A Very Brave Witch and More Great Halloween Stories for Kids



Animated Scholastic stories spook preschoolers just a tad.
  • Review Date: October 11, 2009
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 69 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

"A Very Brave Witch" teaches that assumptions and stereotypes are often wrong when a little witch ventures out to meet some "scary" humans. "Georgie" explores the feeling of being unwanted. "The Three Robbers" subtly explores repentance when the bad guys become good and rescue orphans.

Positive role models

Several characters show bravery, empathy, good friendship skills, and smarts, but the characters are not explicitly designed to be role models.

Violence & scariness

It's more the concept of witches and ghosts that provides the fright in these stories rather than any specific scary event. In "A Dark, Dark Tale" viewers are led through a spooky house by a deep-voiced narrator who builds tension with each step until the climax -- a mouse hiding in a box! "The Three Robbers" briefly shows an ax and some threatening behavior with a "blunderbuss."

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that spooky music and exaggerated voices are the only potentially frightening elements of this Halloween-themed collection of short films. Witches, ghosts, and robbers all make appearances, and while their presence might raise tensions for the youngest children, nothing truly scary happens.

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What's the story?

Eight Halloween-themed stories bring popular and lesser-known books alive for children. The DVD includes a read-along option where kids can follow the text at the bottom of the screen. The stories -- "A Very Brave Witch," "By the Light of the Halloween Moon," "A Dark, Dark Tale," "Georgie," "The Witch in the Cherry Tree," The Three-Legged Cat," "The Three Robbers," and "Little Tim and the Brave Sea Captain" -- cover the familiar spooky territory of witches, ghosts, the dark, and storms in a variety of ways. "A Very Brave Witch," narrated by Elle Fanning, tells the story of a girl witch who explores stereotypes about humans and is pleasantly surprised. "The Witch and the Cherry Tree" features a sneaky witch who tries to trick a boy into giving her cupcakes.

Is it any good?


With eight stories in the collection, quality and kid-appeal varies from story to story, but each has some charming or attractive element. Some stories, like "A Dark, Dark Tale" and "By the Light of the Halloween Moon," involve very little narrative, but offer sweet introductions to sprites, witches, and other traditionally scary characters. The variety in animation (three stories feature only still illustrations), narration, and music make this a pleasant mix of simple and more complex seasonal tales that most kids will enjoy throughout the year.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about real and pretend. What kinds of characters in the movies are real and which are pretend?

  • Why do people dress up on Halloween and other occasions?

  • Which story was your favorite, and why?

Movie details

DVD release date:September 29, 2009
Cast:Elle Fanning
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Magic and fantasy
Run time:69 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of A Very Brave Witch and More Great Halloween Stories for Kids was written by

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  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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