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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Elf Pets: A Fox Cub's Tale, adapted from writer-director Chanda Bell's book Elf Pets: an Arctic Fox Tradition, follows both The Elf on the Shelf: An Elf's Story and Elf Pets: Santa's St. Bernards Save Christmas, all family-friendly holiday films that bring original music and positive messages to young audiences. In this very short movie (28 minutes) Santa's Christmas Eve journey takes center stage along with an Arctic fox who helps light the sleigh's way and a boy who waits for his mom to come home from the military in time for Christmas. While the messages in the movie are about the power of "hope" and "faith," there's no religious content.
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What's the story?
Santa (voiced by Brad Hyland), with his bright, joyful team of animals and elves, is getting ready to make his Christmas Eve journey in ELF PETS: A FOX CUB'S TALE. Nora, a beautiful Arctic fox, arrives just in time to help. It's Nora's magic tail that sparks the flame in the Northern Lights that illuminates the skies for Santa's flight. Most important of all, once those lights go on it's the laughter and joy that children create on Christmas morning that keeps them on as Santa makes his way. On this Christmas Eve, only part way through the night, the Northern Lights begin to dim. All the folks on the trip and back at the North Pole are concerned. Is sadness in the world going to extinguish the lights? In one house, Michael (Brody Rose), is sure that his mom, who serves in the military, will be home for Christmas as she promised. However, at the last moment, he receives a letter warning that she might not be there on time. Could Michael's sadness, along with the woes of other boys and girls, be threatening the lights? Or will hope and faith return to save Christmas for everyone?
Is it any good?
Endearing characters, buoyant animation, joyous original tunes, and a simple plot that delivers messages about hope and faith should please families who like their holiday movies short and sweet. Even the songs have been designed to hold young attention spans; they're just long enough. Plus, the choreography is wonderful. (Yes, of course the dances are performed by animated elves and foxes, but does that matter?) It might be said that Elf Pets: A Fox Cub's Tale's repeated notion about the power of positivity may be overstated, but in this case it's a good thing. Little ones will be smiling all the way through.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the teamwork shown in Elf Pets: A Fox Cub's Tale. How does the movie show that everyone has a role to play in making a task successful? How did the Nora the fox help Santa in his journey? What role did the children on earth play?
What did Michael learn about being grateful for what he has? How did it help him deal with the fact that his mom might not make it home in time?
The movie tells us that not every gift is a present or a toy. What are some wonderful gifts you've received that didn't come in a package?
- On DVD or streaming: December 3, 2019
- Cast: Brad Hyland, Leslie Bellair, Brody Rose
- Director: Chanda Bell
- Studio: Scout Elf Productions
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Book Characters, Holidays, Music and Sing-Along, Wild Animals
- Character strengths: Gratitude, Teamwork
- Run time: 28 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: December 19, 2019
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