Review by LindaLee Massoud
A novel by Natalie Babbitt
Translated into ASL by Adrian Blue
VHS 4 hours, 39 minutes, 5 videocassettes, $95.00 + $10.00 shipping
ASL, with voice-over.
Accompanying book and teaching guide.
Published and Distributed by:
Horace Mann School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
40 Armington Street, Allston, MA 02134
(Checks to be made payable to Boston Educational Development Foundation)
The Horace Mann School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is undertaking a massive, but very valuable task: translating literature into ASL. This particular videotape, almost five hours' worth, is the translation of Tuck Everlasting, by Natalie Babbitt. Deaf professional actor, Adrian Blue, and the video team have done a tremendous job of translating the text into an equivalent form of ASL. They used scene, lighting, and camera angle changes very creatively to depict time and location changes. The ASL used in the story is fairly high register. Adrian Blue incorporates an excellent use of space, non-manuals, and classifiers, in addition to a complex ASL sentence structure. From a technical viewpoint, the performance is superb.
This videotape has several potential uses. The primary stated goal of the translation is to encourage Deaf students to be "readers" of literature. That purpose offers many instructional possibilities for upper middle school and older students. The accompanying literature also points out that the makers hope parents will sit down with their children to "read" the book together (on videotape) and then discuss it. Recent studies have clearly demonstrated the tremendous value of being "read to" aloud, and videotape serves that purpose here.
A secondary use of the videotape would be for ASL language analysis. Students of the language, particularly those studying both fine arts and interpreting, could make tremendous use of the materials by comparing and contrasting the written and the visual work. This would be an advanced exercise for students already skilled in the language.