest from the ground to the branches and the canopy above, and finally what happens when the trees are cut down.

Still Life for Woodpecker? focuses on the pileated woodpecker and its critical role in the ecological chain in the old growth forests in the past and to the future. The video points out that there are many options for good forest management other than clear cutting. The film has been well researched, is up to date, and uses an imaginative presentation tied in with an ancient Native creation myth.

Film is a very appropriate medium for this topic. The photography is great and often the pictures are allowed to speak for themselves. The sound track is very clear and varied, including Native language, which is woven in with informative narrative, and gentle guitar playing.

Ana in the Rainforest is recommended as an optional purchase for school libraries. Still Life for Woodpecker? is highly recommended as a valuable addition to all libraries.

Vicki McCudden is a teacher-librarian at St. Edmund School in Mississauga, Ontario
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