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PreS-Gr 1-In this problematic story about self-acceptance, Hermie is an ordinary caterpillar, unhappy with his lack of special abilities or distinguishing marks. When he and his friend Wormie go to God to ask why they are so ordinary, the only answer they get is, "I'm not finished with you yet." Hermie comes up with several plans to become less ordinary: he convinces Wormie to drop a beehive on his back so that he can be like a snail, attempts to catch a heavy acorn to prove he is strong like an ant, and concocts a dangerous plan involving blueberry stains to give him spots, all with disastrous results. These incidents inject slapstick humor into the story, and also a healthy dose of pop-culture references (such as Hermie spouting "I'll be back," after the pinecone incident). In the end, of course, Hermie accepts that it is okay to be a common caterpillar, just before God turns him into a beautiful butterfly. This conflicting message of self-acceptance and change may confuse many in the target audience, and the story is unfortunately drawn out past the attention span of many in that group as well. Despite the star power fueling this production (it was written by bestselling author Max Lucado; Tim Conway and Don Knotts provide the voices of Hermie and Wormie), the whole is unfortunately less than the sum of its parts.-Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Maryland School for the Deaf, Columbia Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Former Del Fuegos front man Zanes (Family Dance; Rocket Ship Beach) continues to build a solid following as a kids' music performer. This time around, the songs are a bit less rowdy (designed for night-time listening), though many of them retain a catchy bluesy, folk edge. Zanes generously pays tribute to some of his heroes, including blues legend Leadbelly on the amalgam "Leadbelly Songs." Happily, the friends that lend Zanes a helping hand along the way are a very talented crew. Lou Reed contributes vocals to a cover of "What a Wonderful World," and Dar Williams sings on "Wild Mountain Thyme." Other guest artists include John Doe, formerly of the group X. This fresh-sounding mix of original and traditional tunes, a nifty addition to Zanes's catalogue, will likely find a slew of fans, day or night. All ages. (Dec. 2002)