Where the Wild Things Are and Five More Stories

Movie review by
Sierra Filucci, Common Sense Media
Where the Wild Things Are and Five More Stories Movie Poster Image
Classic Sendak stories with simple animation -- delightful.
  • NR
  • 2008
  • 54 minutes

Parents say

age 2+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Three of the shorts, all based on the Nutshell Kids book series, teach the alphabet, numbers, and the names of the months in a musical and humorous way.

Positive Messages

Each story has some positive message embedded. The most obvious message comes from "Pierre," whose bad behavior and general apathy gets him into trouble until he reforms his ways. None of the videos features a character of color, and only one video has female characters (and they're in the background).

Positive Role Models & Representations

The point of Pierre's story is to encourage kids to not emulate the character.

Violence & Scariness

In "Pierre," the badly behaved child gets eaten by a lion when he's left home along. He ends up alive, but very sensitive children might be disturbed.

Sexy Stuff

Brief full-frontal male nudity in "In the Night Kitchen" in a totally non-sexual context.

Language

Pierre repeats "I don't care" constantly.

Consumerism

Films are based on Scholastic books, and the DVD comes with an insert advertising additional videos to buy.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that children might already be familiar with the stories featured in this collection of short videos based on Maurice Sendak books. The videos are designed to complement, rather than replace, the featured books. In one story, Pierre, the boy behaves very poorly, including being disrespectful toward his parents, and then is eaten by a lion (though he lives to reform his ways). In another story, In the Night Kitchen, the boy briefly appears naked, which might produce some giggles from young viewers.

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What's the story?

This collection of short videos from the Scholastic Storybook Treasures series features Maurice Sendak stories, including Where the Wild Things Are, about a child's fantasy world where he works out his frustration with being punished; In the Night Kitchen, where a boy imagines he's physically part of making the morning bread; Alligators All Around, One Was Johnny, and Chicken Soup with Rice are all educational (teaching the alphabet, numbers, months, respectively) set to songs performed by Carole King. And Pierre is a cautionary tale about a poorly behaved child whose choices get him eaten by a lion.

Is it any good?

These short videos are a delightfully different way to engage children with literature they are familiar with and introduce them to less popular stories. Maurice Sendak books are lovely fantasies for children with sometimes-dark undertones that tap into the not-so-lovely aspects of childhood, like rebellion, anger, mischievousness, and annoyance. The songs by Carole King in four of the shorts are catchy without being annoying, and they're a fun way to get kids learning letters and counting, and thinking about the calendar.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about fantasy. What's going on in Where the Wild Things Are and In the Night Kitchen? Do you ever imagine that you're someplace different and have special abilities, like flying or ruling over animals?

  • Talk about the idea of "I don't care" that comes up in the Pierre story. Why does Pierre say that? If you sometimes say "I don't care," what are you usually feeling when you say it?

Movie details

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