From Publishers Weekly
This new addition to the New York Times Essential Library series transcends its genre, in that the movies it lists are more than just children's movies. They are, for the most part, classics that every adult would enjoy seeing, classics that just so happen to also be appropriate for kids. Nichols, who writes the Times's "Taking the Children" film column, says every one of these films is appropriate for the 12-and-under set. The list, arranged alphabetically, encompasses old standbys (e.g., Casablanca; The King and I), animated films (e.g., The Little Mermaid; Shrek), standard kid fare (e.g., Mary Poppins; E.T. The Extraterrestrial) and recent hits (e.g., The Rookie; Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone). Each film gets a two-page write-up, with any reservations about specific films, such as, for Rocky, "the fight is violent and little ones could be upset," or, for Groundhog Day, "Sex is involved in a couple of places." 17 b&w illustrations.
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As in Ben Ratliff's guide to jazz in the same series [BKL N 1 02], there are some surprises among Nichols' choices of the 100 best films for children 12 and younger. Duck Soup
is a great movie, but aren't the Marx Brothers too culturally and linguistically sophisticated for kids? Isn't Gandhi
too long and pompous? Isn't The Buddy Holly Story
just too embarrassingly miscast? He may not persuade one to say nay to those questions, but elsewhere Nichols convincingly argues that kids of the right age--and he is always explicit about what that may be--will dig, say, North by Northwest
, Some Like It Hot
, and Sullivan's Travels
. Most of his choices are much more recent films, and, not unexpectedly, animated films, from Disney features to Japanese anime extravaganzas, bulk large in the total. Except for the original King Kong
, there aren't any horror movies (well, maybe Jurassic Park
), and religion, if not sentimentality, is kept at bay throughout. A job well done. Ray OlsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved