Boy it's hot out there (we guess, we've been inside all day), we hope you're all staying cool. A balmy June Thursday can mean only one thing -- another FableVision Weekly Click! We're talking about all of our favorite topics again this week: books, movies and animation. Featured Article
We hate the be the latest in a cacophony of voices shouting, "Remember the 90s?" (the answer a resounding "YES--it was only twenty years ago") but if you were a child of 90s television you probably have some memory of watching LeVar Burton's Reading Rainbow. Burton, most commonly known for his roles in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Roots, produced and hosted the show from 1983 until it was cancelled in 2005.
Burton has spent the last few years revamping the series for the digital age and officially unveiled what he dubbed "Reading Rainbow 2.0". On June 19th, 2012, Burton announced the launch of the Reading Rainbow app. The app will contain the same content as the television show including 150 interactive books.
We love to see technology adapting to new and current trends. Burton makes a great point in the article that Reading Rainbow was a product of the era it was made in. Children were still hooked on television, so to put a show about books on air made sense. However, how we distribute, consume and process information is radically different in 2012. We stream music and movies and our children use our mobile devices to entertain themselves. At home they play video games or watch pre-recorded TV. If we're going to instill in our children a love of reading, the best place to get their attention is going to be as an app.
It's $9.99 (USD) a month for a subscription service. Content will update regularly, but there is no timetable listed. If you have a child that hasn't taken an interest in reading, or if you have a child who's already a bookworm looking for something to play on your iPad, this might be a great bet.
Do you like movies? If so then you might like Vijay Pandurangan's visualization of movie poster colors from 1914 to 2012. The results might surprise you, they might not. As it turns out, movie posters have been getting darker over the years. This might have something to do with blues and dark colors naturally catching our eyes, or it might have something to do with how poster printing and preservation has changed through the years. Pandurangan's blog spreads some more light on his process, which he admits needs tweaking. He states that he will be revising his visualization in the coming months. While you're there, take a look at the comments section. His readers are smart and have some great thoughts, hypothesis and criticisms of the work that Pandurangan will hopefully take into account for version two.
Perhaps the most difficult part about raising a modern child is that the morality and ethics of past generations is often at odds with our own. How then do we reconcile old, outdated art rife with racist or bigoted subject matter? Stephen Marche at the New York Times takes a look at just that subject. The answers aren't easy, especially when dismissal or elision can be misconstrued as tacit approval. Marche's over all point is a good one: it's important to think carefully about ways to have these discussions with our children. "When" sometimes isn't as important as "How" or "Why" (As you can see the "When" in his case presented itself). How we deal with sometimes difficult topics of race, religion and gender will in turn effect how our children view those topics. And often, it's not as simple as "we just won't read that book". These topics permeate all cultures, and even if a story or piece of children's art is not totally politically correct, we can find ways to make them teachable moments while still enjoying the overall story.
On a lighter note, we have a great (and appropriate) video from Jacob Streilein called "Swelter". It's a two-minute video about a boy and his father looking for a cool drink to relieve them of the heat. So pretty much what we're all doing here in Boston. It's a superbly animated piece. Take a look and maybe grab yourself a glass of cold water.