A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this anniversary special is identical in style to the popular, now 10-year-old series, so existing fans are sure to enjoy the festivities. Dora's bilingual style introduces kids to common Spanish words and phrases, and the show's use of repetition ensures that viewers will retain at least some of what's said. The Dora franchise boasts a marketing conglomerate that includes books, videos, games, and toys, so tuning in might pique kids' interest in similar add-ons. What's more, the movie includes flashback clips of Dora's past specials, so young fans may want to fill in the blanks of their own Dora repertoire after seeing these virtual commercials.
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What's the story?
It's Dora's (voiced by Caitlin Sanchez) birthday, and she and her faithful companion, Boots, are preparing to leave the Magic Storybook and head home for her party. When a twisting wind blows them off course and into Wizzle World instead, the friendly Wizzles tell Dora that the Wishing Wizzle (Hector Elizondo) can wish her back home with the help of Dora's crystal. Dora and Boots set off to find the Wishing Wizzle -- and avoid La Bruja (Rosie Perez), who hopes to sabotage their journey. Along the way, they must use the lessons they've learned in past adventures with their friends to help them overcome the obstacles they face.
Is it any good?
Ten years have done little to tarnish the appeal of this TV superstar, and DORA'S BIG BIRTHDAY ADVENTURE is a seamless fit into the vast archive of this popular series. The spunky Latina heroine has taught countless preschoolers basic Spanish words and phrases with her engaging style over the past decade. This movie's reflective style -- which includes numerous flashbacks to previous episodes and references standout characters like Benny, Isa, and the Big Red Chicken -- is a worthy celebration of its own accomplishments, and happily works well as a stand-alone story for newcomers to Dora's adventures.
If a fault can be found, it's in the unavoidable relationship between the movie and the marketing giant who takes center stage. Dora's face graces everything from snack food to pajamas, so young fans might develop a new partiality to these items. If you can see past that, however, you'll find a spunky Latina heroine who reminds kids that helping others and solving problems are important qualities to being a friend.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about friendship. How does Dora show that she's a good friend? In what ways does she put her friends' needs before her own? Do Dora's friends feel the same about her? How can you tell?
Kids: Did you like the style of this show? What, if any, Spanish words did you learn from it? Does Dora do a good job translating the words she says in Spanish?
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