A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the third vignette in this DVD, Uncle Elephant, concerns a child whose parents disappear after promising to come right back, and that the child spends time listing all the mistakes he's made in his life as reasons they left. Other than that dark theme, the DVD includes engaging stories about characters overcoming bullies, mouse traps, and community rejection to find friendship and happiness. A scene of a live-action classroom includes a disabled student without making a big deal of inclusion.
What's the story?
This three story collection from Scholastic kicks off with the classic tale of Ralph S. Mouse (voiced by John Matthews), who lives at the Mountain View Inn and drives its manager crazy with his forays by motorcycle. Protected by his two human friends, Matt the bellman (Hume Cronyn) and young Ryan (Robert Oliveri), Ralph realizes that he must leave the hotel or Matt might lose his job. Off he heads to school in Ryan's pocket, where he causes havoc but helps Ryan make a new friend. The second story, Stanley the Caveman, reminds us that people who are different can have much to offer, while the third segment, Uncle Elephant, shows us that we can find happiness even in the worst of times.
Is it any good?
While the 1990s animation may feel somewhat dated to kids raised on CGI (it's a combination of live action and dimensional animation), the stories are nuanced and the acting’s better than expected. The second and third stories pale in comparison to the tale of motorcycle-riding Ralph. Uncle Elephant may worry children with its themes of parental disappearance, but the other two tales model good lessons of friendship and teamwork.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the bullying boy in Ralph S. Mouse. Why do you think he's mean? Have you ever had to face a bully at school? If a mouse were to camp out in your classroom overnight, what would he find to eat? To play with? Why do you think that the other cavemen are so mean to Stanley?
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