Making the Grades
If, like me, you're not an authority on the comings and goings of the Hundred Acre Wood, you may not know what a heffalump is.
Even experts on A.A. Milne's characters might have a hard time coming up with an accurate description of this fantastical creature who is the stuff of dreams in the author's original story. The truth is, he never actually shows himself... although Piglet and Pooh do go hunting for him.
Still, that isn't keeping Disney scriptwriters from expanding on the book's suggestion and introducing audiences to a new character in the Pooh franchise.
After waking up to the disconcerting bugle of a hefty adult heffalump, Rabbit (voice of Ken Sansom), Piglet (voiced by John Fiedler), Tigger and Pooh (both voiced by Jim Cummings) decide to take action and capture the annoying interloper who lives next door in Heffalump Hollow. Loading Eeyore's (voice of Peter Cullen) back with a massive burden of highly questionable expedition equipment, they prepare to stalk the wary beast.
Eager to join in, Roo (voice of Nikita Hopkins) shows up equipped with a rope and plenty of youthful enthusiasm. Unfortunately, the older and wiser members of the hunting party believe the little hopper is too young for this kind of adventure and send him home to his mama (voice by Kath Soucie).
Not to be deterred, Roo sets out alone to lasso the foe. But when he finally meets a purple baby heffalump, he discovers that aside from size, shape and color, he and Lumpy (voice by Kyle Stanger) have a lot in common. Carrying on with carefree abandonment, the new playmates find plenty to entertain themselves with, including the produce from Rabbit's carefully tended garden (an activity they later repent of) and the mud down at the pond.
Sweetening the pot with four original songs written by Carly Simon, the movie's lesson unfolds gently in typical Pooh fashion. And although the smallest of viewers likely won't be able to put the moral into words, the message about prejudice is unmistakable. Luckily, Roo's misguided preconceptions, based on adult fears and apprehensions, quickly melt when he finally meets the enemy face-to-face.
Too bad all misunderstandings can't be solved in an hour with a pot of honey and a little open-mindedness.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Pooh’s Heffalump Movie.
Why are the residents of the Hundred Acre Wood so afraid of heffalumps? How do they transfer their fears to Roo?
What does Roo discover about Lumpy? What things do they share? What do you have in common with children who look unlike you or live in different places?