Guest Author - Bonnie Sayers
When I joined the Columbia House Video Club several years ago I selected The First Snow of Winter based on the picture and description. This has turned into a delightful treasure for our collection and one video that gets played almost on a daily basis.
The First Snow of Winter is rated for General Audiences which includes wonderful flute music played throughout the twenty seven minutes of video in Hi-Fi stereo. Tim Curry is the voice of “Voley” with Carol Kane being the mother Duck to Sean.
This being a Columbia Tristar Home Video there are some previews shown prior to The First Snow of Winter. There are some behind the scenes of the making of Stuart Little as well as showing The Wind In the Willows, Muppets From Space, The Adventures of Milo and Otis plus the PBS series Dragon Tales. We enjoy the previews since we have these videos and watch the television show.
Sean is the cutest white duck with a British accent you will encounter in a video suitable for all ages. On this the flying south for the winter day, Sean and his friend Puffin, who has a colorful beak that reminds me of a cereal box, are chasing gulls.
They come across a fox but escape for the time being and find Sean’s Mother telling them it is time to get ready for flying. Sean bids farewell to Puffin for the winter, hoping to see each other come Spring. Up above the sounds of the other ducks leaving with the flute music in the background of the video. Sean’s Dad is late in arriving because he forgot his whistle.
The family of Ducks gets ready for take off the same time a plane is about to depart. Sean spots some Doves while flying behind his family and wants to play. He ends up getting lost in a cloud cover only to find a plane leaving his wing clipped by the wing of the plane.
Sean falls from the sky landing in the water while his Mother realizes he got lost and goes to look for him, leaving the Father with his two smaller siblings. Sean makes it out of the water and rain begins. A brown animal named Voley arrives and greets Sean.
Voley has some techniques he tries to assist in getting Sean into the sky to catch up with his family. None of them work, but Voley tells some tales about being an Astronaut and having a story in the newspapers about him once. It was funny when Sean told Voley he did not get all the newspapers.
We then see Sean’s mother looking around the water hole Sean was just at, she spots the fox and sees two white feathers and assumes the Fox got ahold of Sean. She feels at fault and goes off to find her family in the sky.
Voley tells Sean that music is grass, showing him how to hold the grass, fill his cheeks and blow. Next the two are dancing to the flute music with the herd of lambs behind them. All of a sudden the music stops and the lambs leave due to the first snow flake falling down from the sky. This tickles Sean who has never seen snow before and thinks he and Voley will wait for spring together.
Voley walks over to a tree and starts poking fun at the squirrels up above which results in nuts and berries being thrown down from the tree. Voley snatches them up telling Sean this will be his food for the winter. Then he rides on the lambs gathering wool to keep Sean warm for the winter.
Sean asks Voley if he is a good duck since his parents did not come back for him, but before they get to discuss further the Fox appeared chasing them around. They happen upon an old boat where they spend the night.
Voley wants to sleep for the winter in his burrow in the ground, but Sean states he cannot survive without Voley. "I could sleep for ages if you told be a very boring bedtime story". Voley comes back with a funny line, "You’d only be up every hour on the hour asking for a glass of water". Before Voley leaves he tells Sean to look for the lambs since they are the first sign of spring arriving.
A windy snowstorm arrives with Sean settling in a boot left behind in the snow. The next morning Sean has a difficult time getting around in the snow with his webbed feet and spots something in the snow. Puffin got lost in the cloud cover also and is frozen stiff.
Sean drags Puffin back to the boat sharing his nuts and berries and teaching Puffin how to play music with the grass. One morning Sean takes a peak out of the boot to come face to face with a lamb. The signal for spring and the two ducks go off to a spot to look and wait for their families to come back.
Before the ducks get a chance to search they run into the fox again only this time Sean bites his nose. Sean and Puffin run onto the ship but are cornered by the fox. Out of nowhere comes Voley in on a rope saying he awoke and needed some exercise after his long rest. The Fox grabs Voley with his mouth and tosses him to another side of the ship.
The fox comes after Sean chasing him off the ship where the only place to go is the water. While Sean is running down the hill to land in the water he realizes he can fly thus escaping the Fox. So happy in out foxing the fox Sean flies over to the ship to tell Voley who is still laying in the spot the fox tossed him. Voley assures Sean that he knew all he had to do was flap his feet and he would make it.
Puffin then spots his family in the sky arriving home and calls out to them. Sean’s parents are again last to arrive due to the Father forgetting his whistle. The flute music plays while Sean is reunited with his family. "Don’t you just love a happy ending" says Voley in his British accent. Sean and Voley dance to the music and Sean mentions to Voley that next year he will have to find another dance partner.
I never get tired of viewing The First Snow of Winter with my children and have watched it many times when they are asleep. It has such an appealing quality with the flute music bringing tears to my eyes and lumps in my throat.
The friendship that develops between Voley and Sean then carries over into Sean taking care of Puffin the way he learned from Voley. In the beginning when Sean is chasing the gulls he plays a chicken poking fun at Puffin who wants to go home to his Mother.
We have had this video since Matthew was five, although had to purchase replaements over the years due to wear and tear. Matthew is just mesmerized by the music of The First Snow of Winter, as I am. He used to place his hands over the television speaker each time the flute would play and dance around like Sean and Voley. The volume is turned up at the highest level to all videos by my son, but it does not bother me for The First Snow of Winter.
The accents of Sean, Puffin and Voley are appealing to my son also as he does the same when watching The Teletubbies, which has British Adults and kids in their shows and videos.
The sounds of the plane in the beginning of The First Snow of Winter are very realistic. This is truly a very appealing story that will warm your heart with the tale of friendship and courage.
The First Snow of Winter would make a nice addition to a family collection to help the little ones get ready for the next season and learn what the animals do for winter. Along with The First Snow of Winter Matthew also enjoys all three of the Free Willy movies.
This was previously published on Epinions
This article is part of the themed series mentioned in The Interests of children with autism through the years
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The First Snow of Winter is available at Amazon.