Reviews of children’s books, movies and games

These reviews are aimed at parents who, like me, are trying to find children’s books and films that support an inclusive, equal and respectful world view; parents who’d like to steer their children towards books and films that grow their minds and spirits, that encourage curiosity and open-mindedness; and away from things that promote sexism, racism and homophobia, that are suspicious of other cultures and that shut down any interest in the way other people live.

Dear Readers … I have watched The Emperor’s New Groove so that you don’t have to.

I’ll use a few criteria in these reviews:

  • The Bechdel test (read more about the Bechdel test at This test asks, 1) Does the book or movie have at least two women in it 2) who talk to each other 3) about something besides a man.
  • The number of male and female characters. In my ideal movie they’d be pretty much equal.
  • I’ll also look closely at the female characters. Are they the stars of the story, or at least equal characters? Are they complex, real, interesting? Do they have actual personalities? Or is being a girl personality enough for anyone?
  • The way in which characters from various racial groups are depicted. Or, actually, if they’re depicted at all.
  • I’ll give the stories an open-mindedness rating. I want to find movies that show different cultures, lifestyles and choices positively. Not as wrong, or frightening or odd. Or the enemy (I’m looking at you, Madagascar 3).
  • I’ll also give each story a gentleness rating, because I have a soft-hearted 5-year-old who absolutely cannot handle any unpleasantness at all. My Little Pony sometimes makes her cry, if the ponies are mean to one another.

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