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 though this animated series stars cute little mice and rabbits, it's definitely not for littler kids. The entire series is predicated on the idea of a war between rats and mice. The main character, Matthias, is small and young (and easier for kids to identify with), and very often in grave danger. The rats are huge and powerful in relation to the mice, and there are battles in every episode, with swords and sometimes blood, all animated in dark tones and set to alarming music. However, if your child can handle all that, this is an immersive and fascinating series, with a deep, twisty backstory and a plot that moves along briskly. Children love the fantasy elements: talking animals, fairytale destinies, noble quests, magic swords. They also love the notion that a small hero can do great things.
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What's the story?
In REDWALL, Matthias is a young mouse who lives at Redwall Abbey, a medieval fortress under constant siege from evil rats, like the hulking, terrifying Cluny the Scourge. When an image of Martin, a great mouse-warrior and defender of Redwall Abbey, begins speaking directly to Matthias one day, Matthias realizes his destiny: to find Martin's sword, to defeat the wicked rats, and to save Redwall Abbey forever from those who would invade it. With the help of his close mouse friend Constance and wise old Abbot Mortimer, plus a small army of animals pledged to keep the Abbey safe, Matthias bravely takes on the quest.
Is it any good?
Redwall is every bit as immersive and fascinating for kids who can handle a little scariness as Game of Thrones is for their parents. The backstory for Matthias' quest is deep and knotty; Matthias himself is relatable and yet, braver than most kids could ever be, always ready to stand up to Cluny and his band of rats. That being said, he's in danger a lot of the time. Cluny is always shown lurking around, and often directly attacking. But Matthias comes out on top at both the end of the series and the end of each episode.
There are several prominent female chracters, a relative rarity in fantasy material. The animation is stunning, easily the equal of old hand-drawn Disney features. It's all very nice to look at, while the plot ticks along briskly, pulling you with it. Expect to watch a bunch of episodes if you get started with just one.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why Cluny wants to steal Matthias' power. Is Cluny right to fear Matthias? What gives Matthias his power, despite being so small?
Why are all the rats in Redwall bad? Can you think of any situation in real life where one kind of person is automatically bad, and another type is automatically good?
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