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The Pebble and the Penguin Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 7+

Animated penguin tale heavy on romance, peril.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the main character has a stutter for which he is teased by a bully, but it becomes less noticeable around his friends and girlfriend. The same bully is a menace throughout the film, most disturbingly as he kidnaps the object of his romantic affection. When persuasion has failed, a character holds his breath to get his way. Depictions of animals roughly handled on the way to zoo captivity may trouble young animal lovers. Also, scenes of pursuit by leopard seals and killer whales are intense, probably more so than children under age 7 will want to watch.

  • Families can talk about the birds aboard the bad ship Misery. Do you think animals are better or worse off in zoos than in the wild? Can you think of any arguments that people on the opposing side of the debate might have? The movie highlights lots of different types of penguins -- make a trip to the library to learn more about their habitats and habits.

The good stuff
  • message true3

    Messages: A deep if lopsided friendship develops between two unlikely characters, causing one to risk his life for his friend's sake, even after he has been lied to. A developing romance is marked by loyalty and understanding in the face of teasing and threats from outside parties.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence and scariness: The main character is threatened by a bully, a leopard seal, and a pod of killer whales in suspenseful animated scenes that, at least in the latter two cases, convincingly mimic real threats on a penguin's survival.

  • sex false0

    Sexy stuff: The entire plot is predicated on Hubie getting back to Marina for mating season, so although nothing graphic is shown the topic is ever-present.

  • language false0

    Language: Not an issue

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Not an issue