Watching movies together on my laptop. From left, Rembo (4), Griffin (12), Brian (6), me (ancient), Trinah (6), and Faith(7).

My posting last week on the book, Totto-chan, was well received. I thought that I might give additional suggestions for possibilities of children and adults during this time of home isolation.

When I grew up in Clayton, Missouri, the school district had a six week summer camp which my siblings and I always attended. One of the movies they showed every year was called, The Red Balloon, (see here). It is 34 minutes long and tells the story of a little boy, Pascal, in France who finds a Red Balloon that follows him around on the dreary streets of post-WWII Paris. Other people including some rough boys want to get the balloon from Pascal. There is very little talking in the movie and the speech is in French, but one can easily understand what is being said even if one doesn’t know French. In the end the tough boys pop the balloon, but this leads to “the revolt of all captive balloons.” Well, I won’t tell you the ending. I liked the movie so much then when I was young.

For Christmas, 1975, when Joy was only 3 years old, my parents gave her the book, The Red Balloon, for a Christmas present. It takes still pictures from the movie and writes the story in words. I much prefer the movie, but in the 1970s there was no possibility of showing the kids the movie like there is today with the internet.

When Gladys and I moved to Kenya and lived with all the grandchildren, we brought all my kids’ children’s book here. This included The Red Balloon. The kids have read the book, or more exactly looked at the pictures. So I decided to see if I could find the movie on the internet and show it to them. Yes, I could. We watched it together and enjoyed it thoroughly. I myself was happy to see it again. (One of the purposes of children and grandchildren is to relive your childhood.)

The children are out of school and have lots of time on their hands so I thought I would try to find classic movies and stories to show them. We are now doing this every afternoon. We have seen The Wizard of Oz, Doctor Suess’s The Lorax and Because the Little Bug that went Kachoo (we have both these books also), Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid and The Lion’s Cage, cartoon versions of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, and movie adaptations of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn (didn’t like this one because it strayed too much from the story). Yesterday we watched the 2014 movie, Annie, one of Joy’s favorites because she was part of the musical when she was in eighth grade. This was a great hit with the kids. Today we are going to watch the 1982 version of Annie so that the kids can develop their analytical skills by comparing the two versions.


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David Zarembka


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