The One and Only Ivan



The One and Only Ivan

by Katherine Applegate

Age: 8+ (warning: dark content – read full review)

Interests: animals, gorillas, elephants, animals in captivity, animal rights, cruelty to animals, art, ethics, circus

Also by this author: Crenshaw, Wishtree, Home of the Brave, the Animorphs series, Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla







by Victor G. Ambrus

Age: 3+

Interests: music, circus, animals


Horton Hears a Who (2008)

Rated: G

Length: 86 min.

Age: 6 and up            Commonsense Media sez: 4 +

Scary Factor: One scene of Horton trying to cross a rickety swinging bridge above a chasm had my daughter (4) climbing the walls and whimpering. Also the vulture Vlad is rather creepy – he is made goofy through his dialogue, but this will be lost on younger viewers who will just find him threatening. Mob descending on Horton at end is rather intense, caging him and tossing the speck into boiling oil! Situation milked for optimum suspense.

Violence: treated as humour: Mayor gets stapler stuck in his head… twice; one animal character is drop-kicked; much fall-down slapstick stuff

Language: very harsh and sarcastic; a lot of name-calling: ‘moron’, ‘idiot’, and ‘boob’ (repeated many times, the ultimate insult levelled by the town council against the mayor: my daughter was still giggling about it days later)

Interests: elephants, jungle, Dr. Seuss

Next: Dr. Seuss books

Dumbo (1941)

Rated: G
Length:  64 min.
Age: 4                                     Commonsense Media sez:  6 +

Scary Factor: the sight of the elephants crashing down from their pyramid was more alarming than funny; also Dumbo has to jump from a great height in the clown act and is scared; hallucination scene is just weird enough to freak out some young viewers

Intense scenes: the scene in which Dumbo is separated from his mother is heart-wrenching; the other animals mock Dumbo, and he feels bad, though he does get the last laugh in the end

Also: the general tone of the whole film is rather depressing. Especially scene in which he visits mom in ‘jail’ – very sad! And some parents may not like the boozing and hallucinations so much… (see full review)

Interests: circus, elephants


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