A River Ran Wild Review

A River Ran Wild

Video Review 
by Kathleen Kelly MacMillan

© 2001

A River Ran Wild
By Lynne Cherry
Signed by Scarlett Bernstein
VHS, 12 minutes, voice narration

Available from:

A Book A Day (State Adoptions in American Sign Language) series
©1997 California Department of Education
Clearinghouse for Specialized Media and Technology
560 "J" Street, Suite 390, Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916.445.5103 (v), 916.323.2202 (tty), FAX: 916.323.9732
Email: rbrawley@cde.ca.gov
Note: Available for California schools only.

This video adapts Lynne Cherry's 1992 picture book into American Sign Language. Both the book and video tell the story of the Nashua River, beginning with a group of Native Americans who find the river and decide to settle nearby. The story follows the river through time, with the coming of the white settlers, the buildup of towns, and increased pollution. The twentieth century arrives, and the river becomes smelly and clogged with chemicals and pulp from the paper factory nearby. One of the descendents of the Native Americans who originally settled there has a dream that his ancestor sees the river and weeps. This prompts him to lead a movement to clean up the river.

The format of the video is successful, particularly for this type of book, where the narrator can be fully integrated into the story. The book's illustrations provide a backdrop for the signer, who tells the story. Voice narration keeps time with the signing, and the viewer is allowed to see the entire picture in between each "page" of narration.

Signer Scarlett Bernstein conveys the beauty and tragedy of this natural story expressively. This video is an excellent resource for language arts or natural science lessons.

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