Room on the Broom
By Sandie Angulo Chen,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Short and sweet adventure about a generous witch.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
It's not an educational story, but it does teach kids about cooperation and friendship.
The witch's willingness to take on extra animals on the broom demonstrates the importance of generosity and selflessness, even though it would be easier for her to just keep the cat as her only pet. The additional pets don't get along, but manage to overcome their differences to save the witch from the dragon. Their teamwork is rewarded, and eventually they live happily ever after.
Positive Role Models
The animals are all very dedicated to the witch, who in turn is generous to allow the dog, bird, and frog to join her on the broom.
Violence & Scariness
The scene where the dragon attacks the witch and is going to eat her is tense, as is the mud monster her friends the cat, dog, bird, and frog "make" together.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Room on the Broom is the BBC's animated adaptation of a popular British picture book by author Julia Donaldson. The preschooler-friendly story follows a witch (and her faithful cat) who keeps adding to her broom's occupancy as she encounters various animals who have found objects she lost in flight. The movie's content -- like the book -- is fine for younger audiences, but it does feature a scary dragon that wants to eat the witch. Of course, she's saved, but the moment of peril might be too much for the under-4 set. Children familiar with the book will be particularly excited to see the short and sweet 27-minute film.
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Where to Watch
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What's the Story?
Based on author Julia Donaldson (of The Gruffalo) and illustrator Alex Scheffler's popular picture book, ROOM ON THE BROOM is the story of a ginger-braided witch (voiced by Gillian Anderson) and her faithful pet cat (Rob Brydon) who fly over the mountains, rivers, and forests without a care in the world... until the witch loses her hat. When she flies down to look for her hat, she discovers a dog (Martin Clunes) has found it and would like to join her and the now-suspicious cat on their adventures. This situation repeats itself two more times, with the witch losing something and then rewarding a bird and a frog with a place on the broom -- until the overloaded broom snaps in two and plunges into a bog. In the bog, a hungry dragon (Timothy Spall) captures the witch, leaving her friends to save her.
Is It Any Good?
Originally a half-hour special on BBC on Christmas Day 2012, Room on the Broom is zippy and sweet and the perfect short video for kids of all ages. Narrated with verve by English comedian/filmmaker Simon Pegg, the movie faithfully follows the book's plot. With its memorable rhymes and funny plot (poor witch keeps losing things), the movie is accessible to preschoolers and older kids alike. The stop-action animation is fabulous, and the movie's palette -- like the book -- is vibrant, beautifully highlighting the landscapes the witch flies through with her broom's other passengers.
The witch-eating dragon and the "horrible beast" that emerges from the bog (all of the witch's pets covered in mud and making angry noises) might be a tad too scary for some of the youngest viewers, but naturally there's a happy ending that involves a tricked-out broom that all of the witch's pals can ride in style. Regardless of whether you've read the book, this is a great addition to the streaming queue or DVD library.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about why the witch allows so many animals to join her on the broom? Was it wise of her to add such a load? How do the animals interact?
How do the animals learn to work together? What do they accomplish when they collaborate?
This movie is an example of stop-action animation. What are some other stop-action movies?
- On DVD or streaming: August 6, 2013
- Cast: Gillian Anderson, Simon Pegg, Timothy Spall
- Directors: Jan Lachauer, Max Lang
- Studio: BBC
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Friendship
- Run time: 27 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: June 2, 2023
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