________________ CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 40. . . .June 17, 2011.


Le Printemps de Mélie = Molly in Springtime.

Pierre-Luc Granjon (Director). Pascal Le Nôtre (Folimage Producer). Marie-Josée Corbeil & Christine Côté (Subséquence Producers). Marc Bertrand & René Chéne (NFB Producers).
Montreal, PQ: National Film Board of Canada, 2009.
26 min., 59 sec., DVD, $99.95.
Order Number: 153C 9910 039.

Grades 2-5 / Ages 7-10.

Review by Meredith Ball.





Did you know that every Spring in Balthazarville a Flower Festival is held to celebrate the sun’s return? For two whole days, until Billy Bog, the King of Winter, has gone, it’s a carnival. A lucky girl finds a charm and becomes queen, and she, in turn, names her king. And this year, guess who the Flower Queen will select as king?

It’s Springtime in Balthazarville, and Molly Gingerbread has been chosen to be the Flower Queen for the annual Flower Festival As queen, Molly gets to choose who will be king of the festival as well, and she chooses Leon, the bear-like boy she loves. However, Bonifacio, the town’s storyteller, is jealous that he is not chosen, and he hatches a plan to take over being king> He poisons the town’s water supply, giving everyone terrible stomach aches, and blames it on Leon. After her father is struck with the sickness, Molly sets off to search for a cure, and, in the process, discovers that Bonifacio is behind it all. Ultimately, the storyteller is exposed for the rogue he really is, and Molly cures the town with a pink flower called Pinkadee.

     Viewable in both English and French, Molly in Springtime is a 3-D puppet animation set in a medieval backdrop. The story, which unfolds in a running time of just under twenty-seven minutes, plays out as if the viewer were watching a live play, with moving backgrounds and borders around some scenes which look like the outside of a puppet theatre box. The puppets are all unique, and the detail in their appearances is well-developed and of a high-quality. The story, itself, is fairly simple, although there is a level of complexity to the film as it follows three different plot lines; that of Bonifacio’s scheme, Molly’s search for the sickness cure, and the quest of Leon and his friends to find more honey for the Flower Festival. Despite the simplicity of the plot, however, this video provides viewers with an engaging and enjoyable story while also giving teachers an opportunity for a fun-based learning experience. Along with the DVD comes an instructional teacher’s guide, which explains three different classroom activities that can be completed with the film. There is a word study activity, in which students are to look up some of the more complex vocabulary used in the film (such as serrations, goblet, and colander), and then point out when they hear those words during the story. There is a listening and observation activity in which students watch the film in sections, and after each individual section, they answer questions about what had occurred in the scenes they had just watched. Finally, there is a recap and reflection activity which has students break the film down into five sections which follow a typical fairy-tale narrative, with an introduction, conflict, quest, resolution, and conclusion.

     On its own, Molly in Springtime is a interesting tale of trickery, discovery, and love. The story moves quite quickly, and the fast-pace of the plot line, combined with the many characters and somewhat advanced vocabulary, might make this film a little overwhelming for some viewers. With the suggested activities, however, this film provides a unique learning opportunity that is fun and engaging.

Highly Recommended.

Meredith Ball is currently completing her Masters of Library and Information Science in London, ON. She loves to read, write, and live in a world of pure imagination.

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

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