Among the National Film Board’s most-borrowed films during the late 1960s and ’70s was Bill Mason’s 1966 short film Paddle to the Sea (Criterion DVD), based on the wonderful children’s book by Holling Clancy Holling. Many boomers like me will remember trooping through school corridors to sit with their classmates in a darkened gymnasium, watching as a small hand-carved canoe survives a full range of watery perils beginning in the snowmelt streams that feed into Lake Superior, through the Great Lakes and over Niagara Falls, all the way to the mouth of the St. Lawrence and the Atlantic Ocean. School movies were always a welcome relief from the standard curriculum, and most of us didn’t realize that Paddle to the Sea was delivering a covert geography lesson as well. This release is part of a three-movie set of classic children’s films from Criterion: you have to ask yourself if you’re willing to put childhood memories at risk with a modern viewing of these movies though adult eyes. The other two films are from the French director Albert Lamorisse. White Mane (1953) tells the story of a friendship between a boy fisherman and a wild white stallion, set in the marshy plains of the Camargue region of southern France. In Lamorisse’s iconic Red Balloon (1956), which completes the set, the camera follows a young boy as he chases his wayward red balloon across Paris, providing an entire generation with their first memories of the streets and rooftops of a Paris that really only exists in films.