Gr 3-9-- A rich blend of facts about print and film makes this behind-the-scenes book a unique contribution in its field. A brief description of Beverly Cleary's writing introduces the step-by-step narrative of the development of her character, Ralph S. Mouse , into an award-winning children's video. An insightful text, peppered with large black-and-white photographs, explains the evolution of animation into a high-tech business. The preproduction process, development of the clay figures, and the interaction of live action and animation make this a thorough documentation of a single video production that outshines such mediocre works as Dowd's That's a Wrap (S. & S., 1991). The reading level may be above Cleary's fans, but the book's structure and index make it accessible to a wide range of interests. --Judie Porter, Media Services Center, Portsmouth School Department, RI
Harrison Ford and Tom Cruise may be better known, but Ralph S. Mouse is loved by the viewers of the 1991 Andrew Carnegie Medal-winning video that bears his name and by readers of "Runaway Ralph" and "The Mouse and the Motorcycle". When Ralph went from literary hero to video star, he became a creation of animator John Matthews and his team. Through descriptive text and abundant black-and-white photos, "Look Alive" documents the evolution of the animated Ralph from the development of his multijointed brass armature to the gluing on of his fur and whiskers. Readers also learn how various types of Ralph puppets were manipulated to create desired cinematic effects. In addition, the book looks at motion picture history, explains industry terminology, and compares types of film animation. A bonus feature is the example of stop-motion animation: the drawings in the lower right corner of each right-hand page, when flipped in rapid succession, display a juggling Ralph. Readers will be fascinated by this excellent account of the hard work behind the animation of a film star.