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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Spookley the Square Pumpkin is an animated story based upon a children's book, The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin, by Joe Troiano. Spookley, the only square pumpkin in a patch watched over by a fatherly scarecrow, is sad and embarrassed by his squareness. Events, however, convince both Spookley and all the creatures on the pumpkin farm that the little guy has a valuable place among them. A series of inspired musical numbers enhances the strong messages about fitting in, valuing oneself, and inclusiveness. Cartoon action includes some bumps and falls, and a fierce storm. Made with a sure hand and a clear desire to provide quality entertainment for kids, this film has been a yearly tradition for the Disney Jr. cable outlet. First available on DVD in 2005, the movie has been re-released on Blu-ray. For all ages, with a caution about the storm, which could be scary for very young kids.
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What's the story?
A kindly narrator tells the story of SPOOKLEY THE SQUARE PUMPKIN, which takes place on a pumpkin farm just before Halloween. Jack, the Scarecrow (voiced by Craig Francis), has discovered a small, square fellow amidst all the other pumpkins that have been growing in the patch. The little guy, Spookley (Sonja Ball), quickly realizes that he's the only square pumpkin in the patch, and that makes him sad. And it makes at least one of the other pumpkins mad. Spookley doesn't belong with us, Little Tom (Rick Jones) declares. It's up to Jack, who watches over pumpkins, to give Spookley a chance to join with the others. But after he flops badly in the annual Jack-A-Lympics Competition, Spookley is inconsolable. Then, threatened by an unexpected storm on the day before Halloween, the scarecrow, the other critters who live in the patch, and the pumpkins themselves are all in danger. It's up to Spookley to prove his worth by using his smarts and his courage to save them all.
Is it any good?
Bright, witty, and with an abundance of terrific musical numbers and engaging characters, this short feature is a Halloween treat that families can enjoy together. The messages about being different and inclusiveness are familiar, but they're solid. Even the "villainous" round pumpkin who doesn't love Spookley at first sight is funny rather than frightening. Usually spiders and bats perpetuate the "bad guy" tradition, but in Spookley the Square Pumpkin, they couldn't be more likable or distinctive. The production is all first-rate, with exceptional performances, fine animation, and wonderful attention to detail in every facet. Funny and just the right length for little kids, this movie is highly recommended.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the popularity of movies about characters who don't "fit in" with the crowd. Like its iconic predecessors, The Ugly Duckling and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Spookley is "different" from others when we meet him. What message(s) are these stories trying to convey?
Bats and spiders are often made to be scary or villains in movies for kids. How were the bats and spiders portrayed in Spookley the Square Pumpkin? Did Boris, Bella, Edgar, Allan, and Poe change your opinion of such critters? How?
What is meant by the statement: "You'll never know if you never try?"
The spiders strongly announced that they were not "bugs," but "arachnids." What is an "arachnid"? Do the words "insect" and "bug" mean the same thing?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.