The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Christmas!

Movie review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Christmas! Movie Poster Image
Series-inspired special teaches kids about animals, caring.
  • NR
  • 2012
  • 60 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

The story introduces kids to diversity among animal species, showing how characteristics like a keen sense of smell and the ability to communicate underwater help different animals survive in their habitats.

Positive Messages

There are multiple instances throughout the story that illustrate positive behavioral traits like politeness, friendship, and helpfulness, as well as the spirit of holiday giving. Though mishaps repeatedly befall the travelers, they stay positive and use creative problem-solving to overcome challenges.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Nick, Sally, and the Cat put their own holiday at risk to reunite a baby reindeer with his family for Christmas, showing selflessness and sympathy toward others. Along the way they befriend new creatures and learn something new from each of them.

Violence & Scariness

Young kids might fret for the characters' safety when the Thingamajigger plummets from the sky, but no one gets hurt in the process.

Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

The movie links to a TV show as well as a large marketing franchise centered on Dr. Seuss' popular book character The Cat in the Hat.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Christmas! is a round-the-world holiday special that teaches kids about different animals the characters meet along the way. Kids will enjoy the Cat's comical antics (and the mishaps that tend to follow) as well as the story's ties to holiday traditions like Santa and his reindeer. Parents will like that the characters' interactions are marked by kindness, politeness, and attention to the needs of others. There are a couple of touchy moments when the Cat's vehicle breaks down and tumbles from the sky, but only the littlest kids might worry over these.

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What's the story?

It's Christmas Eve, and all of the Cat in the Hat's (voiced by Martin Short) party guests are heading home to celebrate the holiday with their families. A young reindeer named Ralph (Annick Obonsawin) is especially excited to get home to Snowland to spend his first Christmas with his parents, but a mishap sends him off course at the last minute. Nick (Jacob Ewaniuk), Sally (Alexa Torrington), and Cat embark on a journey to reunite Ralph with his parents, but when the Thingamajigger springs mechanical leaks, they'll need the help of some far-flung animal friends to get there and back in time for the holiday.

Is it any good?

Everyone's favorite rhyming feline celebrates the Christmas spirit in in this fun-filled animated movie. Flanked by Thing 1 and Thing 2 and advised by the talking Fish (all voiced by Rob Tinkler), Cat, Sally, and Nick take a roundabout path to Ralph's hometown, and they meet some interesting characters who teach them about their special qualities along the way. From Christmas Island red crabs on a journey of their own to African elephants guided by a super sense of smell, each new friend does his or her part to get Ralph and the kids back to their families for the holiday.

Mischief, mishaps, and an accident-prone Thingamajigger ensure there's never a dull moment during the course of this kid-pleasing story inspired by the series The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That, and the fact that it makes subtle use of the characters' positive traits means there's a lot to like about its entertainment value and its lasting impact on your kids.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how animals adapt to their surroundings. What do Nick and Sally learn about the animals they meet on their trip? What are some traits specific to other species that help them stay warm, catch prey, and avoid predators?

  • Kids: Why is it important to help others? When have you been in a situation that needed someone else's help? How do the characters' new friends help get them back on their way to Ralph's home?

  • Why do you think the Cat in the Hat is such a popular character? Which other book characters have made the jump to TV or movies? Do you have any favorites among them?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love holidays

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