A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that VeggieTales DVDs are Christian-themed stories for children. While the bulk of the Veggie audience is religious, non-Christian families could also enjoy the well-animated, clever stories (but may want to fast-forward the intro and ending parts with Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber, which feature a Bible verse and a "God thinks you're special" message). Their latest show is derived from The Wizard of Oz, but is essentially the parable of the prodigal son. There's nothing objectionable in the material, so even preschoolers can see it.
What's the story?
A send-up of The Wizard of Oz, this VeggieTale illustrates the biblical parable of the prodigal son. Young Darby wants to go to the Wizard of Ha's amusement park with his pet pig Tutu, but his hard-working, dental-floss farming pa doesn't want him to use piggy-bank savings on a fleeting pleasure. So, Darby rebels. Snatching his bank and pet, he heads for roller-coaster heaven. On the way, a tornado lands Darby in magical Munchee land and "fat-free" fairy Splenda shows Darby the way via the Yellow McToad (an old Scottish frog). There are no scary flying monkeys, fields of poppy, or evil green witches. But there is a scarecrow, tin man, and lion, and a desire to go home. Only in this case, Darby thinks he can't go home, because he's disobeyed and disappointed his father. But as anyone familiar with the prodigal son story knows, the father welcomes Darby home with open arms.
Is it any good?
All of the VeggieTales DVDs are cute, but this one lacks some of the clever oomph of previous shows. And the necessity to adhere to the original Oz means the songs and score are more derivative than usual. Still, if you're cool with the message, it's hard to go wrong with this VeggieTales DVD.
VeggieTales are one of the few Christian entertainment products that cross over to mainstream audiences. Although the majority of the devoted fans are devout, the high production values, catchy songs, and sweet stories appeal to secular families too.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why Darby thinks his father won't accept him. Darby could've saved all his money for the amusement park, but he helps the scarecrow, tin man, and lion instead. What does that say about how Darby was raised? Kids: Do parents only love children when they're well-behaved? Christian families may want to discuss the story of the prodigal son.
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