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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that If You Give a Mouse a Christmas Cookie is inspired by the characters in the popular picture book series by Laura Numeroff and follows Mouse and his human friend, Oliver, as they prepare for Christmas. As he's prone to doing, Mouse is easily distracted from the task at hand, and that, coupled with some impatience on his part, leads to some trouble for him and his friends. He's instantly sorry and tries hard to set things right, but it's not as easy as he hopes. With every twist and turn of fortune, though, Mouse learns the value of paying attention and thinking things through. Themes of friendship and forgiveness are evident in this fun holiday story, and cheery music helps set the festive mood.
What's the story?
It's getting close to Christmas, and Mouse (voiced by Roger Craig Smith) and Oliver (Mason Mahay) are busy baking cookies to get ready in IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A CHRISTMAS COOKIE. They're even making a super-special one for that jolly old elf himself, Santa Claus! But when Oliver heads off to practice for the upcoming Christmas program, Mouse can't contain his curiosity, so he stows away in a backpack to get a sneak peek at the surprise Oliver says he's planning for him. That's when the trouble starts, with Mouse and his friends accidentally ruining the decorations for the pageant. Determined that Oliver won't suffer the consequences of their actions, Mouse, Moose (Smith again), Pig (Jessica DiCicco), Dog (Jeff Bennett), and Cat (Lara Jill Miller) crisscross the town in search of replacements so the show can go on and Christmas won't be ruined for Oliver.
Is it any good?
Laura Numeroff's books have delighted kids and parents with their rhythmic, chain-of-events tales of distraction and happenstance that come full circle at the stories' end. So goes this sweet Christmas story that brings to life Numeroff's original series hero, Mouse. He's joined by others who've since starred in their own books -- Cat, Dog, Pig, and Moose -- and who can't quite manage to rein in their impulsive friend's eagerness to see, do, learn, and attempt to fix. Youngsters no doubt can relate to Mouse's enthusiasm, especially for Christmas and all its joys, and they will enjoy seeing him and his friends in motion in this sweet tale.
Transitioning a beloved book or character from print to screen takes some care, and there's a fine line between embellishing the story and replacing it altogether. If You Give a Mouse a Christmas Cookie stays faithful to the artistic style of Numeroff's books and incorporates just the right number of famous lines from them. ("If you give a mouse a cookie, he's going to ask for a glass of milk.") It's also fun to see Mouse interact with his friends and to find out more about the silent human in the stories, Mouse's person Oliver.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about action and consequence in If You Give a Mouse a Christmas Cookie. Is it always possible to predict how an action will affect you or others? Why is it important to take responsibility for what you do, even when what you've done is an accident?
Are there times when it's difficult to forgive another person? How does it feel to be forgiven when you've done something wrong?
If you and your kids have read the If You Give ... books, talk about the similarities and differences you notice between them and this holiday special. Do any of the characters act differently from what you imagined from the books? How does it change the dynamic by having the human character talk as well?
- On DVD or streaming: November 25, 2016
- Cast: Roger Craig Smith, Mason Mahay, Jeff Bennett
- Studio: Amazon Studios
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Book Characters, Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Friendship, Holidays
- Character Strengths: Compassion
- Run time: 30 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Awards/Honors: Common Sense Seal
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