A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that these folk tales haven't been sanitized or modernized. If the daughter kills her wicked father in the folk tale, he'll die in a hail of brimstone here, too. And if the story revolved around the importance of salt to meat, this story will as well, with no additional explanation for kids who've never gone without a refrigerator. Many folk tales are violent, and some of these are as well, with brothers hitting brothers and kings threatening death to any who thwart them. But you can rest assured that the wicked will get their comeuppance.
What's the story?
ANIMATED TALES OF THE WORLD is a collection of folk tales from many countries and cultures, animated and voiced with the intent of staying true to their place of origin. Every episode looks different, with animation styles that range from puppetry to claymation to rough sketches. Some have two stories in half an hour, others one; some are narrated. These are classic stories -- the seven original folk plots that lie at the root of a large part of human experience and the way we choose to talk about it.
Is it any good?
While the quality of the episodes can be erratic, every show is a small glimpse into the history of another culture, and because unfamiliar elements aren't washed away or overly explained, a parent watching with a child will have a lot to talk about. This variety offers something new to kids who are used to joining a familiar narrative every time they turn on the television.
These small tales are challenging and invite more thought and more interaction, but they're often violent and certainly not politically correct. The kings are nearly always kings, the goal is to marry the princess or win the bag of gold, and the servants live belowstairs and the master above. But these are straightforward stories haven't been jazzed up with explosions or clever repartee and fart jokes to grab kids' attention, and yet they still do. That alone makes them worth watching.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the traditional fairy tale themes and why they're often the same in every culture -- the Cinderella story, the boy who goes off to seek his fortune, the king passing on his kingdom or refusing to let it go. Can kids spot these same themes in modern movies, books, and cartoons as well? Can they think of different versions of the same story that they've heard over time? Because each story is presented within its own culture, some offer a chance to discuss things more commonly found in other cultures, like Holland's windmills.
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