Fuzzy, Furry, Funny Friends

The best of these animations for very young children are so entertaining that kids may not realize they're being taught. In Maisy: Train, a British short by Leo Beltoft Nielsen, Maisy engineers a train with sequentially numbered cars, stopping to pick up ever-larger numbers of different animals. In Adam Shaheen's Super Why? an imp interacts with illustrations from a book of The Three Little Pigs, inviting the viewer into its world. Ming-ti Kao's Taiwanese short Piano, My Friend: Cave Musicians presents a little allegory about the beginning of ensemble playing: two musicians who've been trying to drown out each other are brought to order by the emergence of a conductor. Other entries are more playful: Using a suction-cup arrow, the title character of Theo Kerp's German short Häck Mäck: Flying Islands manages to capture a balloonlike “flying island” so that he and a friend can take a ride on it. In Gene Deitch's Anton, from the Netherlands, a little boy imagines flowers are chasing him as he walks home alone at night. And in James Mendes's spectacular, nearly surreal Train of Thought, apparently random objects in a landscape form figures when the camera angle changes. Seven more shorts round out the program. 83 min.

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