Midnight RideThe people at American Animation Studios are at it again.  After the success of their first educational entertainment piece on Patrick Henry, Rob Mercer and John Derrick (co-founders of American Animation Studios) have now put out their second DVD: Paul Revere: Midnight Ride.

With a new eagle hostess (Ellie, the niece of previous host Boomer), Midnight Ride starts out pretty quickly, introducing audiences to our quirky but lovable host and launching into Ralph Waldo Emerson’s reading of The Concord Hymn at the commemoration of the Concord Monument on the 4th of July in 1837. As Ellie is walked through the history of the “shot heard round the world,” young viewers are able to learn along with her.

Meshing the infamous midnight ride of Paul Revere with an adventure tale featuring dastardly British soldiers and cleverly clandestine escapades by the Minutemen, this 30-minute animated video attempts to give kids what they want (flashy animation with a dash of comedy), while also giving them what their parents want (a historical recounting of events in the country’s past). Though this second volume doesn’t obtain it’s goal with as much aplomb as the first episode, it’s still remarkably fun to watch and should make for a helpful teaching aid.

The story does tend to stereotype the British as either completely dopey (there’s a Laurel and Hardy duo sniping about “another foul mess you’ve put us in), hopelessly pompous (the generals stir their tea muttering about how easy the fighting is that it’s almost no fun at all), or downright evil (the evil scarred sergeant returns from Patrick Henry). Overall this is a minute quibble for a kid-friendly, educational video, but it does serve to create a bit of a black and white perspective rather than striving for a little more grey.

Zach’s Rating: B-
Perfect For: A classroom setting and a teacher with a penchant for media
Stay Away if: You’re still upset that the turkey’s not the national bird
Watch For: The wicked scar on the face of one of the British Sergeants

To purchase Paul Revere: Midnight Ride, visit Amazon
For more information on History’s Heroes, visit their homepage

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