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If You Give a Mouse a Pumpkin

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
If You Give a Mouse a Pumpkin TV Poster Image
Teamwork, empathy stand out in fun holiday story.

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We think this TV show stands out for:

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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Educational Value

The story involves strong emotional themes.

Positive Messages

Kids see Moose learn to manage his anxiety about Halloween and come to enjoy the experience with his friends. When faced with a possible disaster to their plans, the friends use resourcefulness and determination to resolve the issue and ensure a happy ending.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Mouse and his friends are kind and selfless. They step in to help when their friends need them and show gratitude when others do the same for them.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

This special is part of a TV series inspired by books by Laura Numeroff.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that If You Give a Mouse a Pumpkin is a gentle Halloween story starring the characters of the Laura Numeroff books and related TV series. Its presentation of Halloween is entirely nonthreatening, but a main character gives voice to some aspects of the holiday that kids might relate to, including images and costumes that can be scary. Happily the story shows him overcome those fears with the support of his friends, reminding viewers that fears don't have to define you. Positive messages about friendship, teamwork, and kindness round out this sweet holiday special.

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What's the story?

As Oliver (voiced by Mason Mahay) and Mouse (Roger Craig Smith) get ready for Halloween in IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A PUMPKIN, they have to make the most important decision of all: what costume to wear! With a pumpkin and a little inspiration, Mouse makes his choice, and their neighborhood friends follow suit, donning costumes of all different kinds. Together they head over to Cat's (Lara Jill Miller) Halloween Spooktacular event, but disaster strikes when all of his ghosts escape, leading his friends to comb the neighborhood to find them. If the show can't go on without all eight of the ghosts, who will step in to save the day when only seven can be found?

 

Is it any good?

With charming storytelling and much-loved book characters, this holiday special treats tots to a sweet holiday tale that emphasizes friendship. Mouse and his friends pitch right in to help when Cat fears the worst for his party, demonstrating that many hands really do make light work. In the end, an unlikely hero steps forward to ensure the Spooktacular's success in an unexpected way.

If You Give a Mouse a Pumpkin also takes a welcome approach to the idea of Halloween being a little scary for some kids. Of all the characters, it's Moose (Smith again) -- the largest and most physically imposing -- who needs extra time and confidence to tackle his worries and join his friends in the holiday festivities. As he gradually comes to see the fun side of costumes and light scares, he shows timid viewers that it's OK to have emotions like his and to share them with friends who understand and can help.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the characters think creatively to solve the problem of Cat's runaway ghosts. How did they respond when their plans didn't work out the first time? What did they learn from the experience?

  • If your kids know the If You Give a Mouse a Cookie books, discuss how seeing the characters on the screen compares to reading about them. How do books encourage imagination in a way that TV series and movies don't? What other book characters do you like seeing on TV?

  • In what ways do Mouse and his friends demonstrate their loyalty to each other? How does having empathetic friends around and knowing you are not alone in a difficult situation help you manage your emotions and make good decisions?

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