Genre: Animation, Kids, Musical

Rating: G

Release Date: March 21, 2003

Actors: John Fiedler, Jim Cummings, Ken Sansom, Peter Cullen, Nikita Hopkins,
Kath Soucie, Andre Stojka, Tom Wheatley

Director: Francis Glebas

Special Notes: The film features several new songs written and performed by one of my favorite singer/songwriters, Carly Simon -- including "If I Wasn't So Small" (The Piglet Song), the heartfelt "Mother's Intuition" and the enchanting "With a Few Good Friends." Her soothing voice made me smile, and I chuckled to think that a woman I once considered a pop idol is now singing songs for "Pooh" movies.

Plot: Pooh (voice of Cummings) and his friends Tigger (voice of Cummings), Rabbit (voice of Sansom) and Eeyore (voice of Cullen) are trying to pull off an elaborate plan to extract honey from a beehive when Piglet (voice of Fielder) approaches and asks if he can help. The friends politely tell little Piglet that their task is too big for him to help out with so he wanders off wishing he could be useful and needed. Funny thing is, most of the time it's Piglet that saves the day and helps them all succeed, they just don't recognize his contributions. When his friends realize he's gone, they use his scrapbook of memories in hopes that it will lead them to him. As they page through the memories, the gang remembers their various escapades and encounters with the like of Christopher Robin (voice of Wheatley), Kanga (voice of Souce) the kangaroo and her little one, Roo (voice of Hopkins), and come to realize that Piglet has been a big part of their lives all along.

Good: Okay, parents. It's time to take your little ones to a movie they can enjoy and laugh at without being frightened or subjected to action or adult material. You can't go wrong with Pooh and his gang and of course Piglet who seems to be the hero of every story. Piglet and Roo are my favorites because they are cute and cuddly (especially when Roo is told about "Heffalumps" and "woozels"). Issues about being overlooked by others because of your size or being nice to new friends to avoid hurting their feelings are some of the topics your kids will learn about. And of course there are the antics of Tigger (bouncing and ricocheting off the walls).

Bad: A few scenes might be suspenseful to very young viewers (like when the bees chase Pooh and friends or when Piglet gets lost or when Roo accidentally slips on a banana peel and falls into a stream), but older kids won't have a problem with any of the material. Although Roo doesn't appear worried about floating down a small river, the others panic at the sight and try to rescue him (and that might upset some kids). There's an intense scene over a raging waterfall that almost sweeps Pooh and Piglet away.

Bottom Line: Fans of animated films or the "Winnie the Pooh" characters will enjoy this gentle tale that will leave you smiling; parents will remember their favorite Carly Simon song and your kids will bounce out of the theater like Tigger.