Secret Pizza Party

6 min. Dist. by Dreamscape Media. 2014. $38.99. ISBN 9781629235127.
PreS-Gr 2—A delightfully weird ode to pizza translated from picture book to screen. It features a pizza-obsessed raccoon who, being a raccoon, is denied his favorite food by broom-wielding humans. The unseen narrator rhapsodizes about pizza, "So beautiful you could hang it on the wall in a museum," but then realizes that he is adding to the raccoon's misery. The narrator then suggests that they plan a pizza party—a secret pizza party because, "When you keep something secret, you make it special. Regular handshake: Boring. Secret handshake: Booyah!" The six-minute video has narrated and read-along versions, which highlights the text at the bottom of the screen accompanying the voiceover. Adam Verner enthusiastically narrates without crossing over into acting it out, preserving the storybook experience. The static artwork from Adam Rubin's book (Dial, 2013) is used, but subtle movements every few seconds keep viewers engaged and provide a new experience with what may be a familiar title. This adaptation does a particularly good job adding expression to the characters simply by animating their eyes. Though short, this film is well done, and would be just the right length to show to preschoolers at a pizza party—a secret pizza party.—Anna Haase Krueger, Ramsey County Library, White Bear Lake, MN

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