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Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child
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 aren't sanitized fairy tales. If the original tale involved greed and corruption, this one does too. If the prince's head was chopped off in the classic version, he's going to lose it here too, although it's not going to be shown. Parents may want to pick and choose from the titles to select fairy tales their child will understand, like The Three Little Pigs for younger viewers, and save the likes of The Pied Piper for more sophisticated kids or for watching together.
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What's the story?
HAPPILY EVER AFTER: FAIRY TALES FOR EVERY CHILD is a collection of short animated fairy tales voiced by the very famous, from Wesley Snipes to Henry Kissinger. The stories range from classics like Goldilocks and the Three Bears to the more obscure, like The Twelve Dancing Princesses.
Is it any good?
While the language has been modernized, the tales themselves have not. Although billed as "politically correct" fairy tales (and, at the time, mocked and lampooned as such), the tales themselves aren't actually any more PC than they've ever been. The main difference is that the master may be black and the servant white -- in fact, it's almost certain to be that way. Adults know that's groundbreaking. Kids aren't likely to notice -- which is the point.
The animation, which differs from cartoon to cartoon, is generally excellent in the classic sense, although it lacks the polish of the computer-assisted programs your kids may be used to. The adaptations are fun and full of jokes for savvy kids, like the minion named "Toe-day" who objects to being called "toady," and newspaper headlines like "Did They Even Have Newspapers Back Then?" There's a certain level of cartoon violence, like guards bonking each other over the head and princes being dragged to dungeons. It's nothing to kids used to the likes of Power Rangers, but it may be startling to those who haven't yet gone beyond Blue's Clues.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the classic morals that pervade these tales. Was the king fair? Should his daughter have lied to him? Does it pay to be greedy, selfish, or rude? With older kids, parents can have fun talking about how much of our shared culture comes from these and other fairy tales, from expressions like "it's time to pay the piper" and "the wolf's at the door" to current movies and books with their roots deep in these stories, like Harry Potter. Families can also discuss the richly diverse casts, although faces of many colors aren't as unusual in today's cartoons as they once were -- thanks in part to this series, which was created in 1995.
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