Pros: Fun, cute, teaches values without being heavy-handed
Cons: None (unless "too cute" counts!)
Finding movies that are appropriate for young children, aren't annoying to parents, and remain enjoyable for children as they get older, is a big challenge. Add teaching values to the requirement list and challenge becomes an over-simplification. For my family, an organization called Feature Films for Families (FFF) came to the rescue. The first movie we purchased from FFF was Scamper the Penguin. We've been happy and loyal customers ever since.
Let Me Tell You about the Movie
This charming, animated movie takes place in the Antarctic and begins with adult penguins preparing for the arrival of the next generation. After the nests are built and the eggs have been laid, the mother penguins go off to eat and the father penguins are left to protect the nests. When sea-birds circle and then attack, many of the eggs are lost. The mothers are devastated when they return.
Fast forward to the arrival of the baby penguins. (Don't do that when you're watching it - you'll miss some precious and important moments.) Scamper is an energetic male penguin who becomes best friends with Snowflake, a sweet female penguin. In penguin school, Scamper just can't quite keep with the program - he marches to his own drummer - and he's always in trouble.
Scamper and Snowflake, led by Scamper, wander away from the others and become lost. As the adults panic, the young penguins return. Scamper assures his parents that he's learned an important lesson and he'll never wander off again. But Scamper's intentions and his impulses clash, and eventually Scamper and Snowflake are lost again. This time they're seriously lost.
The movie follows the adventures of Scamper and Snowflake, their fears and obstacles as well as their triumphs, such as finally learning to swim. They are eventually captured by "bad humans," poachers who don't have the penguin?s best interests in mind. While imprisoned on the ship, they meet a macaroni penguin named Louie. In fact it is through Louie that Scamper and Snowflake learn that their future is quite limited.
The three penguins figure out a way to escape and eventually not only get back to land but find their way back to Scamper and Snowflake's home. Almost completely grown, both Scamper and Snowflake have learned the importance of family and the importance of listening to the adults who try to guide us.
What Our Family Thinks of Scamper the Penguin
When my boys were younger, about three and five, they loved to watch Scamper. There were other movies they requested repeatedly over the years, but a month rarely went by without them watching Scamper at least once. They've watched it less as they gotten older, now eight and ten, but they still watch and enjoy it. I've suggested handing it down to their soon-to-be-born baby cousin but they're not ready to part with it yet!
I've always enjoyed the movie. It is sweet without being obnoxious, it teaches without being preachy, and it entertains my children without the anger, hostility, violence or questionable language often found in traditional children's television and movies. I'm glad my children have learned to prefer movies like this.
About Feature Films For Families
The mission of Feature Films for Families: "We produce and distribute uplifting and entertaining motion pictures that are suitable for all ages and strengthen positive values while containing no profanity, vulgarity, sexual content or graphic violence." You can find more information about them at www.familytv.com.
Kate & Family Recommends Scamper the Penguin for all families with young children. It contains nothing objectionable for even the most sensitive and conservative parent, and I promise the kids will love it. Any child over age two or three would enjoy it, although the message might be lost on a child younger than four. And unless my children are strange, kids as old as ten will enjoy it too!