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Nick Park, who made his reputation with the delightful Wallace and Gromit shorts, won his first Oscar in 1990 with his clever clay animation impressions of zoo creatures. Inventive vignettes of delightfully designed animals are voiced by real-life elderly London apartment dwellers commenting upon their own confining apartments, and children reflecting upon zoo life. The dryly hilarious and sometimes affecting short packs plenty of visual wit in a very British vein into five minutes, but is only one of the delights Aardman Animations studios has to offer in this collection. Two wordless shorts by Aardman cofounder Peter Lord (both Oscar nominees) offer a different kind of physical humor. "Wat's Pig" combines The Prince and the Pauper with The Man in the Iron Mask to contrast the lives of identical twins separated at birth, one grown into a self-centered prince, the other raised in the forest by a particularly talented sow; and "Adam" offers a distinctly comic take on the genesis of humankind. Finally, Boris Kossmehl's angled sets and tilted cameras on the devilishly delicious "Not Without My Handbag," an outrageous take on the living dead and appliance warranties, recalls Tim Burton's early work in its whimsy and stylish designs. This quartet of charming clay animation shorts will enchant children and adults alike with its inventive designs, clever comic sketches, and distinctly British wit.

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