Stuart Little (1999)

Stuart Little (1999)

Rated: Rated PG for brief language

Length:  84 min.

Age: 5 and up.    Commonsense Media sez: 6 +

Scary Factor: Stuart in the washing machine as water is filling up; chased by cat several times; two major chases from alley cats in park

Intense: concept of getting mafia-like cats to rub him out (“scratch him out”); police station conversation about killing sprees and grisly crime photos; alley cats menace a lot but don’t get very close; alley cats dispatched in end by dumping them in pond (aren’t hurt, are seen climbing out and running off)

Bad Behaviour: George pushes another boy down, fists flying, etc. and doesn’t get in any trouble for it (the impression we’re left with is that it’s all right because the other boy was so unpleasant)

Language: swearing! “damn”s, “hell”; presumably included for sole purpose of winning a PG rating; also rude language, “shut up”, “moron”, “loser”, “speak to the butt”

Interests: mice, cats, New York, adoption, family

Next: read the book! More


What Scares Your Child?

Now, before I even get started, before any of you jump on me for being overly protective and censorious, I’m not talking about little scares here. I’m talking about the kind of fright that can cause sleepless nights or change behavior patterns. And these serious kinds of scares are more common than you’d think. As Joanne Cantor writes in “Mommy, I’m Scared”: How TV and Movies Frighten Children and What We can Do to Protect Them:

“If your child has a severe fright reaction, you are certainly not alone. Your child is not odd, unstable, or otherwise unbalanced, and there are good reasons why the reaction occurred. Sharing your experience with others will no doubt be therapeutic for you, and it’s important to warn other parents about potential effects on their children.” ¹ More

The Gruffalo

The Gruffalo

by Julia Donaldson

illustrated by Axel Scheffler

London: Macmillan, 1999

26 pp.

Age: 3+

Interests: mice, monsters, animals, underdog stories

Also by this author and illustrator: The Gruffalo’s Child


More on TV and Babies…

“Media Tips for Babies and Toddlers” gives a good, brief overview of the babies-and-tv issue, with a few tips for older ages as well, courtesy of Commonsense Media.

Top 5: Books to Puzzle Over

Another summer-inspired list… I give you thought-provoking books, puzzling books, mysterious books… books to pore over on a beach (especially Flotsam), or in a shady hammock, or in a tent on a long rainy afternoon. Three are wordless books, ones you can leave your child alone to ponder, though you will soon be drawn into them too!

1. Zoom, by Istvan Banyai – 4+

Captivating illustrations reveal surprises as we zoom out, and out, and out…

2. Flotsam – David Wiesner – 5+

A mysterious camera found on a beach contains some amazing photographs.

3. Black and White – David Macaulay – 5+

Four independent stories told side by side that intersect in unexplained and mysterious ways.

4. Anno’s Journey – Mitsumasa Anno – 6+

A man journeys through a European landscape on a horse. The inquisitive and patient will examine every carefully detailed page for visual jokes and puzzles.

5. Dragon Quest – Nick Harris – 5+/8-10

A very elaborate, inventive and funny Where’s Waldo for fantasy fans. Each densely illustrated page holds objects to be found and little puzzles to be solved before the quest can move forward. The difficulty level is probably pitched to 8-10 year olds, but even younger children will enjoy the story and can still search out a few of the more easily found items. (Interesting all the way down to age 4, but some of the fantastical creatures and swarming scenes may be too creepy for some.) This book could occupy a child for hours.

a page from Dragon Quest

Upcoming Radio Interview!

I’ll be talking about the Rarest Kind of Best blog on local Saltspring radio show “The Beanstalk” with Janine Fernandes-Hayden, this coming Friday, July 29, 10:00-10:30 am (PST).

If you’re nearby, it’s 107.9 FM. If not you can listen online here. (

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears


Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears

by Verna Aardema

illustrations by Leo and Diane Dillon

New York: Dial Books, 1975

28 pp.

Age: 4+

Interests: jungle animals, African folktales, mosquitoes

Also by this author: Who’s in Rabbit’s House?, Oh Kojo! How could you!

Also by these illustrators: Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions


Millions of Cats

Millions of Cats

by Wanda Gág

New York: Coward-McCann, 1928

30 pp.

Age: 3+

Interests: folktales, cats


Commentary MIA…

Yes, summer holidays are seriously getting in the way of my blogging. Namely nice weather, swimming lesson chauffeuring, a puppet show, a new library to explore, etc. The Friday Commentary will return next week – watch this space!


The Dragon Prince

The Dragon Prince

by Laurence Yep

illustrated by Kam Mak

New York: Harpercollins, 1997

29 pp

Age: 4+

Interests: dragons, China, Magic, fairy tale, siblings


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All writings posted here are © Kim Thompson, unless otherwise indicated. For all artwork on this site, copyright is retained by the artist.