The Post Office Cat



The Post Office Cat

by Gail E. Haley

Age: 4+

Interests: cats, history, London, post office



Mrs. Easter and the Storks



Mrs Easter and the Storks

by V.H. Drummond

Age: 4+

Interests: birds, travel, London, adventure, chase, royalty


A Little Princess

A Little Princess

by Frances Hodgson Burnett

first published in 1905 (prior to that the story appeared as a serialized novella and a play)

201 pp., 19 chapters

Ages: (to be read to) 6 +; (to read) 8 +

Interests: boarding schools, girls, history, class, hardship

Also by this author: The Secret Garden, Little Lord Fauntleroy

Next: MOVIES – A Little Princess (1939) with Shirley Temple, A Little Princess (1995) both with significant plot changes. TV ADAPTATIONS – 1973 and 1986, both apparently very faithful to original book.


Mrs. Cockle’s Cat


Mrs. Cockle’s Cat

Philippa Pearce, author

Antony Maitland, illustrator

London: Constable and Co., 1961

30 pp.

Ages: 4 +

Interests: cats, flying, balloons, London, ocean, boats

Also by this author: Tom’s Midnight Garden


Charley, Charlotte and the Golden Canary

Charley, Charlotte and the Golden Canary


by Charles Keeping

Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1967

31 pp.

Age: 4 +

Interests: birds, cities, London


Shakespeare’s Theatre


C. Walter Hodges, author and illustrator

London: Oxford University Press, 1964

102 pp

Ages: 10 + (?)

Interests: drama, theatre history, British history, Shakespeare, London


Return to Never Land (2002)

Rated: G
Length:  72 min.
Age: 4 and up.                        commonsense media sez: 5+

Scary Factor: opening scenes of WWII blitz in London may be alarming; as in the first film, pirate shenanigans are more slapsticky than scary

Also: separation from father, Captain Hook smokes

Interests: magic, fairies, pirates

Next: MOVIES: Peter Pan (1953) of course, The Sword in the Stone (1963), The Little Mermaid (1989); BOOKS: Peter Pan, Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens


One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961)

Rated: G
Length:  79 min.
Age: 4 and up                            Commonsense Media sez:  5+

Scary factor: Cruella is really creepy.

Violence: buffoonish and not intense, nobody is seriously hurt

Intense scenes: anticipatory suspense, mostly; but some reckless driving and a car crash at the end

Language: Cruella frequently calls Horace and Jasper “Idiots!”

Sexual Innuendo: Just a comment from Roger re. the birth of fifteen puppies, he says to Pongo “You old rascal!” Sentiment is repeated at the end with the appearance of 84 extra puppies.

Also: there’s smoking (both Roger and Cruella) and the thugs take swigs from a wine bottle.

Interests: dogs, puppies, animals, pets

Next: read the book The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith; MOVIES: Lady and the Tramp, The Aristocats (similar story, but with cats, and no Cruella!)


Peter Pan (2003)

Rated: PG – frightening scenes, violence
Length: 113 min.
Age: 8 and up.                       commonsense media sez:  9+

Scary Factor: violence and killing among the pirates, though no show of blood and gore; the mermaids are truly creepy, and Hook is genuinely threatening

Intense scenes: Wendy is shot down and believed briefly to be dead, Tinker Bell drinks poison and nearly dies, Peter is bashed around by Hook during final fight

Sexuality: only some sexual tension between Peter and Wendy, limited to a couple kisses; there is a glimpse of bare Lost Boy behinds at one point

Also: a brief sight of Hook’s amputated arm may bother the squeamish (though the wound is old: no blood); as always, the pirates smoke and drink, and liquor and cigars are offered to Wendy (she turns them down)

Interests: fairies, pirates, magic, mermaids

Next: read the original novel Peter Pan, see the grittier pirate movies (Pirates of the Caribbean are for the 12+ crowd)


Peter Pan (1953)

Rated: G
Length:  76 min.
Age: 4 and up.        commonsense media sez:  5+

Scary Factor: Nothing too bad at all – everything handled with great humour, especially Hook and pursuing crocodile.

Cringe Factor: “What Makes the Red Man Red” song, and stereotypical depiction of ‘redskins’; also not very enlightened re. female role models

Violence: much ‘play’ violence, violent language on part of kids, bloodless swordfights, at some point in past Peter cut off Hook’s hand, but this is not seen

Interests: fairies, pirates, magic, mermaids

Next: see it on the stage! (an excellent first play), read the book, older children (8+) could watch the 2003 live action Peter Pan


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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.