Getting To Know Thomas Jefferson – 3 stars
(2009) 22 min. DVD: $39.95. Getting to Know. PPR. Closed captioned.
In this third release in the Getting to Kllow the U.S. Presidents video series (see review ofGeorge Washington in VL-11/07). adapted from Mike Venezia’s 2004 book of the same name, a cartoon figure of Jefferson narrates the text with a slight Southern accent, while historical paintings and prints alternate with cartoon action to illustrate the information.
While Venezia always inserts humor-Patrick Henry, after dramatically stating, “Give me liberty or give me death!” grabs a bunch of flowers and keels over-his overview is sound, as viewers learn that Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence; designed and built his own home, Monticello; negotiated the Louisiana Purchase (Venezia depicts a cartoon Napo leon as a late-night-TV hawker-“But wait, there’s more!”); sent Lewis and Clark forth on their historic expedition; founded the University of Virginia; and even smuggled a strain of Italian rice into the United States because he thought it would grow well here.
Useful despite-or perhaps even because of-the silliness (which will appeal to the target audience), this is recommended. Aud:
E, I, P. (G.A. DeCandido)