Call it Courage

CallitCourageNEWBERY MEDAL WINNER : 1941

Call It Courage

by Armstrong Sperry

Age: 10+

Interests: survival, boats, ocean, sea creatures, storms, Polynesia, islands

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Swimmy

Swimmy

by Leo Lionni

New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1963

30 pp.

Age: 4+

Interests: fish, ocean, sea creatures

Also by this author: Inch by Inch, Frederick, Alexander and the Wind-up Mouse

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Top 5: Ocean Movies

 

 

 

 

 

In honour of my own upcoming weekend campout beside the ocean… five family movies about the mysterious and fascinating deep.

1. Fantasia 2000 (1999) – for age 3+  (just the “Pines of Rome”)

Okay, this is just a part of a movie, but the “Pines of Rome” sequence, featuring a pod of soaring whales, is stunning. (This sequence is totally suitable for the very young, though other sequences in the film are significantly scarier, more suited to 5 or 6 year olds.)

2. Ponyo (2009) – age 4+

An entirely different take on the basic “Little Mermaid” fairy tale. Magical forces out of balance cause the ocean to rise and submerge a coastal town… but no one is hurt in this adventure, which all hinges on a little fish striving to become a human girl.  Underwater scenes are breathtaking. (Read full review.)

3. Finding Nemo (2003) – age 4+

Wonderful fish adventure, highlighting many ocean species along the way. Funny and smart, scary moments but plot moves through them quickly. Sure to spark an interest in learning more about sea creatures. (Read full review.)

4. Pinocchio (1940) – age 5+

Underwater scenes only occur in last part of this movie, but Monstro the whale is unforgettable, if a bit scary. (Read full review.)

5. Blue Planet (2001) – age 5+

Okay, this is a BBC series, not a movie, but don’t forget to follow-up fantasy ocean stories with non-fiction and documentaries. And a trip to the aquarium!

Flotsam

CALDECOTT MEDAL WINNER – 2007

Flotsam

by David Wiesner

New York: Clarion Books, 2006

Age: 5+

Interests: ocean, ocean creatures, nature, beaches, photography, magic

Also by this author: Free Fall, Tuesday, Sector 7, The Three Pigs

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Finding Nemo (2003)


Finding Nemo

Rated: G
Length:  100 min.
Age: 4+ (but not an overly timid 4!)         Commonsense Media sez: 5 +

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Scary factor: Marlin’s wife disappears in opening scene, the (offscreen) victim of a barracuda; throughout: much peril, many close escapes, but the pace is good, nothing lasts for very long so you should be able to sail right through. In the fish tank Nemo has the threat of a  ‘fish-killer’ little girl hanging over him, and takes part in escape plans in which he risks being sucked into the filtration system rotating blades. No real violence or gore. (Dory is accidentally smacked in the nose once and a little blood drips out, that’s it.)

Most scary: a huge shark chases Marlin and Dory, chase ends with underwater mines exploding (The shark scene occurs right after Marlin meets Dory, if you want to skip it.)

Next most scary: a creepy anglerfish chases them: see picture at the end of this review.  Anglerfish scene occurs after they chase the sinking swim mask into the darkest deep, if you want to skip it. Be sure, though, to watch to the very end of the credits, when the anglerfish gets his comeuppance.

Intense scenes: my daughter was bugged by the jellyfish scene. The jellyfish are rather passive, they don’t even seem sentient, but it is really creepy how they float in and surround the fish. Big suspense. Another one which bothered her was the scene inside the whale, when Marlin loses all hope. There isn’t anything overtly scary, but the intense emotions troubled her a little.

Interests: sea creatures, fish, boats, the ocean, fish tanks, dentistry (just kidding)

Next: a museum of natural history visit, or a visit to the zoo or aquarium; documentary movies about amazing sea creatures, movie: Ponyo

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Ponyo (2009)

Rated: G
Length:  101 min.
Age: 4 and up.

Scary Factor: typhoon and tsunami, storm at sea mitigated by sight of little girl happily running on top of the waves!; entire island is submerged in huge flood, but no casualties

Intense scenes: twice Sosuke thinks his fish is dead (briefly); after floods Sosuke finds his mother’s car, eerily empty, and starts to cry, but finds her soon after

Language: mother calls the oddball wizard a “freakshow”; she also calls her husband a “Jerk!”; the wizard calls humans as a species “filthy” and “stupid” (which is justified)

Interests: ocean, sea creatures, magic, nature, spirits, boats, fish, wizards

Next: BOOK: The Little Mermaid (Hans Christian Andersen); MOVIES: My Neighbor Totoro, Finding Nemo (a little scarier), The Little Mermaid (a lot scarier)

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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.