Higglety Pigglety Pop! or There Must be More to Life

by Maurice Sendak

New York: Harper Collins, 1967

69 pp.

Age: 4 +

Interests: dogs, adventure, theatre

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The Adventures of the Dish and the Spoon


GREENAWAY MEDAL WINNER – 2007

Mini Grey

New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006

30 pp

Ages:5 +

Interests: nursery rhymes updated, crime and punishment, love stories

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Shakespeare’s Theatre

GREENAWAY MEDAL WINNER – 1964

C. Walter Hodges, author and illustrator

London: Oxford University Press, 1964

102 pp

Ages: 10 + (?)

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

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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

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Mr. Popper’s Penguins

A NEWBERY HONOR BOOK

Richard & Florence Atwater, authors

Robert Lawson, illustrator

Boston : Little, Brown and Co., 1938

138 pp

ages 4 and up              (chapter book to read aloud)

Interests: penguins, antarctic

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A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1935)

Black & White
Rating: USA: Approved
Length: 133 min – other versions: 117 min (edited version), 142 min (with overture and exit music)
Age: suitable for 3, but for plot comprehension 4 or 5

Scary Factor: Oberon in black and his bat-people minions are a little unnerving, particularly when they seem to be rounding up the beautiful fairies at the end. Other than that there’s nothing violent or threatening. Viewers may wonder about the small orphan boy fought over by Oberon and Titania, but the toddler keeps smiling whether he’s with one or the other and seems to be treated well, so it shouldn’t be an issue. (He weeps only when Titania ignores him during her fascination with Bottom.)

Interests: magic, fairies, Shakespeare, old movies

Next: MOVIE: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1999) is more for 12+ crowd (PG-13); BOOKS: traditional fairy tales, Peter Pan, Tales from Shakespeare by Charles & Mary Lamb, Shakespeare’s The Tempest (in a picture book version)

Preparation: picture books or other abridged versions of the Midsummer Night’s Dream story – helpful to know the plot first!

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Pinocchio (1940)


Rated: G
Length:  88 min.
Age: 5 and up      Commonsense Media sez:    6 +

Scary Factor: Stromboli character waving an axe and threatening; young Lampwick’s terror as he turns into a donkey; Coachman herding the donkey-boys with a whip; enormous whale Monstro chasing them at the end

Also: scenes with alcohol and smoking are too numerous to mention; some leering and mild sexual innuendo from lady’s man Jiminy; character playing with fire; wanton destruction

Intense: some children may have trouble with Pinocchio’s ‘death’ near the end, but keep them watching because he isn’t dead for long!

Language: “Give a bad boy enough rope and he’ll soon make a jackass of himself!”

Interests: fairy tales, fairies, magic, puppets, insects, ocean, whales

Next: Dumbo (also astonishingly not-politically-correct)

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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.