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August 24, 2007 Edition

Hannah Montana: Pop Star Profile

Four episodes of Disney’s hit show are featured here in a play-by-episode or play-all (edits out the breaks, making this essentially a 90-minute movie). Miley is an average 8th grader by day, hit singer Hannah Montana by night, with friends and family helping her keep her pop-star identity a secret. When Jake Ryan, a teen actor with his own show, moves to town, Miley gets irritated by the special privileges and attention he gets. But when Hannah gets invited on Jake’s show as a guest star, she has the chance to get to know him better. A LOT better! Can a screen kiss translate to real-life kisses?

Whisper of the Heart

This enchanting film from Studio Ghibli draws viewers into middle-schooler Shizuku’s world with scenes of ordinary life for a schoolgirl in Tokyo. Shizuku does chores and homework and hangs out with friends, but her head is often off in the clouds, lost in the fairytales she loves to read. When she spots a very self-possessed cat riding the subway by itself, she is intrigued, and follows it. She meets an antique store owner and his grandson Seiji, who dreams of becoming a violin maker, and her very different relationships with the two help her focus her own dreams. The magic of this film is that it shows the interdependence of dreams and hard work in creating a happy life.

Carrie’s War

Based on Nina Bawden’s book of the same name, this is life during wartime for 14-year old Carrie and her little brother Nick. Evacuated from London to the Welsh countryside for safety, they find themselves living with strangers: Mr. Evans, a shopkeeper known for his puritanical ways, and his quiet sister Lou. There seem to be new rules every time they turn around, and life is stifling until they are sent on an errand to Druid’s Bottom, where the Evans’ older sister lives with her caretaker. Hepzibah makes the two children feel right at home, along with the odd Mr. Gotobed, and another evacuee, Albert Sandwich. But a sad event snowballs into a disastrous action on well-meaning Carrie’s part, severing ties perhaps forever.

Chicka Chicka 1-2-3

This short but sweet animated version of the book by Bill Martin is for the very young. Animated numbers dance and swing their way up an apple tree while an equally animated cast sings a (perhaps too) catchy tune, naming the numbers as they appear. This shows counting by ones up to 20, then by tens to 100, then back down again. All the while, a lonely 0 looks for its place in the game, finally finding it at the top of the tree.

Nanny McPhee

Cedric Brown’s seven children are little terrors – just ask any of the seventeen nannies they’ve driven away with mean tricks and practical jokes. But the eighteenth is different: she’s Nanny McPhee, and she says that as long as she’s needed but not wanted, she’ll stay. Through a little magic, a lot of love, and plenty of determination, she helps the Brown kids straighten themselves out and gain a step-mother (one they love!) in the process.

The Iron Giant

Where do you hide a 50-foot tall, metal-eating robot with amnesia? Eleven year-old Hogarth Hughes has to find a really good answer to the question before either his mom or the government agent who saw the robot fall out of the sky find out that the Iron Giant has followed him home. Fortunately, Hogarth has a friend with a scrap metal yard, but they both know it isn’t a permanent solution. It’s the height of the Cold War and the military sets out to destroy the Iron Giant as a precautionary measure – after all, the robot could be a weapon sent by the enemy to destroy America. Under fire, the Iron Giant transforms –is he dangerous after all?

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