Zoo Baby



A lonely boy and a zoo animal share a mild adventure.
  • Review Date: August 9, 2012
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1960
  • Running Time: 59 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

Introduction to the coati mundi, its South American origin, diet, and behavior. A quaint look at life in a village in rural England, circa 1960.

Positive messages

Dishonesty and secretiveness can lead to more lies and worse trouble; open communication and asking for help will get better results.

Positive role models

Though bright and sensitive, young Pip is withdrawn and angry as he tries to adjust to life far from his family. Then, in an effort to do what he believes is "the right thing," he finds himself more isolated and getting deeper and deeper into trouble. Ultimately, the story takes Pip to a better place where he learns the value of honesty and trust.  Adults, for the most part, are caring, but often oblivious and irresponsible. They, too, learn valuable lessons. Set in 1960s England, there is no ethnic diversity.

Violence & scariness

A few mildly suspenseful moments: lions roar and menace Pip who is outside their cage; the boy and a small animal are in danger of falling from a trapeze.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Zoo Baby is a kid-friendly, black-and-white British movie made in 1960 that's very old-fashioned. Still Pip's efforts to adjust to a new home and family can be familiar and relatable. There's a bit of mild suspense when Pip and his treasured new friend encounter some noisy lions and an unyielding trapeze. Sensitive kids could worry along with Pip that he may be sent to boarding school or prison, but the unease is temporary, and there's a general feeling throughout that everything will turn out well.

Kids say

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What's the story?

Pip has come from his beloved home in Nairobi to go to school and live with his childless, but caring aunt in England. It's a big change, and he's trying hard, but can't help but feel sad, angry, and out of place. A visit to the zoo finds Pip identifying and sympathizing with "Peggy," a South American coati mundi (a small mammal) who, like Pip, has been transplanted to England. When he hears people talking about "starving" an animal, Pip misunderstands and sets out to save Peggy. The rescue is easy; the aftermath is not. Pip's good intentions lead to lies, trouble, and a concerned, but furious aunt.

Is it any good?


ZOO BABY is a visit to a rarified theatrical past. The simple story, unsubtle performances, and larger-than-life incidents will seem quaint to today's kids.

But there are some very likable elements here: the adorable little animal, Pip's struggle to feel comfortable and loved in his new home, and, finally, the intrigue that's always appealing -- will Pip fool everyone else in the village and save the day? 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how Pip's first lie snowballed into major trouble for him. Has that ever happened to you? Did you learn from the experience?

  • Some things, like wanting to be liked and have friends, have not changed since 1960 when this movie was made. Other than the obvious (like clothes, transportation), how and why is life different today?

  • Did you agree with Mary's decisions when she discovered Peggy in Pip's room? What should she have done to be more helpful?

Movie details

DVD release date:January 1, 1960
Cast:Angela Baddeley, Gerard Lohan, Maurice Kaufmann
Director:David Eady
Studio:Penington Eady Productions
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Friendship, Wild animals
Run time:59 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Educator and Parent of an infant and 1 year old Written byMommaOfTwoo November 20, 2012

Pip pip hurray!

Pip doesn't feel like he's fitting in...who hasn't felt like like before? Pip tells one lie and it turns into another and another until it's a big mess, surely we've all told a lie? I think even kids today can relate with Pip, and while this movie is in black and white it still captures the attention and makes us sympathize with a boy and his animal friend.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models


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