REVIEW: Is ‘Moana’ OK for small children? (And are there any scary parts?)

REVIEW: Is 'Moana' OK for small children? (And are there any scary parts?)Moana is an adventurous teenager who lives on a small Pacific Ocean island that – we’re told – “always gives us what we need.” And the island does keep everybody fed … until the fishermen no longer can catch fish and the coconut trees fail to produce edible fruit.

So, Moana, the daughter of the island chief, decides to board her raft and cross the ocean to find the demigod Maui (voiced by Dwayne Johnson), who rules over the wind and sea. Why? Because her grandmother said that Maui previously stole the heart of the island goddess Te Fiti – and that if her heart could be restored, the island would once again teem with fish and plant life.

Disney’s Moana (PG) is out in theaters this weekend, providing families with an animated musical adventure on a holiday weekend and a worldview not seen in most children’s movies.

Set in a Polynesian culture, the film’s plot spotlights polytheism, animism and reincarnation, and also has a few scary parts. Let’s look at the details. Continue reading

REVIEW: Is ‘Storks’ OK for small kids? (And are there any scary parts?)

REVIEW: Is 'Storks' OK for small children? (And are there any scary parts?)Nate is an energetic, creative little boy who wants a sibling – specifically, a brother – so he can have a playmate. His parents, though, are workaholic realtors who can’t fathom a household with two children.

But Nate has a grand idea. He will send a handwritten letter to the storks, who live far, far away on Stork Mountain, and they will bring him a brother. There’s one big problem: The storks are no longer in the baby business. (Yes, they once were.) They are now an company known as, and they deliver packages – such as TV sets.

Fear not, though, because the letter ends up in the hands of a clueless company worker, who accidentally turns on the non-operational baby-making machine, popping out a sweet little bundle of joy. So far, so good, but the CEO of Cornerstone, Hunter (Kelsey Grammer) vows to stop the delivery, and a pack of wolves wants the baby, too.

It’s all part of the plot in Storks (PG), which opens in theaters this weekend and was created by the same studio (Warner Bros. Animation) that gave us The Lego Movie, which was No. 1 for three weeks in 2014 and ended with an incredible $257 million domestic gross. I really liked The Lego Movie, but I enjoyed Storks even more. Storks is funnier, has a better storyline, and also has more life lessons for children and parents.

Storks is pro-family in the original sense, and after watching it you understand why an adoption organization ( is one of the film’s partners.

But is Storks OK for all children, including small kids? Let’s take a look. Continue reading