A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Schoolhouse Rock! is made up of mild and warm-hearted songs about grammar, math, history, and science that are almost universally fun and smart. Mostly, the cast is diverse and girls are shown as strong and equal to the boys. There are a few exceptions, however: In one song on the number 12, a man is said to have 12 wives, just as he has 12 camels. A song on taxes features scantily clad women in a chorus line. A few of the scenes might be scary for particularly young children, like when a man steps out of his skin to show his bones, or when cartoon people are shocked by electricity. It's also important to note that the songs on American history are reflective of text books from when parents were kids, exploring only the European-American experience.
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What's the story?
SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK! is a series of songs designed to educate and entertain. Many parents will remember these few dozen cartoon music videos on everything from how a bill becomes law to counting, which originally aired in between Saturday morning cartoons. In fact, many parents can probably recite the fun ditty "Conjunction Junction" by heart. And that's exactly the point. By using snappy tunes and silly animation, these songs are designed to be so catchy that they sear themselves into the viewer's brain and suddenly they're learning. All the favorites are here, including "Conjunction Junction," "I'm Just a Bill," "Electricity," "Three Is a Magic Number," and "Interjections." This collection also features the series on how the body works: songs about circulation and feeding your body right.
Is it any good?
These songs are likely to keep kids riveted, but there are a few duds. Most of the songs on money seem a little off-base somehow. While one song explains the virtues of living within your means, another song on where all your parents' money goes explains that there's never any money left over. It's a little confusing.
While the songs on the American Revolution and American histories are classics, it's glaringly obvious in retrospect that they only cover European immigrants. "The Great American Melting Pot" doesn't include the slaves brought here against their will, or the Asian immigrants who arrived on the West Coast instead of the East. The song about women's rights is glaringly white. You won't find the whole picture here, so it's up to parents and newer history books to fill in the gaps. But overall Schoolhouse Rock! is catchy and fun.
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