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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Kate in Oz sends the characters from Kate & Mim-Mim spiraling into the Emerald City for an adventure that teaches them about self-esteem, perseverance, and friendship. You don't have to know the particulars of The Wizard of Oz to follow this utterly delightful interpretation, which does an excellent job incorporating many of the story's memorable moments in lighthearted, nonthreatening ways. (But if you do, you'll be impressed with this neatly crafted version.) The story's villain is more misguided than she is scary, and she makes amends for her mistakes in the end. This sweet story is thoroughly entertaining, but Kate and Mim-Mim fans will find particular joy in seeing the show's characters play out their new roles here.
What's the story?
KATE IN OZ takes best friends Kate (voiced by Maryke Hendrikse) and Mim-Mim (Lee Tockar) on an unexpected adventure when their magic accidentally takes them to Oz instead of to Mimiloo. They arrive to learn that Violet the Selfish Witch (Tabitha St. Germain) has dispatched her Inkies to steal every bit of purple from Oz, including the purple slippers that Lily the Good Witch (St. Germain again) gives to Kate and the newly arrived purple bunny Mim-Mim himself. Hopeful that the wizard of Oz can set things right in Oz and help them return home, Kate and Mim-Mim set off down the yellow brick road, picking up three friends along their journey to see the wizard.
Is it any good?
This charming TV special deserves high praise for reworking The Wizard of Oz to accommodate both the Kate & Mim-Mim cast and the sensitivity and attention span of its preschool viewers. All of the classic tale's trademarks are here, though modified for the youngsters watching -- Kate's slippers (purple, not ruby red), good and bad witches (though Violet is called "selfish" rather than "wicked"), naughty minions (Inkies in place of monkeys), and three famous tagalongs on the journey to Oz, played by Gobble (Brian Drummond), Tack (Matt Hill), and Boomer (Hendrikse again). There's music, a run-in with magical flora (though not sleep-inducing flowers), and important enlightenment at the end of the characters' journey.
Kate in Oz is even more endearing for its sweet themes of friendship and self-confidence. Kate is never lacking in either sentiment, of course, but other characters struggle with them in their own ways. As their Oz adventures come to a happy conclusion, everyone -- even Violet -- learns an important lesson about believing in themselves and the value of extending friendship to receive it in return.
Talk to your kids about ...
How do Kate, Mim-Mim, and the other characters demonstrate courage? Do any of their challenges make them want to give up? When have you had to persevere through something difficult? What other character strengths are important to you?
Families can talk about friendship. Kids: Why is it important to have friends in your life? How do they help us work through troubles and feel good about ourselves? How do you show your friends that you care about them?
If your kids have seen or read The Wizard of Oz, compare and contrast the two. How does this version smooth out the scarier sections? Were the characters a good match for the roles they play in this story?
Find more TV shows that help kids build character.
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